52% of executives view business related videos on YouTube every week

With 2014 drawing to a close, you can most definitely expect to see the usual predictions, expectations and even the occasional questionable opinion, into next year’s key marketing trends.

In this past year alone we have seen digital get even bigger, content get crowned king…again, and the accelerated success of the six-second video platform Vine. True mastery of video content may I add.

2014 is set to shake things up further in the marketing world, so they say, and with most marketers placing their bets on what’s to come, we figured if you can’t beat them, join them. So here are our top three insights into what we expect to be huge in the B2B environment, in 2014.

#1 Re-targeting will get bigger

Yes, something else predicted to get bigger, other than our waistlines over Christmas. In my honest opinion, re-targeting has always been a smart addition to any marketing mix, so along with the continued growth of digital marketing, it is a sure cert that it’s about to get a whole lot smarter.

As a B2B marketer, you will no doubt be well aware that the sales funnel can be, and often is, a long old process, and with this in mind, it is important that you are capitalising on re-targeting campaigns more so now than ever. How exactly a customer gets to your website in the first place is, quite frankly, a whole different ball game, but once you have made that first impression, it definitely shouldn’t be the only impression you make on them.

74% of tech B2B customers, who plan to make a purchase, tend to look at three or more companies. That is a significant number of potential customers, giving you a significant chance of gaining their business. If you play your cards right. And with 44% of customers choosing not to convert until at least 2 weeks after their first visit, you have to ask yourself whether you can afford not to use a re-targeting campaign as a way of remaining at the very front of their mind.

As a highly effective tactic for both lead gen and lead nurturing, consider demonstrating the quality of your products or services (90% care!) on your ad, and ensure you are answering any perceived questions that could hold back your customers from taking the next step. Demonstrating that you know your customers and can offer a solution to their questions, will give you a much better chance of swiftly moving them down the sales funnel.

#2 Video Marketing

Strictly speaking, a 30 second video is worth 900,000 words (a picture being worth 1000 words, and 30 frames per second). Now I’m sure you agree that is one heck of an impression. Even Vines are worth 180,000 words. Now try telling me that’s not worth exploiting.

The unsurprising reality is that video isn’t new, and the concept of creating how-to’s and behind the scenes footage is far from an untapped concept, however the increase in both the platforms and frequencies that users are viewing these videos, makes for an opportunity not to be missed.

When it comes to incorporating video into your marketing mix, the extent to which you choose to do so will depend on the size and nature of your company’s offering. Video can be used in a variety of different ways including; yes, behind the scenes footage, instructional & educational, as well as viral (with just the right blend of creativity and humour – I don’t quite see the Harlem Shake working in a B2B tech environment). If you doubt me check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7FIvfx5J10.

It should be remembered that YouTube is a highly effective channel to host videos, not only because it remains the second largest search engine, but also because you can effectively have your own TV channel. And with 52% of executives watching work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly, it is a channel you should be exploiting, in order to establish yourself as thought-leaders whilst remaining at the forefront of your customers’ minds.

For video newbies, we recommend you start small and grow gradually building a following as you go. That being said, if you don’t think big, you’re probably not going to be big. If you only take one thing from this (hopefully not), remember that when it comes to video, less really is more, so ensure you keep all videos under a minute in length, and always try to include a call to action and URL of a landing page that will allow viewers to learn more, sign up or register for something relevant.

#3 Social media marketing diversity

While Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn remain the key players in the social media landscape, don’t forget that Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ have seen a recent surge in popularity, even in the B2B environment. With more and more social media platforms made available, marketers are continually faced with a growing number of options to produce and distribute content, while building audiences across more channels than ever. It is for this reason companies should keep up to scratch with new social media platforms, while remaining diligent about which are worth experimenting with. And with 93% of marketers using social media for business, it is important to that you keep up to scratch with new opportunities in order to stay in contention for not only their attention, but ultimately their business.

That also means expecting the unexpected. I’ve talked a lot about Vine, but only because it is a pretty good example of how you can create just about anything in the social world, and it can work. Not only for out-there consumer brands, but even your B2B tech companies. Would we really have believed last year that some very large, and very prestigious brands (Philips, Cisco, HP, General Electric) would be using 6-second loop videos as part of their marketing mix? Probably not. But they have, and in doing so have demonstrated brand personality.

Using not only video, but social media in general, is a particularly effective way to humanise your brand. Showcasing the personality and culture of any company does work, and is a growing trend in the B2B world!