Every new year, we all set goals we absolutely will follow in the next 12 months: We will finally get proactive about our sales funnel, start actually tracking where leads come from, or lose that extra five pounds of business expenses. Then, right about the end of January, we tend to forget these good intentions, as the reality of our to-do list gets longer, and we go into tactical mode to march through the long winter months. Besides, with so many “vital marketing trends” to follow, it can be simply overwhelming to know where to start.
At TribalVision, we focus on providing our clients with practical, strategic advice on what will actually move the needle in your business. With that in mind, we asked our team what they see as the most important trends – the ones we believe will measurably improve business their lead generation efforts for 2014.
Here’s what we think matters:
1. Content marketing will continue to gather momentum. For 2014, we see more smart companies turning towards a more inbound, thought-leadership model for lead generation. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B brands and 90% of B2C companies are currently deploying content into their marketing mix.
Why? We have already seen that the buyer journey is changing – whether screening calls or reporting spam, prospects are just really good at tuning out the messages that they don’t want to see. The only solution is to create something that your prospects really do care about – and pull them into your lead funnel on the basis of your expertise. Certainly, developing content takes somewhat more time than more traditional paths, but there is also zero return to investing in a strategy that is interrupting or annoying your audience – and may actually do more damage than good.
2. Websites will become even more important to the company bottom line. With 633 million websites in existence today, the website has become your public storefront. While some companies continue to see their sites as a glorified online brochure, the businesses who will succeed in the next 10 years understand the website is more than a marketing asset, but a core resource to drive leads and revenue. Smart companies need to capitalize on their sites with a strategic plan and optimized pages to truly convert their audience. Similarly, great marketers will deploy new technologies such as responsive design to ensure that people can see your site wherever they are.
3. Small businesses should think strategically about how they spend their marketing dollars. After a long economic recession, there are finally whisperings that the economy is moving in the right direction again. To take full advantage of this upturn, marketers need to be ahead of the curve.
We know there are a lot of people pitching marketing solutions out there – and it can be hard to know what is true, and what is hype? For most companies, start by looking at your fundamentals: Do you know your revenue goals this year? Do you know who your audience is? Have you effectively determined your competitive advantage, and do you have collateral material that explains it? From there, you can decide how to make your marketing budget accomplish your goals.