To get an idea of the kinds of B2B marketing trends that will come to dominate the future of B2B marketing, Forbes contributor Tom Taulli interviewed some of the brightest minds in the field. The findings from his research? The future of B2B Marketing will be about building more physical, sensorial, and personal connections than in years past. Here are three main takeaways from his anecdotal research, and how promotional products can play a role in and enhance each of them.
Being, and Sounding, Authentic
It may sound commonsensical, but customers have become more attuned to the ways companies interact with them. Generic, one-size-fits-all overtures and promises come off as insincere and cookie cutter, and are turning prospects away. The antidote is a deep understanding of your offerings, differentiators, and your brand culture. Rob Lalonde of Univa says that “Being able to express the value that your product brings to the customers goes a long way towards not only validating your product, but also building your brand.” Promotional products can emphasize and remind your customers that not just your product, but also your relationship with them, is what matters in the long run. You sell services; but you gift promotional items.
That Personal Touch
A more counterintuitive trend that Taulli uncovered is that, even while digital is making strides in the marketing realm, it is far from likely to replace person-to-person marketing efforts. Paul Bellantone of PPAI and Tal Klein of Lakeside Software both allude to the incredible power of the senses when it comes to B2B marketing.
Promotional products, as Bellantone says, are the only marketing tools that connect with all our senses. If you are a digital-first company, having a material, tactile branding element helps root your brand in the real world and remind your prospects and clients that they’re working with humans, not avatars. Klein follows this up by stressing the importance of prioritizing in-person meetings and networking lunches over digital dalliances. Don’t miss an opportunity to leave behind a promotional product at any outings. They help to initiate conversations with prospects, as well as keep those conversations going into the future.
The Influence of the Influencer
A good amount of marketing now is done not by paid, in-house employees, but by allies and consultants who assume the role of brand ambassadors. Growing a network of influencers not only widens your circle of brand recognition, but also leverages the power of a pre-existing, constantly changing community. Brett Zucker of Monotype tells us to “prepare for B2B influencers to wield more power than ever in the new year.” These people act as evangelists for your product or service and can lend your brand credibility and promote loyalty. You can identify influencers in your field by trawling your social media feeds. Companies and trendsetters will often make posting and engaging followers top priorities, so they’re easily identifiable. Once you’ve pinpointed these people, one way to win them over is with promotional products. Often, by sending influencers free promotional swag or some other incentives, they will post a review or endorsement on their social media feeds and linkback to your site.
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