Issue 1 - January 2007
7 Marketing Trends to Watch in ?07
Want to know where to invest your online marketing dollars in 2007? Here are the 7 most important trends for '07 and how to make the most of them to increase sales and grow your business in the New Year.
1. Purchasing Decisions
When asked how often they researched products online before buying, 87% of respondents to a ClickZ survey said they did. Additionally, more than 35% of all B2B decision makers spend five or more hours every week researching product and service information, according to the CMO Council. These statistics are proof that in today's business environment, a strong online presence and giving buyers easy access to your product information is not only important, it's a necessity.
2. Search Engine Optimization
With so much hype about search engine optimization and getting that number one spot in the search engines, everyone knows the drill: use metatags, title tags, keywords, etc. But the important thing to remember is that search engines are constantly working to make search more effective for end users. So while following proper SEO techniques matters, what is more crucial is truly understanding how buyers are searching for your product or service, and leveraging that information to ensure search engines - and ultimately buyers - find your business. To succeed, focus on the foundation: a targeted message that addresses buyers' needs and then employ SEO best practices. Other factors to consider: the best place to find relevant traffic might be on vertical search engines. Also, placing links on prominent industry websites and online directories are powerful ways to highlight your business in a place where targeted buyers are already searching for your products. You can find a list of SEO providers in the BtoB Industry Directory.
3. Online Video Ads
BtoB marketers are constantly seeking new strategies for engaging buyers in a more interactive way, and the newest trend toward accomplishing that goal is online videos. In fact, eMarketer predicts that spending on online video advertising will soar this year, increasing by an astounding 89%. As the technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, rich media companies are bringing near-TV quality to online advertising and offering marketers new opportunites. An example: Citrix worked with multi-media company 4What Interactive to build a self-running animated software demonstration, which is used as a clear and concise stand-alone sales presentation. Citrix is able to cross-promote the video through existing marketing avenues, including their website, salespeople, emails and search engines. Video has growing appeal due to marketers' ability to track leads, conduct real-time analysis and measure effectiveness.
4. Online Advertising Spending
As ad dollars continue to shift to the internet, spending for online advertising is projected to grow to about $7.7 billion in 2007, according to ClickZ. That is more than a 31% increase over 2006. Online ad spending increases have been driven by the growing ability to measure campaigns effectively. In today's market, the question isn't whether to advertise online - that's a given - but rather how to spend those dollars wisely. It's not about buying clicks cheaply, but rather about buying the right clicks. Make sure you're reaching the right people. The CPM or CPC to reach targeted buyers might be higher, but so will your return on investment. The bottom line, like so many things in life, is that quality is more important than quantity.
5. Lead Generation
The proliferation of data readily available online actually creates an opportunity for marketers to generate leads. BtoB buyers rely on the "information superhighway" to do their jobs better and find the products they need. In order to get their hands on good information, buyers are willing to divulge some personal data, such as email addresses and phone numbers - but only if what they get in return is relevant and valuable. Value could be in the form of a deal or discount, but it could also be intellectual capital such as white papers on hot industry topics or case studies showing how their peers solved a common challenge. Positioning yourself as an expert source of reliable information, providing value-adds or offering special pricing online, could open a treasure chest of lead generation opportunities.
6. Targeted Messaging
With so many choices online for BtoB buyers, and the inundation of emails in their inboxes, ensuring the messages offered to potential buyers are highly targeted is crucial. Speak directly to your audience's specific wants and needs, and don't waste their time by loading them down with unwanted information. In addition, with all the technology available for managing databases, target markets can be more tightly defined, segregated, sorted, compiled and marketed to, providing a higher return. The key here is segmentation. Divide your audience into highly targeted segments so you can send information that's focused to their particular wants and needs.
7. Management of Your Online Reputation
Remember back in high school, when you were worried about your reputation? You found out someone was spreading rumors about you, but you didn't know who it was? It's not so different in the business world today. With the popularity of blogs, message boards and other forms of user-generated content, perceptions about products and services - both good and bad - can spread around the globe at lightning speed, making it difficult for marketers to monitor what is being said. Because a great brand can take months, if not years, and millions of dollars to build, it should be the thing businesses hold most precious. If you can't control what others say online, you can influence people's opinions about your business. First "Google" your company and see what turns up in the search results. Secondly, regularly post your own opinions and responses on your website and contribute to relevant blogs and forums. Take steps to create your own blog or message board and regularly issue optimized press releases. Another avenue to consider is hiring a company that offers "brand monitoring" services, which provide intelligence about online usage and distribution. To succeed, protecting your brand and online reputation is probably the most important marketing trend for 2007.