My top 4 predictions for B2B marketing in the 2024 financial year

Mar 15, 2024 by Mark Baines Category: Marketing

2024 will be the year

…when we finally realise that predicting the future of B2B marketing in 2024 is a bit like listening to Mystic Meg: it all sounds great until you start to compare it with the reality.

But unlike Mystic Meg who built her career on the premise that no-one could be bothered to check her predictions, I do believe in predicting the future accurately as our success depends upon it.

This is particularly relevant in 2024 as none of us (by ‘us’ I mean all the B2B Agency owners with an interest in the future) predicted AI. I mean, did you? Who saw THAT coming?!!! A once-in-a-lifetime revolution that totally changes the industry, and we didn’t even know about it until it happened! Even my better informed colleagues didn’t predict it.

So this month I have been polishing my crystal ball and it has told me that the best way to predict the future is to compare my own thoughts with our leading industry body, the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing).

My top 4 predictions for 2024

  1. AI:

    Their take on AI is that the influence of AI in marketing is ‘undeniable’.

    • It’s a catalyst for innovative strategies and personalised customer experiences, reshaping the way brands connect with their audiences.
    • They emphasise AI’s pivotal role in elevating personalisation and human-centric marketing approaches, pointing toward AI’s capability to enhance customer interaction and real-time engagement. One-to-one marketing is at last within reach!
    • The integration of AI in marketing transcends traditional tactics, ushering in an era where data-driven personalisation becomes the norm. This trend signifies a shift from broad-brush strategies to more nuanced, tailored customer journeys.
    • To this I would add that we at Marcom will never allow AI tools like ChatGPT to drive our output without human input – everything is inspected, and if necessary reworded and reworked.
  1. ESG:

    They also talk about a ‘paradigm shift’ towards ethical marketing and sustainability (just in case you hadn’t noticed it growing over the last 10 years).

    • No longer ‘nice to have’ options, they are critical for brands to establish trust and relevance in a socially aware market.
    • Brands are expected to be not just providers of goods and services but also responsible stewards of societal and environmental values.
    • This is as true of B2B as in consumer marketing. Tenders all now incorporate a number of ESG questions all of which require the correct answers in order to get through to the second round.
  1. Influencers:

    Influencer marketing is going to continue to grow ‘exponentially’.

    • The world has moved on a long way since British Leyland gave Peter Sellers an Austin Mini in their ‘Cars for Stars’ campaign. Even the Kardashians are old hat.
    • In B2B marketing the authenticity comes from a place of knowledge that is believable and genuine – micro and even nano influencers are being chosen by more and more brands.
    • It may take more effort to get it right, but these influencers often have a more engaged and relevant follower base that brands want to tap into.
  1. SEO:

    This is going to change a lot over the next 12 months too, as social media grows in influence over Google as the ‘Search Engine of choice’.

    • As social media platforms continue to evolve as go-to sources for information, the ability to effectively leverage these platforms for both discovery and engagement will become a critical skill in the marketer’s toolkit. This is especially true of LinkedIn.
    • This trend will likely redefine the traditional boundaries of SEO and content marketing, placing greater emphasis on agility and innovation in digital marketing strategies.
    • It’s not just about ‘How to…’ content, rather about intimate and long-term use of social media giving it the level of trust that Google and Bing etc cannot match.

So there you have it: my top four predictions for B2B marketing in 2024. I’d like to say that I’d bet my shirt on all of these coming true, but I think that’s a dead-cert so I won’t even bother. I’m sure Mystic Meg was never so foolish either!

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