We’re information omnivores at Green Hat, and love staying connected to what’s happening in our industry and the wider world.

We read a lot of great stuff in 2016. Here are some favourites we think B2B marketers will benefit from:

10 trends in B2B marketing: in with the old, out with the new

This January article did a shrewd job prognosticating the year ahead in B2B, calling out the ‘death’ of digital marketing as a silo, the unchallenged persistence of email marketing and the consistent use of content as a way to hurdle the ad-blocked world of traditional digital display.

It’s worth a recap, as these truths hold evident into 2017.

Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report

Meeker’s sweeping study is a goldmine of insights year after year.

Findings for 2016 included the decline of text-based search in favour of image and voice search (consider how this will impact the content B2B marketers create and the channels they inhabit), and the further demise of the homepage and home-screen as the front door for desk or device-based digital experiences (with private apps and other ‘dark’ zones becoming the preferred place for focused interactions).

Gobble it up before the new year begins!

Analysing 25,537 B2B sales conversations with AI

It’s amazing what you learn when you send a bunch of stuff into a sifter! U.S Marketer Chris Orlob crunched over 25,000 B2B sales conversations using machine intelligence. He extracted some illuminating insights about the way B2B salespeople are engaging with prospects, including red-flag language choices and the ratio of listening to talking (hint: not quite what the salespeople think it is).

The lessons here are in-step with wider industry trends around the changes in the nurturing funnel, and a great example of using data to get better results for everyone.

Is it time to stop measuring MQL’s?

This piece posits that B2B organisations should reassess the value of the Marketing Qualified Lead metric in a world of non-linear funnels and customer ecosystems.

Food for thought: “Sales is left with a conundrum, the earlier they see the deal, the better the opportunity they have to establish themselves as a trusted advisor, but the earlier it’s qualified and handed over, the earlier they are left on their own to guide the rest of a long process.”

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Everything the tech world says about marketing is wrong

One positive outcome of the backlash against perceived political correctness could well be that our tolerance for buzzwords is at an all-time low. This opinion piece neatly dismantles the unhelpful echo chamber of marketing in the digital age and makes a strong argument for a reset to basics as a defence against deleterious complexity.

Silicon Valley has an empathy problem

Om Malik’s New Yorker article shot round the world like a lightning rod, sparking conversation about the problematic disconnect between tech elites and the communities they’re creating products for. Malik argues that a single-minded focus on growth that ignores human consequences is not only dangerous for consumers but ultimately dangerous for the bottom line you’re working to preserve.

It’s a pointed reminder about engaging with your customers in meaningful ways.

B2B vs. B2C Websites: Key UX Differences

This detailed Nielsen Norman-Group rundown covers the key differentiators between consumer and B2C websites in 2016. It’s hugely useful to validate how design is serving marketing and organisational objectives.

A world without work

Okay, we’re cheating. This is a landmark article from The Atlantic is actually from 2015, but it’s more resonant than ever in 2016 for anyone in business or marketing. Anyone at all, really.

B2B organisations need to reorientate themselves (their products, their operational models, their people, the value they’re adding…) in this emerging world along with everyone else. Also recommended is this overview of the human cost and potential for massive scale automation across industries.

Did we miss a read you loved this year? Share it in the comments!

Best reads for B2B marketers in 2016

Shawn Low
Shawn has more than 15 years of content and marketing experience, working both client- and agency-sides. His diverse career has seen him work across both the B2C and B2B segments, as well as with start-ups. As Head of Content and Social for Green Hat, Shawn will drive effective content in order to meet strategic, commercial and business needs.