B2B Marketing Trends for the Innovative CMO

CMOs are made, not born. Some say it’s the hardest marketing job to get and the easiest job to lose. That’s why innovation in the modern CMO role is critical. 

We’re previewing a list of B2B marketing trends to help CMOs stay innovative—or get you promoted to the role instead.

1. Exploring bigger marketing technology investments

According to LXA, 24% of the B2B marketing budget is allocated to marketing technology, up 2% since 2021. Our research found that over 63% of B2B CMOs are increasing the technology budget for marketing in the next 12 months. But where is the innovative CMO investing?

Where marketing leaders invest in technology

Here are the three most significant areas to invest in new tech:

  1. Identity and audience targeting
  2. Analytics
  3. Advertising

As CMOs embark on major digital transformations and strategy shifts to satisfy the new B2B consumer, technology investments will grow in key areas. 

This year, B2B CMOs are demanding larger technology budgets, but will likely consolidate their tech stack. Marketers are focused on getting tech integration right. 

Since the pandemic rush to implement new martech, B2B marketers are struggling to manage it all and show how data aligns cross-functionally. Data alignment between sales and marketing is becoming more important than ever for driving customer loyalty and retention. 

HubSpot reports that the biggest goal—and challenge—for B2B marketers in 2023 is generating more traffic. With budget constraints and increased competition, marketers must maintain a flexible strategy and be prepared to pivot. Over 20% of marketers have already pivoted their strategy at least once this year due to the potential recession. 

Other marketing goals included increasing revenue, improving customer experience, increasing brand awareness, and improving brand loyalty and engagement.

2. Embracing account-based experiences

Innovative CMOs are embracing account-based marketing (ABM) as a pillar in the B2B marketing plan. ABM itself is not a new digital marketing trend for leading B2B brands. But expanding to an organization-wide account-based experience (ABX) is only for the most audacious marketing leaders.

ABM has widespread adoption among modern marketing teams and continues to increase in popularity. The strategy is more attractive for brands that want to leverage AI-driven audience aggregators to produce high-value marketing campaigns. 

Rising identity and audience targeting make effectively marketing to a target audience across channels costly. According to RollWorks, 91% of marketing teams applying ABM indicated larger deal sizes. Another 67% of companies using ABM have better sales and marketing collaboration with improved close rates and reduction in resource waste.

Where leading CMOs are investing in ABM

Data is the key to starting a strong account-based marketing program. Companies are looking at ABM tech stack investment in these key areas:

  1. Intent monitoring
  2. Programmatic advertising
  3. Personalization

These three areas represent the most significant challenges to building and scaling an ABM program.

3. Focusing on customer experience and personalization

In 2022, CMOs saw the power of ABM, behavior-based marketing, and intent-based analytics as important for driving B2B marketing strategy. This year, the challenge is leveraging this data to create valuable insights and stories. CMOs who are successful data storytellers are in high demand. 

B2B customers are more in-tune with marketing tactics than ever before, meaning marketers who take the “spray and pray” approach to reaching their buying audience will struggle. 

The shift toward a “learn and earn” approach, based on building relationships and meeting customer needs, requires martech tools that shine a light on buying behavior and create a personalized customer experience.

4. Shifting to digital-first marketing strategies

Traditional B2B marketing skirted mobile and other digital priorities because buyers were predictably engaging on static channels: company devices in company offices. Enter the globalization of remote work. 

Now the mobile-first movement is hitting B2B marketing departments. Around 70% of B2B buyers and decision-makers prefer remote or digital interactions with vendors – it’s predicted this percentage will continue to increase over the next two years to 2025.

The demographics of the B2B buying committee are changing, too. According to AMA data, 65% of B2B buyers are Millennials or Gen Z, ages 18 to 40. These buyers grew up in a digital world, and expect to manage the customer journey on their own terms. These buyers do their own research and want a personalized experience that fits their pain points.

Regarding digital tactics, advertising will continue to dominate marketing budgets this year. According to new research, mobile ads will account for $8.33 billion of U.S. B2B digital ad spending in 2023. This means an increase in channel saturation not being used or optimized for B2B marketing teams. Our teams predict the rising competition in these spaces will cause digital advertising costs to steadily incline — even with identity challenges.

With GDPR regulations and other privacy changes, B2B email marketing will also likely shift this year. But marketing leaders who leverage this channel will incorporate a smarter mobile-optimized approach with added layers of personalization to scale.

5. Expanding the marketing mix

CMOs have a lot to prove this year. They must first focus on aligning marketing channels to changes in the B2B buying committee. Then, they need to focus on data storytelling to successfully communicate marketing’s impact on revenue. This strain is opening the door for B2B marketers to try new digital tactics to accelerate brand awareness and consideration.

Though digital media budgets are expected to level out in 2023, marketers are striving for a greater media mix to meet Millennial and Gen Z shifting demands. This year we’ll see three areas take precedence in B2B marketing budgets:

  1. Digital ads (think: display, paid search, etc.)
  2. Social media (especially influencer marketing)
  3. Online content

Digital Ads

In another report, eMarketer indicates that B2B companies will spend 47% of their total advertising budgets this year on digital ads, including social and mobile advertising. 

B2B marketers are also leveraging their tech stack to improve results. For example, marketers are using AI for media buying and programmatic advertising. 

The ability to leverage audience building and machine learning to create efficient campaign execution is revolutionizing media buying for businesses. CMOs in B2B organizations may leave programmatic to the B2C brands. But it would be a mistake. The trick to making it work? ABM.

Social Media

Are influencer recommendations the new case study? Over 25% of marketers currently leverage influencer marketing, and it brings significant ROI when paired with short-form video. Because more and more B2B buyers are Gen Z, this strategy makes sense. 

Research shows that 33% of Gen Zers have purchased a product based on an influencer’s recommendation in the last three months, and trust an influencer’s feedback more often than from a family or friend. 

Another trending B2B marketing tactic is branded social media messaging. You can use this strategy for customer service or demand generation. By placing branded direct message ads to your customers or prospects on LinkedIn and Facebook, you can keep the conversation going and ensure you’re delivering a top-notch customer experience.

Another trending B2B marketing tactic is branded social media messaging. This strategy can be used for both customer service and demand generation. By placing branded direct message ads to your customers or prospects on LinkedIn and Facebook, you can keep the conversation going and ensure you’re delivering a top-notch customer experience.

Online Content

Programmatic advertising has a significant role to play in digital media for B2B marketing leaders. But if you’re looking for an edge, go with video.

Research shows video takes center stage for more B2B CMOs every year. And 90% of B2B marketing leaders expect to use online video this year. 

The novel channel—which some may assume is risky for B2B—for innovative CMOs is connected television (CTV). Traditionally, the CTV advertising channel is reserved for the biggest B2B brands doing high-budget brand awareness. Making a strategic play for hyper-targeted CTV audiences will transform the top-of-the-funnel playbook for the modern marketing team in 2023. 

B2B marketing has never been easy. But it’s always been an exciting challenge for those leaders bold enough to take the risks. Want to learn more about today’s top digital media trends, topics and strategies? Explore more B2B marketing strategy, and get the expertise you need today.