10 B2B content marketing trends 2018

Reading time minutes
By Patrick Schokker

Stay ahead of your competitors by staying on top of the latest B2B content marketing trends 2018!

B2B companies in various industries are increasingly seeing the positive impact of successful content marketing campaigns. In fact, these campaigns are the basis for obtaining leads and converting them to customers. In fact, a recent survey by "The Content Marketing Institute" found that nearly 90 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing as the core of their online marketing strategy. However, 52 percent say they are not using content marketing, but would like to launch a new campaign within 12 months. So by the end of this year, 95 percent of B2B marketers would be using content marketing (if they meet their goals).

With these 10 trends, you can already implement the latest developments in your marketing strategy and get ahead of your competitors!

Trend 1. Create a content calendar

According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers' success from their content marketing efforts increased from 2016 to 2017. The top four reasons for this increase: content creation (85%), strategy (72%), priority (53%) and spending more time (53%).

According to high-performing B2B marketers, there are two factors that lead to success in their content marketing campaigns:

1. The amount of content produced;

2. Consistency in publishing content.

Only 37% of respondents have an established strategy for content marketing. This can be solved with a content marketing calendar, which includes a clear campaign strategy and success metrics.

Is your goal to create more content in 2018? Then you better start now. After all, the next 12 months will determine the success of your content marketing, if you stick to the goal. 

B2B content marketing trends 2018

Trend 2. Compare success against your goals

Content Marketing Institute research shows that only 41% of B2B marketers have a clear picture of the effectiveness around their marketing strategy. A content calendar provides transparency and insight into the success from your digital marketing efforts.

Another way to measure success is to set measurable goals every three months. 80% of B2B marketers set lead generation as a goal to focus on over the next 12 months. However, when asked what metrics they used to determine how many leads their content marketing generates, 78% named website traffic as a statistic.

Of course website traffic is important, but it does not automatically mean that leads are increasing. This shows that marketers are not yet focusing on the right metrics to monitor their success. The quality of their sales would be a much better measure. By evaluating these metrics, your team can demonstrate the true value of content marketing and adjust campaigns as needed.

content marketing success

Trend 3. Automated referral marketing rewards

Referral marketing is nothing new. But the way it is implemented within your team can make a big difference. According to Ambassador 82% ask for recommendations and 74% consider word of mouth the deciding factor in a purchase decision. In fact, it only makes sense to continue with (pre-existing or previous) referral marketing campaigns.

Automated rewards (rewards for existing customers) allow you to open the door for referrals to existing customers and market leaders. With a simple setup, you can automate this process to bring in more leads through your existing network. This way you can then expand your network with the new leads. This is a never-ending cycle with the best sales leads you will ever find.

B2B content marketing trends 2018

Trend 4. Focus on composite content

The power of always relevant content has been advocated for years. This won't change in 2018. By creating content from non-time-related topics, you ensure a long relevance period, which will attract traffic even after publication. Coupling curated content with sustainable SEO techniques will increase the return on investment of your content marketing pieces.

Many companies will strive for this type of content, bringing in more engaged customers. Brandpoint tried it out in 2017 and started investing more in their blog in three areas:

1. write 100% more blogs;

2. Add forms to all blog posts;

3. Use 2x as many internal links to your own content.

Results were remarkably good. Brandpoint had a 100% increase in revenue in Q2 compared to Q1. In April and May 2017, their opportunities also increased 100%. Their blog thus became a sales machine, thanks to only a few changes.

Imagine if you added composite content as a fourth point. Then their current results will remain, but they can look back at the (sales) impact on their sales pipeline from 2017 Q2 to 2019, for example.

compound content

Trend 5. account-based marketing (ABM).

Gathering new customers is just as important as retaining existing ones. It's a rewarding and cost-effective way to increase your sales. By getting existing customers to take advantage of the latest trends and opportunities, you set up a built-in retention marketing strategy that also works to the benefit of your customers. A win-win situation.

To execute a successful Account Based marketing strategy, it is important to fully understand your ideal customer. Retention is the key to success here, but doubling down on customers who do not optimize your profits makes no sense. Therefore, you need to identify and refine your key accounts.

As you refine these customers, you can use them. The information should then not only include awareness, but also improve the relationship you already have with the customer. For example, with marketing automation, you can see when a customer hasn't contacted you in two months and send an email with your latest article.

B2B content marketing trends 2018

Trend 6. Native advertising

Native advertising is already popular, but the effect is now so powerful that the format is gaining ground as B2B marketers' primary ad spend. Business Insider expects 74% of all ad revenue to be generated from native ads by 2021.

Such good numbers and yet only 41% of B2B marketers use native ads. While 84% rely on social promotions. This big difference arises in part because it is so easy to create social ads through Facebook and LinkedIn. Native ads take more time, but the results are worth it.

Native advertising prices will fall as other ad tactics are adopted. In 2018, there will be more use of native ads making prices more competitive. An ideal time to take advantage of the benefits of native ads now!


Trend 7. Understand your individual customers

B2B marketers are falling behind on their personalized customer experience, compared to B2C. While there are plenty of tools today to improve the experience. Through marketing automation software, you can offer your contacts, prospects and customers a unique experience tailored to their needs.

But how can you better understand what your individual customers expect and/or need from your business?

Through surveys, for example, you can gain more insight into this. You can also have your existing online presence assessed. This way, you will know how you are currently doing and how you can still improve the customer experience.

B2B content marketing trends 2018

Trend 8. Embrace the revolution of artificial intelligence

B2B marketing professionals are using artificial intelligence to improve efficient and advanced personalization. Artificial intelligence(AI) are devices that respond to data or impulses from their environment and make decisions independently based on them.

High performers indicate that artificial intelligence absolutely increases contact moments with customers and prospects. Artificial intelligence is used to display better ads and prevent data breaches, among other things. As it becomes more popular, more practical applications are emerging. For example, website designs and sales forecasting.

Artificial intelligence use is expected to increase 53% over the next two years. So, not a bad idea for you to look at how artificial intelligence fits within your marketing. 

Trend 9. Structural change has a positive effect on content marketing

Fifty percent of organizations report that structural changes have negatively affected their focus on content marketing. Companies cite two obstacles to successful campaigns:

1. Organizations are running out of time to create content;

2. Marketers struggle to justify the cost of their marketing efforts because of delayed ROI.

A subtle shift in organizational mindset can overcome these obstacles. By making it clear internally that content marketing is part of the overall customer engagement strategy (which takes time anyway), initial objections may diminish. Providing your employees with the opportunities, time and resources to generate valuable customers will reap long-term benefits.

Do you really not have the capabilities in-house? Then one idea is to hire an external partner who will track and monitor your content. SearchUser is such a partner. Would you like to receive no-obligation advice on this? Then feel free to contact us.

content marketing

Trend 10. The influence of B2C personalized marketing on B2B content

B2B marketers have hesitated for a while to adopt B2C marketing styles, including making emotional connections, customer journey mapping and real-time customer tracking. Not all B2B marketers have adapted their marketing strategies yet, but more and more are.

Among other things, marketing automation has made it easier to provide personalized content to individual prospects and existing customers. Analytics then add depth to campaign reviews and campaign optimization.

There is probably a more emotional connection associated with buying a business, than there is with a B2C purchase. Your customer's job often depends on making the right purchase decision. They want someone they trust, who will be there for them now and in the future. You need to understand their need and fulfill their need with your product/service. Right now, there are more comparisons to B2C than B2B marketers had ever dared admit.

B2B content marketing trends 2018

Start now!

The first month of 2018 is already almost over. If you want to achieve your good intentions regarding content marketing, now is the right time to start. The above 10 B2B content marketing trends 2018 are important to differentiate your marketing strategy from your competitors. Following trends can work very much in your favor if you combine this with a well-oiled marketing approach.

Need help creating a content marketing strategy?

Get in touch with us!

Contact button SearchUser

Share this article via
Patrick Schokker
Patrick Schokker

About this schurq

General Manager

Also read
Shannah de Ruijter
2 minutes

Promoting job openings in Facebook among a specific target audience?

Guido Sombroek
6 minutes

Improve local findability through local SEO

Chantal Tol

Where all the parts come together: the Machine