In the fast-paced world of B2B marketing, change is the only constant. As businesses continue to adapt to dynamic market conditions and evolving consumer behaviors, B2B marketing is undergoing a significant transformation.
This shift is driven by a confluence of factors, including technological advancements, changing buyer expectations, and a heightened focus on ROI. In this blog post, I dive into six trends reshaping B2B marketing and explore the marketing intelligence strategies that are gaining prominence.
6 Trends Reshaping B2B Marketing
1. Hybrid and Complex Go-to-Market (GTM) Motions
The traditional one-size-fits-all approach is now obsolete in B2B marketing. Today, go-to-market motions are hybrid and complex, reflecting the diverse needs and preferences of a varied customer base. Three primary approaches are gaining prominence:
Account-Based Marketing (ABM): ABM involves a targeted approach, focusing on high-value accounts rather than casting a wide net. This strategy fosters personalized interactions, building stronger relationships with key clients.
Traditional Lead-Based Marketing: While ABM is on the rise, traditional lead-based marketing hasn't lost its relevance. Casting a wider net can still capture valuable leads, especially in industries where individual stakeholders play a crucial role in decision-making.
Product-Led Growth (PLG): PLG emphasizes product adoption and usage as a primary driver of customer acquisition. By allowing the product to speak for itself, businesses can attract, convert, and retain customers in a more organic manner.
2. Demystifying the Dark Funnel
Understanding the dark funnel—the unseen customer journey—is crucial, but it's not enough unless connected to conversion and deep funnel activities. The dark funnel represents the anonymous online research and interactions that potential customers undertake before making themselves known. Marketers must bridge the gap between the dark funnel and tangible conversion strategies to guide prospects seamlessly through the entire sales funnel.
3. Shift from Attracting to Deep Funnel Initiatives
Demand generation and growth marketing are moving beyond the realm of attracting and nurturing Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQAs). The focus is now on deep funnel initiatives and performance metrics. This shift acknowledges the importance of engagement beyond the initial stages, ensuring that marketing efforts contribute meaningfully to the entire customer journey.
4. Marketing Teams Embrace Pipeline Targets
In an era where marketing is increasingly tied to revenue generation, marketing teams are taking on pipeline targets. This means not just delivering leads but ensuring that those leads progress through the sales funnel to become qualified opportunities. This alignment between marketing and sales objectives is essential for sustainable business growth.
5. Challenges with Third-Party Buyer Intent Data
While third-party intent data has become a staple in many B2B marketing strategies, it's not without its challenges. In crowded spaces and categories, achieving consistency in converting intent data into pipeline opportunities is elusive. Marketers must carefully evaluate the relevance and reliability of third-party data sources to avoid pitfalls and wasted resources.
6. Dual Role of CMOs
Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) now find themselves in a dual role—having to both prove marketing ROI and generate pipeline. The modern CMO is not only a creative visionary but also a data-driven strategist, accountable for demonstrating the impact of marketing initiatives on the bottom line.
8 New Approaches to B2B Marketing Intelligence
The evolution of B2B marketing is a testament to the industry's adaptability and resilience. As go-to-market motions become more hybrid, the dark funnel is illuminated, and marketing teams shift their focus to deep funnel initiatives, businesses are better positioned to thrive in a competitive landscape.
I believe success requires a mindset adjustment to embrace the complexity and take advantage of new AI-powered opportunities. There are eight significant changes in marketing intelligence that CMOs, growth marketers, and demand generation must adopt to succeed.
1. Traditionally, B2B marketers relied heavily on third-party buyer intent data to gauge the interest and readiness of potential customers. However, in the new paradigm, the focus is shifting towards deep funnel propensity—measuring not just the interest but understanding the likelihood of progressing through the pipeline and contributing to revenue generation. This nuanced approach ensures that marketing efforts are aligned with tangible business outcomes rather than just initial interest.
Old Way: Third-Party Buyer Intent
New Way: Deep Funnel Propensity towards Pipeline/Revenue
2. Determining credit for a conversion has been a longstanding challenge in marketing. The new way involves shifting the attribution model towards deep funnel acceleration. Rather than just focusing on who gets the credit for a lead or sale, marketers are now allocating credit based on the impact of each touchpoint in accelerating prospects through the deep funnel. Real-time campaign spend reallocation is a crucial aspect, ensuring that resources are directed towards campaigns and touches that actively contribute to deep funnel performance.
Old Way: Attribution Tracks Who Gets the Credit
New Way: Attribution Tracks Deep Funnel Acceleration and Real-time Campaign Spend Reallocation
3. Analyzing the buyer journey has been a cornerstone of marketing strategy, but the new way is about being proactive rather than reactive. B2B marketers now focus on identifying the next-best touch at every stage of the customer journey. This involves leveraging data on top conversion paths to predict and influence the next touchpoint that will maximize the chances of conversion. It's a dynamic approach that adapts to the real-time behavior of prospects, ensuring that marketing efforts are always aligned with the most effective conversion paths.
Old Way: Buyer Journey Analysis
New Way: Next-Best Touch based on Top Conversion Paths at Every Stage
4. Historically, B2B marketers gauged the success of campaigns primarily by their contribution to overall pipeline revenue. However, the new way involves a more nuanced assessment—evaluating how campaigns contribute not only to conversions but also to the acceleration of prospects at different stages of the funnel. This shift ensures that campaigns are optimized not just for revenue generation but for guiding prospects through each critical stage of the buying journey.
Old Way: Campaign Contribution to Pipeline Revenue
New Way: Campaign Contribution to Conversions and Acceleration at Different Stages
5. Identifying anonymous visitors has been a challenge for marketers aiming to understand their audience fully. In the new paradigm, the focus shifts from mere identification to tracking the journey from an anonymous visit to the first conversion event and beyond. This comprehensive approach allows marketers to evaluate and enhance deep funnel performance, ensuring that every touchpoint contributes meaningfully to the customer's progression.
Old Way: Anonymous Visitor Identification
New Way: Anonymous Visit to First Conversion Event to Deep Funnel Performance
6. Traditionally, marketing funnels, Sales Development Representative (SDR) or Business Development Representative (BDR) funnels, and the sales pipeline were treated as distinct entities. The new approach involves breaking down silos and creating a unified view of the entire funnel. This integration ensures seamless collaboration between marketing, SDRs/BDRs, and sales teams, leading to a more cohesive and effective customer journey.
Old Way: Separate Marketing Funnel, SDR/BDR Funnel, Sales Pipeline
New Way: Full Funnel Integration
7. In the past, multi-touch attribution often followed predetermined rules, allocating credit based on a set formula. The new way embraces dynamic attribution models that adapt to the complexity of the customer journey. This flexibility allows for a more accurate representation of how each touchpoint contributes to conversions and deep funnel acceleration, enabling marketers to optimize strategies in real time.
Old Way: Rules-Based Multi-Touch Attribution
New Way: Dynamic AI & Data-based Attribution Models
8. Historically, campaign effectiveness analysis might have had a narrow focus, often limited to immediate conversion metrics. In the contemporary landscape, the scope broadens to encompass the entire customer journey. Marketers now analyze how campaigns impact the deep funnel, considering touchpoints beyond the initial conversion to provide a more comprehensive understanding of demand generation effectiveness.
Old Way: Campaign Effectiveness Analysis Scope
New Way: Campaigns + Events + SDR/BDR Sequences + Sales Activities
Embracing a Dynamic and Data-Driven Future
As B2B marketing undergoes a transformation, the way marketers think and strategize plays a pivotal role in success. Shifting from traditional approaches to embracing deep funnel propensity, dynamic attribution models, and proactive touchpoint planning is essential.
The ability to adapt to this new mindset will not only drive marketing performance but also contribute significantly to the bottom line, proving the value of marketing in the modern business landscape.
Take the Next Step
B2B marketing is evolving, are you? Level up your marketing intelligence strategy, decode the deep funnel, and grow revenue. Are you ready?