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Future of Digital Marketing 2012 – the B2B view

Econsultancy FODM event logo

Just back from the Econsultancy Future of Digital Marketing event (#FODM) in London.

It’s a really well-run, well-curated event and I thought I’d digest it for you and regurgitate it into your eager maw. (Hey, if you didn’t want pre-digested FODM in your maw you shouldn’t have left it open).

(Disclaimer – Velocity helps promote FODM but I wouldn’t write anything I didn’t believe and how very dare you for suggesting otherwise).

FODM is sliced into three chunks: This Year, Next Year and Beyond. I had to leave before Beyond but that’s probably for the best – my brain actually hurts from absorbing so many challenging ideas.

FODM isn’t very B2B-oriented (they do FUNNEL for B2B) but that’s the beauty of pre-digestion: it comes with a free relevance filter. So here’s the upshot for all my B2B friends and family:

 

Personalisation is the next big frontier for digital marketers in B2C.

So maybe it’s a good idea for us B2B marketers to start thinking about what that might look like for us.

This doesn’t just mean targeting to segments. It means real personalization.  It feels like a natural progression from the lead nurturing we’re all doing using tools like Marketo but can we take it further?  What might it look like in B2B?

 

Content operations are popping up in marketing departments.

Big brands are essentially creating media companies in the corner next to the cafeteria. Today, they might have six or sixteen people. Soon, they’ll have sixty or six-hundred and get their own cafeteria (and foosball table and Nintendo).

In B2B, we’re already seeing a trend towards building in-house content teams. Being a content marketing agency, you might think this trend should be alarming.  On the contrary, it’s a great sign that content is hunkering down where it belongs: at the very heart of the marketing plan.

There will always be a place for content marketing agencies like Velocity – as a supplement to in-house teams; as an outsourced alternative; and as a source of strategy and best practice. We’re not greedy. As this thing explodes, its good for all of us.

 

Authenticity is out-performing phoniness.

As brands learn to ‘engage’ with their ‘communities’ in ‘social channels’, many are discovering that what works is actually being human beings. (Or investing heavily in humanity simulation).

Banks are doing it (as we learned in the excellent first direct case by Natalie Cowan at FODM). Car brands are doing it. Even BT is doing it for Christ’s sake.

And it works.  Now they’re figuring out how to make this humanity thing scale.

B2B could use a healthy dose of authenticity too.  Most B2B brands are about as human as HAL in 2001 (the movie) (you know, Kubrick) (sheesh).

 

It really is time to at least pay lip service to mobile.

If I hear anyone say ‘This is the year of mobile’ I’m going to shit myself. The first time I heard it was in 2000 and I’ve heard it at least ten times a year since then. Which is a lot of self-shitting.

But look at your own web and email data.  Go on, look. I’ll wait….

See? Anywhere from 5 to 25% of your web traffic is from people using mobile devices. And an even higher proportion of your email deliveries are going to mobiles (not so many opens though, unless you’re already on to this).

Five percent isn’t very much traffic to worry about?  Tell that to your SEO agency who sweats bullets to earn you an extra 2%.

The thing is, if it were difficult or expensive to solve the problem, fair enough. You might want to wait until your mobile traffic hits double figures. But it isn’t difficult or expensive.

You don’t need a fancy iPhone app or an integrated mobile-centric, multi-channel customer experience with QR Code triggers.  You just need two things:

A website that can be consumed on a mobile as well as a desktop.
Our own Velocity site does not do this today but it will next week.
•  And emails that can be read on mobiles.

Simon Andrews of Addictive did an excellent FODM session on mobile and this stat jumped out: 63% of Americans (and 41% of Europeans) will close or delete an email that is not optimized for mobile. Boink.

So this year let’s make all our websites and emails mobile-friendly as well as desktop-friendly. Then we can stop talking about it and move on to the fun side of mobile.

 

Ling's Cars site

 

Ling Valentine is a marketing genius.

I’ve never met a more natural marketer. Her zany car leasing website with all its ‘dodgy Java’ (her words) is a work of digital art. It — and she — breaks every single rule of digital marketing except for the most important ones:

– Always engage and entertain people. Never be boring.

– Ask for the order. Then ask again.

– Look after the customer.

Ling’s self-built CRM system is as nutty as the website but it looks like it really works.

And her confidence in only targeting interesting people is refreshing as hell.  (One guy tweeted, “Your site sucks!”.  She replied, “Bastard!” — I love that.)

Anyone who can get a room full of senior marketers to stand for the entire Chinese national anthem is a force to be reckoned with.  Buy shares in Ling (an inspired choice for FODM, Ashley).

 

By leaving early (Conference call. Couldn’t re-schedule.), I missed sessions on Social CRM, Collaborative Consumption, Social Analytics, Content Curation and more. That’s a shame but I got more than my money’s worth out of FODM, so no regrets.

My advice: go to FODM next time it comes to your country. If you don’t come away buzzing with ideas for your own business, well, you’re not a very good person.

 

 

 

 

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