Some of the biggest marketing trends that defined 2016 will continue to thrive in the next few years, albeit not without obstacles. As we move beyond our obsession with marketing buzzwords, we need to start executing. We need to commit to making these trends and tactics a reality. Let's take a closer look at some of the buzzwords that have entered the lexicons of marketers this year and how they are slated to make their mark in 2017.
Though content marketing will still reign supreme in 2017, it will be faced with some emerging challenges. First, we have to use content to market to people, and not solely focus on the numbers. Another emerging challenge is the increasingly crowded inbound marketing landscape. No longer is it sufficient to create great content and hope it will reach enough eyeballs. Distribution is key.
Social media has inevitably become a no-brainer for content distribution, but leaders like Facebook continue to tighten the pipeline, causing prices to climb. This leads marketers to seek alternative distribution channels, like turning back to email.
Content distribution is a leading reason why email didn't die and continues to thrive. "Despite the death predictions, we've never seen a year where email volume has contracted thanks to the highly scalable and effective nature of email," said Scott Heimes, CMO of one of the fastest growing ESPs, SendGrid, which has seen explosive growth in the last few years.
Newer distribution channels like messenger bots are emerging yet require brands to assume more risk and increase dev time to test.
There's no question that Account Based Marketing (ABM) is the fastest growing trend impacting B2B marketing today. The premise is simple: market and allocate resources towards the accounts that are most likely to purchase your product/service. When resources are fixated on the prospects that actually matter, conversion rates are higher and time and money is saved.
Yet while ABM is great in theory, it is difficult to successfully execute in practice. ABM is only as good as the data that is powering it. To date, the majority of the data surfaced by traditional ABM providers has relied on predictive analytics, which is inherently flawed. Predictive analytics is based on historic data and mirrors a company's past successes. It assumes that sales and marketing teams have kept all CRM data up to date, which is rarely the case. It is also limiting as it does not focus on new markets of opportunity.
For ABM to work properly, companies need to constantly reevaluate their TAM for new opportunities beyond just past successes. To do this companies need to prioritize what we at Node call, Account Based Intelligence (ABI). ABI forms the foundation of an account based strategy by aligning marketers and salespeople with the information they need.
Big Data Dilemma
While "big data" might be the crème de la crème of business buzzwords today, it is ripe with big and expensive complexities. Companies are trusting big data without proper validation.
A recent study by IBM estimated that $3.1 Trillion of America's GDP is lost due to bad data alone. Companies are pulling in multiple data streams from siloed sources and are then hedging on internal data scientists to weed through the clutter and noise. Worse yet, many companies are simply trusting the data blindly and accepting it as truth, even when results contradict their own hypotheses and conclusions. 1 in 3 business leaders don't trust their own data.
The key to overcoming the big data dilemma is to seek a single source of truth, like a big data provider that aggregates, validates, and analyses data before feeding it to customers. Data companies that utilize AI to cleanse and interpret big data allowing customers to focus on execution will be given a clear advantage.
As we continue to prioritize our sales and marketing budgets for the next year, it remains certain that these buzzwords are not going to fade. It is imperative that we focus on execution and building sound marketing strategies that position our companies for success.