Conor Coughlan, Chief Marketing Officer, Armis Inc. Investor, Author, Mentor, LGBTQIA Activist, Founder.
The world we operate in today is far more complex than it has ever been for B2B marketing professionals. Today’s leaders face budget constraints, have to adapt to the impact of the Covid pandemic, which has created both an altered workforce dynamic and shifting customer behaviors, and must take into account new channels and privacy regulations.
This is all compounded by a looming global macroeconomic recession driven by turbulent geopolitics, broken supply chains, spiraling commodity rates, 1970s-style inflation and a whole lot more. The way we worked before is not the way we will need to work tomorrow. We have to pivot to succeed.
Efficient growth will dominate the tech sector for years to come, and now is the time to ensure your marketing mix is truly optimal. The era of new logo acquisition at any cost is over. Smart growth, efficient growth and managed growth will now rule the B2B landscape.
As a seasoned B2B SaaS business professional with a focus on growth and scalability, here are the top seven B2B marketing trends I’m paying attention to and how you can leverage them to stay ahead.
Trend 1: Artificial intelligence capabilities will evolve and form a crucial part of marketing strategies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) was once seen as an incredibly complicated technology for enhancing enormous technology projects, such as huge digital transformation initiatives or life-changing technology implementations. Now, AI is embedded in a plethora of marketing tools and should form a part of how businesses balance engagement, scalability, automation and human interaction.
As AI technology becomes more accessible, it will further help with everything from target audience research to content creation and lead generation. However, don’t assume it is a nirvana for creativity. Robotically produced content still doesn’t “sing” to your audience, but it can get you 60% of the way there.
Trend 2: Despite the surge in video marketing popularity, it’s a channel that still has more to give.
The video marketing drum has been beating for a few years now. That’s because YouTube and Vimeo have become major platforms for brands to tap into, and the thirst for more visual video content is trumping old-school written content. However, for many, it’s still relatively untapped and unused. Video is arguably the most powerful B2B marketing tool available, and its popularity will only continue to grow in the years ahead. What once was a “white paper” is now a video or vlog.
Trend 3: Further personalization will fuel engagement.
Your audience in 2022 already expects you to know who they are and what they like, but that’s no longer enough. Businesses must operate in an omnichannel, always-on, fluid way to ensure all communications and touchpoints are captured—from chatbots to social media to email. Customers then expect you to use that information to tailor marketing messaging to them. If you already know who someone is, why are you asking them to fill out a contact capture form? Stop asking people you know to fill out forms.
Trend 4: Content marketing remains critical to the ‘attract, acquire and retain’ strategy.
Content is king, as the saying goes. But that’s especially true in the world of B2B marketing. B2B content teams will need to create high-quality, engaging content, delivered via optimized digital channels, if they want to attract and retain customers.
However, let’s be real: In B2B, someone else’s content can be king over yours. Whatever you think of the pay-to-play model, many analyst houses outrank your ability to produce content. So, consider working with the big names (such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC, etc.) to do some research for you.
Trend 5: Many marketers still need to get account-based marketing right.
Account-based marketing is a popular marketing strategy that’s emerged properly over the last five years, focusing on targeting specific accounts rather than individual leads. However, for most businesses, executing these strategies still leaves a lot to be desired. If done well, account-based marketing is very effective and helps marketing teams create sales engagement with key accounts.
Let’s be frank: Not every marketing organization is mature enough for ABM. If your team is evolving or you are working to scale up your startup, then ABM is not for you. Focus on cluster marketing or “one to many,” as it is also known, and forget hyper-targeting. Your sales team probably doesn’t even have a proper account plan yet.
Trend 6: Third-party validation and social media marketing will build greater buyer trust.
Third-party validation and social media marketing have become key components for building brand awareness and trust and getting in front of the right target audience. Reviews on third-party review websites play a vital role in the success of any B2B marketing strategy, as many buyers use online reviews to research a business before making a purchase decision.
Trend 7: Data-driven marketing must be at the forefront of every marketing leader’s plans.
Data is becoming an increasingly important weapon for B2B marketers. That’s because data can help you understand your target audience, track your marketing performance and decide where to allocate your marketing budget. B2B marketers who can use data effectively will be in a great position to succeed.
Look, you don’t need to be a forensic accountant; you just need to know what works and what doesn’t, what drives revenue and conversions and what does not. Once you know this, you can double down on the strategies that lead to conversion.
Understand how to be a more effective B2B marketer.
There are a lot of exciting B2B marketing trends to watch out for in 2022, ’23, ’24 and beyond. If you want to be successful in B2B marketing, you must incorporate them into your marketing strategy. Whatever you do going forward, be cost-conscious, double down on what works for demand generation and pivot to efficient growth.
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