5 B2B Marketing Trends to Know for 2024

Follow these marketing trends to grow your business in the New Year.

Written by Jordan Buning
Published on Jan. 24, 2024
5 B2B Marketing Trends to Know for 2024
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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This time last year, marketers planning their 2023 budgets were bracing for a recession. A common motto might have been: “Fasten your seatbelts, folks, we’re going to be in for a bumpy ride.” 

Now? Survival is no longer the operating principle. More than half of marketers say their companies plan to take risks when it comes to business strategy, according to a recent Adage survey. That might entail an aggressive growth strategy, like a big purchase to broaden their organization’s capabilities. Maybe it means pushing a new product, emphasizing something different in their portfolio, or expanding their brand to new parts of the globe.

5 Marketing Trends to Know for 2024

  1. Harness AI and data analytics.
  2. Adapt the sales and marketing relationship to the new buyer’s journey.
  3. Embrace hybrid selling
  4. Rethink client retention
  5. Secure data privacy and security compliance. 

Sometimes, aggressive business tactics and survival tactics present similarly. Continued volatility in the healthcare sector could lead to more mergers and acquisitions, while aggressive spending in the tech sector could yield the same strategy. Both approaches operate on the same principle: If you aren’t growing you’re dying. So figure out a way to stay profitable through some form of expansion.

Below are the top marketing trends for 2024 that emphasize agility and aggressiveness in its many forms.

 

1. Harness AI and Data Analytics

Marketers are constantly gaining new ways of collecting data on their customers and clients. Sorting through data to form an actionable strategy is a persistent challenge,  especially in an aggressive strategic environment.

One-third of marketers believe decisions take too long at their company, according to Adage. Obsessing over a decision won’t allow you to make any progress. Business operations must be able to make decisions and adjustments as close to real time as possible to stay ahead. Using data to uncover what works and why is essential to speeding up decisions and demonstrating impact.

Historically, when manpower was the key differentiator in speed, larger businesses had a tremendous advantage over small- and medium-sized businesses. Now, AI and other digital tools make a more level playing field possible. Harnessing these technologies will be imperative for businesses looking to quickly identify the most actionable data. 

More on MarketingWhy Consumers Don’t Trust AI-Driven Recommendations

 

2. Adapt the Sales and Marketing Relationship to the New Buyer’s Journey

Customers want a personalized, “self-serve” experience that doesn’t require speaking to a salesperson every step of the way. It’s a lasting, if unintended, consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, when organizations figured out how to operate electronically or remotely. 

For marketers, an important question persists: Do we really need a salesperson meeting with the customer or client at every step of their journey? Or should we wait, let the customer use our digital tools to do her research, then meet with her when she has a question? 

Buyers are becoming increasingly accustomed to doing their own research before they engage with a salesperson. This presents an opportunity for selling organizations to adapt the relationship between sales and marketing that could create a more efficient sales cycle.

Deciding how to adapt that strategy for an organization can lead to growth in sales, managing a travel budget better (instead of chasing every lead), and managing customer relationships further down the sales funnel. This should come as good news for salespeople who formerly had to memorize complicated scripts, but now might only need to answer a few questions specific to a prospective client’s business.

 

3. Embrace Hybrid Selling

Hybrid selling requires finding the right mix of in-person interaction, remote contact, and e-commerce tools. To achieve this, some organizations are taking deep dives into behavioral science, predicting probabilistic outcomes based on the digital behavior of customers. A rudimentary example: “When someone taps x on our mobile app, it’s best to do y.” 

A completely automated decision tree facilitates this thought process, but ultimately, a human salesperson will need to execute when called upon. That way, the buyer feels like someone is responding to their every need, even if it’s an educated guess based on an algorithm. It requires a rudimentary working knowledge of digital tools to anticipate scenarios where, for example, a potential customer is at “Step 1+x” in their process, but the payoff is tangible. Organizations can optimize their sales cycles by identifying what parts of the process can effectively be done remotely and which are best completed in person. 

A McKinsey study found when salespeople are working remotely, they can interact with four times as many accounts in a given period. Anticipate hybrid selling practices to become the norm in B2B environments.

 

4. Rethink Client Retention

Most revenues come from repeat customers and clients. The ability to retain a client is a more cost-effective way to grow revenue compared to finding new ones. According to one estimate from CustomerGauge, improving the customer experience can widen the gap between customer acquisition costs and customer lifetime value by up to eight times. 

Retention affords you the ability to maintain revenue, upsell, and gain referrals all from the same client. Converting the first-time buyer into a loyal, trusting customer makes practical sense as a sustainable business strategy. For those customers who have already advanced through the sales funnel and discovered what a company is about, a more personal touch may be necessary ― but worth the extra effort. 

More on MarketingHow to Boost Your Email Outreach Strategy to Close More Deals

 

5. Focus on Data Privacy and Security Compliance

While focusing on customer success and retention, organizations must consider the central role of establishing trust. Clients and customers need to trust any potential business’ ability to limit their risk by safeguarding their private data.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Providing visitors to your website the opt-out of data collection is increasingly necessary. According to the International Association of Privacy Professionals, state-level momentum for comprehensive privacy bills is at an all-time high, with six states getting new privacy laws on the books in 2024 or 2025.

Press the wrong button, and run the risk of lawsuits from upset customers. Europe has stricter guidelines for securing customer data than most of the United States. Even if few of your clients click on a privacy policy that explains what a company does with their information, the few who do will appreciate that it's thorough and in compliance with the law ― so make sure it’s both.

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John Deere
Artificial Intelligence • Cloud • Internet of Things • Machine Learning • Analytics • Industrial
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