5 Key Focus Points for B2B Marketing Success in 2024

David Jordan
BBN Partner, Bader Rutter, USA

Introduction

As marketers, we deploy more high-tech tools and better metrics than ever. But information alone does not equal persuasion. B2B marketers must engage audiences meaningfully. Here are five focus points our agency leaders identified as the keys to success today:

 

1. Customers Seek Positivity

Amid the contentious polarization fouling social media, people crave trusted brands that support them or, at the very least, provide a calming voice. Stronger brands exemplify our shared humanity through optimism and certainty.

Why this matters: PwC’s research indicates that 76% of people will stop buying from companies that treat their employees, local community, or environment poorly. As clickbait and rage sully media platforms, brands that reflect our better qualities—optimism, kindness, caring—will shine brightest.

 

2. The Customer, The Customer, The Customer

Customer first. Customer-obsessed. Customer experience. B2B marketing has long touted knowing the customer, but economic pressures have eroded that focus. Budgets are down, prices are up, and field force cutbacks compromise the customer experience. More to the point, does our work truly engage them? A recent WARC survey showed that 78% of respondents feel “neutral” about B2B advertising—that’s a lot of “meh.”

Why this matters: Brands must make themselves relevant, especially as new generations enter the workforce. Younger decision-makers value results but also want transparency, experiences, and relationships. They want to feel positive about their brand partners. Expect a resurgence in meaningful account-based marketing, inspirational storytelling and individualization.

 

3. A Shift in Authentic Personalized Content

As AI-generated mediocrity overwhelms channels, original data, research, and content will grow increasingly valuable. Personal—not just personalized—brand messages will win. While lead generation remains critical, marketing that creates brand awareness through human connection will resonate more authentically with customers inundated by attribute-based messaging.

Why this matters: A Deloitte study showed that brand authenticity drives 92% of brand trust, so we must avoid over-reliance on data-driven marketing. Without the balance of human-centric storytelling, we promote information, not persuasion. Authentic emotion and connection drive behaviour.

 

4. In a Distracted Market, Engagement is Everything

If data is king and customization is queen, engagement is the emperor that rules them all. Marketers must move beyond basics and leverage data into tailored customer experiences across multiple touchpoints. This requires a deeper understanding of customer buying journeys and preferences.

Why this matters: Firsthand experiences are key to building deeper connections and brand loyalty. Delivering resonant interactive content and immersive experiences highlights product differentiation. By wrapping customer experiences in learning, we ingrain our B2B brands.

 

5. Balancing Budgets and ROI

Leaner budgets will make proving B2B advertising effectiveness even more crucial. That’s both a problem and an opportunity, particularly since Boston Consulting Group contends that every brand dollar cut requires a future spend of $1.85 to regain lost market share.

Why this matters: Despite economic pressures, this is brand building’s moment. Without breakthrough, there’s no awareness, and without awareness, there’s no conversion. Supporting ideas that break through, earn attention, and inspire customers makes brands noticed, remembered, and understood, delivering the ROI brand marketers seek.

 

TL;DR

A good rule of thumb for success in B2B marketing is to NOT think of it as business-to-business but rather business-to-business PEOPLE. Because, whether at work or home, people make every buying decision.

This editorial was originally published in B2B Marketing’s 2024 Agency Benchmarking Report (May 2024). If you would like to review the B2B agency league tables and other editorials, please download the PDF here.

Download US Agencies Benchmarking Report

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