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Prepare for 2013: 10 B2B Marketing Trends and Developments

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"The past cannot be changed, but the future is yet in your power"—or so goes an old saying. As a history major, though, I can tell you that it's much easier to rewrite history than it is to leave an impact on or to predict the future.

Still, in the spirit of prediction season, I offer here 10 trends of 2012 that I think will grow even more prominent in 2013.

1. Digital marketing will continue to grow

It's pretty obvious to just about everyone that digital marketing is becoming the main channel for demand generation. But despite the adoption levels of digital marketing, there's still a lot more upside. In 2013, digital marketing will continue to see huge adoption rates as businesses of all sizes implement all manner of digital marketing tactics.

2. Digital marketing services will surge

Subsequent to digital marketing's mass adoption, digital marketing services will spike. Consultants, agencies, and new services will surge to support new users and meet their demand for assistance.

3, Content creation services and software will proliferate

Content marketing is becoming the core of just about every marketing initiative for B2B marketing as well as B2C. In 2013, we will see a host of software and services solutions for content creation and syndication emerge as companies try to use content for more demand- and lead-generation results.

4. Integrated marketing will gain popularity

After new channels stabilize as standalone, consistent lead-gen options (social media, content marketing) and new channels and tactics emerge with enormous promise (mobile, retargeting), 2013 will become the year of integrated marketing campaigns. Marketers will try to combine tactics to make use of the compounded effect of multiple channels' working in unison. The market will react as more solutions will come to offer the ability to manage and measure integrated campaigns in one place, marking a decline in the adoption of one-dimensional solutions.

5. Direct mail will make a return

While digital marketing rises, sophisticated marketers will recognize the potential of direct mail coupled with an online connection to break through the noise. Solutions and services that offer integrated—offline and online—approaches will emerge and gain traction as a result of being affordable and highly measurable.

6. Big Data applications will emerge

Big Data has been the hot topic in the media for the last 18 months, and big companies such as HP, IBM, Microsoft, and other software conglomerates have been developing solutions to tackle Big Data. In 2013, we will see solutions emerge and adopted that offer big data applications for day-to-day marketing campaigns.

7. The immeasurable will become measurable

In 2012, we noticed a lot of talk about measurement and the ability to justify marketing efforts. As ROI becomes essential to the broad adoption of any marketing tactic, in 2013 solutions and services will find ways to measure previously immeasurable tactics and evaluate their contribution to the bottom line.

8. PPC will decline as budgets move to other paid solutions

In 2012 we've seen the first signs of decline in PPC usage for B2B companies. In the next year, more budgets will move away from PPC to new and more affordable channels and tactics.

9. Marketing spend on software will increase

As more software and infrastructure for marketing is required, Marketing's budget will match IT's.

10. Sales responsibilities will move to Marketing

The expansion of lead generation responsibilities in B2B marketing is resulting in the moving of more sales-related tasks to Marketing. In 2013 we will see marketing teams take over more sales tasks, such as lead qualification, inside sales team management, and sales operations.

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Uri Bar-Joseph is director of marketing at Optify, a Seattle-based software company that develops digital marketing software for agencies and B2B marketers. Uri has built Optify's lead generation and lead nurturing channels and processes, and developed its data-driven marketing approach.

Twitter: @uribarjoseph

LinkedIn: Uri Bar-Joseph

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  • by Sarah Simpkins Mon Dec 17, 2012 via web

    Great article, very useful and quite frankly, it is heartening to read Point 5, advocating the integration of digital and direct mail. I run a printing company and a branding agency and this is an approach we've encouraged for many years but our experience is that clients have put less and less weight on direct mail, opting instead for what they consider to be the cheaper option of digital marketing.

    It is my opinion that direct mail will gain more momentum as people realise that there is actually less noise in this area these days than there is with digital/social marketing!

  • by Judy Van Der Linden Thu Dec 20, 2012 via web

    Great article as I prepare for our 2013 marketing budget.

  • by Nel Thu Dec 20, 2012 via web

    What will replace PPC?

  • by Matt Smith Fri Dec 21, 2012 via web

    Uri, Very insightful article, I particularly agree with point #10. We see more and more of our clients shifting traditional sales tasks and responsibilities to the marketing role. We wrote an article about our take on it that you may enjoy called "Is It Time Sales Reports To Marketing? Maybe So!"

  • by Gregg Hamilton Mon Jan 14, 2013 via web

    Our (AdGooroo's) data suggests that PPC spend was healthy among B2B marketers in 2012, rising quite sharply in the sub-categories of Business Insurance, Salesforce Automation and Wholesaling and that the number of participating PPC advertisers increased over the course of the year in more than half of the B2B sub-categories in our vertical taxonomy. So, any declines in spend by B2B advertisers that you witnessed may be attributable to increased competition for search traffic. Spreading limited search volume across more advertisers implies lowered share of impressions, clicks and spend for all but the most dominant SEMs.

  • by Patricia Hill Wed Jan 23, 2013 via web

    Would love to hear some Big Data success stories / lessons learned from the marketing perspective.

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