In this ever-changing marketing landscape, business leaders must rethink their marketing approach. From macroeconomic shifts and job transitions to the disruptive ascendance of AI, marketers must adapt to these changes to remain relevant and impactful.
To help B2B marketers get there, we analyzed the latest B2B marketing trends and statistics from ViB, a B2B demand generation partner in high-tech. Read further for actionable insights that will help you future-proof your B2B marketing approach.
Trend 1: 85% of Marketers Feel Positive about AI, but Formal Uptake is Slow
Generative AI has been reshaping our everyday work. And for B2B marketing, most of us have voiced our support for this technology, with a whopping 85% of marketers seeing a positive impact of generative AI in marketing.
In terms of specific channels, marketers say that the biggest impact of generative AI will be on content marketing, with 96% seeing some to strong impact there. Marketers further added that content marketing activities such as creating assets and personalizing content have the most potential for AI application.
However, the statistics also reveal that only 38% of B2B marketers have formalized plans to use AI within the next 12 months. It is also interesting to note that AI tools beyond copywriting applications are seeing much slower adoption.
While this means that marketers aren’t expected to rush into AI adoption to stay competitive, there’s benefit in trying out new AI tools and experimenting on what works best for their market.
Trend 2: Improving Lead Conversion Rates is the Biggest Challenge Marketers Face
As the digital marketing landscape continues to evolve, businesses are becoming increasingly strategic and focused in their approach to generating and converting leads.
In fact, improving lead quality is now more important than ever, with 54% of marketers citing it as their top challenge for the year.
Digging deeper into lead generation performance across the different stages of the marketing funnel, we found that almost a quarter of organizations fell well below their conversion rate targets, suggesting that there’s plenty of room for improvement in this area.
Another interesting finding was the lack of growth in the middle to bottom of the funnel. While 22% of organizations performed well in generating leads at the top of the funnel, that number decreases to just over 10% for the middle to bottom of the funnel.
This highlights the need for businesses to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to lead generation, as generating large volumes of leads doesn’t necessarily translate to bottom-line success.
Trend 3: Repurposing Content is the Top Trend This Year
While we thought generative AI would take the top spot, we were surprised. This year, repurposing content is the #1 trend in B2B marketing.
According to the report, 53% of marketers are focusing their efforts on repurposing existing content to reach new audiences and increase engagement. In contrast, 41% of marketers see generative AI as a trend they are planning to adopt or have adopted.
What exactly does “repurposing” mean? Simply put, it means taking your existing content and using it in new and innovative ways.
This can include revising older pieces, breaking down long-form copy into bite-sized blogs, or transforming written content into videos or infographics – all with the goal of maximizing your resources and reaching as many eyes as possible.
With leaner economic climates this year and the help of AI to spin new variations of your best work, repurposing content is a smart resource allocation strategy that can help you get the most out of your existing content – and reach new audiences in the process.
Trend 4: B2B Marketers are Spending More in Paid Advertising
Budgets are in a state of flux all across the marketing space, where we are seeing a noticeable increase in advertising spending. In fact, 45% of marketing leaders are allocating their most significant share of budget to marketing programs and paid media.
A majority of marketers are increasing their advertising spending, as 47% of marketing leaders up the ante, and 61% of organizations consider their advertising spend as on the higher side.
Other marketing channels that are seeing the biggest uptick in spending is web and SEO, which is experiencing a 39% increase in funding, with 33% of firms finding their spending on web and SEO to be high.
The least changes in budget are in email marketing, with 71% of marketers maintaining their budgets and 42% of them reporting low spending.
Investing in paid media channels to get more guaranteed marketing results is the need of the hour. But while pursuing that, marketers must continue balancing their strategies with organic efforts to reap the best benefits, especially in the long term.
Trend 5: Quality and Ethics Are the Biggest Risks Marketers See in AI
While AI is often touted as a major breakthrough in marketing, it does come with its own set of risks.
According to ViB’s research, 59% of B2B marketers are concerned about the quality of materials produced by artificial intelligence. AI-generated materials can be unpredictable — which makes it challenging for marketers to leverage this new trend to drive repeatable results.
Apart from quality, 48% of marketers are worried about data privacy and security, while 37% had concerns about the ethics of generating content from artificial intelligence.
As a marketer, it is important to carefully consider and evaluate AI-generated materials before using them. Investing in AI comes with a responsibility to ensure that the materials generated are of high quality, ethical, and secure.
While we should embrace AI tools to stay ahead, it’s crucial to remember some best practices:
- Selectively use AI, and avoid sharing proprietary data that could end up in someone else’s article.
- Always involve human oversight, and edit everything AI generates.
- Use personalization and iteration to improve pre-written content efficiently.
Keep these tips in mind to make the most of AI without putting your organization at risk.
Adapting to the ever-evolving B2B landscape isn’t rocket science, and hopefully, these trends and tips can help future-proof your marketing strategy.
All statistics and trends presented in this article are derived from ViB’s comprehensive State of B2B Marketing survey, which involved insights gathered from over 300 B2B marketing professionals in the technology sector. To access the full report, visit http://vib.tech/resources/marketing-blogs/b2b-marketing-trends