11 B2B Marketing Trends to Watch During 2012

Guest post by Matt Heinz

This isn’t exactly a list of predictions. Maybe it’s a wish list. In either case, here’s hoping that at least some of the 11 trends below are realized in B2B sales and marketing this year to help more companies accelerate their success.

11. Managing the pipeline

B2B marketers will slowly get better at managing the full prospect pipeline, and operationalizing a pipeline discipline around how they generate and manage leads, as well as how they track their own success.

10. Try it first…

Marketers will increase the use of trial offers and “impulse buys” as a means of engaging prospects early in the sales process, and treating a superficial or entry product/service engagement as a lead.

9. Welcome back, Mr. Mailman

Direct mail will make a comeback. The Realtors and credit card companies have retreated, and effective direct mail (for the right products) will once again take an active place in the marketing mix.

8. Buddy up

Partnering will increase, as companies look to work with complementary product and service providers to increase awareness, interest and penetration.

7. All together now!

Bundling will increase as marketers get smarter about pre-packaging products and services based on customer needs and problem-solving opportunities.

6. Pencil me in

Appointment-setting services will grow significantly, as more companies experiment with inside sales and early-pipeline lead generation beyond their own walls and with a higher-touch than traditional marketing-driven lead generation.

5. Savvy offers

Marketers will accelerate the launch and testing of smarter, prospect-centric offers that more quickly provide value and create trust/credibility with the company.

4. You’re on camera!

Video usage among B2B companies will increase, with far more value-added content and fewer boring demos.

3. Smart phones = smart business

Mobile usage will increase, but B2B marketers will struggle to balance between advertising and value. Event-based mobile marketing will lead the charge for B2B.

2. Content is king

Marketers will get smarter and better at creating content that engages and drives action among their prospective customers, especially early in the buying process.

1. “Social Selling”

Social selling will be the buzzword (or phrase) of the year, as B2B sales and marketing professionals alike jostle to find qualified leads from across the social Web.

What’s missing from this list? What do you expect to see in B2B marketing over the next several months?

Matt Heinz brings more than 12 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations, vertical industries and company sizes. His career has focused on delivering measurable results for his employers and clients in the way of greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty. Matt lives in Kirkland, Washington with his wife, Beth, and a menagerie of animals (a dog, two cats and six chickens). You can read more from Matt on his blog, Matt on Marketing, and follow him on Twitter.

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