The Future of Digital Marketing and Your B2B Copywriting

This week I spent two days at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference. Meeting speakers from giants like HubSpot, Under Armour, IBM, Facebook, as well as reconnecting with local movers and shakers… it’s gotten my B2B copywriting mojo revved up in a big way. I couldn’t wait to share what I learned about the future of digital marketing and your B2B copywriting.

The future of digital is a critical topic, because as a copywriter, part of my job is adapting your story not only to your audience, but to the different channels out there. And there are tons. And as a B2B copywriter, a big part of my job is helping you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to your message, so you can focus on doing what you do best. Here are my key takeaways from the conference, and how they apply to your B2B copywriting.

Agile: Copywriters and marketers get in on the action.
Tara Nesbitt rocked out a presentation about applying the agile methodology (a popular approach to software building) to marketing. At a very high level, agile methodology means working in a more collaborative, iterative process. It means critically assessing work in small steps, taking feedback at what I call “micro-milestones” to then adapt and move forward. This contrasts the traditional, “waterfall” approach, which keeps teams more siloed and collects feedback after a large portion of work is complete. Every creative professional I know has seen how this can go wrong. It feels like trying to climb a waterfall.

The future of digital marketing and B2B copywriting will lead to the waterfall approach.
The future of digital marketing and B2B copywriting mean the agile approach will continue to grow in popularity, compared to waterfall.

Tara’s perspective especially resonated with me as a B2B copywriter. Digital marketing lends itself well to failing fast and making continued improvements. And with B2B content, you’re not just trying to impress individual consumers. You often need entire departments to buy in to your solutions. Agile could be a path to getting your content as mighty as it can be before you send it to your audience. Then, when you go to use your emails to nurture leads or white papers to generate leads from the top of your sales funnel, you can be sure it’s exactly what you need.

My prediction: agile will continue to gain ground in marketing and show serious advantages in B2B.

Get specific when you talk about content.
It’s not surprising that Under Armour would have a lot to say about content. What made Katie Krum’s presentation so refreshing was her desire to break down the way we speak about content into meaningful, actionable ideas, with examples of breathtaking storytelling.

In today’s world, it’s easy to feel like your voice is lost in a sea of content. It can seem like if you only get it on the hottest channels and pump out posts, you’ll be able to catch up and stand out–as long as you grab the viewer’s attention in a handful of seconds. Post early and often might be your mantra. Instead, focus on the most uplifting, valuable content. Katie shared examples of digital storytelling (primarily through video) but also discussed how knowing what you need to accomplish can help steer you. Don’t settle for “engagement” as a goal.

If you know me, you know that I believe storytelling is absolutely part of B2B marketing. Like this spot from Caterpillar. I never get tired of watching it.

My prediction: Visual storytelling and compelling video will continue to seep into B2B marketing, but have more flexibility about length. These approaches will balance rather than replace the need for more logical, research-based pieces like white papers (which also have a significant role to play).

Define your B2B social media metrics around making decisions.
One of the last panels I attended was the one I found most inspiring. These conferences are amazing, but many speakers still focus heavily on soft drink and clothing brands, the darlings of the B2C world. There was at least one panel that emphasized B2B. In fact, the discussion inspired me to write a white paper on social media and the B2B sales funnel. Stay tuned for that.

With a little thought, most social media channels can be effective for B2C. For B2B brands, it’s less clear how and when to use social media. Many social media metrics are easy to count, but tough to measure.  For the best insights, tie your metrics to your sales funnel, website analytics, sales, or profit. As one of the speakers put it, “If it doesn’t help you make a business decision, it’s a vanity metric.” I love that term so much I’m going to repeat it. Vanity metric.

The Future of Digital Marketing and Your B2B Copywriting - as illustrated by SnapChat
As much as I love it, I haven’t found a compelling case study of B2B SnapChat. Yet.

Under some circumstances, B2B brands can use social media effectively. The key is knowing what your goals are so intimately you can easily write social media metrics that track straight to them.

My prediction: The caretakers of B2B brands are going to require more proof that social media is a worthwhile investment, leading to more nuanced understanding of how to use these tools. The B2B social media space will have a somewhat fragmented look as each brand focuses its attention where its customer base wants to engage with them.

In addition to these nuggets, I walked out the conference exhausted from my brain constantly shooting sparks. I believe this is a phenomenal time to be in marketing and I think it’s an even better time to be a B2B copywriter.

What does the future hold for your content? Call or email me today to discuss the future of digital marketing and your B2B copywriting. (314) 807-6366 or sharong@protonmail.com

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