Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is undergoing rapid transformation, reports Winterberry Group in its newest whitepaper, Outlook for B2B Marketing – A Market in Transformation. This is attributable to multiple factors ranging from the emergence of digital natives among buying and selling decision-makers, the post-pandemic ‘consumerisation’ of business marketing, increased efficiencies in tech investments that are foundational to marketing platforms and the nascent adoption of Artificial Intelligence, among other trends.
The paper is the result of surveys conducted with 200 marketers and more than two dozen agency and analytics professionals immersed in B2B markets across North America and Europe. The paper was preceded by Winterberry Group statistical research, released in January, which shows B2B marketing spending may reach an estimated US$53.7 billion this year, for the first time eclipsing pre-pandemic spending of US$50.4 billion, as measured in 2019.
“This full recovery of B2B spending is not a ‘back to usual’ moment,” said Bruce Biegel, Senior Managing Partner, Winterberry Group, one of the paper’s co-authors. “In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have had a transformative effect on the marketplace, leading businesses to make changes in how they organise, strategise and execute to align sales and marketing and to drive results.”
According to the whitepaper and Biegel, among key drivers of transformation are:
- B2B buyers are taking their consumer experience to work and ‘consumerising B2B’ in terms of customer care, user experience, social media, reviews and brand presence across channels, among other influences
- B2B buyers are beginning the buying journey online and more often ending in online environments, yet the journey is anything but linear as the journey moves between the online and offline interactions. Marketers need to map buying journeys across multiple interaction points and focus on measurement of buyer behaviour at each point
- Digital natives have elevated into decision-making roles – leading to systemic changes in buying behaviours including how they collaborate within the organisation and with peers, and leverage social media as part of the decision process
- Content at scale and speed will be enabled by conversational AI and Machine Learning to enable versioning and message optimisation for efficiency. Creative ideas generated by humans and brand trust will drive marketing effectiveness
- While privacy and data regulations will limit addressability of marketing messages one to one, the marketplace is rapidly adapting with investment in data infrastructure that enable the use of metadata, intent, context and improved analytics in a quest to drive performance
- Tech stack investments will seek to improve utilisation by both sales and marketing teams by focusing on organisation- and user-defined objectives of what should be done versus what can be done. Thus, tech investments need to be assessed against use cases and objectives, rather than features and capabilities
Rob Sanchez, CEO of Anteriad, said: “Centralising marketing data, using their tech stack investments to consolidate insights from digital channels and analytics to map the new customer journey and to measure attribution are all actions that should be on every B2B CMOs’ shortlist.”Click below to share this article