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B2B Technology PR & Marketing Agency

Marketing Trends - October 2019

As part of our service to clients, here's a summary of some of the marketing trends we are seeing in European B2B technology. For more information, contact Mike (mike@napierb2b.com).

 

Research Shows European Publishers in Good Health

We've recently conducted research that asked European electronics industry publishers about the performance of their business. Amazingly it seems that most publishers are actually doing rather well:

  • 68% of publications grew revenue last year
  • Only one publication saw a revenue decline of more than 5%

trends picture 1There were also some surprising results, with print revenue still contributing over 50% of publishers' income, although this is from research across Eastern and Western Europe. For more information read our blog post European Publishing Myths Smashed with Electronics Media Survey. The obvious implications of this research is that the European electronics media is still a very different industry to the media in the USA. 

 

Aspencore Lays of Some of the Best Journalists in the Industry

Although European publications are doing well, it appears that Aspencore, a global publisher owned by electronics distributor, Arrow is not so successful. We've heard that the business hasn't been profitable, although we understand that Aspencore has obtained significant value from the databases they acquired when building the business. I have also been told that the ability to control coverage has been part of discussions when trying to recruit new lines, which in turn has brought Arrow a large increase in revenue and profits. Now much of the financial value has been extracted, a number of high-profile journalists and publishers have been laid off in what appears to be pure cost-cutting measures. Indeed, in a post that was designed to position the layoffs as "blazing a path forwards", Junko Yoshida (Global Co-Editor-in-Chief) admits, "We won’t suggest that these are not hard times."

The implication of this is that Arrow is not prepared to accept the losses we believe Aspencore is turning in, even though the publications provide powerful influence. We're interested to see whether the push for profits also leads to a decrease in independence of the publications, particularly as some of the journalists that were laid off were vocal about maintaining that independence. For more information on what is happening at Aspencore, read Layoffs at Aspencore Spook the Industry.

 

Account-Centric Marketing is the New ABM

Terminology doesn't matter, but we felt that the fact that Nate Skinner, VP of Marketing for Pardot, talked about account-centric marketing as well as ABM in a recent interview with Clickz shows the maturity of the approach: when there is an attempt to re-brand something, it has definitely reached the mainstream!

trends picture 2

Whatever you choose to call it, we're seeing ABM continue to grow like crazy, with clients personalising more and targeting more accounts. At the recent HubSpot Inbound conference I attended one presentation where a company had targeted 1000 accounts in its ABM campaign, complete with personalised landing pages for every account.

 

Disappearing Marketing Silos

A few months ago, I wrote about the importance of breaking down marketing silos. Since that time, I've been surprised at how often clients are asking us to bridge the gap between members of their marketing team that focus on delivering different tactics.

We're now working on building an agency that has two core elements: content generation and content delivery. With our strategic approach to planning, the four-step process, we are finding that few campaigns start off as "email" or "PR". When you think about business objectives, you're likely to realise that using content across multiple channels is the key to success, rather than focusing on a particular tactic.

Influencers Emerge for B2B Tech

OK, we're not quite at the level of Boyfriends of Insta, but there does appear to be a slow emergence of influencers in the B2B tech industry. To be honest, this has been the case in the IT sector, although with specialist areas such as software security it's clear that influencers are as - or often more - important than conventional publications. Although we don't expect this to be an overnight change, particularly in sectors such as electronics design, we do think that every client should now be looking to see if there are influencers with whom they should build relationships.

Marketing Dashboards

We're seeing more and more demand for dashboard-style displays to track marketing performance. Increasingly clients are looking at metrics in real-time and using dashboard tools to share and highlight results. 

We've decided to develop our data skills to support this trend and have now got some great in-house expertise that enables us to use dashboard platforms to pull in marketing data automatically and display performance vs metrics in real time.

 

Podcasts Gain Momentum

You can't have missed the growth of podcasts in mainstream media: radio stations and even TV shows are promoting their podcasts. 

We expect this trend to extend into B2B tech, and anticipate an increasing number of companies to either add campaigns pitching their spokespeople to appear on podcasts, or even launching their own podcasts, to the marketing mix. Although there are a surprising number of companies including podcasts in their marketing, like most changes in B2B Tech, this isn't going to happen overnight, but we do think in five years podcasts will take a much larger part of the marketing budget.

Better, Clearer, Simpler Metrics

Another interesting part of the discussion with Nate Skinner was the discussion about "data-palooza". He means that marketers have so much data that it's almost impossible to gain insight: today the average marketer uses 21 products that all generate data.

We've seen a change in the market, where companies conduct research to determine which indicators correlate with their business. For example, website visits often have no correlation, but data sheet or white paper downloads usually are closely linked to business growth. By identifying a small number of the most important metrics, marketing activity can be focused around growing the business by moving the metrics that matter.

 

Inbound 2019 - LinkedIn Advertising

We're seeing LinkedIn becoming a stronger and stronger B2B platform for both paid and organic campaigns. If you're starting out with LinkedIn ads, it's definitely worth reading my blog post outlining the tips and tricks I learnt from one very valuable session at Inbound

Personalising with Emails from Real Sales People

We've seen marketing and sales converge over the last few years, and an interesting session at Inbound talked about how HubSpot generates great results by sending emails from individual sales reps as part of marketing automation campaigns. Well worth a read if you are developing any nurturing or trigger campaigns.