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New Research Highlights ‘Transformation’ of B2B Marketing in U.S. and Europe


Among the conclusions are that digital natives are altering purchasing habits, B2B is becoming more consumerized, analytics and data utilisation are improving, and AI will have an increasing impact on thought leadership, content & creativity, and the organisation.

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is changing quickly as a result of a number of trends, including the rise of digital natives among decision-makers who make buying and selling decisions, the post-pandemic “consumerization” of business marketing, improved efficiency in tech investments that are fundamental to marketing platforms, and the nascent adoption of artificial intelligence, among others, according to Winterberry Group’s most recent white paper, “Outlook for B2B Marketing.”

The study involved 200 marketers, as well as more than 20 agency and analytics experts that work in B2B marketplaces throughout North America and Europe. The paper was preceded by statistical analysis from the Winterberry Group that was published in January and that indicates that B2B marketing spending may reach an estimated $53.7 billion this year, for the first time surpassing pre-pandemic spending of $50.4 billion as assessed in 2019.

“This full recovery of B2B spending is not a ‘back to usual’ moment”, “In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have had a transformative effect on the marketplace, leading businesses to make changes in how they organize, strategize and execute to align sales and marketing, and to drive results.”

Bruce Biegel, Senior managing partner, Winterberry Group, One of the paper’s co-authors

The white paper and Biegel identify the following as important transformational drivers:
  • B2B purchasers are “consumerizing B2B” in terms of, among other things, customer service, user experience, social media, reviews, and brand visibility across channels.
  • B2B buyers increasingly start and end their purchasing processes online, but the path between these online and offline interactions makes the journey anything but linear. Marketers must plan consumer purchasing journeys across several points of consumer connection and concentrate on measuring consumer behaviour at each stage;
  • The rise of digital natives into decision-making positions has resulted in systemic changes in consumer behaviour, including how they cooperate inside organisations, with peers, and use social media as part of the decision-making process;
  • Conversational AI and machine learning will provide “content at scale and speed” to enable versioning and message optimisation for effectiveness; The effectiveness of marketing will be driven by human-generated originality and brand recognition;
  • The market is quickly adjusting with investments in data infrastructure that enable the use of metadata, intent, context, and superior analytics in a desire to increase performance, even though privacy and data rules will limit the addressability of marketing messages 1:1;
  • Tech stack investments will concentrate on organisation- and user-defined objectives of what should be done versus what can be done in order to increase utilisation by both sales and marketing teams. Therefore, rather than focusing on features and capabilities, technology investments should be evaluated in terms of use cases and objectives;
  • While offline spending, driven by experiential, will continue to account for the majority of expenditures in B2B markets, digital marketing expenditures will see an increase in total budget share, particularly in search and paid social. Invest in all areas of the funnel to grow your brand over time and boost productivity;
  • The combined effects of technology, data, and omnichannel integration will result in a long-term transformation of the organisation, beginning with a rise in B2C skills transferring to brand and digital marketing, and eventually changing the roles within marketing to ones that require a more fluid, strategic, and omnichannel skill set as opposed to the silos and “executive”-based staffing that are common today.

A corporate sponsor of the white paper is Anteriad, a provider of worldwide B2B marketing solutions, while Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is an association sponsor. On June 5-7, 2023, in Orlando, Florida, at the ANA Masters of B2B Marketing Conference, further information about the study will be presented starting today.

“In order to reach today’s B2B buyer, marketers need to focus on addressing the data concerns that the Winterberry Group has raised in the research”, “Centralizing marketing data, using their tech stack investments to consolidate insights from digital channels, and analytics to map the new customer journey and to measure attribution, are all actions that should be on every B2B CMOs’ shortlist.”

Rob Sanchez, CEO, Anteriad

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