The end of the year is creeping up on us. The latkes have been eaten and the candles have been lit. Last minute online Christmas shopping is taking place during lunch breaks. New years plans are being finalized. I’m personally buying swimsuits on sale as I countdown the days I leave for Mexico for the holidays. Season’s greetings indeed 😉

But before we rush out the door for our holiday plans it might be worth reviewing 2015 and rethinking some outdated marketing tactics. What better time to ditch the old and welcome the new than January 2016. Here are 5 B2B marketing tactics you might want to update for the New Year.

Puffed up press releases

Press releases shouldn’t be eliminated from your marketing strategy, but they definitely have a specific time and place. The purpose of a press release is to make an announcement boosting your brand, and although it allows for bragging rights, it doesn’t do much to fix your consumer’s problems. A reader may be impressed by a press release, but they most likely won’t read it more than once and they do very little to attract new followers. And as for less established brands major publications and people in general just aren’t as interested.

What you can do instead

Blog. If you have a blog not only can you post your announcement you can include useful and relevant information to your reader. You can add value to the information. And value makes people read, click and share. When you have an active blog you don’t have to rely on others to get the message out – you get to control it.

Costly tradeshows

I understand the impulse to attend tradeshows. In person events allow for relationships to grow. You feel accomplished as people approach you and you hand out more and more business cards. The problem is people aren’t attending tradeshows. In fact, more than half of all industrial professionals (53%) did not attend in-person tradeshows. Is it really worth the expense (and yes it is very expensive) if no one is going?

What you can do instead

Webinars are filling the in-person tradeshow void. It still allows interactions between technical professionals and vendors without the additional cost of booths, hotels, and travel. Webinars were the second most effective B2B tactic in 2015 and they will most likely continue to increase in popularity in 2016. These online events allow for a face-to-face interaction without all the baggage (literally).

Print trade magazines

If you’re still buying ad space in print trade magazines that’s a problem. I get it; you want to stay in front of your audience. Well, guess what your audience isn’t even subscribing to printed trade magazines. Across all age groups (yes all age groups, not just millennials) readers are subscribing to digital publications instead of print magazines. “In 2015 technical professional are subscribing to an average of 4.4 digital publications versus an average of 1.4 printed trade magazines, a difference of more than threefold.” THREE-FOLD (I decided to bold it just in case you missed it). And no offense but even those that are subscribing to print magazines are most likely breezing through your ad space.

What you can do instead

You should build links back to your website by having digital publications publish your posts (you know the ones I talked about earlier). Many publications are starved for content and you might already have something relevant from your blog that you can offer. This not only allows you to be in front of your audience in a meaningful way, it also helps increase qualified traffic to your website. And it doesn’t have to be just a blog post. You can also offer visual content, such as an infographic. Creating and promoting infographics was the B2B marketing tactic that had the greatest increase in usage in 2015, and digital publications have been eating them up.

Content with no strategy

Writing a bunch of blog posts is great. You could write thousands and thousands of words, but without a strategy, it will have no impact. It’s not just about content; it’s about the personas, the channels, and the keywords. Your content needs a purpose and you won’t achieve your goal without a content strategy.

What you can do instead

Document a content strategy. It’s not enough to just say it because let’s be honest it will be forgotten. Not only will the content strategy be forgotten, the thinking behind the strategy will also be overlooked. And the thought process is the most important part. In the B2B world, 35% say they have a documented strategy and those who do, rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness (60%). “If you want to be an effective content marketer, you need a documented strategy (not just a verbal one!)”

Catering to your aging audience

A lot of the B2B marketing tactics I’ve listed above still exist because there is a misconception that older generations are “stuck in their ways”. They like tradeshows and print publications. Press releases are a sign of success and content strategy is a made up marketing term. Maybe some of that is true, but people over 35 are using digital channels for a plethora reasons including research and purchasing decisions.

What you can do instead

You should always try to cater to the most important people in your audience, but it is also worth fostering new relationships with the younger generation of technical professionals. To end my blog post, I will quote IHS engineering research for digital media. “With almost half of the engineering workforce becoming eligible for retirement in the next few years, you must build digital channels to gather information.”

I hope you consider some of these ideas for your marketing plans in 2016.

Happy Holidays!

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