B2B marketers have a serious challenge on their hands, tasked with generating high-value leads and guiding them through a high-touch sales cycle. Here is a visual guide to B2B marketing that will give brands the edge in this competitive environment.

Driven by data
Following the lead of innovative B2C marketers is arguably the best way to get a B2B initiative off the ground and moving forward. To kick things off, brands should make the full shift to digital marketing, as 98 percent of brands believe the online and offline gap has been closed.

Marketers should also take responsibility for customer data in their B2B efforts – more than half of failures related to marketing technology occur due to mismanaged ownership of this information.

Using a centralized marketing automation platform can help businesses organize and leverage data properly.

Diversify approaches
Rather than sticking to the traditional marketing playbook, B2B brands need to mix things up in 2016. Custom content is a sure bet for new leads and engagement, and these budgets will rise 59 percent for B2B companies by next year. E-books, blogs, papers and graphics should all be considered ASAP.

Also, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of B2B buyers are keen on mobile discovery and communication, meaning that all aspects of the marketing mix should be optimized for access on smaller screens. This includes calls to action, branded materials and even purchase capabilities.

Remember fundamentals
With so many new marketing methods to track and implement, B2B marketers must remind themselves to stay sharp on the basics. Email, for instance, is still the primary communications channel for 86 percent of strategists, and it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

By combining next-gen marketing tools and techniques with solid fundamentals, any B2B brand can succeed in the digital age.