Happy New Year! If you haven’t returned to the office yet, you probably will very soon – and when that happens, you’re going to need to be aware of developing trends that may be taking industrial marketing in 2018 by storm! Fortunately for you, if you want to get ahead, we’ve collected some predictions for the new year that can help you to get one step ahead.

1. Video Is King

  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019.
  •  

    Are you really surprised? It’s highly likely that you’re learning this information by watching our vlog or listening to our podcast, rather than reading it in this article. As we’ve said many, many times before: because it’s the most similar experience to face-to-face interaction, and since it involves visual and audio mediums, video is a faster and far more valuable form of communication. Whether you’re launching new products or hosting a training webinar, video is here to stay.

    And not only is video valuable in the marketing funnel; it can also be used to to enable and enhance the sales process. Analytics can track viewers and notify sales teams when certain behaviors are present, and then those sales teams can actually film short “video voicemails” at their desk and email prospects directly!

    2. Micro-Moments Are More Important Than Ever

  • Videos under five minutes in length account for 55% of total video consumption time on smartphones.
  • 96% of people reach for their smartphone first when researching a new topic.
  •  

    We’ve heard complaints about degrading attention spans for years, and smartphones are one of the main culprits. Whether you lament this change or not, you need to be aware of it, and adapting for it. Shrinking your content means more than just shortening the running time: you need to know whether your video or your images and designs are going to show up well on a small screen.

    Take Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter: most videos posted directly to those platforms can’t necessarily be very long; and they usually autoplay, but with the sound turned off. Now imagine that happening while your video is small enough to fit in the palm of someone’s hand. Do you have captions or subtitles for your viewers to read if they’re not bothering to turn the sound on? Is that text large and legible, or are you using a lot of small, fine print?

    3. Personalized Content is Outstripping Unpersonalized

  • According to VidYard, the average retention rate for personalized videos is 35% higher than for non-personalized videos.
  • Personalized videos are 16 times more likely to be opened and clicked in email campaigns than non-personalized videos.
  •  

    Now, personalized content is probably something you’re familiar with: the email in your inbox or the postcard at your door, with your name strategically added at the top somewhere to retain your attention just a few seconds longer. But there are a lot of other applications: websites are starting to offer personalized landing pages so that different prospects from different industries will see a page that’s more specific to their own needs. And if you didn’t know, video can also be personalized as well now; and if you’ve never received a personalized video before, you’re missing out.

    Thanks to CRM data, spreadsheet formulas, and a lot of computing power, companies can release video campaigns that contain their prospect’s name – or practically any other data that the marketing team might have about them: past purchases, birthdays, you name it! We’ve seen these videos go to work directly, and they’ve consistently doubled our email opens in the past.

    4. Chatbots are Growing in Popularity

  • Hubspot says that 48% of consumers would rather connect with a company through live chat than any other mean of contact; and 55% of consumers are interested in interacting with a business that uses messaging apps to solve a problem.
  •  

    Ever visited a website, started browsing, then heard a little “ding” and seen a little instant-message box pop up in the corner of the screen? If you haven’t seen those yet, you almost definitely will very soon: these are chatbots.

    The reason why chatbots are so popular is because, in short, they’re less stressful. Getting on the phone is often not an effort that a lot of people want to make; but seeing a little bubble that says, “Hey! Are there any questions I can help you with today?” is a great, anonymous way for them to get quick answers. That means they don’t have submit their email address to any sort of database to get a response six hours later; and they don’t have to sit on the phone and “wait to talk to a representative” for three hours (face it, we’ve all been there).

    5. Native Ads are Increasingly Preferred Over Non-Native

  • According to Business Insider, spending on native advertising in the United States will likely reach $21 billion by 2018, and will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021.
  • According to HubShout, 85% of Americans don’t mind native ads, but feel that their browsing experience is hindered by non-native ads. In fact, a third of Americans would rather visit a dentist than see non-native ads.
  •  

    “Now wait a second,” you might say. “What exactly is a native ad?”

    Glad you asked. You probably know non-native ads when you see them: they’re those irritating blocks in the margins of webpages that you visit, and sometimes they’re promoting completely irrelevant content or websites than the page you’re currently on.

    Native ads, on the other hand, aren’t ‘rented space’ or ‘purchased real estate’ on a page: they’re more along the lines of sponsored content. Perhaps you’re following a blog about marketing techniques, and there’s an article with an infographic about how a popular antacid’s new campaign is progressing. It’s technically relevant, but is still created with the purpose of driving leads for the sponsor in question.

    Native ads are definitely a more subtle form of advertising, but internet users all seem to agree that they’re far easier on the eyes.

    And this list is by no means exhaustive.

    Being an industrial manufacturer tends to mean being part of a business where marketing techniques in general are just a few years behind other industries’. There are likely plenty of well-established techniques in digital marketing that can be just as helpful to you in your B2B space as these new and upcoming trends…but it’s important to know both the new and the old, because sometimes different marketing strategies or technologies actually stack on one another (ie: video marketing in general and then personalized video marketing).

    The point is, you should have plenty of options to choose from: so that’s why we’re here.
     

    Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe to the IndustrialSage newsletter to get each of the weekly episodes sent directly to your inbox; or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so you can listen on the go! If there’s a particular topic that you’d like the sages to talk about, or if you have a particular a challenge that you’d like them to take a crack at, send them an email. If your topic gets picked for a future episode, you’ll win a free IndustrialSage t-shirt!