The emergence of digital has resulted in significant changes in B2B tech marketing, and there has been a subsequent shift in the way marketers are required to engage with their target audiences, present their brand and communicate their key messages.

A result of both the substantial increase in marketing channels and tactics now available, as well as the recent global economic turmoil, is the increased prominence paid to budget allocation within organisations, and with the value of each department now under intense scrutiny, marketers are under more pressure than ever to prove the value of each activity they undertake.

The following tips summarise the 7 biggest changes in B2B tech marketing.

Digital channels have reduced the power of traditional media channels

The 1990s may have been deemed the golden age of PR, with budgets generous and organisations truly appreciative of PR’s value, but as the media landscape has evolved, PR practice has had no choice but to evolve with it.

With the proliferation of digital channels having reduced the power of their more traditional counterparts, PR has become much more than just building relationships with journalists, writing and distributing press releases and organising product launches. While there is no denying that the process of convincing a third party, typically a journalist, to report favourably on your brand remains a significant role of PR, marketers and even more specifically PR professionals must be able to operate in a real-time environment, via a multitude of channels, while communicating with both target audiences & industry influencers at a range of different levels of understanding. With this advancement in technology, PR is now often categorised into four types of media: Paid, Earned, Social and Owned (PESO).

Owned media channels have contributed to the shift in media consumption

While earned media coverage will continue to be of unparalleled value to a brand, one factor that has contributed to the shift in media consumption, particularly within the B2B tech marketing landscape, is the ability for companies to maintain their own media channels. Brands are now expected to use their website, social media channels, blog and email newsletter, to communicate directly with their prospective and existing customers.

Integration of both online and offline techniques are, however, essential for an effective strategy, and marketers must understand exactly how each of their owned media channels will work together, in order to try and guide their target audience through their buying process.

Appeal to the buyers’ emotion, don’t rely on logic

In order to cut through the noise in an ever-growing content landscape, brands must produce content that resonates with their target audience and guides them through their buying process. To achieve this, marketers must understand the psychological drives behind B2B purchases, and more importantly the emotions in play. Contrary to popular belief, B2B decision making is not driven solely by logic and facts, but also by emotion, after all, there is often high risk involved with B2B purchases, and as a result buyers tend to choose vendors they trust; nobody got fired for buying IBM.

To address this challenge, your marketing messages should aim to mitigate any risk and emphasise the personal benefits of using your solution. Emotion in B2B marketing is powerful, and buyers tend to purchase from brands they trust, so consider making your brand appear more human by using storytelling in your strategy.

Address the shift in buying behaviour

Perhaps one of the biggest changes in B2B tech marketing is that of B2B buyer behaviour. B2B buyers are no longer dependant on sales reps to get hold of product information, something that once provided companies with a stream of quality leads, and with these buyers now more in control than ever of their own information consumption, they won’t typically speak with a company until they are in a later stage of their decision making process.

This shift in power has provided two significant challenges for marketers, the first being how to ensure they are reaching consumers in the early stages of their purchasing process, and the second being how to once again generate leads in exchange for content.

To overcome both challenges, marketers must a) provide a range of content in different lengths and formats to accommodate information preferences and time constraints of their buyers, using this content to help solve a problem, rather than selling the company and product or service, and b) once an effective content strategy has been implemented, marketers should consider placing only the most valuable content behind a registration wall, helping to ensure quality lead generation.

B2B vendor websites must be built around the user experience

Website design has come a long way in recent years, and technology has been the key driver in its evolution. Perhaps the biggest change has been the transition from a basic practicality design to one that is built around the user experience.

B2B sites must now be much more than just some code that showcases a company logo and contact information, instead it needs to be an integral part of your sales and marketing strategy. It should serve to achieve seven things; provide users with the information they came for quickly, lead prospective customers down a path, be aesthetically pleasing, allow for simple navigation, be both desktop and mobile friendly, be built to scale, and finally remain modern and up-to-date.

The use of video is valued, but still relatively under-utilised

The B2B tech marketing landscape has seen tremendous growth in video consumption in recent years, with an increase in the number of CEO’s and decision makers expressing a preference for watching corporate videos, over reading text on the same page. While as many as 92% of B2B buyers watch video online, and 43% watch these videos when researching products and services, B2B video production is still a relatively under-utilised marketing medium.

Used correctly, video can be a powerful tool to influence the buyers’ decision process, but to achieve this, brands must provide a selection of videos that attract, acquire, nurture, inform and sell, in order to demonstrate understanding of prospects needs at different stages of the sales cycle.

For further understanding of the changes in B2B tech marketing, as well as guidance and advice on how to implement highly successful campaigns in a modern day B2B environment, download your guide to the Changing B2B Marketing Landscape.

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