In 2024 marketing teams everywhere are under pressure to do more with less and demonstrate ROI quickly. In some markets, the primary pain is economic, like the hangover the U.S. tech sector is suffering from over-hiring during the pandemic. In other instances, corporate leaders are simply pushing back against popular tactics like ABM, saying they take too long, cost too much, and deliver too little.
Beneath it all is disruption, and it can be difficult to discern the best way to proceed.
We hope to help with our predictions for what to expect in B2B marketing in 2024 and tips on how to respond.
1. AI-generated content expectations will fall back to earth
We hit the peak of the hype cycle for generative AI and content in 2023, so expect humans to produce more B2B content in 2024 instead of less. Why?
B2B brands need accuracy, specificity, comprehensiveness, and nuanced storylines to reach the right prospects and influence fiercely competitive purchasing decisions. So far gen AI apps have not proven they can do this. People are finding that the checking and rework required offsets time and resource savings.
Additionally, there are efficacy questions. The New York Times is the latest big name to sue OpenAI over alleged copyright violations, and more lawsuits are inevitable. How the government will regulate these tools for safety is also unknown. Meanwhile, marketing teams need to keep putting out content, and we expect them to play it safer in response.
Finally, gen AI has disrupted SEO as the marquee avenue for online content discoverability, which means brands need more content to augment their SEO strategies. Even Jeff Bezos is betting against SEO staying dominant, and as more buyers use generative AI for basic research, brands will need a lot more unique content in order to be picked up and identified by these engines.
TIP: Start an annual research project on your buyers. You’ll lay the groundwork for a year’s worth of content with unique insights that no one can copy.
2. The channel revenue engine keeps revving
2023 was a growth year for channel marketing, and this will continue. But brands will reward partners that make the most of MDF allotments with more dollars. That’s because they are frustrated with partners that jump from quarter to quarter spending MDF without defined goals and a cohesive strategy. Brands want to see ROI for their investment and will be prioritizing partners with strong strategies.
TIP: Look for channel marketing leaders to introduce creative ways to reach mid- and late-stage buyers, such as small, intimate online events instead of wider and more scattered approaches.
3. GTM approaches will unify and improve on traditional tactics
Traditional marketing approaches like demand generation and ABM are now falling under bigger-picture go-to-market (GTM) strategies that give marketing and sales teams a more unified playbook for hitting revenue goals. Marketing’s part of a GTM strategy provides step-by-step plans built on answers to these questions:
- How is sales success defined from a sales and marketing perspective?
- What do we need to become a part of the important conversations buyers are having?
- What tools are at our disposal?
- How do we use those tools to present ourselves in a way that buyers will react to us?
TIP: A GTM strategy could include plans for multiple audiences, such as existing customers and new customers, and marketing teams layer in ideas and tools that are best suited to that group.
4. Visionary brands pivot from short-term KPIs to long-term revenue gain
Traditional marketing KPIs like MQL and SQL can perpetuate silos and prevent a more cost-effective approach to revenue growth. Equating leads with success dates back to early 2000s when marketing automation platforms were making their first splash, and folks needed a way to measure and justify their investment. Today, technology platforms across functions are easy to integrate around a single goal using APIs and other tools.
The problem is that a lot of people in marketing still equate leads with success, but we expect to see more visionary brands embrace a unified operations model that emphasizes longer-term revenue growth. By uniting sales, marketing, and customer success operations, a company can have an always-on revenue-generation model instead of discrete and siloed campaigns.
TIP: Ask our RevOps team to audit your systems and identify priority actions that will accelerate your team’s journey to unified operations.
2024 will be a great year for B2B marketing
A lot has changed for us and our clients since we were making plans for 2023, and despite the challenges, we like now best of all. Technology is making new paths to revenue possible, and our clients are challenging us to provide more comprehensive solutions that are cost-effective and make them stand out.
We’re up for the challenge and have lots more ideas to share. Please reach out to us to hear them!