10 Trends That Will Shape B2B Marketing in 2024
These are some of the dynamics that will shape the B2B marketing landscape this year.
This article by Robert Heldt was published in a slightly revised form on Campaign Asia.
As 2023’s echoes of geopolitical jitters and tech tremors fade, B2B marketers face a year rife with opportunity amidst new uncertainties. Staying attuned to both tech’s evolutionary leaps and the ever-shifting tides of customer behavior will be the compass guiding savvy B2B brands to success. With that lens in mind, let’s explore 10 key trends poised to reshape the B2B marketing landscape in 2024.
Use AI Wisely to Succeed
Without a doubt, the use of generative AI and machine learning will continue to revolutionize B2B digital marketing. It can enable more personalized marketing experiences, improve customer segmentation, and optimize marketing campaigns for better results. But it isn’t a magic bullet, and requires clever deployment. As Phyllis Davidson, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, points out, it’s necessary for businesses to think outside the box when using it: “The organizations that will achieve the earliest success with AI-powered personalization are those that invest in experimentation.”
Maintain a Responsible Approach to Data Privacy and Security
The GDPR and CCPA are just two examples of the increasing legal protections that are being extended to internet users’ data privacy. B2B marketers will need to prioritize data security and comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA. According to an article on The CMO, being responsible with the collecting and use of customer data can help you avoid legal difficulties while also establishing an identity of trustworthiness among your customers.
Help Sustainability Take Center Stage
Both businesses and individual consumers are increasingly valuing sustainability. It’s shaping how marketers work, as Rob Mitchell, CEO at FT Longitude explained in a Q&A: “Marketers now have to think about a broader set of stakeholders—from suppliers and investors to NGOs and employees.” This is why we can expect that B2B brands will incorporate eco-friendly practices into their marketing narratives.
Chart a Memorable Customer Experience
Delivering a superior customer experience (CX) will remain a key differentiator for businesses. This isn’t just about the quality of products or services, but the entire journey a customer has with a brand. And as with so many other areas of marketing these days, AI can play an important role here. This is highlighted in Acxiom’s annual CX trends report for 2024. “Businesses that use AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to solve problems before customers even know they exist, or those that proactively make suggestions to prevent potential issues, will be the ones that retain long-term customers.”
Hit the Target with Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing (ABM), which involves targeting specific accounts or companies rather than individual leads, is expected to become more prevalent. This strategy allows for more personalized and relevant marketing efforts, which are detailed in xGrowth’s 2023 ABM Report, which surveyed over 100 CMOs, VPs, and heads of marketing. The report highlights that ABM is picking up in the APAC region, driven by its precision and effectiveness, especially when traditional methods fall short. While countries such as Singapore are leading adoption, markets like Japan face unique challenges such as language barriers and a sales-centric culture, which could be addressed by hiring strategic marketing talent to navigate these challenges.
Tell Compelling Stories with Your Content Marketing
Content will continue to be king, but the focus will shift towards more sophisticated, high-quality, and value-driven content, such as thought leadership pieces and insightful white papers. But however content is used in marketing efforts, it will be key for brands to connect with their audiences through compelling stories if they want to stand out from the crowd.
Stay Focused on Video Content
Video marketing is set to continue its upward trend. B2B marketers may increasingly use video for product demos, customer testimonials, and educational content, leveraging platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn, and specialized B2B networks. According to LinkedIn’s B2B Marketing Benchmark, 59 percent of respondents polled plan to use video in their marketing, and of those who are already using video, some 67 percent intend to boost their usage in the future.
Let Social Commerce Power Sales
B2B companies may start to leverage social commerce more effectively, using social media platforms to not only network and generate leads but also directly sell products and services. And it should come as no surprise that LinkedIn rules the roost for B2B social commerce. Hootsuite reports that 96 percent of B2B content marketers use LinkedIn, while 78 percent use the platform for paid social media posts.
Listen Closely to Voice Search Optimization
Voice-activated devices are proliferating around the world—by 2024, the number of voice assistants in use globally is set to hit 8.4 billion. And they’re becoming more common in the workplace—whether in traditional offices or for remote workers. This is why optimizing content for voice search, such as by taking a more conversational tone in content and honing in on long-tail keywords, will be front and center in SEO professionals’ minds in 2024.
Keep Them Coming with Virtual and Hybrid Events
Even though in-person events have returned for organizations large and small, the popularity of virtual and hybrid events is still going to remain strong. This will require B2B marketers to develop strategies that effectively blend both formats. Some trends within meetings to watch are a greater focus on sustainability and discovering ways for participants to not only work, but also find time to engage in constructive and collaborative downtime.