The future of business is shaped by five trends as the marketing ecosystem evolves. Marketers must integrate these trends into their B2B marketing strategy to stay ahead of competitors.
Why this matters:
By understanding and applying these trends, B2B brands can experience unprecedented growth in reaching untapped audiences and outperforming their competitors across multiple KPIs.
By the numbers:
- AI-powered marketing tools are predicted to drive a 14.5% increase in global B2B revenues by 2025 (IDC)
- Video content in B2B marketing is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022 (Cisco)
- By 2025, AI generation will account for 30% of a brand’s marketing messages (Gartner)
The market is moving fast. Innovation is happening in real time. OpenAI’s release of ChatGPT in 2022 accelerates innovation at never experienced speeds.
Marketers must stay current with emerging trends to maintain a competitive edge and drive business growth. Adapting to the latest developments enables brands to serve clients better and positions your business at the forefront of industry innovation.
We will look at 5 key trends shaping the future of B2B marketing strategy. And when I say the future, I mean these trends are shaping today. Most of these trends aren’t groundbreaking ideas. These are things that you should already be doing as a part of your B2B marketing strategy. If not, keep reading and consider how you might want to implement some of these ideas into your current strategy.
Trend 1: The Prominence of Generative AI in B2B Marketing
Generative AI has become a game-changer for the future of B2B marketing strategies. The technology’s ability to create new and unique content is changing everything. In the past, creating impactful content required skilled writers with years of experience in a particular industry or field. Generative AI has changed that. Marketers can now produce content quickly without the need for extensive writing expertise.
This has opened up several opportunities for B2B and tech brands, regardless of size, industry, or marketing budget. With generative AI, B2B marketers can create a wide variety of human-like content, including email campaigns, white papers, blogs, social media content, and product descriptions. This helps scale their content marketing operations to reach new audiences, create engagement, and drive conversions. Scaling content has always been challenging for brands, especially multinational companies selling products in different countries. Generative AI has enabled brands to scale their content creation operation in multiple languages without compromising quality.
This democratization also extends to video production. AI technologies can now write scripts, headlines, descriptions, and other essential elements, making video production more accessible. This has the potential to level the playing field for brands wanting to incorporate video into their B2B marketing strategies.
Adobe released a new feature for Premiere Pro users called Text-Based Editing, powered by Adobe’s Sensei generative AI process. With this tool, marketers can copy and paste the text into the video timeline, and Premiere will automatically analyze and transcribe it. This feature can save marketers significant time by eliminating the need to transcribe text manually.
Adobe has also introduced an automated option for color-balancing and adjusting HDR footage, making this previously time-consuming task more convenient. By automating these processes, marketers can focus on other important aspects of their B2B marketing strategy and speed up the video editing workflow at the same time.
The question of speed versus quality remains a hot topic of debate, and it’s understandable. While generative AI can quickly produce creative images and videos, some argue that the output might not match a seasoned designer’s level of detail and precision. This balance between efficiency and quality is something that brands must consider when incorporating AI into their B2B marketing strategies.
Buyer personas are integral in shaping campaigns that resonate with B2B buyers and decision-makers. Generative AI can help develop these personas, providing an efficient starting point for marketers. By analyzing existing data, AI can identify patterns and trends, ultimately generating a prototype of a potential buyer. This can help save time and resources in the initial stages of persona creation.
However, relying on AI-generated personas might not produce the most accurate representation of the buyer. The best path forward is to use real data from real sources–customer surveys, interviews, sales data, and social media analytics. For example, generative AI might identify common demographic trends among potential buyers, such as age, location, or job title. However, marketers must take it one step further to understand their motivations, pain points, and decision-making processes. This may involve conducting an audience analysis, engaging with customers directly, or analyzing feedback from sales teams.
Combining AI-generated insights and customer data results in a more holistic understanding of the buyer, ensuring that B2B marketing strategies will deliver results.
Trend 2: Integrating Advanced AI into B2B Marketing Strategies
AI and ML have found their footing in numerous applications that can benefit B2B marketing strategies. This technology is changing how brands communicate with customers, from chatbots and virtual assistants to content generation and programmatic advertising. Also, they facilitate a deeper understanding of consumer behavior to understand “why” and “when” buyers are making purchase decisions. B2B marketing strategies integrating AI/ML into their processes will benefit from increased efficiency and better results.
Automation is another key advantage AI and ML can bring to a B2B marketing strategy. Implementing software like HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, and Adobe empowers marketers to automate mundane tasks, freeing time to focus on larger strategic initiatives. Programmatic advertising is another area where automation provides value. This enables real-time bidding and audience targeting, ensuring maximum return on investment.
Another significant benefit AI and ML can bring to a B2B marketing strategy is automation. Using software such as HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, and Adobe allows marketers to automate routine tasks, freeing time to focus on larger strategic initiatives. Automation also adds value to programmatic advertising and media buying. This allows for real-time bidding and audience targeting, ensuring the best possible return on investment.
Predictive analytics is gaining importance for B2B marketing strategies. Thanks to the advancements in AI/ML technologies, brands can accurately predict the performance of their paid media strategy and campaigns by utilizing vast datasets and sophisticated algorithms. This ability to predict outcomes enables marketers to optimize their strategies and allocate resources more efficiently. Given all the AI inputs and variables, it can also help inform budgets and identify which digital channels produce the best results.
Predictive analytics can also help marketers recognize data patterns and tendencies that can inform the development of future marketing campaigns. These insights allow brands to tailor messaging to specific audiences, ensuring high relevance and resonance.
Trend 3: Elevating B2B Marketing Strategy With Video
Brands have increasingly recognized video as a critical B2B marketing strategy. Videos help marketers communicate complex ideas and concepts; it’s easy to digest. Videos can showcase products or services, provide tutorials or demonstrations, interview executives, and showcase customer success stories.
B2B marketers can enhance lead generation and increase engagement rates and conversions by prioritizing video in their marketing strategy. While many brands already know this, many have not realized it is a strategic opportunity.
Marketers prioritizing video content have discovered the art of repurposing long-form videos into digestible short-form content for wider distribution. They are creating several short clips and distributing them as YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Stories. This approach amplifies video content across multiple channels and ensures audiences remain engrossed in the brand’s narrative. Furthermore, repurposing content extends the life of existing assets, allowing marketers to optimize their resources while reaching new segments of their target audience.
The rise of generative AI has turned the world of video upside down. Generative AI can spark unique video content ideas, draft informative scripts, and expedite production. Some use cases include creating personalized video recommendations for clients, generating on-brand product demonstrations, or crafting thought-provoking thought leadership content.
Incorporating video marketing and storytelling into B2B marketing strategies allows brands to present complex ideas more creatively, humanize their brand, and forge lasting relationships with potential buyers.
Trend 4: Influencer Collabs Will Elevate B2B Marketing Strategies
B2B marketing strategies must go beyond traditional approaches to reach decision-makers effectively. The customer journey has become more complex, and buyers now have more options, especially in the tech sector. Collaborating with influencers is one way to reach buyers in their dynamic journey.
Identifying the most relevant industry influencers is the most crucial step in the process, and there are several ways to approach it–network analysis, topical analysis, and the 1:9:90 model of influence.
Network analysis examines the relationships and interactions within a specific online community or social network. By mapping these influencer connections, marketers can better understand the full ecosystem and identify the individuals with significant influence.
This approach focuses on several aspects that connect influencers, such as the number of connections an individual has (degree centrality), how central they are to the network’s overall structure (betweenness centrality), and the extent to which they connect with other influential individuals (eigenvector centrality). Network analysis provides a detailed view of an influencer’s reach, prominence, and potential impact on a specific audience by analyzing these relationships.
Network analysis can also reveal essential information about the nature of relationships within the structure. This includes the identification of subgroups or clusters of like-minded individuals, the interconnectedness of these subgroups, and potential bridge figures that connect various communities.
A topical analysis is used to identify influencers who consistently engage and discuss a specific topic relevant to the industry. By examining the content produced and shared by individuals about the topic, brands can identify the influencers with expertise, authority, and thought leadership.
This approach involves analyzing keywords, phrases, and themes frequently appearing in the content created or shared by these influencers. By tracking these patterns, B2B brands can identify individuals whose interests and expertise align with their industry or potential audience. These influencers are more likely to drive meaningful conversations and foster genuine connections with others in the industry, most notably B2B buyers and decision-makers.
A topical analysis can uncover insights into emerging trends, popular discussions, and notable opinions within a given industry. This information allows brands to remain up-to-date and adapt their B2B marketing strategies.
Lastly, the 1:9:90 model of influence is a framework that segments an audience based on their level of participation within a community. By understanding these distinct segments and how they can work together, B2B brands can prioritize and customize their influencer engagement.
The model divides users into three tiers:
The 1% Creators: These individuals are the most active and influential community members. They generate original content, initiate discussions, and drive trends, effectively shaping the narrative in their domain. As thought leaders and experts, they have high authority and credibility, making them ideal collaborators for brands seeking to impact buyers.
The 9% Contributors: This segment comprises users who actively participate in conversations by commenting, sharing, and engaging with the content produced by the 1%. Contributors are not as influential as the creators but can influence other audiences. They will often amplify messages, disseminate information, and validate the opinions and perspectives of others. Brands can leverage these individuals to broaden their reach, foster engagement, and reinforce their messaging.
The 90% Lurkers: Most users fall into this category, characterized by passive content consumption without active engagement or contribution. These silent observers may not have a significant impact on others. Still, they do represent a vast potential audience that can be influenced and converted by the efforts of the creators and contributors.
After identifying the influencers, brands can look into ways to incorporate them into their programs. Smart and integrated B2B marketing strategies will integrate influencers within their paid, earned, shared, and owned media programs. For example, content creation is a win-win situation because brands can tap into an influencer’s audience while providing valuable resources to their followers. Furthermore, hosting video interviews with key executives allows brands to showcase their expertise and provide exclusive insights while gaining access to industry leaders. Inviting influencers to attend and speak at customer events is another effective strategy for increasing networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration.
But the benefits of influencer partnerships don’t stop there. By working closely with industry influencers, B2B brands can build credibility and trust in the marketplace. This is particularly important as B2B buyers increasingly rely on research to purchase. Authentic partnerships with influencers not only help establish a brand’s expertise but also provide potential customers with valuable information from an unbiased source, boosting confidence in the brand’s products and services.
Trending 5: Embracing Sustainable and Ethical Marketing
B2B buyers and decision-makers increasingly seek sustainable and ethical solutions when purchasing products. This has motivated companies to adapt and incorporate these values into their B2B marketing strategy.
The importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is one reason for this shift in expectations.B2B Buyers expect companies to be responsible citizens, focusing on the impact of their products and services on society and the environment. As a result, B2B marketing strategies must go beyond large marketing and brand campaigns. They must emphasize the company’s commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices.
A comprehensive approach to sustainable and ethical marketing involves addressing various business operations aspects, including supply chain management, energy consumption, and waste reduction. For instance, B2B brands can showcase their efforts to source materials responsibly, reduce carbon emissions, and minimize waste in their marketing messages. Doing so can demonstrate their commitment to positive change, fostering trust and credibility among internal and external stakeholders.
Also, ethical marketing goes hand in hand with transparency.
B2B brands must be open and honest about their practices, sharing relevant information with customers, partners, analysts, and the media. This can include providing details about labor practices, data privacy policies, or the company’s philanthropic endeavors. By being transparent and accountable, B2B companies can reinforce their commitment to ethical practices and foster lasting relationships with their audience. This can sustain brand health metrics, reputation, and positive media coverage.
Sustainable and ethical marketing is essential to a successful B2B marketing strategy. By embracing responsible practices and integrating them into marketing efforts, B2B brands can meet the growing demand for sustainability, strengthen their brand reputation, and forge deeper connections with their audience and the general public, ultimately contributing to a better future for all.
Final Thoughts on Building B2B Marketing Strategies
In conclusion, the future of B2B marketing strategy is being shaped by many trends emphasizing the importance of innovation, adaptability, and social responsibility. Among these trends, generative AI is revolutionizing content, enabling B2B companies to create agile content and distribute it into the marketplace, similar to a media company. However, balancing speed with quality and considering potential drawbacks and ethical concerns is essential.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning further enhance B2B marketing through automation, programmatic advertising, and predictive analytics. While these technologies offer significant benefits, addressing potential challenges, such as data privacy and the overreliance on automation, is crucial. Meanwhile, video storytelling is rapidly gaining traction in B2B marketing, with brands harnessing the power of video by repurposing long-form content into short-form videos for various platforms and utilizing generative AI to generate ideas and scripts.
Influencer collaboration is another critical trend, expanding B2B marketing reach and building credibility. Identifying relevant influencers, collaborating on content creation, and fostering authentic partnerships can significantly enhance a brand’s reputation in the marketplace. Finally, sustainable and ethical marketing is becoming increasingly vital as the demand for responsible business practices grows. Integrating sustainability and ethics into B2B marketing strategies and a strong focus on corporate social responsibility can help brands differentiate themselves and forge deeper connections with their audience.
Q: What is B2B Marketing Strategy?
A: B2B marketing strategy refers to businesses’ techniques and methods to promote their products or services to other businesses or organizations.
Q: What are the 5 trends shaping the future of B2B marketing?
A: The 5 trends shaping the future of B2B marketing are the prominence of generative AI, enhancing B2B marketing strategies with AI/ML, elevating B2B engagement with video and influencer partnerships, and embracing sustainable and ethical marketing.
Q: What is generative AI in B2B marketing?
A: Generative AI refers to using artificial intelligence to generate new and unique content, such as personalized email campaigns and product recommendations.
Q: How can AI/ML enhance B2B marketing strategies?
AI/ML can enhance B2B marketing strategies by analyzing data to gain insights about customer behavior, optimizing lead generation, and personalizing customer experiences.
Q: What is the role of video in B2B marketing?
A: Video is becoming increasingly important in B2B marketing, as it can effectively communicate complex ideas and demonstrate products or services in action. It can also help build trust and establish a personal connection with potential customers.
Q: What are influencer partnerships in B2B marketing?
A: Influencer partnerships in B2B marketing involve collaborating with industry leaders or thought leaders to promote products or services. This can help increase brand visibility and credibility.
Q: How does embracing sustainable and ethical marketing impact B2B marketing strategies?
A: Embracing sustainable and ethical marketing can help businesses differentiate themselves from competitors, increase customer loyalty, and attract environmentally and socially conscious customers. It can also help mitigate reputational risks and improve brand perception.