Where Will B2B Demand Generation Be 1 Year From Now?

July 13, 2018, Gil Allouche

In the modern B2B marketplace, it’s not enough to put a great product or service in front of prospective customers.  You must connect with them in ways that bring awareness and desire for your products and services.  The days of broad-stroke, trial-and-error demand generation are nearing an end.  The future of B2B demand generation strategy involves more precise targeting of buyers with the right messages throughout all stages of the sales funnel.  Here are five demand generation best practices that marketing managers will employ next year based on current trends.

 

#1 Target Fewer Yet Higher Quality Buyers 

Less is more when it comes to targeting prospects for future demand generation campaigns.  Replacing volume-driven operations with ones that precisely focus on specific groups that are highly likely to become long-term customers is a new goal of demand generation.  Marketing managers will use powerful intelligence gathering tools to refine Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) based on available data about buying behaviors.

 
 
 

According to published research by Adlucent, over 70 percent of surveyed consumers want customized advertisements. Today’s tech-savvy buyers expect that marketers will use collected data about them to show them only the products and services that best fit their values and lifestyles.  Top marketing managers predict that this trend will continue into next year.  By pruning your target audience with the help of data analytics tools, you’ll reduce wasted effort.  You’ll have more time to create personalized content that will nurture qualified prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

 

#2 Focus on Full Funnel Demand Generation 

Identifying prospects and leading them through the sales funnel to generate revenue will continue to be desired outcomes of demand generation marketing.  In the future, marketing managers will connect all their demand generation tasks to build relationships with their most qualified leads.  Content development, distribution and promotion activities will be exactly matched to your prospects and ICPs. Marketing managers will use tactics such as deploying interactive content, which allows prospects to weed themselves out of demand generation campaigns early. They’ll also promote premium content on a schedule that will move prospects from the evaluation to the decision stage of the sales funnel.

 

#3 Increase Use of Artificial Intelligence-Powered Campaign Execution

Targeted digital marketing campaigns, as part of account-based marketing programs or otherwise, will continue to be at the forefront of demand generation, but marketing managers who use the latest in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies will get the most out of this marketing practice.  Targeted digital marketing delivers the right message to the right target account or contact at the right time. AI and machine learning exponentially increase the capacity for marketers to test ad creative on social platforms and other digital marketing platforms to fill the top of the funnel and build Sales pipeline.

Targeted digital marketing campaigns, as part of account-based marketing programs or otherwise, will continue to be at the forefront of demand generation, but marketing managers who use the latest in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies will get the most out of this marketing practice.  Targeted digital marketing delivers the right message to the right target account or contact at the right time. AI and machine learning exponentially increase the capacity for marketers to test ad creative on social platforms and other digital marketing platforms to fill the top of the funnel and build Sales pipeline.

Embedded machine learning algorithms within AI tools enable massive and rapid experimentation that results in improved campaign effectiveness in a brief time.  Marketers can use these platforms to execute thousands of campaigns and optimize them for sales pipeline or other metrics.

 

#4 Acquire Authenticity With the Help of Micro-Influencers 

Trust and authenticity are two things that are consistently shown to influence the buying decisions of modern consumers.  While celebrity influencers are still well-liked, buyer’s trust micro-influencers as subject matter experts.  Micro-influencers are defined as everyday people who are knowledgeable and passionate about specific products or services that your company sells.

They usually have 10,000 or fewer social followers, who trust their expertise and knowledge about a product or service.  Micro-influencers bring a loyal audience of qualified prospects to the table.  With their help, you can deliver authentic content about your offerings to people who want to listen and are ready to buy.

#5 Measure Demand Generation ROI Using Marketing Analytics Platforms

Continuous optimization of your demand generation strategy is a trend that will continue to play out into next year.  Measuring return on investment (ROI) for key demand generation activities is a way to keep your strategy fresh and relevant.  You can begin by setting goals and assessing outcomes that are related to sales funnel conversion rates, cost of customer acquisition and customer lifetime value.  Marketing intelligence data and analytics platforms improve the granularity of insight that you’ll gain in these areas. 

 

 

Final Thoughts

The theme that runs through these best practices is the use of technology to produce highly personalized content for thoroughly vetted audiences. While AI and marketing automation technologies can’t fully take the place of humans for demand generation practices, they help companies to deliver their messages with greater effectiveness and alarming speed.  They’ll continue to be important to businesses that want to engage specific customers in more authentic and compelling ways, while delivering business results.

Want to learn more about how to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to execute your B2B digital campaigns with greater predictability and scale? Contact us today.

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