With 2022 having begun in earnest, you are probably trying to figure out what your marketing priorities should be for the year. There is certainly no lack of things you could spend your time and money on – the possibilities and opportunities in B2B marketing feel endless at times.
But at the risk of being dazzled and distracted by the latest TikTok and viral marketing trends, remember that you will not be able to do all those amazing and exciting things unless you have a solid foundation for your marketing. I’ve come across a lot of B2B companies that are still struggling with the fundamentals of their marketing and need to get their house in order.
If you work for one of these companies, or have a small voice in the back of your head saying that you’d like to get the basics right, then this post is for you. I’m going to suggest seven things you should prioritize in 2022 because they will ensure that your marketing activities are contributing to your business goals in specific and measurable ways.
Ready? Here we go:
Seven marketing priorities for 2022
1. Go full “smarketing”
There are still far too many B2B companies in which sales and marketing work in silos with little overlap or common objectives. You need to change this. Today, B2B sales and marketing have to be aligned and working together, otherwise business is lost — or never discovered. What is required is a unified process for discovering and nurturing leads from awareness to decision, involving all digital channels and sales activities. If you don’t do this, your competitors will do it, and they will become more successful than you.
You have a number of different ways to solve this. Some companies opt for a joint sales and marketing department (“smarketing”). Others create common KPIs, ensuring collaboration. A third way is to create cross-functional teams with marketers and sales reps focused on different segments or key accounts. Pick one or a combination and get it done. It’s that important!
2. Don’t skimp on your content
Many B2B companies have created some kind of content marketing or inbound marketing program. This means that you can no longer differentiate your business simply by creating content. If you want your prospects and customers to engage with your content instead of your competitors', you need to put quality front and center in your planning.
What does that mean, exactly? Here are a few examples:
- Instead of looking at content output, make sure that all the content you create is valuable for your target audience.
- Don’t create content that describes features and benefits while superficially trying to address pain points. Dig in and offer real insights, discuss the problems from different perspectives and provide specific solutions.
- Answer real questions and offer real opinions instead of trying to meet every need.
- Ensure that the content you create is well crafted by someone who actually knows how to write or film or create graphics.
3. Invest in marketing automation
If your company hasn't looked into any kind of marketing automation solution, this is a priority for 2022. And if you have, make sure that you’re using it to its full capacity. Today’s marketing automation solutions help you connect with prospects using different channels and activities, providing you with the opportunity to adapt and personalize interactions with leads and customers.
Connecting your CRM system and your marketing automation tool (or even better, use a platform like HubSpot that combines them) will help generate more leads, and enable you to guide them through the sales funnel with a lot of accuracy.
4. Take a long hard look at your social media
It’s common for B2B companies to have a presence on different social media platforms, but it’s doubtful how successful that presence is. There are a few common reasons for this: not investing enough time and budget, lack of understanding about how social media works, or wanting to do more than they can manage.
If your company has a number of accounts on different platforms, you should really take a look at how much engagement you’re creating. If it’s mainly employees liking and sharing your posts, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth having an organic (non-paid) presence there. You might be better off using some platforms as advertising channels. Facebook and Instagram are two broad platforms where a lot of companies struggle to get organic reach, yet both are very efficient for ad campaigns.
Platforms like LinkedIn and YouTube still offer a lot of organic opportunities, but only if you use them correctly. A traditional strategy where link-based content is published via the company account with employees treated as a kind of Greek chorus will not help you succeed. Instead you need to understand how the algorithms work and encourage your experts to build their own presence.
5. Take time to get to know your target audience
Considering the importance of knowing who your customers are, it’s surprising that a lot of B2B marketers say they lack deep insights into who their buyers are and what drives them. One way to remedy this step is to put time and resources into a target group analysis, conducting interviews and collecting data and insights. Step two is to turn that knowledge into personas or a similar tool that will help you create relevant content, use the right channels and media, plan for the right activities and so on.
But when you do this, don’t forget to look at buyer behavior. It’s not enough to look at roles, pain points and desired outcomes. With more and more time in the buyers’ organizations spent on internal discussions and consensus building, you need to understand how this behavior impacts your plans. How purchase decisions are made in different organizations is a key question.
6. Make video an everyday thing
Video is an increasingly popular format with B2B companies, but many of them still haven’t accepted that they have to use it on a regular basis just like they do with text. You can use video for a number of different purposes – webinars, case studies, interviewing experts, demos, tutorials and many more. And there are growing opportunities with live video on almost every social media platform. Make sure you turn video into a format you use on a regular basis.
7. Connect your physical and digital events
Trade fairs, conferences and other physical events have long been a key sales and marketing channel for many B2B companies. And quite often the return on investment for these events was never measured fully. Then came the pandemic and physical meetings disappeared overnight.
What might feel like a calamity may actually be a blessing in disguise. You have an opportunity to develop digital alternatives for your customer meetings and trade fair appearances that you can later connect to physical events once they return. Going forward you will have a fully integrated strategy for events and meetings, covering both digital and physical dimensions. Find out more about running webinars that convert.
Not sure what to do first or how to make all these changes happen? We can help you with that. At UP THERE, EVERYWHERE, we have B2B marketing strategists, marketing automation experts and of course content producers that can assist you. Why not reach out to us so we can tell you more? Get content and marketing support from UP.