One of the reasons I was thrilled to be asked to join the Focus B2B Marketing Year In Review round table was that it would allow me an opportunity to discuss my annual predictions for the coming year.
First, I did some research and identified some of the top 2012 marketing predictions posts, listed below. Then I reviewed my own thoughts on 2011.
In case you missed it, I made 13 predictions for B2B Marketing in 2011 and last week outlined my 2011 B2B Marketing Year In Review. I think I did pretty well in predicting 2011 trends, as far as predictions go.
So here I will update my list of predictions for B2B Marketing in 2012 and ask that marketers not forget about our important link to the business and our sales colleagues…
Will Marketers Leave Sales Behind in 2012?
So I’m not sure if it’s because the economy has turned around a bit or if marketers are scurrying to catch up with the latest marketing trends around digital, social, mobile and content marketing. But the lack of mentions of the Sales Alignment issue in the 2012 predictions post I saw is certainly a cause for concern.
Some studies suggest that marketers are cutting back on sales support activities as they focus their budgets on Marketing Automation. I think this is a huge mistake!
In fact, my first prediction is that B2B marketers, primarily those with direct contact with sales, will increase their focus on sales support, enablement and opportunity acceleration as corporate marketing functions contribute more leads to the sales funnel with the expected increase in spend on digital, mobile, social and content marketing initiatives that will fuel inbound leads.
CMOs Struggle With Digital and Data?
A recent survey from IBM showed that almost three-quarters of CMOs feel unprepared for today’s market conditions. The main reasons cited by the survey are the vast amounts of data (aka “Big Data”) required to manage today’s customer and marketing landscape and the lack of digital skills in today’s marketing departments.
My prediction: this will be the year that CMOs start talking about the challenges in creating an audience-first marketing mentality and the need to re-tool and re-train their work force to meet the data and digital requirements of modern marketing.
The Big Three: Social, Content, Mobile
A few recent surveys all concurred that the greatest increases in B2B Marketing spending will occur in these “big three” areas.
And while this is nothing new, I predict we will begin to see the rise of the “social business” as many of us are predicting and a focus on social selling.
I also predict the emergence of the content strategist into senior positions within marketing organizations where they have some authority over budget and planning discussions.
I also predict the emergence of distinct mobile marketing managers and directors who will begin to see mobile marketing budgets approach 1% or more of the total marketing spend from somewhere south of 1% today.
Marketing Automation and Lead-to-Revenue
Marketers are continuing to line the pockets of marketing automation vendors and for good reason. I expect this will continue into 2012, as many recent surveys and colleagues are predicting.
The big news for 2012 is that marketers have finally realized that it is the Revenue-to-Lead process that creates the business case and the budget justification for marketing automation. I predict marketers will begin to take the documentation and improvement of these processes as seriously as they hit the software market to find solutions.
Other Trends To Watch
I think all of these are emerging trends in B2B Marketing that will begin to gain more traction and receive more attention. Some of them are bigger and newer than others:
- Video (certainly not new but saw huge growth in 2011)
- QR Codes
- Augmented Reality
- Apps and Tablet Marketing
- Auditory Branding (See Mary Meeker‘s take on the growing importance of Audio)
Some Additional Perspectives
Agree or Disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts on B2B Marketing Trends for 2012.