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Flashback: Top 3 B2B Marketing Trends of 2014

Us B2B types are sometimes put in the boring box (Oi!) when it comes to being creative, especially in comparison to our shiny B2C cousins. But we all know that’s just not true. Some of the truly epic marketingcampaigns are B2B – you just might not realize it.

Eager to create innovative campaigns in 2015, that connect with your prospects on a human level?  But feeling the pressure of delivering better ROI? Don’t sweat.

Keeping up with current B2B marketing trends can be an effective way of uncovering new opportunities to develop your marketing strategy, whilst minimising the risk of delving into unproven channels. Researching any updates across your industry can really help with benchmarking your marketing channel performance too.

So before you jump in to next year, leave no stone unturned! Look back at the top trends of 2014 to see what they could uncover for your 2015 strategic planning.

Content Marketing

At the beginning of the year, Lead Forensics predicted an increase in the awareness of content marketing at a more strategic level, and recent research from the Content Marketing Institute would agree - 83% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, however, only 35% are currently documenting it.

BUT, marketers with a documented strategy are more effective and less challenged with every aspect of content marketing when compared with their peers. Want a top strategy tip? Plan your content strategy around your different target audiences, based on buyer personas. Make sure you keep your strategy relevant by tailoring your messaging, media and distribution around what your different personas would want to see.

Be innovative with your content strategy by creating content beyond the written word. B2B video is on the rise with 78% of marketers saying it was ‘very likely’ they will be using video within 2014 (did you?). It’s time to get innovative with your content by plumping up your blogs into a fully-fledged strategy (and for Pete’s-sake - write it down!).

Social Media

Closely related to the development of content marketing in 2014 was the rising use of social media across B2B industries. 92% of us B2B marketers now use social media content to positively engage with prospects and customers.

And B2B Marketers are now using an average of six social media platforms. However, it’s not just about using social media as a distribution platform anymore, in addition ’we're leveraging social sharing as an effective lead generation tool. The key to success is choosing which platforms are most relevant to your industry, and more importantly, which platforms you find your prospects are using.

B2B Marketers generally say LinkedIn is the most effective platform for both lead generation and content distribution, but don’t forget about Slideshare and Google+. Both are seeing over 40% growth in usage from 2013 - 2014 alone and could be your untapped B2B lead resource as we head into 2015.

Marketing’s use of Technology

The B2B Marketing industry’s use of technology continues to grow and develop – changing the way we communicate with our prospects and customers, and developing innovative new ways to deliver integrated digital campaigns.

The rise of marketing automation, personalisation and the availability of more data gives us as marketers (almost) unlimited creativity and means we can be more cost-effective and efficient in delivery.

The good news is that B2B marketers are already embracing these changes, with more and more of us embracing integrated marketing systems in a more efficient way, using tools such as HubspotSalesforce andZoho

By refreshing your memory on the current trends in marketing, you’ll have a better idea of which tried and tested tactics to take into 2015 – and have a solid idea of how you can forecast and benchmark your performance.

Thinking about investing in new marketing channels for 2015 but unsure on whether you can deliver the ROI?Download the Ultimate ROI Forecaster to predict channel and campaign performance, and avoid any nasty surprises in your ROI calculations.

For more B2B trends, tips and updates follow @LeadForensics for the latest B2B marketing tips and resources