Last week, I had the opportunity to join LMA Ohio's Best Practices in Marketing: Outside the Legal Industry and Outside the Box event. The panel was moderated by Jeanne Hammerstrom, Chief Marketing and Recruiting Officer at Benesch, and the other panelists included: David Lowery VP, Marketing Manager at KeyBank; Jane Peer, Associate Director, Market Development, KPMG LLP; and Lori Weinstein, Senior Director of Service Line Marketing at Cleveland Clinic. We focused specifically on best practices around client services, branding, communications and marketing. We were also asked about marketing trends that we are seeing today.
In preparation for the panel, and in order to ensure that I had a worthy answer to the trends question, I spent some time researching what marketers in general are focusing on today. In the spirit of the panel, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the research that I came across.
Key Trends in 2013:
This has to be the most talked about initiative of the year. Everyone is using their content to engage and win audiences. According to this Wishpond study, 91% of business-to-business marketers use content marketing as part of their overall efforts. In fact, this year, $118.4 billion will be spent on content marketing, video marketing and social media. Marketers spend more than 25% of their budget on content marketing.
Also of note, according to this study by Dot Com Infoway, 78% of marketers use eNewsletters, 71% of B2B marketers use case studies, 61% use white papers, and those that use infographics see a 25% increase in traffic.
In short, we’re all producing a heck of a lot of content. Experts suggest that the next wave is a heightened focus on context—meaning the ability to create and deliver content that appeals to a specific audience. We’re seeing this through the more sophisticated use of targeting and personalization on websites.
No surprise here…social media is still top of mind for marketers. According to the Dot Com Infoway study, 87% of marketers use social media to distribute content. Surprisingly, business-to-business marketers use on average five social media channels, while business-to-consumer marketers use only four. LinkedIn is emerging as the most widely used social media channel, with 83% of marketers using it.
It will be interesting to see how the ideas of influencers and author ranking impact professional service executives' individual brand reach. But for now, LinkedIn is becoming the sure bet.
The Dot Com Infoway study also shows that 13% of global Internet traffic comes from a mobile device, and by 2015, more U.S. users will access the Internet through mobile devices than PCs. That’s just crazy! Today, roughly 16% of search queries come from PCs, 30% from mobile devices. Although not a key focus for professional services firms, advertising revenue for mobile devices has grown 400% from 2011 to 2013.
We’ll see more professional services organizations with responsive and touch-friendly designs, but we may also see some really interesting targeted mobile campaigns as well.
BIG LITTLE DATA
I’m guilty of glazing over as I start digging into my own web traffic report. I can’t imagine what I’d be like if I started analyzing a broader data set. Turns out, I’m not alone. According to this IAB study, about 36% of marketers report that they “have lots of customer data” but “don’t know what to do with it.” Maybe the idea of “big little data” makes some sense. Breaking off small chunks or focusing on technology-supported data use, like segmentation and personalization, might be the first step towards big data nirvana!
Finally, if you find yourself with a few free hours with nothing to do, I highly recommend a read through this behemoth, The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing. It contains a wealth of knowledge and has some fascinating operational viewpoints.
I wanted to say a big thank you to the LMA Ohio, Jeanne and the other panelists.