What’s Next for B2B Marketing? 24 Experts Make Their Predictions for 2023

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Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

What should marketers be on the lookout for in 2023? In this article, 24 experts, pioneers and industry thought-leaders have their say on the future of B2B marketing.

Article 24 Minutes
What’s Next for B2B Marketing? 24 Experts Make Their Predictions for 2023

From the rise of Chat GPT and short-form videos to the cookiepocalypse and the end of Universal Analytics, 2023 looks set to be a big year for marketers across the globe. With the average consumer harder and harder to please and small, nimble brands expertly disrupting and subverting established marketing standards and practices, enterprises that want to stay ahead of their competition need to stay up to date and involved with the latest trends and innovations.

So what should enterprise marketers be on the lookout for in 2023, and which trends should they capitalize on? To find out, we asked 24 prominent marketing leaders and innovators - all guests on The Strategic Marketing Show - to share their thoughts on the biggest trends, challenges and innovations the industry should expect in the coming year.

Listen to The Strategic Marketing Show via your preferred podcast platform:

Contents

  1. Balancing tracking and analytics with creative
  2. “The cookiepocalypse”: It’s time for marketers to get technical
  3. The power of authenticity for corporations
  4. Economic pressure and tighter spending
  5. The power of TikTok portrait videos
  6. Crafting compelling titles
  7. The death of cookies and the information overload age
  8. The challenges of mass personalization and omnichannel orchestration
  9. Capturing and using data to its full potential
  10. The future of CRM
  11. Put your customers at the center of everything you do and differentiate yourself
  12. The importance of data and going back to the basics
  13. Raw and authentic marketing
  14. Using video to grow your brand
  15. AI, no-code, AR and VR
  16. The importance of adding value
  17. The need to stand out from the rest of the crowd
  18. Making proper use of your data
  19. UX and marketing need to come together
  20. The power of demand generation
  21. Differentiating your brand in an increasingly crowded market
  22. GA4 and privacy-centered marketing
  23. Difficulties measuring results and attribution
  24. Embracing automation and AI

1. Balancing tracking and analytics with creative

Ashley Monk's thoughts on the latest marketing trends for 2023

Well, to stay on theme, it's going to continue to be tracking because, while tools like Hyros exist now, the future of marketing (like any other industry, and digital marketing especially) is relatively unknown. You have to remember that, as I mentioned before, for social media, Facebook was really the inception of that in 2007.

That's less than two decades’ worth of info for us to be able to really determine: What does the future hold? The internet boom, the.com boom - we're still in the very early stages. The irony in what is happening right now is that, with all of our advancements and with all of our capabilities to track and to be able to measure progress - the irony is that people don't want to be tracked.

As we're seeing the elimination of cookies next year, that's going to be another example of a hurdle that marketers are going to have to overcome, from a tracking standpoint. The legislation on a lot of this - and on data and how it's leveraged - is still new and is still relatively unclear. I think, in the upcoming years, there are going to be more restrictions on how data is used by companies and by marketers.

That takes the focus away from some of tracking and creates an emphasis and a need for very effective creative and messaging. At the end of the day, marketers are going to need to balance that strategy and analysis with really creating effective creatives to serve their audience, and knowing when to prioritize either of those two things.

- Ashley Monk, CEO of Onya

Learn more: Shifting Expectations in the Paid Traffic Space

2. “The cookiepocalypse”: It’s time for marketers to get technical

I don't know how many are familiar with the term ‘Cookiepocalypse’, but so many of us have heard about cookies going away. In the last couple of years, Apple has waged war against cookies. We talked about the fact that Apple devices don't reliably carry a third-party cookie, which makes things like retargeting - even conversion tracking - difficult.

We know that within the next year, Chrome is going to do the same thing, so there goes pretty much all of our cookies. A lot of marketers are having trouble with what this means for their data. Analytics is a lot less accurate - we don't know what the impact is on analytics.

In B2B, we may lose conversion tracking inside the platform - having a little number increment to say you got a conversion - but what we do have, if we're doing it right, is that all of the data when someone fills out a form goes into the CRM. There is a record in the CRM, because someone filled out a form. We don't need to rely on any platform to guess or estimate how many conversions we should have had given that spend. We actually know.

What that means for us as marketers is that we need to get more technical by making sure that we have data flowing into a CRM. It means we need to then combine our CRM data with our ad performance data and figure out how to use that for reporting, so that we can see what our cost per marketing qualified lead is, our cost per sales qualified lead, and you can trace all the way down to return on investment. Over the last several years, I've seen marketers getting more and more technical and adept with data. That's where we need to be, and losing the cookie is the swift kick in the butt that I think some marketers need. Stop all the presses, we need the CRM connection in B2B.

- AJ Wilcox, Founder of B2Linked

Learn more: Where Do LinkedIn Ads Fit Into Your Marketing Mix?

3. The power of authenticity for corporations

I think one of the biggest challenges is showing up as a human: it’s showing up authentically.

Our customers and clients are way more savvy than they used to be - and rightly so. They are tired of being a number, and being just on the end of purchasing. They need to see the human behind it.

I was at a conference the other week, and they were talking about Gen Z, and how Gen Z are really passionate about particular causes and particular aspects - especially things like the environment, poverty, and all of this sort of stuff. What they're going to want to see is where companies stand on this stuff, and not just a line on the website. They’re going to want to see the proof and the kind of work they're doing. Particularly that audience – and obviously that audience are growing up and they already have a huge amount of spending power - but that audience wants to align with people who align with them.

That is going to be very hard to do if they don't know what you stand for - if they're not sure who you are and what is important to you and how you're showing up authentically. The last thing they would want to do is align with someone who isn't working the way they want to work, or isn't standing for the stuff that they do.

- Teresa Heath-Wareing, Business Coach and Podcaster

Learn more: Why Authenticity Delivers Real Marketing Results

4. Economic pressure and tighter spending

Being business-focused around what you're doing is really important. Being knowledgeable about the different stages of the funnel is crucial too.

It's also looking at what that means moving forward. From a retail perspective, we're expecting a recession. We are seeing quite a lot of impact from a geopolitical perspective, in terms of inflation, the energy crisis, etc. From an inflation perspective - for businesses in general, but certainly for retailers - they're finding there are supply chain issues, price increases, changes in the strength of the pound, etc., that means they're getting squeezed in terms of how much buying power they have, or how profitable that would be.

Equally, from a consumer perspective, people are also tighter with their spend. They’re more price-conscious in terms of what they're buying. So, one analogy used is that you might shop at the same supermarket but, rather than buying the premium products, you might buy more of the value items now.

From an ecommerce perspective, it's understanding: what are those customers thinking? How does that relate to the business that you're working with? And how do you make sure that you're capturing a demand that may be changing and shifting? Maybe people are searching less for luxury items, for example, and more for cheap or value items. Understanding how that search demand is shifting on a temporary basis, as opposed to the overall trends, is really useful.

Just understanding a little bit about the market trends, the economy, and what that means in terms of the impact is really important. Otherwise, you could be ranking exactly the same as you were last year, you could be getting exactly the same amount of traffic as you were last year, but maybe your messaging is slightly off towards your customers because the environment around you has changed.

Finally, make sure that you're jumping on that from a content perspective to capture a potentially new wave of topics or keywords that people are looking to find you for.

- Kevin Gibbons, CEO and Founder of re:signal

Learn more: How to Use a Data-Driven Content Strategy to Drive Customers via Organic Search

5. The power of TikTok portrait videos

Gavin Bell's thoughts on the latest marketing trends for 2023

Creating TikTok style videos, that's the number one thing. So portrait, and the thing that I've found that I've done quite a lot of shall we call "research" on TikTok - it's basically just me sitting on TikTok and pretending I'm working - is what is going down really, really well. I would call them hyper-relevant moments in life and business and insert your niche here and create videos about them.

So there are going to be in your industry, in your business, in your niche, there are going to be things that happen, that don't make sense to anybody else, other than people that have experienced that in your industry or your niche. And if you can create those TikToks - the way that their algorithm works, right now has this ability to find the people that those experiences are super relevant to. And when you have that experience of watching something that is extremely relevant to you - you know.

There's been videos on Tiktok where I've watched it and I've gone "wow! I thought I was the only person in the world that had ever experienced that or did that or thought that!" And then you see that there's 1000 comments from people being like, "Oh, wow, I thought it was only one person!" When you have that experience, It creates a bond instantly.

So my trend would be, start with TikTok style videos and portrait video. But try to find those hyper, hyper relevant things that happen in your industry, your niche and your business and start sharing them. Because when people pick up on them and watch them, that will create a really deep connection.

- Gavin Bell, Director of Yatter

Learn more: What Works for Facebook Advertising Now?

6. Crafting compelling titles

One of the biggest marketing trends or challenges I feel that marketers should pay attention to is titles - crafting titles. Whether it's a video title, a page title, or ad copy for your PPC titles, these are things that you should really pay attention to and learn.

Bring out the copywriter in you. I have found that, as an SEO, I was always going to the copy team, so this is something that I'm personally learning in order to help myself: to craft better titles, to earn the click, to grab that attention, and hopefully generate a lead.

- Dre de Vera, Head of Growth at Twingate

Learn more: SEO for Enterprise SaaS Businesses

7. The death of cookies and the information overload age

I think one of the biggest challenges facing us today is the lack of potential attribution that we are facing. The fact that they’re doing away with cookies is a little scary.

One of the other challenges that is going to be facing marketers is that we have absolutely blown past the Information Age, and we're in the Information Overload Age. There’s too much stuff out there. I can't consume content. I am a black sheep because I create content for a living, and I literally can't even consume it, because there's too much. People ask, ‘Oh, what do you do to get inspired?’ and I'm like, ‘I don't. I put on blinders.’

I think it goes to show you that we're gonna have a tough time if you are not really paring it down to the absolute necessities of content. What engages, what inspires, and what educates. I think you have to be really ruthless about that because we're all starting to feel it.

We're putting so much time and effort into email marketing, and we actually have wonderful open rates and click-through rates - we're at like 16%. In terms of B2B industry best, we're doing really well, and I'm super proud of the team, but we are going to be facing this cacophony of absolute noise out there. I think there's some kind of stat that's like, every minute four pieces of content, or like 400 pieces of content, are created.

- Megan Zink, Director of Demand Generation at ReviewTrackers

Learn more: How to Build a Content Strategy for Complex Buying Journeys

8. The challenges of mass personalization and omnichannel orchestration

I think these changes with privacy, like how iOS update really messed up Facebook tracking - you can see Apple's revenue from ads increasing and Facebook's revenue decreasing. I think that has created a massive problem for a lot of marketers and a lot of businesses.

I think the second category is the proliferation and fragmentation of the tech stack - and the integration between different pieces of tech stack is really complex, and that is particularly difficult.

I'd say the omnichannel orchestration - so trying to target that person who's on multiple channels and having a consistent message for them across different assets: on mobile app, and the responsive website, and once they log in. Doing that at scale is quite complex and difficult because of privacy, but also because of the rules - setting up all these exclusion rules and trying to cater to all these different journeys - and the kit that does it is quite expensive and complex. So that's another level.

Effectively, mass personalization is really the key challenge for marketers moving forward. And top talent. There is a shortage of talent. It's been an issue and it's probably a growing issue. Finding really great marketers is very hard - and finding the good ones that are economically or financially viable. For businesses, getting ROI on that investment, and that asset, is quite difficult. Those are a few of the top challenges that I'm seeing as I screen and audit and advise different businesses, and then build growth engines for them.

- Oren Greenberg, Founder of Kurve

Learn more: How to Select an Enterprise Marketing Channel

9. Capturing and using data to its full potential

There's a lot, there’s so much happening in marketing right now - particularly around the current market situation, trying to do more with less and cost-cutting. What I think is going to be challenging is how you make sure you're investing in both demand capture and demand creation.

When budgets get cut and times get tough, it's very easy to default to short-term investments on a lot of demand capture: paid search, bottom-of-funnel activity. But also, making sure you have budget and buy-in to still build the brand and build awareness. It's a good time to do it.

Of course, tied to that is how do you then use data to your advantage, get the most out of your data, and understand how those different activities and channels are performing? The companies that are better able and better equipped to work with and make use of all their data are the ones that are going to succeed, particularly in the coming year - in the situation we're in.

There's so much data available, but are you really using it to your maximum potential, using it to inform your decisions, and using it to guide where you should focus? Those are going to be some of the big things that marketers, marketing teams, and particularly marketing leaders and execs, will be looking at in the next year or so.

- Edward Ford, Head of Demand Gen at Supermetrics

Learn more: How to Establish User Intent Using Data

10. The future of CRM

The biggest challenge or trend is finding a good omnichannel connector that will do everything. There's a lot of stuff coming on, and it's going to be a challenge coming into the CRM market. Even companies like Salesforce and HubSpot, and different ones, are really struggling to keep up with everything because everybody does want to be an omnichannel connector. And, they need to be, to fully be connected to your constituents - to the searcher, to the looker, to the product buyer.

We want to know everything about them, and in order to meet their needs, we need to know their pain points - we need to know everything. In order to collect that ‘everything’, you've got to have a system to do it, and that's going to be the biggest challenge.

The biggest challenge is finding one that has that range, where people are building. There are several right now, new ones, where - if you see an ecosystem building around it, that's what I would be looking for. If I'm heading towards 2023/2024, I'm going to be looking for a CRM. My agency is now implementing CRMs, we're implementing not just other digital marketing channels such as SEO - but I'm not going to implement SEO unless I know there's a great CRM behind my work. That's where we draw the line now, so that's going to be a trend.

I haven't seen a CRM  that will handle everything, but they're all trying to be - from Salesforce to HubSpot to GoHighLevel - they're trying to be, and they eventually will be. That's the future. The struggle is to pick the one that you're going to stick with, that’s going to be there, and that’s going to take you to the next level. CRM is going to be the way to get all these channels connected together and be able to make those decisions in order to do it. If you're not doing it, you're not going to be able to compete.

- Joseph Kahn, Founder of HumJam

Learn more: How to Optimize Your Enterprise CRM to Drive Digital Success

11. Put your customers at the center of everything you do and differentiate yourself

Talia Wolf's thoughts on the latest marketing trends for 2023

I don't think this is new, but the world is just overwhelmed with noise, and people that are trying to grab our attention. I think that's one of the biggest issues. What worked 10 minutes ago no longer works, and things that we did at the beginning - a year ago - definitely don't work anymore. That's because there's just so much noise out there. Everyone's trying to grab your attention with ads and notifications and emails, and there's just a lot of it.

One of the biggest issues is standing out in that crowded market. You're no longer just worried about your direct competitors, but everyone. Even the pizza delivery person that arrives at your door is a competitor because if you sent a notification, they opened it, and then they got a buzz to go to the door – they’ve forgotten. They've gone on. Fighting for attention is a big battle. It's been going on for a while, but I feel like it's getting bigger and bigger.

The only way to really separate yourself from that crowd and stand out is to speak to your customers and make it about them, and really put them in the center and make them the hero. That means putting their value above all in everything that you do. Attention, I think, is the biggest thing.

- Talia Wolf, Founder and Chief Optimizer of Getuplift

Learn more: How Do You Apply Conversion Rate Optimization to the Entire Marketing Function?

12. The importance of data and going back to the basics

I think the challenge, for us as marketers, is: how do we optimize when the data that we can optimize from is getting worse and worse, and it will continue to do so as EU rules continue to evolve - and in America too, the rules around privacy are continuing to evolve.

That is a big challenge for us as marketers, and we are focusing our efforts more and more on what data we can capture. More of our budget goes towards email capture campaigns, even in the eCommerce space. It’s always been common in the B2B space, but in the eCommerce space, we've often just gone straight for that purchase, but we are now actually collecting data. Quizzes are a great way to collect more nuanced data about your users that you get to own and hold. Those are some of the ways we address the challenges.

The other thing that this challenge throws up for us is that, in order to succeed, we have to work harder as marketers. We have to go back to almost the first principles of marketing. We have to understand our customer better. Our positioning and our brand has to really resonate. Our creative has to be better than the other guys on the platform because, without data to help us optimize, we just need the performance to be better. If the ad speaks right to the customer and convinces them, and then they land on a page that's amazingly optimized, then we can have less data and we'll still get better results

- Jessie Healy, Founder of Webtopia

Learn more: How to Combine Multiple Ad Platforms to Amplify Your Success

13. Raw and authentic marketing

We've come to a place where social media has become - I mean, my kids are on social media probably for an hour before they even go to school. They’re on their Instagram, on their TikTok, and these are high school kids. We've gotten to this point where people really crave the raw and authentic. I think that COVID definitely influenced and affected this, but it's the raw, the authentic, the relatable, and “Is it aligned with my brand values?” These are all things that, more and more, large companies have to put into consideration in how they engage with people. Obviously, digitally, how they engage with people, but also how they engage with their employees.

That's why, even though employer branding is not a marketing-specific topic (it really is this HR topic), I think it blends really, really well together because it affects marketing as well - in terms of the younger generations particularly. Even if you're targeting B2B executives, more B2B executives are becoming millennials, especially for startup companies. It's a conversation I think we can't ignore, and I think it challenges our way of thinking. Social media already required marketers to think very differently. I think this is a new iteration, and a very, very important iteration.

How can we create short-form videos around these B2B topics? How can we resonate more with our audiences and resonate more with our employees? If we begin to uncover: what are our brand values? How do we align them with our employees, and with our constituents? If we begin to think about these things, now.

- Neal Schaffer, Author of The Age of Influence

Learn more: What is People-Centric Digital Marketing?

14. Using video to grow your brand

Listen, it's going to be video. Video has an enormous ROI. A lot of people have not quite fully embraced what video can do for them. I will tell you, I don't consider myself a marketer. I consider myself a coach and a trainer and an on-camera expert.

But, the way that I marketed my business is solely through video. Everything that I have achieved in terms of clients - I won’t say everything, I do run some ads – but about 95% of it was organic inbound from social media.

If you are not at least beginning to figure out how you can use video to establish credibility, visibility, authority, and bring people to you, it's not too long before you're gonna get well behind the curve. The space is getting more and more crowded, and more and more people are filling it who are comfortable with video, and, as we all know, the younger generation is searching for services (even finance and insurance services) on YouTube. They're looking for people that can create infotainment: informative, entertaining content that teaches them something and creates a top-of-mind presence for that particular person or brand.

- Kerry Barrett, On-Camera Expert, Coach and Video Creator

Learn more: Why Leaders Use Video to Grow Personal Influence

15. AI, no-code, AR and VR

I think there are three things. The first thing that is actually happening is the AI co-design, or we can say AI-collaborated marketing. There are a lot of new technology platforms that are relevant, with AI or with Artificial Intelligence support. That currently is helping design as well, which has really freaked out many designers, but that might become a deeper connection in the coming year. And, according to the speed of this domain, I think the current problem may be that it's hard to talk to the machine directly, which might be a good opportunity for marketing, and designers, and other professionals to dive in. So, AI co-marketing, AI co-design, could be one thing.

The second thing I think might be the no-code movement. That can bring us a lot of tools that don’t need so much investment for marketers, or for small business owners, to do that. We’re used to, if you want to build a business, you need to build a website and maybe hire someone for SEO and for other marketing stuff. Sometimes coding is inevitable, and you need to find developers to do that, or customize your website, even. But now, with the no-code movement, there are SEO support websites or other types of services that don’t have any coding requirements. Which means that, for people without a technology background, that could be a really good opportunity to start a business or speed up the business next year.

The third thing is that there might be a new market coming next year. Currently, Meta is investing so much resource into virtual reality, and Apple is also doing something on AR. Currently, our interaction with digital content or digital products is still limited - only with some screens, like mobile devices, tablets, or desktops. But, with the possible new products in AR and VR, there could be a lot of potential opportunities and a lot of things for marketers, for entrepreneurs, and for content creators to do.

- Bear Liu, Product Designer at Xero

Learn more: How to Build a Better Product By Better Understanding Customers

16. The importance of adding value

Barnaby Wynter's thoughts on the latest marketing trends for 2023

I think, quite clearly, the thing that's dominating the world right now is uncertainty and the fact that the price of everything's going up through the roof. The life that we've all got used to is becoming sort of unaffordable. In a commercial world, in the west, I believe it's now the responsibility of business owners to clearly communicate the value that they have created - to really be able to convince prospects, convince people, that we're actually on the side of the buyer, and that we’re with them all of the way.

Therefore, no matter what the absolute price is, the thing that we are offering them - in exchange for the decreasing amount of money they've got - will really improve the quality of their life.

- Barnaby Wynter, Founder of BrandBucket

Learn more: How to Become a Go-to Brand

17. The need to stand out from the rest of the crowd

There's a quote that has always haunted me: “When what you're doing isn't working, you tend to do more of the same just with greater intensity.” Marketers have to get out of that mindset and start to think about, how can we find ways to continue growing when you can't have a 24-month customer acquisition cost payback period anymore? Investors won't support that. Even though, just as recently as six months ago, you could have gone and raised a $100 million Series A, if you had good growth numbers and they were willing to accept that kind of unit economics.

Nowadays, I think this is a long-term, rationalization of how the industry should have been. I think we went on kind of a binge there, where we just thought money didn’t matter and we could just have cheap customer acquisition and valuations and payback periods going up forever. That's over. We've got to be a lot more methodical and a lot more, frankly, creative. If you keep doing what everyone else does, you're gonna get what everyone else gets, and most other companies are not doing particularly well right now.

- Sam Mallikarjunan, Head of Growth at HubSpot Labs and CEO and Co-Founder of OneScreen

Learn more: Performance Marketers Need to Think Beyond Clicks

18. Making proper use of your data

In terms of zero-party and first-party data that you have to work with, as marketers and as event organizers, I think the challenge for a lot of teams is to find a way to re-anchor into the success of email marketing and think through data strategically so that your messages are actually landing.

I think taking the data that we know about our audiences - and it can still really be a challenge, to get into segmenting in a way that feels really smart.

Are you using what you know, in terms of their behavior now? Their past behavior? What you have in terms of demos, so you feel like you have your finger on the pulse enough? So, what you know about those audience segments, you can say something that's actually relevant and different. I think getting that right - so that the audience that has already opted in and expects you to know them in a way - that we're honoring that and we're really getting that right, and that is a consistent challenge for marketers to kind of get that playbook down.

- Kathryn Frankson, Global Director of Marketing at Money 20/20

Learn more: How Do Traditional Events Fit into a Marketing Strategy?

19. UX and marketing need to come together

I'm hoping UX becomes a trend, certainly it can be a challenge at the moment. But I think, from both sides, marketers need to think more about their users, they need to think more about the needs, and they need to think more about the insight that they can get from working with UX teams - from working with user researchers, working with UX designers - and really learning more and understanding more about your users.

And on the flip side of that, I think UX people need to have more value in terms of the marketing side of things. We need to be, perhaps, more commercially-minded as well as being user-focused, and we need to be thinking, “Okay, how can we fit in with the business strategy with the marketing strategy?” and “How can we give the marketing teams what they need in terms of those user insights?” That, for me, is the biggest challenge - and hopefully will become the biggest trend - with that more direct crossover between UX and marketing.

- Luke Hay, Senior UX Researcher at Clearleft

Learn more: How Does UX Fit into an Enterprise Marketing Strategy

20. The power of demand generation

I'd say the biggest trend is the conversation around demand gen marketing. Demand gen is that shift from doing too much gated content to educating the buyer more. I think it's a good approach overall, and that all companies should be doing that. But don't totally get rid of lead gen and your gated content, but make sure it's only your really high-quality resources that someone has a reason to sign up for. Use those to gate, but then use more of the in-feed content to educate people.

- Antony Blatner, CMO of SpeedworksSocial.com

Learn more: How to Get Started With LinkedIn Ads

21. Differentiating your brand in an increasingly crowded market

Eden Bidani's thoughts on the latest marketing trends for 2023

I think the biggest challenge is definitely going to be differentiation. Right now, what has happened as a result of a lot of conversion rate optimization, or even copywriting best practices, is that a lot of companies are starting to sound the same. The space is getting more crowded – especially, for example, if you look at SaaS, or MarTech, or any of these companies. The spaces are getting more crowded, online spaces are getting more crowded, even though there are still multiple channels and places for people to market. Everything is so much more noisy, and so much more crowded.

The only way to really make sure that people are going to listen to you is to come with a really strong and opinionated message or a really strong point of view - a really unique and different direction. Not “Win More Customers and Grow Your Business Online”, because that's what literally everyone online can say, everyone who is marketing themselves online. But really drilling down to what that actually means: “There's a Better Way to do X”, “Here is One Important Thing That You Can Achieve”, or “Here's an Idea That We Want You to Hold On To”.

- Eden Bidani, Conversion Copywriter + Acquisition Strategist

Learn more: Copywriting Techniques and Approaches for B2B Companies

22. GA4 and privacy-centered marketing

Well, if I can be bold and stick two in, I'm going to try and squeeze two in. This deadline I keep mentioning is obviously a big deal for marketers who are relying on Google Analytics, or specifically have been relying on Universal Analytics to help them understand their campaigns and optimize their campaigns. Given that July 23 is just around the corner, I think finalizing GA4 implementations, migrating those last reports over to GA4, and making sure that the wider businesses understand what GA4 is capable of is going to be a big focus for marketers working specifically with GA as their main analytics tool.

And then maybe the other point that I was going to try and just squeeze in as well is obviously the continual shift towards a more privacy-centered web, basically, and some of these headlines that are coming out about tools like GA being illegal. Sometimes they're slightly “clickbaity” headlines, but the constant shift towards a more privacy-centered approach to marketing. GA isn't excluded from that; it's a big part of it. So that's the other big challenge, I think, for marketers - continuing to have data that they need to optimize their campaigns while also, at the same time, respecting users' choices in terms of consenting to data being collected and used.

- Dara Fitzgerald, CEO and Co-Founder of Measurelab

Learn more: Where Does Analytics Fit Into a Marketing Strategy?

23. Difficulties measuring results and attribution

I think we are entering, have entered, and are continuing to enter a period of attribution going away for virtually all organic channels. I think attribution today only really exists for paid channels. It's so incredibly difficult, so complex, and so rough in terms of the measurement that I would suggest that most people don't even bother. Unless you're doing $100 million a year in revenue or more, I would say you shouldn't even bother trying to build attribution models for organic. They're going to be so off that it won't help you.

Instead, we're getting back to a world that's a little bit like what the 20th century's measurement systems looked like. If Coca-Cola ran an ad in 1955, the way they would do it is they’d run it in Cleveland, Ohio, but not in Cincinnati. Then they’d look at same-store sales from Cleveland, and Cincinnati. If those sales were exactly the same, and they didn't change, or they were within margin of error, they’d say, “Okay, the ad didn't work. That was an ineffective ad, let's run something else.” If it did - if Cleveland’s same-store sales rose and Cincinnati's didn't - they'd say, “All right, take that ad, run it all over Ohio. We're going to test Ohio against Kansas.”

This would be how advertising measurement was done, and how marketing measurement was done. Today, I think we're going back to that world where you sort of have to make investments, measure broad lift, and then try and say, “Okay, our campaign of content marketing, or social media marketing, or podcasting, or building up our YouTube channel, or trying to get our brand out through conferences and events”. For all these organic kinds of things, the way to measure it is with broad brand lift, direct and type-in traffic, branded search traffic, etc.

I think this is a huge trend. You're gonna see - I just saw the report this morning that Salesforce feels like, because of the macroeconomic environment, because of the challenges of measurement, etc, they don't think they can make a forecast for next year. “It's too difficult, so we're not going to forecast our financial quarterly results like we usually do.” I think that's going to be true for a lot of folks who don't just rely on paid.

- Rand Fishkin, CEO of SparkToro

Learn more: Who is Your Ideal Audience, and Where Can You Find Them?

24. Embracing automation and AI

This is gonna be the buzzword that everyone keeps hearing everywhere, which is “automation”, right? There are all sorts of automation and AI innovations that have rolled out recently. I think that the immediate reaction of most marketers is to be scared of AI and scared of automation. I know, in the past, I've felt scared. It's like, “Well, hey, if Facebook keeps improving their automatic bidding algorithms, or Google keeps improving their automatic bidding algorithms, eventually, you won't even need a PPC Manager or Facebook manager, or whatever it is. Eventually, you won't need that.” I actually don't believe that that's the case.

I think that the marketers who are going to come out on top over the next 10 years are going to be the ones who learn how to strategically deploy AI and how to optimize it. Because you're still going to need human input no matter what, even on the A/B testing front. If, theoretically (and there's not a tool out there that does this right now) there was an A/B testing tool that would say, “We're going to automatically test everything on your site for you and we're going to optimize things.” it's going to require strategic human input.

In my company, we're actually working on figuring out how we can use AI to build better and smarter tests in the future. It's not that building that tool is going to replace me, it's that building that tool is going to make me better. And probably it's going to change how I use my time. Maybe I won't spend so much of my time on monotonous tasks - and that's great, because hopefully it will free up brain space for me to focus on other things that are more important. I think anybody who can learn how to use those tools and get on board as early as possible is going to be set up for success in the future.

- Chris Dayley, Neuromarketer and A/B Tester

Learn more: Key Ways to Improve Your Website Conversion Rates | With Chris Dayley

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