Well, it’s that time of year again. With the temperatures dropping, snowflakes making the occasional appearance and the Yule Log burning on the TV in the motum b2b library, it’s time to re-cap some of the things we learned (or had reinforced in our minds) in 2013.
- Content marketing is the only thing that matters. It’s true. Everything else is merely a conduit for delivering content. Web. Social. Paid media. Earned media. Marketing automation. Collateral materials. Events. The only reason they exist are as platforms for content. Send out a blank e-blast one day and see if you get engagement. How about an empty website? You’ll have a 100% bounce rate.
Everything we do in b2b marketing is about content. Therefore, the quality of your content is paramount. Fact-based storytelling, or brand journalism as we like to call it, must be the focal point of everything you do if you want to succeed.
- Video offers greater engagement because people are lazy Also very true. People just don’t want to read anymore. Sure, when a buyer gets down to the nitty-gritty final stages of a purchasing decision, they’ll ask to see the spec sheet. But until then, they just don’t want to read. It’s too labor intensive.
Gone (or going the way of the smilodon) are the days of whitepapers, multi-page glossy brochures, long-scrolling web pages and dense technical documents. They simply cannot compete for engagement against whiteboard videos, webinars, streeters, testimonials and instructional videos. Just one of the reasons we’ve been beefing up our videography chops (with special thanks to Stature Films for the equipment advice and tutoring) in 2013.
- New changes to email marketing laws are coming Under the new CASL legislation, which come into effect in 2014, it will only be permissible to send ‘commercial’ or marketing-based emails to those who opt IN. Merely providing an unsubscribe option will no longer suffice (although unsubscribe is still required). Indeed, website forms cannot even have the opt-in button pre-checked anymore!
Message content is also important. Marketing emails must contain the name of the sender and contact information (address and telephone number, email or website). We’ll go into greater detail on CASL in a future post. But for now, suffice to say there’re huge changes coming to the way we build forms, emails and e-marketing campaigns!
- Closed-loop reporting makes us all loopy It’s hard to believe that in an era when ‘Big Data’ is the big buzz word, it’s next to impossible for a lot of b2b marketers to practice closed-loop reporting on sales. The simple fact is that sales departments seem pretty reluctant to report back to marketing on what happened with that lead they were sent.
Honestly, how can anyone measure ROI if they don’t know if a lead generated by marketing resulted in a sale? That’s why we’re working with one of our client teams to help them investigate best practices in closed-loop reporting for their company. Hopefully we’ll be able to follow progress on the pilot project throughout 2014 here on the blog.
- The continuing importance of technically outstanding websites Although in point #1 we said websites are merely a conduit for content delivery, a site crafted by experts will get the job done a whole lot better than one out of a box.
Just because tools like Wordpress and Wix let anyone create their own website doesn’t mean just anyone should be making your brand’s website. Unless, of course, you want a site that looks just like everyone else’s and is severely limited in its functionality. A great b2b site provides a sticky, rich, engaging visitor experience. There is no replacement for sound digital strategy based on business objectives, custom design of site look and feel, and custom development of required functionality by ace web developers using real web languages.
That’s not to say we’re opposed to open-source web tools. Ask us about our love affair with Zend Framework sometime. We used it to build and expand an awful lot of sites again this year.
2013 was a fun, fast-paced and highly educational year for our growing consultancy. Thanks to our fabulous clients, awesome vendors and, of course, our team for a fantastic 2013. Onward and upwards in 2014!