Here at Napier we’ve decided to take a new approach to sharing our insights of the industry, with our first recorded trends webinar! Our webinar focuses on the latest marketing news and trends including:

  • Some good news about the financial performance of the B2B publishing companies in Europe
  • The implication of layoffs at Aspencore, the largest global publisher of titles for the electronics design industry
  • News from Inbound 2019 about the growth of Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
  • Other ideas from Inbound 2019, including LinkedIn tips and sales emails as part of marketing nurturing workflows

Give our recorded webinar a listen today and get in touch to let us know your thoughts! You can also follow along with our webinar transcript featured in this blog below.

Webinar 1: B2B Marketing Trends October 2019 Transcript

Hannah: Hello everyone, welcome to our first recorded webinar on the latest trends in the industry. Trends in the industry something we look at quite regularly so we thought would be a good topic for us to chat about. I’m Hannah, the Business Development Manager at Napier, and I’m with Mike, Managing Director of Napier. Mike, let’s start with what you think is the most interesting research, we’ve completed this quarter.

Mike: Well, the really interesting thing we did was we actually asked B2B publishers how well they’re doing. And I think, you know despite what you hear, and clearly the market isn’t easy. But things are not as bad as you might think. And in fact, of all the B2B publishers we talked to 68% grew revenues suggesting they’re all in pretty good health.

Hannah: Were you surprised by the results. Is it what you were expecting?

Mike: No, I think when you listen to publishers you do hear you know tales of woe and you know clearly as I say it’s not an easy market, but for 68% of grown revenue was pretty impressive. And in fact, only one of the publishers out of the 25 that replied, actually saw a decline in revenue more than 5%. So, you know, even though the guys that lost in revenue didn’t lose very much.

Hannah: What about the US is this just research that reflects what’s going on in Europe, or does it count for the USA as well?

Mike: So, the truth is, is this is just a European survey. We did look up both Western and Eastern Europe. But I suspect the story is very different in the US and actually one of the things we’ll talk about is what’s happening with one of the big US publishers in a minute, so I think the US is somewhat different to Europe.

Hannah: So, there has obviously been a big shift in the US, with Aspencore can you tell us a bit more about that?

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. So, the US does seem to be having a tough time, I mean, obviously Aspencore is a global publisher. So, they have titles around the globe, I think 21 IC is one of their better-known titles over in China. But what’s happened is they’ve let go some of their most well-known journalists so people like Rick Merrick, Clive Maxfield and Steve Ravitch have left the publishing house, and in Europe actually Jurgen Hubner who I think is reputed to be you know one of the best publishers over here has also been made redundant. And at the same time one of their I think best known salespeople Bob Dumas also resigned in the state so a lot of people leaving.

Hannah: So why is this significant like how does this affect the future of Aspencore?

Mike: Well I think it’s interesting, I mean, most people believe that Aspencore probably isn’t profitable and some of the comments that Yoko Rashida made when she was talking about these layoffs suggest that’s the case. But I think clearly there’s a new editorial strategy. I suspect they’re probably looking less to generate high-quality in-depth articles in house. They’re more focused on news and without a doubt I think they’ve got a greater focus on growing their business in the Far East, and all of these may be valid things to do so it may not be a bad idea but obviously for those of us in the West it’s disappointing to see, you know, such well known editors, leaving their jobs.

Hannah: Very disappointing so obviously saying we’ve lost some of the best journalist’s kind of within the industry. What is the impact of this? Are we going to see any change?  Do you think the quality of content is going to decline, or they just put in the trust and that they’re still going to produce the same level of content without these journalists?

Mike: I think you know; it’s going to be hard to generate the kind of quality of content these guys wrote because they were genuinely some of the best in the industry. Having said that, without a doubt, there are still some great journalists left at EETimes so they still have some very strong resources in terms of generating their own content. But it will be interesting to see. I think perhaps more interesting is the impact that being owned by Arrow has had. So, initially I think Arrow was making use of the publications, to both grow their database, and also influence potential lines. And now I think you know that the reality has come home that under Arrow, the publications aren’t making money, and clearly Arrow as a public company needs to do something about it. So I suspect you know there’s a little bit of reorganization, a little bit of cost saving and perhaps a little bit of change of strategy as well.

Hannah: Well, it’s definitely something that we need to keep our eye on and see what happens in the future.

Mike:  Definitely I agree, it’s going to be interesting to see what the next step is from Arrow I mean hopefully they’ll continue investing and the publications will start growing again.

Hannah: Well, let’s move away from the electronic press industry for a moment and focus on some of your marketing trends findings. I know you recently attended the HubSpot Inbound event and gained some great insight into the continued growth with Account Based marketing.

Mike: Yeah. It’s interesting, actually I read recently that I think it was the VP of Marketing for Pardot has decided that account based marketing should now be called account centric marketing and I always feel that when you’ve got something that people start rebranding then clearly it’s kind of hit the mainstream. And to me, you know, the big thing we saw was the size of ABM campaigns and companies where they saw success with ABM growing the number of target customers in their ABM campaigns.

Hannah: And how are they doing that, what are they doing to target, you know, bigger clients on a on a higher level?

Mike: I think actually ABM is a lot simpler in most instances than people think. Conceptually people are targeting customers either through direct mail which is clearly easy, email if they have contacts or perhaps programmatically using, you know, a platform like LinkedIn, which is clearly one of the biggest for ABM. So, the process is fairly simple. I think what is difficult is scaling up. For example, I listened to a presentation by Sigstr that actually developed 1000 customised landing pages, each one targeting a different specific account, and clearly you know generating one landing page is fairly straightforward, generating 1000, even with tools that are available today is incredibly complicated.

Hannah: And would you say you know spending all that time building these landing pages is actually worth the results that they’ve gained from the experience or is it just a waste of time?

Mike: Well I guess that’s the question we’re all wondering about, you know, certainly when you listen to the presentations people are talking about fantastic ROI from their ABM campaigns. And that is, to be honest, backed up by industry research and also backed up by own experience. So, you know, I think it’s still early days I think it’s very hard to compare, but my honest opinion is  that ABM will be one of the most effective channels in terms of ROI going forward, and certainly something everyone should be looking at.

Hannah: That’s a really interesting insight Mike and I’m sure other companies are also seeing great results from ABM. But let’s move on, and why don’t we have a chat about marketing silos.

Mike: Sure. I mean this is something I’ve been talking about for a while, you know, previously companies always thought in terms of the way content was distributed because distribution typically was expensive. But now, I mean increasingly as an agency, we are thinking about content development and content distribution as being our two core competencies. And that’s really because distribution is becoming easier with digital technology, but content development is still time consuming and expensive particularly high-quality content development. And so, it’s so important to, once you’ve developed something to be able to reuse it across a multitude of different tactics.

Hannah: So, moving forward as an agency, what are we trying to do to cater to clients on this?

Mike: Well, I think the main thing we’re trying to do is help clients think beyond, you know, a campaign is a particular tactic, and think much more about reaching a target audience, and all the different ways they could do that. You know, typically once you’ve generated the content and you’ve got you know one channel working maybe that’s email. It can be very easy to then promote the same content for example, through online advertising or you know even targeted as ABM. So, I think it’s all about thinking about content reuse and how you can make use of content through different channels. Rather than thinking about individual tactics and this isn’t you know for example; this is an email campaign. This is an advertising campaign.

Hannah: And do we think we’re seeing great results from this? Is this approach working?

Mike: I think the thing it absolutely does is massively increase the return on investment. And the reason for that is our clients are having to invest less to run more campaigns. If you’re generating content for each campaign it’s very expensive. If you’re able to reuse and repurpose content, then suddenly the campaign costs can be reduced quite considerably. So, clearly that helps massively increase the return on investment.

Hannah: That sounds brilliant definitely a step in the right direction of what we want to achieve.

Mike: Definitely, I think also, people are finding that having the same clear messaging across a number of channels, also makes the campaign more effective. So it’s not just a cost thing it’s also, you know, increasing results as well so you kind of get, you know, basically benefit on both sides of the coin,

Hannah: That’s some interesting stuff, thank you, Mike. Okay, why don’t we talk briefly about some other trends now. You know it’s clear to see that both influencers for B2B technology and podcast have gained momentum. Would you agree?

Mike: Yeah, I mean this is interesting. If you looked, you know, a couple of years ago there were virtually no podcasts really targeting the B2B tech market, and perhaps there was some, to be honest in the IT sector but in the engineering side there wasn’t, and increasingly now more and more people, I see, you know, listening to podcasts in our industry, as well as consumers so I definitely think that that is a growing trend, and it’s an indication of the ability of individuals to become influencers. And to be honest this is still very early stages, particularly in an industry like electronics, where basically most of the content being shared is being shared through conventional media. But I certainly think you know influencers are going to grow, both in importance, and also grow their followings as well.

Hannah:  You know I’ve heard a rumour that Napier is actually featuring on some podcasts soon.

Mike: Yeah, we’ve actually been asked to appear on a couple of marketing podcast, but we’ll see how that goes if it works out well then we’ll obviously share the links but if not, I will try and hide them.

Hannah: So, what else have we seen as we make our way through the last quarter of 2019?

Mike: I think one of the things we’re seeing is from my point of view, a little bit of sanity really in terms of measuring campaigns so people are focusing on better and simpler metrics. And increasingly, we’re seeing clients and other companies recognising that just going for example for the maximum number of clicks doesn’t always make the best campaign. So clients are focusing, you know, very simply down onto metrics that that make a difference. It could be for example, registrations, or it could even be sales in campaigns. And as part of that with simpler metrics, it becomes easier to create marketing dashboards because you’ve got a more consistent set of metrics across different tactics. And so again we’re seeing some clients, looking into building marketing dashboards, really for the whole marketing operation, which is great when you can get that working.

Hannah: So, to finish let’s take a look at some key inbound tips and tricks that you’ve uncovered. Would you like to share?

Mike: Yeah, definitely. So, I’m an inbound we have some great sessions talking about how to you know make campaigns more effective. I think there were there were a couple of things that I found particularly interesting one was a session talking about LinkedIn advertising, and there the speaker was very keen to share the results that he sees through the different formats of advertising. So actually, if you look at what they were seeing for example, sponsored content might get a click through rate of 4%. But text ads were 1/40th of a percent so a massive difference in terms of click through rates. Although actually sponsored content, typically cost more per click. But he was talking about this, and the different approaches, which was very interesting we wrote a blog post on that. I also saw more and more people talking about moving the initial sales approach, away from sales and into marketing so effectively during marketing nurturing campaigns. Companies are increasingly sending emails as though they came from the appropriate salesperson. And this is certainly something HubSpot doing, and claiming it is an incredibly effective tactic and something we’re looking at doing both for Napier, and also with our clients.

Hannah: Could you share why do you think the connection emails are so successful?

Mike: So, the connection emails, emails from salespeople, I think it’s becoming more of a marketing tech tactic rather than a sales tactic. And clearly you know it’s typically is a very simple straightforward email, and it’s very focused on getting the recipient to either click through a request a meeting or a call, or maybe reply to the email so I think it benefits from two ways one it’s quite personal. And secondly, the email also is very focused and industry focused so it helps marketers write an email that’s clearly focused on achieving one objective and we all know, the more you can focus on one objective and any kind of piece of marketing content, the more effective that’s likely to be.

Hannah: That’s brilliant thank you. And, you know, this is where we were going to finish today, and we’ve left a link to our trends page so you can read more detail about what we’ve discussed today, and we hope our insights have been helpful to you.