14 Trends B2B Marketers Need to Become Familiar With in 2018

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What’s a trend this that B2B marketers need to understand this year?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Executive Branding

Derek BromanExecutive branding is crucial. That means your personal image on social media as an executive or a professional. It becomes a currency anywhere you go. High-profile marketing accounts are more attractive to employers. It’s only going to become more important. – Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC

2. Partner Marketing

jeff epsteinMany B2B marketers overlook the power of leveraging partners to drive new business. Partnerships can be forged with other businesses who sell to similar customer personas, and it is a great way to drive brand awareness and increase leads from a core customer demographic. – Jeff Epstein, Ambassador

3. Mobile Optimization

Blair ThomasB2B marketers should abandon the idea that most business owners conduct research on desktop devices. Business owners are busy and use mobile devices to find solutions anywhere, anytime. To ensure customers have a streamlined process on any device they use, content must be mobile optimized. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

4. Structured Data

Francois de LameGoogle will be expanding its focus on structured data, featured snippets, the Knowledge Graph and answering voice searches. You should implement structured data wherever you can today so you’re prepared, but also listen closely for any new updates, so you can get there before your competitors. – Francois de Lame, Policygenius Inc.

5. Education Marketing

Todd RichheimerUse education marketing that positions your company as a helpful resource, especially if you’re in an industry (like the legal services industry) that is riddled with unscrupulous vendors. Creating great educational content and sharing it without pushing for the sell positions our company as a partner. – Todd Richheimer, Lawfty, LLC.

6. Social Network Adoption

Sweta PatelMost B2B marketers are focusing on channels such as webinars and events, but the focus needs to be more toward the social networks, because they are equally as powerful when it comes to generating market-qualified leads. If more B2B focus on channels that humanize them, they will be able to win big. Plus social proof is going to be everything — if people don’t know about you online, your business is dead. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

7. Micro to Macro

Derek RobinsonMicro moments, where customers turn to their devices to look for information, are set to reshape the online B2B marketplace. This is because an increasing number of people now make purchasing decisions after interacting with brands through multiple touch points. B2B marketers will need to anticipate probable points of contact and produce content accordingly. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

8. ABM Targeting

Dan GoldenB2B marketers need to learn how to target their prospects on the same platforms as B2C marketers. B2B marketing is targeting humans, the key is to find those needles in the digital haystack. To get the targeting right and eliminate waste, they’ll need to leverage first- and third-party data to ensure their ads and content are hyper-targeted to B2B buyers. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

9. Artificial Intelligence

Philip MichaelYou’ve got to look at AI. Artificial intelligence is still infiltrating business, so it becomes critical to leverage it in your marketing. Understanding customer behavior, proclivities and what have you, allows marketers to streamline their efforts. Moreover, it allows decision makers to close the gap between insight and execution. – Philip Michael, New York Equity Group (NYEG)

10. 24/7 Live Chat

Jared AtchisonLive chat is no longer a nice-to-have for B2B businesses, it is a must-have. In this highly competitive world, you’ll stand out if you communicate with customers the way that they want to chat. It could be the difference between them purchasing your product or going with the competitor. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

11. Intelligent Analytics

Peter DaisymeIt’s important to understand intelligent analytics and what it can do for the marketing campaigns that a B2B marketer may develop in 2018. It’s there to improve what analytics was trying to do. – Peter Daisyme, Calendar

12. Enhanced B2B Marketing Precision

Shawn PoratThe idea that marketing needs to be targeted and backed by solid data is already popular in B2B marketing, but this is also important. Rather than simply reaching out to businesses in your industry, it’s important to get more precise and seek out the companies (and specific individuals in each company) who are the best prospects for your message. – Shawn Porat, Scorely

13. Focus on a Single Vertical

Piyush JainWhen we started our B2B marketing, we were just reaching out to everyone in the local area, and we did not get very positive results. We realized that customers were looking for industry-specific capabilities, even though we were local. So we changed it this year based upon industry. Showing our customers that we have experience in their industry is providing better results. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

14. Amazon Entering Your Space

Diego OrjuelaOne of the top objectives Amazon had in 2017 was to begin expanding into the B2B space. In 2018 we will start seeing Amazon make some significant strides in reaching companies, and those of us who currently sell B2B should start taking notice. Amazon is not currently a threat to our businesses, but in 2018 they will begin to inch into our markets and we must choose to fight or join them. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.