Top B2B Marketing Trends for 2011

For the past month or so, there has been a very active (and at times rather heated) discussion within the LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community regarding key trends as we enter 2011.  Seeing the group’s interest in the topic, the group moderator, Holger Schulze, decided to conduct a survey on the subject and has since posted the results on his blog.  You can follow the following link for the detailed results, but here is a rundown of the Top 10 B2B Marketing Trends for 2011 as voted on by a bunch of us so-called (or at least self-proclaimed) marketing experts:

  1. Integration of social media into lead generation programs
  2. Focus on content marketing (content mapped to personas, buyer’s journey, vertical, etc)
  3. Focus on new business generation & revenue
  4. Focus on lead quality
  5. Focus on sales enablement
  6. Focus on pull/inbound marketing tactics
  7. Focus on customer retention
  8. Focus on marketing intelligence
  9. Focus on marketing automation
  10. Focus on branding and awareness

(Source: Top 10 B2B Marketing Trends for 2011)

So this is it folks; State of the Art Marketing.  Social media. Content marketing. Marketing automation. Sales enablement.  And branding is even back! How cool is that? Lots of great stuff here, but can this list survive a field sobriety test?  That is, are these initiatives actually being supported and funded?  Or is this just a case of a bunch of marketing geeks building a wish list?  

I suppose to get caught up in the answer to this question is to miss the point. Does it matter if companies are fully engaged in all these trends?  I don’t think so. What matters is B2B marketers have more tools in their bag than ever before.  Tools that, when used appropriately, can have a tremendous impact on their businesses.  So it’s not a matter of trying to do everything.  It never has been.  Pick the right tool for the job you need done, whether that’s demand generation, branding, content development, or a combination of any of these.  Get input from the right people.  If they aren’t involved now, get sales involved in your marketing process. Work with them to identify the attributes of a great prospect and then work to provide them as many people as possible that have those attributes. Produce the materials your customers need to make a decision and the tools your sales team needs to close the sale.

Oh, and if you need an outside perspective to help you make sense of all of this, consult your favorite marketing agency.  We’d be happy to help!


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