It’s almost the new year, and it is time to look into our crystal ball and see the future for B2B marketers. It’s a brave new world out there. The only constant is change. If marketers aren’t upping their game, they’re gonna be left in the last decade. We’ve taken a look into the future, and it’s looking bright for those who are ready to level up their game. Here’s what we see:
1. Marketing has to invest in technology.
Successful marketers must balance data, technology, and program investment to make headcount more productive and to maximize returns on marketing expenditures. That means greater budget allocation must go to Marketing Technology. Currently, 21% of B2B marketers say they lack the required technology to achieve their goals. (Forrester, 2019, B2B Budgets Bank on Programs and Tech). Forecasts say that Investment in B2B marketing technology and automation will double in 2020 - marketers need to know which tools are worth it. (Spoiler: we have some ideas here!)
2. ABM is going to be a top priority for B2B Marketers.
Account-based marketing is the future for B2B marketers. Investments in this are going to need to go up, and content and channel/sales enablement tools should amplify ABM results. This approach means sales and marketing need to be in closer alignment - no more working independently. Marketing needs to know top sales targets and align campaigns accordingly.
3. Spreadsheets are out, data visualization is in.
Data has been king for a while - everyone understands its importance. But there has been a trend of too much data, too little understanding of it. Marketers need to quickly be able to understand data to make it actionable. This year, it’s all about data visualization. 42% of marketers confirm that improving the use of data insights in business decision making is a high/critical priority for their firm. And 38% say improving data and analytics use is a top marketing initiative during the next 12 months (Forrester, 2019, B2B Budgets Bank on Programs and Tech). Marketers shouldn’t have to be data scientists as well - that’s where data visualization comes in.
4. Consumer data is king.
B2B CMOs must find a new path to make the pivot to customer-centric marketing execution. Forrester predicts that in 2020, the number of B2B marketing leaders who say their companies organize to support customer journeys will jump from 18% to 48%. (Forrester, Predictions 2020, marketing and sales, 2019. The line between B2B and B2C has blurred, as marketers understand that targets aren’t just targets - they are people. To get in front of the right customers for B2B products, marketers need the consumer data to reach them where they are online. Reaching customers via their social media channels and their mobile devices is key to making an impact, and that means having that consumer data.
5. Accuracy Matters.
Data, data, data. As we said, it’s king. But 2020 will bring new scrutiny to the accuracy of that data. Customer data platforms and identity graphs need to be kept up to date, and checked for accuracy. Bad data can be worse than no data when it comes to your customers. Marketers need to make sure vendors are practicing good data hygiene. The best marketing campaigns in the world don’t help at all if they are being targeted at the wrong people or sent to the wrong places. 2020 is going to be about accurate consumer data.
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