What’s In-Store for B2B Marketing in 2016

As another year wraps up, it’s time once again to turn our gaze towards the New Year… just kidding, over here at Apttus, our Q4 runs through January and there are still thousands of opportunities to pursue before we close the books on 2015. But after that’s done, it will be time to consider the new techniques, tactics and trends that can drive our company to even greater heights in 2016.

Marketing in the B2B space is synonymous with innovation, invention, and detailed specificity – a combination of practicality and results without fully sacrificing the fun-loving nature of B2C programs. Here are some tactics we think will hold true to that philosophy in the year ahead.

Account-based marketing:

Every prospect and customer in 2016 will be viewed, in essence, as their own unique market. And deservedly so: the complexities of B2B processes have increased substantially, even over the last few years. As a result, marketing with a wider net is only going to tell your customers you don’t have time to learn about them. That’s not true – every new piece of business you win will demand a substantial investment of time and research anyway, so start building it into your plans from Step 1. Demonstrate an understanding of their industry and of their own customers. Any experienced salesperson will tell you the smallest details can make or break a deal. Get into the nitty-gritty with your marketing by working backwards and knowing your customer’s needs before they do. Before long, you’ll be building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

Predictive analytics:

Although B2B marketing can be a wild ride, it can still be broken down into understandable, useful data. Marketing data analysis surged in 2015 and is poised to take another giant leap forward in 2016. In the past, predictive analytics might affect which products should be displayed on your website during certain times of the year or which leads should be prioritized. The next iteration will go beyond that into true automation of historical data – suddenly, a prospect profile will be matched with the product bundles and services provided by your top salespeople. Discounts and even product recommendations similar to the B2C aspects of Amazon.com will become commonplace in B2B marketplaces.

Collaboration between Finance and Marketing:

Too often in past years, the relationship between these two critical aspects of an organization has been characterized as contrarian or even combative. In a short-sighted way, that connection is simple to make: finance is responsible for fiscal responsibility and most good marketing programs are out there spending money. This dichotomy will die out in 2016 – marketing isn’t a cost-center, it’s an investment in future sales. This is especially true in the B2B world, where flashy, consumer-y marketing programs are not as common. Generating B2B opportunities means demonstrating value and getting in front of prospects – this requires a dynamic event presence, informative webinars, strong social campaigns and more. These programs are not free – but finance teams do recognize that they drive both business and your company’s brand presence. Everyone works towards the same goal these days – standing out in the marketplace.

The best part about making 2016 predictions is that you don’t necessarily need to be Nostrodamus; you just need to be paying close enough attention to the organizations that are ahead of the curve in 2015. These B2B marketing programs have already broken new ground – now it’s time to build upon them.

Maria Pergolino is the Vice President of Global Marketing at Apttus.