As B2B marketing teams know, if you’re not moving forwards, you’re going backwards.
It’s vital that companies and brands are able to find their voice and communicate effectively across the market, but the most effective channels and techniques to do that are ever shifting. Staying one step ahead of the market – and the competition – can be a difficult task for even the most seasoned teams.
At PHD Marketing, we thrive on helping our clients achieve success by cutting through the noise, reaching relevant industry media and prospective clients with timely, relevant messaging. As trends evolve, the best methods and techniques to do that can change.
Below, we list five key trends that could shape the face of B2B marketing in 2024, and that we think all marketing teams need to be aware of.
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With the ability to automate many manual labour-intensive tasks, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionised the marketing industry, and its impact is set to grow even stronger in 2024. One of the most promising areas of exploration lies in planning and decision-making.
On platforms that can plug directly into existing CRMs, AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions with unprecedented precision. This can unlock powerful new opportunities to connect with B2B prospects, in ways that might slip by unnoticed in the regular day-to-day operation of a business.
However, it’s important to remember that AI, despite its prowess, cannot replace the human touch. AI-driven planning tools show promise in optimising campaigns, personalising content and predicting customer behaviour more accurately than ever before. They can crunch numbers, analyse trends, and generate reports at lightning speed. But here’s the catch: AI is content aggregation and lacks the ability to infuse content with genuine human emotion and purpose.
While AI can provide a data-centric approach to B2B marketing, it can’t capture the nuances of human emotion and storytelling that are so pivotal for brands today.
The adage of ‘people buy from people’ has never been more apt, and emotive and purpose-driven content is what truly resonates with a modern audience. So, while AI can streamline your planning process and enhance efficiency in 2024, it’s essential to remember that the human touch remains irreplaceable when it comes to crafting emotionally resonant content.
For 2024, B2B marketers are shifting their focus towards aligning their content strategy with their overall business goals. To those experienced in marketing communications this seems like a given – but it’s often not the case, particularly in larger businesses that operate with siloed teams. This realignment emphasises the importance of creating content that not only educates and engages, but also directly contributes to achieving key business objectives.
So, how is this achieved? A good way to find this alignment is through better use of longform content. Typically, this centres around Thought Leadership and KOL (Key Opinion Leader) pieces, whitepapers, longer blog content, e-books and even web pages designed as part of a content strategy.
While there are still advantages to easily digestible short form content, long form pieces allow your business to delve into complex topics, showcase industry expertise for a more specific audience, and tie in a strong call to action.
Further strengthening the case for longform focus in 2024, web content continues to be a cornerstone of B2B marketing strategies. Your website is often the first point of contact for potential clients, making it crucial to offer informative, up-to-date, and engaging content.
By aligning your content strategy with your business strategy, you ensure that every piece of content serves a specific purpose, whether it’s driving brand awareness, generating leads, or nurturing existing client relationships.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is not a new concept, but in 2024, it’s taking on a hyper-personalised twist. Typically, ABM refers to a more individualised approach to marketing, where individual clients and prospects are treated as a ‘market of one’, and usually involves personalised communications, based on their specific role or industry, as part of a wider marketing strategy.
However, for 2024, things are getting personal. B2B marketers are no longer content with just targeting specific industries or companies. Instead, they’re delving deeper into individualisation. This means not just adapting campaigns to the recipients’ industry, but also to the known preferences, pain points and goals of key decision-makers.
Of course, this approach has the potential to be extremely resource intensive, so naturally this trend is being fuelled by advancements in data analytics and AI, enablinging marketers to collect and process vast amounts of data on individual prospects. It’s likely that 2024 will see more use of hyper-personalisation in ABM, and by delivering highly personalised content and experiences, businesses can engage potential clients on a more personal one-to-one level, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
It’s fair to say that the juggernaut of business sustainability has gathered real momentum in the marketing world, and that is set to continue in 2024 – with a few extra considerations.
For many businesses, B2B sustainability marketing has taken on a life of its own. As the full supply chain is involved in modern sustainability strategies, B2B buyers are increasingly seeking environmentally and socially responsible partners. This doesn’t just mean promoting your company’s sustainability initiatives, it means integrating sustainability into the DNA of your company brand and its messaging.
For 2024, however, businesses must be more cautious in how they are communicating on sustainability performance. The challenge of ‘greenwashing’, where environmental performance is exaggerated or misrepresented, has become a significant problem for B2B and B2C markets alike.
Now, however, new legislation is arriving that aims to bring meaning back to ‘sustainable’. These include the UK Government’s ‘Green Claims Code’, and the EU’s ‘Green Claims Directive’.
Both of these regulations put tighter restrictions on how sustainability can be communicated by introducing key criteria that every claim must meet in order to be used. The idea is that it brings more context and allows the viewer or reader to make an informed decision, free of ‘spin’.
Context is king, and the upshot of these regulations is that vague claims are out – catch-all terms such as ‘sustainable’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘green’ will no longer be enough, and businesses must push to be more specific, clear and transparent in how they talk about environmental matters.
Although making steady progress over several years, video content is poised to shine in 2024. Generally, attention spans are shrinking and with that, the demand for easily digestible information grows. As a result, video is becoming a potent tool for engagement and storytelling in B2B marketing communications, and businesses cannot afford to get left behind. Don’t have a sharable and digestible video for prospects explaining the mechanics of your product or service, how it works and why it matters? Your competition just might.
Video content allows B2B marketers to convey complex ideas in a visually compelling and concise manner, far beyond what even a face-to-face discussion could achieve. Whether it’s explainer videos, product demos, webinars, or thought leadership interviews, video content is a versatile way to connect with your audience, and we’re likely to see it flourish as a medium in 2024.
Perhaps the most compelling reason, however, is that video is highly shareable. Not only can prospects share it with their own teams with just a few quick clicks, but this also means the content can be repurposed across various marketing channels, amplifying its reach and impact.
To stay ahead in 2024, consider incorporating video into your B2B content strategy, ensuring that it aligns seamlessly with your overall business objectives and delivers value to your target audience. These do not need to be big budget Hollywood productions – they could be one-to-one interviews with knowledgeable team members, footage from trade shows, or even CGI product demonstrations.
Looking to stay a step ahead with your branding, communications and marketing strategy? Talk to PHD Marketing! We deliver results for our clients and customers in the print & packaging, technology, manufacturing and life sciences sectors – and beyond.
With an experienced team of communications specialists, covering all aspects of digital, offline and public relations communications, we excel at pulling your strengths to the forefront and into the spotlight, giving your business the recognition it deserves on the global stage.
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