B2B marketing predictionsLast week, I attended my first B2Bchat, a weekly Twitter chat for B2B marketers. The chat explored the convergence of paid, earned and owned media.

With the rise of social networks, earned media (e.g. social shares and positive online reviews) is becoming more valuable in the eyes of customers. Because many customers now base their buying decisions on social proof, the chat questioned whether paid media (e.g. ads) and owned media (e.g. your website) are still valuable marketing tactics.

One of the questions that the moderator posted was, “In two years, will the corporate website be less important than it is today?” Most of the B2B marketers in the chat answered with a resounding “No.” Here are three reasons why:

However, Eric Wittlake made the prediction that “the relative contribution of other outposts will increase” as B2B companies rely less on their websites and split their presence across more channels. One reason why other channels, such as social media, are becoming more important is because they provide companies with valuable user-generated content. You usually can’t get this type of content from paid or owned media.

The Change You Must Make for Your Website to Be Relevant – Both Now and Two Years from Now

Although most of the B2B marketers in the chat believe that corporate websites will still be important in two years, they had a stipulation …

To be relevant – now or two years from now – B2B websites must shift from a brochure format to a format that encourages conversations.

As Maureen Blandford tweeted, “If it’s helpful, dynamic, engaging – it wins. If it’s static, it loses.”

#B2BChat hosts a weekly Twitter chat for B2B marketers every Thursday at 8PM Eastern. To join, simply look up the hashtag in TweetChat. You can also click here to see a full transcript of the chat.

What about you? Do you think that B2B websites will still be important in two years? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

2 Responses

  1. Nice post, Rachel. Do I think B2B websites will still be important in 2 years? I do because it seems that — even before the web and certainly since it — the seller or service-provider has never been the trusted voice site visitors are seeking out.

    (Except in the case of personality businesses, like Marie Forleo.)

    We’ve always sought out sources other than the seller to help us narrow our option sets. Then we fulfill on the B2B website. But now we’re able to go to the B2B site and get the social proof we’ve needed, with most product providers offering ratings/reviews and nearly everyone embedding tweets now.

    If anything, B2B websites are getting much better — and I say that from a point of having written at least 100 of ’em over the last 10 years. We’re seeing more free high-quality education and multimedia storytelling on startup sites in particular, with ways for the visitor to interact with the content. It’s a far cry from where the web was 5 years ago. And with tech startups in particular creating tools to help B2B businesses create more “earned media” and do more with it in their sales funnels — to say nothing of what A/B testing and personalization technologies are helping B2B marketers do for their visitors — I’m optimistic about where sites will be in 2 years…

    1. Hi Joanna,

      Thank you for the comment. Yes, social proof is huge now. I was just at an event where B2B buyers said that they want more social proof. I also think a lot of B2B companies are improving their websites and making them more interactive, educational and customer-focused. Hopefully, this trend continues.

      Cheers,
      Rachel

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