In B2B Marketing: Tomorrow’s Best Practices Today, we feature expert interviews about the state of B2B Marketing and what the future holds. In this post, I interview Shane Barker, digital strategist, digital marketing consultant and influencer.

Tell us about yourself?

I am a digital marketing consultant and an influencer. I’ve also been a keynote speaker at numerous industry events. I love working with a variety of clients and helping them tackle the challenge of taking their digital marketing initiatives to the next level.

With every client that I work with, there’s a new challenge and a new opportunity. That’s what keeps things exciting for me and, hopefully, that’s how it will be for the foreseeable future.

Note: Learn more about Shane by visiting his website and follow Shane on Twitter: @shane_barker.

What’s a best practice that B2B marketers should move on from?

For years, B2B marketers considered attending trade shows and industry events to be the best lead generation strategy. Even marketing books and MBA schools used to teach that, for a B2B business, that’s one of the best lead generation strategies.

However, it is time that B2B marketers move on from that and change their perspective.

I am not saying that they should stop attending such events. These events are great for networking and prospecting, but not necessarily for lead generation. In fact, they are a time-consuming and expensive lead-generation strategy.

Instead, B2B marketers should focus a lot more on online lead-generation strategies because most businesses conduct online research before making a purchase decision, just as consumers do.

Tell us a best practice of tomorrow that B2B marketers should be doing today?

I think podcasts are going to be a big part of B2B marketing strategies in the future. And, marketers who start a podcast today will have an edge over those who don’t.

Podcasts are informative and engaging, so much so that people up to an hour listening to them. Which other content format keeps consumers engaged for that long? The answer is none.

This presents a great opportunity for B2B marketers to start leveraging this content format as a more integral part of their marketing and branding strategies.

What are B2B brands NOT doing with influencer marketing, but should be?

I won’t say that no B2B brands are doing this, but very few actually take the time to educate their influencers about the product and ask them to do a tutorial or detailed review.

In B2C influencer marketing, product tutorials are very common, but these are not as common when it comes to B2B influencer marketing. This is an area that B2B brands can strategically explore by collaborating with few, select influencers who are considered experts in their field.

Note: Read a related post by Carter Hostelley, 4 Rules of B2B Influencer Marketing.

Tell us about a wide-open opportunity for B2B brands with organic social media marketing?

I think that a lot of B2B brands don’t fully leverage organic social media marketing or even put any effort into maintaining an active social media presence. And, once they start incorporating social media as a part of their marketing strategy, then there are numerous ways in which they can excel at it.

They can use social media to tell their stories and humanize their brands. They can use it to provide social proof by means of customer testimonials and reviews. They can simply maintain an active social media presence and post content that resonates with their intended audiences.

So, I think that organic social media marketing in itself is an opportunity for B2B brands that they have not yet leveraged to its fullest potential.

How should a B2B brand think about SEO these days?

As their most important lead-generation strategy.

After all, SEO is what helps you get that relevant organic search traffic, which is nothing but leads for your business. So, every B2B business should definitely invest in SEO and ensure that their landing pages are ranking for the right keywords.

Note: Read a related post from Shane, How to Design Your SEO Campaign to Achieve Top Rankings

Describe B2B marketing in three words or less?

Prospect, drive, convert.

Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to tell us about B2B marketing?

B2B marketing is much more than B2C marketing because the people that you have to convince to buy your products/services are experts in the field.

So, if you compare your marketing initiatives’ performance with those of B2C brands, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Know that B2B marketing is tough and give yourself some credit instead of pulling yourself down.