B2B Content Marketing in 2017 — The Year of Publishing Dangerously?

What’s likely to come next from the desks of B2B marketers? Since the recent rush towards content marketing shows no signs of abating, it’s not surprising that many predict an increased focus on content marketing in 2017.

Some say content will be shorter; others point to a need for in-depth content that goes beyond basics. “Smarter content marketing teams will move away from generic articles to those that bring more depth, and something new to the discussion,” says B2Bento’s Sunil Shah.

Based on what I’ve seen in recent months, content curation should become even more important for B2B marketers in 2017. The continued demand for short, easy to digest content will be met through interactive infographics, short videos and vlogs, and live streaming of informative video.

And while we’ll likely see an explosive growth in use of videos, the focus of video content will be more on education and less on features.

Content to Become Increasingly Personalized for ABM Use

Search Engine Watch found that 70% of B2B marketers intend to create more content in the coming year, and further predicted that marketers will focus on creating more personalized content.

But that’s only part of the picture. “Account-based marketing will become more mainstream…in 2017, we will see the number of B2B companies testing and running full-fledged ABM program rise,” according to Shah.

As businesses reach a level of maturity with the ABM strategies they’ve adopted, there will be an increased need for content that supports ABM.
In 2017, we will see convergence of content development that will allow personalized content to be created in real time that will support ABM and leverage extensive data profiling and predictive marketing.

While many marketers have been trying to meet the ever-growing need for content by re-purposing their existing content, fresh content that has been created and personalized specifically for ABM use will become more of a necessity.

To be effective, this personalized content will need to be specific, not only to the role of the recipient but also to where they are in the purchase process.

Use of Predictive Analytics Will Increase

In a recent Forbes Insights survey, 300+ execs from companies with at least $20 million in revenue reported that they’ve implemented predictive marketing initiatives, and have been using predictive marketing for two years or longer. Moreover, 86% have seen an “increased return on investment as a result of their predictive marketing.”

The continued increase in the use of predictive analytics will create a need for smarter lead scoring to support predictive marketing and leverage more data and algorithms that account for real-time addition of lead scoring criteria, and lead scoring prioritization.

“Within marketing cloud solutions, there will be more emphasis on a newer approach to consolidate customer data from different first-party and third-party sources across the customer lifecycle. Related to this is exploiting this data through customer data platforms, predictive analytics.” states Dave Chaffey of SmartInsights.

An integrated, data-driven approach to customer interaction will necessitate more consistent, personalized and interactive communication using different channels and devices.

The greatest impact in this area will be from the integration of data from not only different marketing technologies but also different marketing channels including integration of offline comments using transcription technologies.

Digital Marketing Will Disappear into the Mix

Many have expressed the viewpoint that the above term should no longer be seen or heard; since digital and traditional forms of marketing are all part of the same thing: marketing.

In what is increasingly considered the ‘post-digital marketing world,’ digital media and technology in marketing are omnipresent. “Digital marketing activities” need not be viewed separately any longer; they are simply part of the marketing process.

Marketing should be seamless. And all aspects are indeed becoming more integrated. It’s an omni-channel world now, and in 2017 tactics will be adopted or discarded based on what works and not on whether they are categorized as online vs. non-online.

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