Agency execs sound off on 2008 marketing trends

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From using more online video in ad campaigns to expanding their mobile marketing efforts, b-to-b marketers will embrace many new marketing platforms in 2008.

To find out some of the top marketing trends for the new year, BtoB talked to three top ad agency executives: John Osborn, CEO of BBDO New York; Gary Slack, managing partner of Slack Barshinger, Chicago; and Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade, New York.

BtoB: What are your clients looking at in terms of marketing programs next year?

Slack: We continue to see more and more interest in both search and programs with measurable Web interactions-lead generation, downloads, etc. We’ve noticed and have been very surprised by how equipment manufacturing companies seem to be embracing and investing significantly in paid search.

There has also been a shift from traditional Flash banners to Flash video banners in some client budgets.

We have clients who will be rolling out thought-leadership blogs designed to engage customers on key industry business issues and get them to post regularly and candidly as key company managers.

Osborn: We’re seeing a lot more willingness from what are traditionally thought of as b-to-b businesses directing their marketing programs through a b-to-c lens. B-to-b brands, although their business is primarily about attracting a business customer base, have realized that it’s also important to communicate directly with customers who are ultimately the endgame. So there is a lot more storytelling, more emotion and more personalization in marketing programs.

BtoB: What are some of the top marketing trends for 2008?

Neisser: With more than 70% broadband penetration, streaming video is a “must” marketing tool. Lots of brands are producing instructional videos to help customers install or use their product or service. Others create pure entertainment, hoping to build brand affinity or drive traffic.

Marketers will add behavioral targeting to contextual search efforts. A test we ran for Panasonic yielded 50% more imminent buyers of a particular consumer electronics product, making it far and away better than a simple search buy.

Osborn: Things like Facebook, which began as social networking sites for consumers, have shown an increasing utility among business-to-business peer groups as well.

We’re seeing a lot more personalization with marketing programs our clients are using. FedEx reached customers through a program called “Slingshot, where you can put assets into a virtual FedEx box, then pull back a slingshot and send it to a recipient. That is more personal, emotional and engaging.

Slack: We believe we’ll see more and more b-to-b marketers experimenting with, though not allocating big budgets to, mobile marketing. We’ll definitely see WAP versions of existing corporate sites on the horizon, as well as more spending on banners and text placements on news-based mobile sites.

We see more companies interested in and trying to measure and evaluate the combined impact of marketing and PR, not only for ROI, but to evaluate messaging and overall campaign effectiveness.

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