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Will 2022 be the year B2B marketing returns to “normal”?
It is safer to assume that the approaches that lead gen teams took during the pandemic will continue to affect pipeline development, marketing attribution, and campaign measurement.
B2B marketers will refine their strategies and adapt to changing circumstances, but they won’t go back to the things of 2019. And that’s okay, because fundamental changes in customer expectations and customer behavior still require new approaches.
Here are three trends to watch in 2022 as B2B marketers prepare for a post-pandemic market.
1. B2B marketers trim their tech stacks
One of the key drivers of marketing transformation over the past decade has been the explosion in marketing technology. The Chief Marketing Technologist’s blog has been reporting on the growth of the sector for 10 years and puts the number of Martech solutions available today at more than 8,000. When the blog first published its annual marketing technology landscape in 2008, there were around 150.
Many B2B marketers had to deal with budget cuts in 2020 as companies adjusted to economic uncertainty, but investments in martech generally remained high through 2021. It is likely that the sector will continue to expand and innovate; At the same time, however, B2B marketers will be looking for ways to consolidate and simplify their tech stacks and reduce the number of solutions they use to a manageable level.
In 2022, more B2B marketers will begin to include in-person events in their media mix again – perhaps initially smaller events – while at the same time relying on digital reach to generate leads. You will therefore be looking for measurement solutions that make it easy to compare digital and non-digital campaign performance on the same platform.
2. Account-based marketing (ABM) is evolving
Personalization is the name of the game in B2C marketing, but producing the very targeted messages and content required for B2B marketing personalization has been a challenge as the sales cycle is typically longer and the reach is inevitably more complex.
In the mid-2010s, B2B marketers used ABM to personalize campaigns and ensure that the right decision makers were getting the right messages. At the time, the technology was not available to make this possible on a large scale. ABM was feasible for smaller, clearly defined target groups, but simply not affordable for large campaigns.
Today we have the technology to advance ABM on a massive scale by using information like intent data to personalize campaigns.
Expect ABM to evolve over the coming months as marketers leverage new features, identify their ideal customers, and track down critical decision makers for targeted news.
B2B marketers will also be looking for better ways to measure the success of ABM campaigns, including digital and non-digital reach, in the coming year. This is especially important as the ideal customer profiles (both individual buyers and organizations) have changed over the past few years.
As ABM continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly important for B2B marketers to integrate data into CRM, creating a single source of information that can be shared with their colleagues in sales and other departments, including business operations. The ability to generate reports and share data across departments (using data that is credible across the enterprise) will be of vital importance.
3. Digital marketers look for insights beyond engagement
B2B marketers turned to digital public relations when the pandemic made in-person events impractical, and digital advertising platforms have out-of-the-box tools to measure engagement such as: B. Clicks and forms for downloads. But now B2B marketers want to go beyond engagement data and find out how clicks, downloads, etc. affect closed / won deals at the bottom of the funnel.
In particular, marketers want to understand exactly how a clicked digital ad, email, or social media post is reflected in the pipeline and sales. So in the coming year, expect B2B marketers to seek greater clarity with tools that shed light on the impact of campaigns beyond engagement.
With more insights available, B2B marketers can better understand which programs, vendors, and channels are driving sales. Clicks and downloads are wonderful, but revenue is most important.
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Nobody knows exactly what B2B marketers can expect in 2022, but we do know that many of the changes we’ve seen in the past 20 months are likely to be permanent. That means more digital reach, but not necessarily more technology added to the stack. It is better to streamline tools to focus on those that offer the most value.
In 2022, look for more personalization through ABM and more clarity through better insights into campaign performance. The B2B marketers who are able to compare the results of digital and non-digital campaigns using data arriving across the company via CRM will be successful in the year ahead.
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