Dead End or Cutting Edge: Five Marketing Trends for 2015

by Jenna Sindle

With the New Year still fresh and resolutions still (mostly) in tact, now is the perfect time to take a look at the marketing tends that experts say will drive marketing in 2015.

By now, the term content marketing is a household term. But how has the industry changed over the past year and where is it headed? Kim Garst of the Huffington Post says that in 2015, content marketing will (finally) become about true value and about quality over quantity. According to Garst, “businesses will finally realize that blah, run-of-the-mill content does very little in terms of increasing search rankings or attracting followers. In fact, they will begin to see that producing low-quality content can actually be damaging in terms of SEO and building trust.”

For marketers in the b-to-b sector, they know all too well the importance of valuable content in the sales process. John Kennedy, CMO at Xerox, in a recent Ad Age article predicts that in the coming year shareable content is going to increase in value. Kennedy says that “marketers are going to continue to lean into creating shareable content through digital and social channels. A lot of b-to-b selling is complicated, complex and deals with high-dollar, long selling cycles. The best marketers are creating content that explains the work companies do in a way that educates the potential buyer, gains interest and goes mainstream into consumer channels—that is the sweet spot.”

Backbone Media recently published an entire site dedicated to 2015 marketing predictions. The site is a treasure trove of marketing and sales predictions with input from over 20 marketing thought leaders. Some included some rather provocative predictions like that of Marcus Sheridan, founder of The Sales Lion, who believes that 2015 will see the extinction of sales reps. According to Sheridan, “more and more of these B2B companies are going to realize that the old model of sales reps is incredibly inefficient. In fact, the best sales tool today is incredible teaching, transparency – that is, the content that’s on your website and your digital platforms”.

Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, also featured by Backbone Media, sees the formalization of the sales-enablement function on the rise this year. “I believe sales-enablement in 2015 will be overly managed by the marketing department and will be full of tools, content, processes that help the sales team be more effective with the prospects they have, be more effective with the leads they’re given, and provide the right content in the right context in front of each prospect in the pipeline – increasing volume, velocity, and conversions in their sales pipeline.”

Other thought leaders like Dan McDade are predicting that sales execs won’t invest in enough follow-up actions on prospects. Seeing the same trend with his own clients, Marc Hausman, president and CEO of Strategic Communications Group is forecasting the rise of Web2Sales, a proven methodology in which companies align content, social, search and digital with tactical sales activities. Web2Sales helps inform, shape perceptions and build credibility. Yet, it can also be directed for lead generation, prospect nurturing and deal capture. But understanding that sales reps often fall short of completing the necessary follow up to convert leads to sales, Hausman has also launched the Strategic Lead Management CRM Solution for Salesforce.com. For more information on how Web2Sales can impact your bottom line, check out this recent webinar replay.