Coming Soon: trends you need to consider for 2018
Rather than issue a loose list of predictions of what might be hot in 2018, we’ve decided to share an (not exhaustive) ‘A to Z’ of some communications projects we’ve been working on with our clients over the last three months.
We’re now seeing some previous hot trends mainstream, while others still have some ground to gain. Heading into next year, one thing is for sure, these are exciting but also challenging times for industrial technology communicators.
Account-based Marketing (ABM)
After a couple of years creating detailed customer personas and journeys, in 2018 several of our clients are committing resources and budget to ABM to forge a closer alignment between marketing and sales teams. In communications this is about personalized campaigns designed to resonate with specific accounts.
Agile is still spelled with a small ‘a’ for most industry sectors. However, it is gaining momentum and quickly. This year we’ve seen customers test the water by successfully launching focused, measureable content marketing campaigns, usually targeting specific vertical sectors with tailored messages.
Content at the Core
Yes, it’s still King, but for many clients a costly investment. Return on that content marketing investment remains front of mind. We’re increasingly involved at the strategic planning and budgeting stage to put content (and KPIs) at the core of not just external campaigns, but also internal communications and employee engagement.
We’re working with clients in those industrial sectors impacted by economic uncertainty and change to develop efficient inbound marketing campaigns, to stimulate lead generation and replenish sales pipelines. Our new efficient ‘Factor Five’ approach of working existing evergreen content as hard as possible alongside new content has been well-received.
Engaging with key opinion leaders (KOLs), academics and experts is nothing new in industrial communications. However, what is new is the use of influencer marketing tactics - often seen by enterprise and consumer tech brands – now being employed by industrial companies, especially on social media and at events. Indeed, the success of our own additive manufacturing practice is down in part to identifying and engaging with key influencers in the same way we engage with trade media editors.
Paid x Earned
This blurring has always been implicit in the trade media. As times are tough for some outlets, this is now being openly proactively addressed by publishers – and increasingly, editors. From a planning, spend and transparency perspective this is a good thing. The old school advertorial seems to be making a comeback, but our advertising clients are using this as a basis to revisit their paid strategies and discuss more progressive tactics such as content partnerships and smart(er) online and social campaigns.
Another trend that has already crossed over from consumer marketing is personalization. Lots of time and resources has been devoted to customer journey planning, segmentation and persona development over 2017. Now add to that a commitment to structured content strategy, coupled with investment in adtech tools, we expect even more personalized and targeted online marketing campaigns.
We’re working with a few clients to amplify their social selling strategies as part of ABM and content marketing campaigns. For industrial technology and materials companies, we’re seeing some traction – sometimes driven by a newer generation of sales and business development teams who see social media platforms such as LinkedIn as an untapped seam of leads.
We’ve directed, filmed and produced dozens of films, clips and GIFs this year – some big productions, some a shot on an iPhone. We don’t see the trend and demand for video, animation and images declining any time soon. Video and imagery should no longer be an afterthought and needs to be factored and budgeted into your plans.
Industry faces a shortage of engineers, scientists and software developers. While there are already many “get into STEM” initiatives, with such a fight for talent, we’re seeing clients launch campaigns to position themselves as an employer of choice for technical graduates and high schoolers. And you’ve guessed it – video, social media storytelling and communicating authentically are just three key triggers for engaging with this young, well-informed centennial audience.
Get in touch to discuss our A-Z or to discuss yours.