Preparing for New Challenges in 2018

We’ve now entered Q4 of 2017, so here are my top 5 business predictions and some prescriptive suggestions to best take advantage of them.

1. Competition will have a comeback.
There should be no argument that the business climate has been pretty blah for a fairly long period of time. We’ve become complacent and even the most business-savvy of us have become used to a bland, if not dreary, competitive environment. That’s going to change this year. With companies upping the ante on investments in capital, people, and technology, you’d better get on your game and start investing in marketing your company. Look to traditional and digital advertising, as well as public relations to take a jump.

2. More businesses will be shopping for your products/services/solutions.
With more competition, and more marketing activity, B2B customers will take shopping very seriously. Price won’t be the major factor either. New ideas, alignment of values, and solid performance will get their attention—while excellent account management and customer service will keep them coming back for more. Look to increased competition for new hires, overall marketing communications, and creative approaches on the rise. Intelligence and creativity will be the most sought after characteristics in companies and people.

3. Storytelling will take center stage as the marketing technique of choice.
All businesses have needs. It’s the alignment of these needs with your approach/methodology/culture that will convince new customers to select your company. While experience and skills do matter, storytelling is what will differentiate your company from others. Businesses feel most comfortable when selecting a company who understands their specific needs and has accomplished similar work for similar companies—hence storytelling. Take a hard look at revamping your case studies, testimonials, and presentations to add more engagement. Speak directly to customers to gain the appropriate understanding to become a great raconteur.

4. Mobile-friendly is no longer an option. 
When is comes to websites, email marketing, and events, it is no longer an option to not be mobile friendly. Google will no longer prioritize your content as important and customers will be less likely to find your information organically. With consumer marketing completely on board, it’s time to ensure that you make a meaningful first impression with B2B customers and prospects alike.

5. Marketing Automation fees will come down from the stratosphere. 
Marketing automation products that are currently sold as upgrades to Salesforce and other CRMs will have to address their exorbitant fee structures. We all want them; however, we all cannot afford them. The new year will bring new service offerings and lower fees, so we no longer have to juggle multiple spreadsheets after every marketing outreach campaign—or so I hope.

Written by Francine Carb