It’s not been an easy ride recently, with shrinking budgets, technology, GDPR and what have you, but B2B agencies are going stronger than ever, according to B2B Marketing’s Agencies Benchmarking Report 2018.

Thanks to our awesome clients, MOI gave the average growth rates a healthy bump. Our Weybridge office is practically (and almost literally) bursting at the seams with all the extra talent we’ve managed to cram in and we have opened a new office in the US alongside the ones in Sydney and Singapore. Our medium size means we’re able to remain agile while delivering global but localised marketing campaigns.

So what does 2018 have in store for B2B marketing?

Bold ideas

Shane Redding (a previous MOI Disrupt Forum speaker, so we know she knows what she’s talking about) says in the report, “I think the big idea, or unique creative, has become even more important.” That’s why, for every campaign, every bit of creative, you need to look for the head-turning idea.

Take, for example, “Hug a Hacker”, our awareness campaign for F5 Networks. It would have been easy to be deadly serious when discussing cybercrime. But we instead used a humorous treatment, with the message that, in the war on cybercrime, you need to know your enemies and understand your threats – hence keeping your enemies closer by hugging a hacker.

The message was universal too, with it being tailored and created in six languages for 48 countries across Western and Eastern Europe, Benelux, the Nordics and the Middle East.

Are we being creative enough?

The benchmarking report says agencies are complaining that clients are too often opting for the safe ideas. But the clients are complaining too – that agencies aren’t introducing new ideas or methods to push and challenge the brief.

So who’s right? Let’s not fight over it. The important thing is that we all agree B2B marketing needs to be braver.

We know, it’s tough to invest in the more daring, head-turning ideas when you’re increasingly under pressure from a focus on measurement, metrics and ROI. That’s why we make sure MOI’s talent is a mix of creatives, data scientists and strategists. It means that the big ideas don’t turn heads just for the sake of looking pretty, but actually deliver the ROI you need.

 Say goodbye to the hard sell

‘Emotional engagement’ is one of the marketing opportunities that made it to the Benchmarking Report’s top five trends, for both client- and agency-side.

You can’t just get somebody’s attention by shoving a head-turning idea in their face and calling it a day. You need to back it up, and guide them carefully through their decision-making process.

How? Take, for example, The Big HR and Payroll Quiz, our award-winning campaign for Sage. Based on the personality quiz format, it’s a fun and social way for prospects to learn more about Sage at their own pace – and there’s no hard sell in sight.

Now it’s time for The Big One

This is probably about the millionth time you’ve read about it this month alone, but we can’t avoid mentioning it: yes, it’s ABM.

The Agencies Benchmarking Report 2018 reveals that a fifth of agencies are already delivering ABM-related services – and ABM was a category B2B Marketing introduced only this year. It’s going to be big across the world – MOI’s APAC Client Director, Jonathan Seto, named it as one of his 2018 B2B marketing trends to look out for.

It’s back, not just because the technology has finally caught up, but out of necessity. Returns from traditional mass lead generation continue to fall while GDPR will change how we’re allowed to use personal data.

Legitimate interests’ is the legal basis that marketers will most often use for processing data. It means you can’t even send an email to someone unless you know it’s something that applies to them. So your campaigns need to be targeted – an HR campaign that targets HR leaders, for example. And do you really need to be reminded of the huge fines you risk by breaking the rules?

Join our Disrupt Forum workshop on 15th March for a step-by-step guide to implementing a fool proof ABM strategy.

So, that’s 2018 all wrapped up – be more creative and target your campaigns. Easy. Give us a shout if you want us to make it even easier for you.

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