• Emily Malone

Digital marketing’s key emerging trends in 2017

Last Thursday, we traveled to Salesforce World Tour and picked up some handy tips to share with you lovely lot. If you missed it, you can watch the keynote here.

After the initial keynote, I quite literally shimmied over to Autitorium 3 where I was given a swanky pair of headphones akin to those you’d find in a silent disco (if you saw our Instagram Story on the day, you’ll know what I mean).

It was in this illuminated crowd that I listened to an interesting session called ‘How to drive more leads and sales with digital advertising powered by Salesforce’ to get some insight into those all-important, ever-changing digital advertising trends. Here’s what was said…

Lead generation

In b2b, lead generation is considered most important, but despite much being spent on this aspect of marketing, only an alarming 13 percent of businesses describe their lead generation efforts as “very successful” (Ascend2). This means that whatever the majority of marketers are doing to help their sales teams today, it’s not really working. Yikes.

Mobile- first

Last year digital advertising continued to grow, increasing by 20 percent year over year, and is predicted to grow by another 18 percent this year to reach $229 billion. While that’s not too surprising, a lot of this growth is down to the explosion of mobile advertising (which jumped from 44 percent of all digital ads globally in 2015 to 56 percent in 2016), and the dominance of Facebook and Google. Now, it’s predicted that 69 percent of all 2018’s ad revenue will come from mobile.

According to Salesforce’s ‘State of the Connected Customer’ 2016 report, 84 percent of b2b buyers under age 35 believe mobile is essential to their work. And more than half (57 percent) of business buyers say they’re likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t provide an easy-to-use mobile experience.

What’s more, according to a Google study, 42 percent of b2b buyers use their phone in the business purchasing process, but only three percent of the digital marketing budget is allocated to mobile digital marketing (MarketingProfs). So, there’s definitely a gap between how b2b marketers advertise and what actually attracts modern-day customers.

Automation and customer data

Automation will be your best friend when it comes to marketing in today’s business world. But what’s troubling is that 80 percent of respondents to a Harvard Business Review survey said they have little or no automation in place when it comes to qualifying leads, and 75 percent said they don’t automate passing leads to sales.

This is at a time when 91 percent of the most successful users agree that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across channels (Marketo & Ascend2). Plus, Best-in-Class companies are said to be 67 percent more likely to use a marketing automation platform (Aberdeen Group).

So why are only 20 percent of the Harvard Business Review respondents using it? Leading b2b brands use a combination of their customer data and automation to produce superior results. But marketing automation isn’t easy to get right. You need a powerful platform like Salesforce or HubSpot to truly make a difference.  A great example of this is Salesforce’s very own Pardot brand, which saw a 2.3x increase in reaching its desired audience with advanced customer matching, along with a 3.8x return on ad spend. 

In the b2b digital advertising realm, we’re seeing both growth and innovation, but also disruption of traditional ways-of-working for businesses. This, according to Salesforce, is mostly down to younger decision-makers and the increased adoption of mobile. Now, top marketers are using CRM to achieve higher engagement rates and lead-generation quality.


The b2b landscape is changing at a fast pace, and increasingly relies on sophisticated technologies. According to Salesforce, to be relevent to the modern b2b buyer, businesses need to have a comprehensive mobile strategy combined with deeper customer data and automation.