The thing about B2B technology trends is that they don’t shift much year to year. It’s typically the same thing but the context is different. B2B brands need to focus on influencers. Search must always be a priority. There should be a focus on audience data in order to inform a multi-segment marketing strategy. In this video I talked through a few of these technology trends specifically for marketing and communications.
FULL TRANSCRIPTS BELOW
B2B technology trends are not predictions. They are not what we think will happen in the coming future. these B2B technology trends are happening today based on clients that I’ve worked with, colleagues I know in the industry And also seeing some of these things first hand.
Influencers Are Viable Marketing Channel But No One Talks About it
You wouldn’t know this just by reading media headlines, but there is a significant investment by B2B companies into influencer marketing. It doesn’t get the same press obviously but I would argue that the investment levels are probably higher collectively than consumer brands.
The media is infatuated with the influencer ecosystem on TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram. To prove my point, I decided to analyze some data. I didn’t go too deep on the coverage, but I did want to understand the volume of articles being written specifically about influencer marketing. Since 2015, there have been about 3K articles written about the topic.
There are a few caveats though.
This data consists of only coverage where influencer marketing is in the headlines and not necessarily in the body of the article. Also, the data set is pre-defined. In other words, I only pulled data from the top 250 media publications based on a certain criteria, so sites like Adage, Adweek, Digiday, MarketingProfs and CMO.com to name a few are in this data set.
By looking at the data, you’ll see that there’s been significant growth from 2015 to 2017 in media coverage. There have been spikes and valleys since then, but it’s been pretty flat if you look at averages.
The thing about B2B technology trends is that there should be data that backs up a particular hypothesis. Without data, it’s just an assumption which unfortunately is usually the case.
I have to say that just because the media isn’t writing about something, doesn’t mean that amazing things are happening within the digital ecosystem.
To build on this example, I wanted to uncover the hidden narratives that are being written about in the media. I called this “narrative mapping” which basically clusters All the headlines and segment them into subtopics and themes. An easy way to look at this is that all these keywords were also written in the headlines along with influencer marketing.
You can see here that “how to” coverage and “social networks” coverage is leading in terms of volume. Social Networks coverage represents headlines that also had a specific social channel like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine and TikTok. The only channel not in this data set is LinkedIn since I called it out separately.
Most of these other narratives are self-explanatory but I did want to call out is that only 2% of the coverage discussed B2B. The media publications that did cover B2B and influencers were Marketingprofs, Social Media Today, BtoCommunity, CMSWire and Marketing Land to name a few.
By looking at the data, you’ll see that there’s been significant growth from 2015 to 2017. There have been spikes and valleys since then, but it’s been pretty flat if you look at averages.
Despite the data and lack of coverage, I can say with confidence that B2B technology companies are not only investing into influencer programs, but they are producing innovative campaigns as well.
Leading With Data & Analytics
The data above is an example of immediate analysis on a specific topic. I looked at the top media publications publishing articles about influencer marketing and track them based on volume of articles published.
Then we looked at the context of the coverage through the clustering of headlines. So, not only is data driven decision making one of a few B2B technology trends, but I wanted to illustrate a little bit of how companies are using data to make decisions using the analysis above.
Below is an audience analysis example where we analyzed a group of engineers to help understand their brand and media affinities, and their conversations. The data below represents the conversations that the audience is having as it relates to two different programming languages. The data is clustered into subtopics based on verbatim mentions.
Using Search to Drive Influencer Content
Using SEO isn’t necessarily one of those B2B technology trends that has everybody talking. Mainly because all technology brands are already using paid search to drive demand gen. It’s nothing new.
What is new is how technology brands are using influencer intelligence to uncover the keywords and phrases that influencers are using in public conversations.
Similar to the data above about the engineering audience and the topics and conversations they are having, be to be companies are doing the same thing but listening to smaller subgroups of influencers. By clustering the data into subtopics and themes, these companies are using that data to inform the long-form content on their blogs and web sites.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. if you have identified the top 1% of influencers, they are changing behavior and search patterns based on the conversations they are having. Still win brands can get ahead of it and create content as these trends become more popular among larger audiences, they can capitalize on the organic search results.
Take a look at these B2B social media marketing best practices. It’s a guide that will help you use data and document the right plan to grow your business on social media.