Forbes has made its mid-year predictions for trends set to shape B2B engagement in the second half of this year. Are you already hot on their trail?

B2B engagement trends for H2

With summer drawing to a close, now’s a perfect time for marketers to revisit, review and tweak their strategies for the remainder of the year. This is according to Forbes, which predicts four trends likely to shape B2B engagement in H2 2018. 

First up is thought leadership content. With 96% of B2B buyers wanting to see more expert perspective, bylined articles, webinars and videos can help a brand stand out. The key is to develop a unique point-of-view, to bring something new to the conversation. 

Second on the list is focusing on the product “experience,” rather than repeating product-led campaigns. Take a holistic view of customers, focus on how the product makes them feel and improves their lives, and strive to personalise the experience at each touchpoint.

Influencer marketing is the third trend – though it’s associated with B2C, it shouldn’t be overlooked for B2B. Capitalise on a trusted, independent voice to engage your audience and talk sincerely about your product, but remember: a larger following doesn’t always translate to a bigger impact.

Last but not least is video, which continues to experience rapid growth in the B2B sector. Success in the future will involve making videos interactive so audiences can ‘experience’ the content. Tools now enable marketers to customise videos with personal details like names, industry and location, and even embed with tailored and convenient calls-to-action.

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Prepared marketers enjoy improved trust and engagement post-GDPR

Marketers who took steps to prepare themselves for GDPR, introduced in May, are enjoying a boost in customer trust, loyalty and engagement levels. 

This is the finding from a new survey from CMO Council in partnership with SAP Customer Experience, as reported by Marketing Dive. Prepared marketers saw the new rules as a chance to boost customer experience. Meanwhile, so-called ‘laggards,’ or those without a plan, viewed GDPR as an issue for other teams. 

Over half (55%) of ‘leaders’ in enforcing GDPR, or those who had a compliance strategy, had already devised a data audit for understanding where and how customer information was gathered and stored. Almost four in ten (37%) planned to improve their data management solutions.

A study by Deloitte released last month uncovered that only 34.5% of organisations have achieved full GDPR compliance.

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B2B trumps B2C in brand experiences 

A number of B2B brands have beaten renowned B2C companies to take top spots in the Brand Experience Index report (BXi).

The Rufus Leonard study, cited by B2B Marketing, assesses brands on five factors: think, do, feel, connect and sense. 

Parcelforce came top and was praised for giving its customers confidence through its simple yet compelling brand purpose, as well as its original online booking system.

B2B was discovered to be the highest-performing market, helpful in solving problems and scoring highest in the ‘do’ category.

IBM was singled out as a great example of how B2B has become more approachable through fostering communities. And it’s this which led B2B brands to score well in the ‘connect’ category. 

The report stated: ‘Demand by institutionalised clients has driven greater sophistication in B2B brands, with personalisation and one-to-one marketing the norm for some time.’ 

Laurence Parkes, chief strategy officer at Rufus Leonard, commented: “[In] analysing the data we realised that [B2B brands’] success is down to the fact that customer expectations have evolved (due to the opportunities that digital enables) to demand the sorts of marketing activities that come more naturally to B2B brands than B2C; namely content-driven, personalised relationships.”