Traditionally, marketing in the business-to-business, or B2B, space relies on a variety of factors to drive prospects down the funnel: white papers, blogs, eBooks, webinars, trade shows, in-person events, email drip campaigns, and web and mobile advertising, to name a few. With millennials now in prominent positions across companies, inbound and outbound marketing tactics have changed to reflect the new landscape.
Here are three areas to watch:
According to Adobe, 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the content with the best ROI. That’s because millennials spend a disproportionate amount of their time watching short-form vertical video. This means marketers need to focus efforts on creating content that’s native to social media platforms.
To be successful, think strategically about transforming your long-form videos on your website into digestible content on your social media channels. Post content that engages quickly since attention spans are only about eight seconds long. HubSpot's data shows the optimal times for social media video are one minute for Facebook, 30 seconds on Instagram, and 45 seconds for Twitter. Other ways to optimize is to add closed captioning, selfie or location-based filters that make the content look native to channels, and hashtags in the copy to increase discoverability. In addition to these organic growth tactics, invest in paid social advertising with a call-to-action to learn more, so users click to your website.
There, prospects can continue down the funnel where they will take actions within the sales cycle such as providing an email address to subscribe to the newsletter, filling out a form to learn more about the product, or completing a viral loop and sharing the video using social media buttons to their community.
IBM did just this with their social good video campaign, “IBM Helps Protect Endangered African Rhinos with IoT Technology.” They launched the video on World Rhino Day and participated in the trending topic using the hashtag #WorldRhinoDay. They created a Twitter Moment featuring influencers and insights and posted the video on Facebook leading to 270 shares. By creating a strong emotional narrative highlighting their product, IBM was able to utilize millennial marketing tactics to inspire.
Millennials might be known for killing industries like casual chain restaurants and cable TV, but with their focus on capturing the perfect photo for their social media feed, the one thing that they’ve helped create is the interactive, social media shareable event experience. You can see this phenomenon at work in the highly popular 29 Rooms from Refinery 29 and the Museum of Ice Cream. Both garnered an incredible amount of social media posts - the #museumoficecream hashtag is used over 120,000 times. Events now need to leverage the power of mobile for offline experiences.
B2B marketers can win using this thought process. This can be executed in a variety of ways. Before the event, speakers can create videos and blog content that includes a call-to-action link for users to sign up to attend. During the event, you should encourage attendees to check in on social media or to use a branded Snapchat filter. You can also create an event hashtag as a way to streamline all of the learnings onto one feed, and you should ask attendees to live video stream and post photos on social media. Afterwards, you can repurpose this user-generated content across marketing channels, whether that’s including top tweets from the event in an email campaign or using a photo from the event on a #ThrowbackThursday post on social media.
Now, the buzz about the event is more powerful than the event itself, leading towards discoverability of your product, culture, and content.
Influencer marketing is key within the B2B landscape, as it provides validity for your technology. Discovering the correct influencers requires due diligence and extensive research.
To be effective in your outreach, you can use content marketing tools like BuzzSumo which has an influencer and outreach search function, work with influencer agencies and marketplace platforms to find the correct fit for your brand and product, partner with analysts that can provide insights and authority, or connect in-person at conferences with high-level speakers and esteemed professionals.
Once you find the right influencer, remember that the content they create is imperative for driving leads through the sales funnel. Influencers can execute their knowledge-base by: writing eBooks or blogs, hosting Twitter chats or webinars, producing YouTube video series, or posting content on LinkedIn. Their credibility as experts can lead to a variety of favorable actions such as a shortened sales cycles, increased deal flow, and rise in customer acquisitions.
For the launch of Draftsend, Marie Prokopets and her cofounder featured twenty B2B influencers on their platform.
“People need to see and feel your product, to get inspired by it and want to use it themselves. That's why when we launched, we highlighted high-quality, engaging content created by people we wanted to hear from. That way, the day that we launched our product, there was content from well-known influencers that people would want to consume and share, and it inspired people to create their own presentations.”
If you follow this advice by creating short engaging videos, focusing on merging both the offline and online event experience, and tapping into influencers for authoritative content creation, B2B marketers can use millennial marketing tactics to generate positive brand sentiment and successfully turn prospects into loyal customers.