The B2B sales and marketing landscape has seen more disruption in the past five years than it has experienced in nearly a century. First, the pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for customer engagement. Now, rapid technological advances like artificial intelligence have permanently shifted how B2B buyers interact with vendors and how complex sales occur.
CMOs are under more pressure than ever and are constantly looking for that edge — that value proposition that sets a brand apart from the crowd and builds customer trust and engagement. With that in mind, here are four cutting-edge strategies that are redefining the B2B ecosystem:
1. Reimagining Digital Engagement
For many B2B brands, revamping how they interact with customers is at the top of their 2024 to-do list. Though most have long used digital channels to interact with prospects and customers, these interactions sometimes feel like disjointed experiences rather than cumulative components of the broader purchasing journey.
With that said, B2B brands are no longer just posting content and hoping for the best. Instead, they’re reimagining digital engagement by creating interconnected experiences: virtual reality product demos, interactive webinars, and personalized online journeys.
These aren’t just about catching the eye of B2B customers but are a matter of creating memorable experiences that resonate with decision-makers on much deeper levels.
CEO of Kaon Interactive, Gavin Finn, shared with me some thoughts on the newfound prioritization of digital engagement. Most notably, he stated, “B2B prospects and customers will expect a seamless experience across various analog and digital channels, including self-service digital (web) applications, mobile apps, immersive experiences (virtual reality and augmented reality), and live, face-to-face engagements such as trade shows and in-person sales meetings.”
2. Embracing Artificial Intelligence
AI isn’t just a buzzword anymore; it’s a powerful tool reshaping the B2B world.
Brands are using the technology for everything from predictive analytics and personalized recommendations to automated customer service. Customers can have conversations with a chatbot that understands their needs and preferences better than some humans, and other AI-powered tools can accurately forecast market trends and customer behavior.
“Everybody thinks that everyone is using generative AI,” says Lisa Gately, Principal Analyst at Forrester. However, Gately says that most are “at a stage of learning and exploring.” The B2B brands that move quickly to embrace AI will have a definitive edge over those that continue to overlook it. They will be able to glimpse into the future, stay ahead of purchasing trends, and seize fleeting opportunities with exceptional accuracy.
3. Optimizing Video
Today, B2B decision-makers are bombarded with a seemingly endless stream of information. As a result, capturing and retaining their attention for long enough to deliver a value proposition or pitch a product is more challenging than ever, but that is where video marketing comes into play.
B2B brands are optimizing their video marketing strategies to cut through the noise of digital content, and these are more than just promotional videos. B2B businesses are producing everything from educational series and behind-the-scenes glimpses to customer testimonials that tell compelling stories.
Video content is also being tailored to various platforms, ensuring it reaches B2B buyers no matter where they are. When taking things to social media, brands are producing concise, yet powerful, content that captivates audiences. On-site content isn’t being left behind, either. Instead, it is becoming dynamic, engaging, and more comprehensive.
Cumulatively, these video assets are reshaping the B2B buyer experience and allowing brands to connect with them meaningfully.
4. Enabling Self-Service
People often think that only “regular” shoppers like to do things themselves, whether that’s using self-checkout at the store or managing app subscriptions. But according to a 2021 study by TrustRadius, 87% of B2B decision-makers are consumers all the same.
As such, just like the everyday shopper, they also enjoy having the option to do things on their own when dealing with business matters, which is why more companies that sell B2B products are offering ways for their customers to help themselves. This could be through websites where customers can easily find and get what they need or even special tools that let them tweak products or services to fit what they are looking for.
Letting B2B customers take charge and make their own choices is wise, but it is important not to push them into doing everything themselves. It’s all about giving them the option to take the wheel if they want, making their shopping experience a lot more comfortable and in their control.
The start of a whole new ballgame is just over the horizon for B2B brands, with 2024 shaping up to a time of significant changes.
Therefore, your brand has to be quick on its feet and full of fresh ideas to keep up. Think about adopting new tech, checking out markets you’ve never explored before, and coming up with engaging new ways to connect with potential customers.
With the new year just around the corner, you must ensure you’re ready for what’s ahead. Now the perfect moment to gear up and make 2024 your best year yet.