10 Predictions On The Future Of B2B Marketing
Recently, there has been a great deal of talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, among many other things. The B2B segment has also been evolving at a rapid pace because of the technological changes and new buying behaviours.
This calls for a few predictions for B2B marketing in the years to come. Many of the predictions listed below are based on the adoption of new technologies and the realisation of previous years’ trends.
1. Blockchain Technology
The next big disruption to marketing is expected to be posed by blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin. ClickZ predicts that ‘tokenization’ of traditional marketing elements will materialise as follows:
- The use of blockchain in advertising will change the way exchange of value takes place between publishers, advertisers, and users. For example, a token-based system enables the audience to choose the ad they want to view in exchange for a payment.
- An email sender will command the recipient’s attention by making a payment to him/her. This amounts to compensating users for sparing their time for you.
- Brands could use the blockchain technology for conducting marketing research. They just have to offer some payment to respondents.
This is not an exhaustive list and the blockchain technology can be used in the field of marketing in many other ways.
2. Predictive Analytics Tools
Data and modelling are not new to B2B, but the strategies and tools that have been introduced in the past few years will create a new type of data-driven marketing.
In prospecting, new resources such as purchase signals and lookalike modelling will enhance the access of marketers to new audiences and improve their ability to adopt Account-based Marketing (ABM) programs such as Lattice, Mintigo, Leadspace, 6Sense, and MRP Prelytix.
According to experts, B2B industry will have to consider ABM as a business strategy and not as technology. Businesses have to shift their focus to accounts from leads and have a clear understanding of the basics of analytics/metrics and lead-to-account matching.
3. Artificial Intelligence
AI will be used extensively in B2B marketing in the future because of its ability to not only speed up data processing but also to apply machine learning to predictive analytics, digital advertising, making websites responsive, and adding chatbots, among other things, for customer management. Example: AI plug-in Einstein introduced by Salesforce.com
4. GDPR Compliance
The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) is being compared to that of the ‘Millennium Bug‘. Experts opine that marketing databases are not going to be lost because of the introduction of the regulation.
Though this is required by law and cannot be considered as a prediction, many businesses are likely to use GDPR to their benefit.
Businesses that have already prepared themselves for GDPR compliance will enjoy a head start. Businesses that practice transparency with respect to personal data usage and marketing will see improvement in goodwill and trust levels. This would help them beat their competition as well.
5. Self-service Analytics
As the complexity associated with marketing increases, Chief Marketing Officers will start controlling technology budgets that are as big as that handled by Chief Information Officers and drive marketers to identify simple and new ways of taking advantage of technological developments without becoming geeks.
This will drive the need for self-service analytics tools which enable the availability of sophisticated business intelligence. These easy-to-use tools will be powerful and enable quick access to information.
For example, IBM’s Watson can now ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘talk’, ‘taste’, ‘interpret’, ‘read’, ‘learn’ and ‘recommend’. Products that are cheaper and even more accessible will be available in the market in the future.
6. Customer Experience (Personalisation)
B2B marketers will finally start realising the fact that buying decisions are based not only on price but also on direct and/or indirect product experience, brand, and company.
This will be the situation even in the B2B segment where it is presumed that rational decisions are made.
SiriusDecisions, a global company involved in B2B marketing research and advisory, has been working on this aspect for a few years now.
Marketing departments will focus more on delivering enjoyable and informative experiences consistently both online and offline to prospects and customers.
7. Millennial Buying Behaviour
New data suggests that millennials are wielding more power now and they are responsible for researching as well as influencing 65 percent of the purchase decisions. In 13 percent of the buying decisions, they are themselves the key decision makers.
Moreover, they turn to social media first when looking for solutions and not Google search or your website. As they age, their influence will also grow. Businesses need to be on top of their wavelength.
Automation will be used to re-level the workforce. There is a feeling that automation will reduce the need for workers. This is not true. Human capital will always be required. Only the low-complexity and super high-complexity jobs, and rogue activities will be automated.
Workers will be required to put the tools to use and do data analysis. Such jobs will not be automated. This is because humans have something that machines don’t have. Humans have experience, ingenuity, and intuition.
9. Virtual Reality (VR)
The demand for virtual reality experiences will grow faster and higher than ever before. In a survey, respondents from different age groups were asked as to whether they have tried out VR goggles. The results in terms of the age group and the percentage that has tried are as follows:
- 18 to 24 years 50 percent
- 25 to 34 years 54 percent
- 35 to 49 years 41 percent
- 50 to 64 years 21 percent
- 65 years and above 11 percent
10. Digital Video
According to experts, the increase in ad spending would bolster the traditional media for some more time, but digital videos will achieve mass reach in the near future. It all boils down to the number of people subscribing for cable services.
According to a survey, 50 percent of consumers belonging to all age groups are no longer subscribing to cable services. Instead, they are making use of services such as Netflix, Sling, and Hulu.
The Bottom Line
Summarizing, this is definitely not a comprehbbive list of prediction as regards the future of B2B marketing. However, it pays to keep these aspects in mind. The key trends to note will be differentiating business offerings, especially in the buzz-heavy space, and employing mature strategies.
Identifying what works best and implementing those strategies as quickly as possible is what will drive revenues for businesses in the years to come.