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How Customer-Centric Marketing Will Shape 2019

By: Andrea Panno

It’s been bubbling under the surface for a while now, slowly putting established brands out of business and shifting the expectations of consumers everywhere.

You can take a hint from the title, or call on your own experiences as a modern consumer, to surmise that customer-centric marketing is the culprit at play. We can simply look around to realize that successful brands are the ones catering, customizing and targeting their marketing efforts to resonate with consumers’ pain points and emotions—but we can also look at the data.

The newly released 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report, which analyzes data from B2B marketing professionals in healthcare, technology, industrial and business services fields, among others, uncovered the strategies that marketers say will shape their company’s tactical marketing plan in 2019. To no surprise, all eight strategies on the list are customer-centric.

In this blog, you’ll discover the tactics that B2B marketers deemed most important for 2019 and learn about the ones you absolutely can’t ignore if you want your brand to remain relevant in 2019.

Top Marketing Strategies for B2B Companies in 2019

As all smart marketers know, strategy always precedes tactical execution. So before asking the surveyed marketers to weigh in on the tactics, the survey asked about their marketing objectives. Placing above the rest, the top marketing priorities for 2019 as deemed by B2B marketing professionals include increasing sales leads and brand awareness, converting leads to customers and increasing web traffic.

With these objectives covering the top, middle and bottom of the funnel, it was only natural that the trending tactics included those that would reach each stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to delight. With the ability to choose from a long list of traditional and digital marketing tactics, respondents focused in on these eight trends, with account-based marketing topping the chart at 44%.

  • Account-based marketing
  • Interactive content
  • Inbound marketing
  • Personalization
  • Influencer marketing
  • Video marketing & livestreaming
  • AI & automation
  • Mobile-first strategy

As agency people who live and breathe marketing, we immediately identified common threads among the selections. Not only are most of these strategies inbound marketing methods, but they reveal that the future is people: in-person sales, smart targeting and convenient, engaging content that meets buyers wherever they are, online and off. How many of these does your marketing plan incorporate?

The Customer-Centric Marketing Strategies You Absolutely Can’t Ignore

While each of the aforementioned eight trending tactics belong in a tactical marketing calendar, the first three have quickly secured their place as table stakes for any company serious about marketing. For small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in particular that have felt the ramifications of a stabling economy and are now ramping up their marketing efforts to stay competitive, here’s an overview of the three customer-centric tactics you must incorporate into your strategy in 2019.

Account-Based Marketing

Though it’s gaining traction as a popular marketing tactic now, account-based marketing, or ABM, has actually been around for years. Its resurgence can be attributed to the proliferation of content that has saturated the marketing landscape and inadvertently created an opening for personalized outreach.

Largely used in B2B, ABM essentially markets to individual businesses (or accounts) that a company wishes to add to its client roster. Rather than casting a wide net across a desired geography and hoping to capture the interest of one or more companies, ABM goes right after the most desired companies with tactics such as traditional direct mail, emailing marketing, LinkedIn InMail, paid advertising and so forth. Determining the companies that you wish to spend on through third-parties can be tricky. Use this 6-step ABM procedure to research, rank, predict, plan, execute and evaluate your efforts.

Interactive Content

The dense nature of most B2B products and services can make creating interactive content challenging. But when done right, its effectiveness is tenfold. The word interactive can mean a lot of different things in the world of content: personality, readability, format, functionality, design elements and anything else that will help engage and leave an impression on the viewer.

Think about the difference between a ten-page, paragraph-heavy research paper and a reader-friendly eBook with engaging iconography, spotlight boxes, quick facts, summary slides and maybe even a self-assessment at the end. Which piece of content would you be more willing to read and share?

For B2B companies, some of the most popular and effective forms of interactive content include:

  • Short explainer or demo videos
  • eBooks and guides
  • Infographics
  • Assessments, quizzes and surveys
  • Results or ROI calculators
  • Free samples or mini consultations

A good example is this B2B cleaning company, Commercial Cleaning Company. Their website features an interactive homepage that pulls the visitor in with compelling visuals and then engages the visitor even further with eye-grabbing illustrations and digestible infographics (they’re almost cartoon-like). The company’s interactive approach to content rises above the ordinary nature of its industry to interest website visitors and break down the cleaning concepts that make their offering different.

Inbound Marketing

Finally, we come to inbound marketing—an approach that by now, I’m sure even non-marketers are familiar with. Inbound marketing is the idea that you’re not interrupting someone with your advertisement or information, but rather ensuring content is readily available to them when they do go searching for it. It’s an approach that makes brands helpful to people, instead of just selling to them.

Inbound marketing can be executed in many ways. And if you’ve jumped on the content bandwagon, you’re most likely executing inbound marketing without even knowing it. The interactive content examples above (e.g., explainer videos, eBooks, quizzes and so forth) can all be considered inbound marketing tactics, assuming that they’re keyword-rich. Basing your content off of keywords that your consumers are searching for will ensure your piece of content gets found by them on Google.

Getting Started with Customer-Centric Strategies

We focused in on three of the eight trending B2B marketing strategies for 2019 in this blog. So, if you need a starting point for weaving customer-centricity throughout your marketing strategy, ABM, interactive content and inbound marketing are our recommended jumping-off points. If you’re already doing these and want to ramp up your strategy to become the customer-centric leader in your industry, download the 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report to learn even more about what your B2B peers are planning for their marketing spend and strategies in 2019, as well as what your consumers are expecting from you.

Download Report »

Are you interested in B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.