While the time since early 2020 has been marked by notable upheavals, the past six months have demonstrated that business and industry really are in a remarkable period of innovation. Last December, when we were all busy making our predictions for 2023, ChatGPT was just beginning to make the news. Six months on, it appears that 2023 has become the year of AI, a set of technologies that has the potential to spur changes as profound as the World Wide Web itself did thirty years ago. More broadly, the explosion of discussion around AI is indicative of a period of more rapid innovation in all areas of business and industry.
Many of us remember the advent of the Web, but the fact is we haven’t had to deal with innovation as rapid as we’re starting to experience now for quite some time—we’re out of practice. One of the most critical challenges in this time is keeping up with emerging technologies to stay competitive while not letting the hype cycle distract us from foundational practices.
In this post, we’ll review a mix of emerging trends in B2B marketing and critical foundational practices that we mustn’t neglect.
The maturation of remote work
Remote work has transitioned from an emergency measure to a new normal, reshaping the way businesses operate. As more companies embrace flexible work arrangements, it’s crucial for B2B marketers to adapt their strategies accordingly.
Remote collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, and Asana have become essential in fostering seamless communication and project management. By leveraging these tools effectively, firms can ensure their marketing teams remain connected, productive, and aligned, regardless of their physical locations.
The pandemic-induced shift towards virtual events has had a profound impact on B2B marketing that’s likely to stay with us. As traditional conferences and trade shows continue to face uncertainty, businesses must adapt their event strategies to maximize reach and engagement in the virtual realm.
Virtual events offer unique opportunities to connect with a global audience, gather valuable data, and deliver immersive experiences through interactive presentations, live Q&A sessions, and virtual networking. By embracing virtual events as a standard part of the marketing mix, firms can expand their reach and generate leads in an increasingly digitally-mediated world.
The business landscape continues to face economic uncertainty, influenced by factors such as supply chain disruptions, changing consumer behaviors, and geopolitical tensions. As a B2B marketer, it’s essential to monitor the economic landscape closely and adjust strategies accordingly.
Agility and adaptability are key in navigating this uncertainty. By closely analyzing market trends, monitoring customer needs, and maintaining a flexible approach to campaigns and budget allocation, you can position your business to weather the storm and seize new opportunities as they arise.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While there has been considerable buzz around AI’s potential to replace human copywriters, the truth is that AI still lacks the critical thinking abilities that make great copy great. In spite of this, AI can be a valuable tool for generating content ideas and overcoming writer’s block. Rather than replacing copywriters, we believe generative AI tools will enhance the productivity of copywriters by helping them digest more data and research into more fodder for the high-quality copy they’ll still write, edit, and polish by hand.
There’s also a whole new writing skill to be mastered in the context of generative AI: prompt writing. Just as there is a skill to crafting effective search engine queries (particularly in the early days of search engines), there is a unique skill to writing prompts that will yield the desired output efficiently.
Beyond the generative AI tools available to us all already, machine learning algorithms, natural language processing, chatbots, and AI-powered automation tools can all enhance customer engagement, streamline marketing processes, and drive better sales and revenue.
Intent data is a game-changer in B2B marketing, offering insights into a person’s or group’s intentions and goals. By analyzing online search queries, social media activity, and other digital behaviors, businesses can better understand their customers’ needs and preferences.
Combining big data with machine learning and AI, intent data allows firms to focus their marketing efforts on prospects that are actively researching solutions like theirs. It empowers companies to tailor their products and services to match their specific requirements, leading to more effective and personalized marketing campaigns.
ABM advertising & intent data
Account-based marketing (ABM) has become a popular strategy for personalized B2B marketing. By leveraging intent data, companies can build custom audiences and target their display advertising campaigns to the most relevant prospects. Platforms like Demandbase, Terminus, and Rollworks enable firms to create personalized experiences for their target market, increasing efficiency, and maximizing campaign results.
Website visitor identification
Up to 97% of B2B website visitors remain anonymous, leaving marketers in the dark about potential leads. However, advanced website visitor identification technology, offered by companies like Clearbit, ZoomInfo, and RollWorks, can help firms uncover the identities of these visitors. By identifying the companies they work for, companies can equip their sales team with valuable insights and adapt their marketing campaigns to resonate with the specific needs of their target audiences.
Building on the data gathered from website visitor identification, companies can take personalization to the next level. Tailoring a website’s user experience based on a visitor’s company enables firms to guide visitors on a personalized journey. By offering relevant content and solutions specific to their industry or needs, companies can enhance engagement and create a memorable experience that increases the likelihood of conversion.
Chatbots for enhanced user engagement
In 2023, web forms are making way for the rise of chatbots as a more interactive and personalized communication tool. Driven by companies like Drift, chatbots offer a conversational approach to collecting user information, providing a more engaging user experience. While chatbots have their advantages, it’s a good idea to conduct A/B testing to determine the approach that resonates best with a particular audience and generates high-quality leads.
Prepare for the Google Analytics transition
As of July 1, 2023, Google Analytics will retire its current tool, making way for the new GA4 analytics product. This transition requires businesses to recreate reports, update goals in Google Tag Manager, and ensure integration with marketing automation systems or WordPress plugins.
SEO, website messaging, and content
While this list is peppered with new technologies and approaches, without getting these three pillars of B2B marketing right, the house will crumble. People aren’t talking about SEO much anymore because it’s old news, and everyone still remembers that content is king—but while competitors are apt to get distracted by the many opportunities for adopting new approaches, those who continue to get their content game, messaging, and SEO down will have an advantage.
That’s not to say that emerging technologies won’t be able to enhance the content pipeline or the ease with which a company can redo their website messaging or do SEO. As we discussed earlier, generative AI tools are already allowing copywriters to be more productive.
In this dynamic environment, success lies in embracing change while minding the core principles and activities of B2B marketing. At Expert Marketing Advisors, we’re committed to helping you navigate these challenges and optimize your B2B marketing efforts in this exciting and challenging period of accelerating innovation.