B2B Marketing in 2024: What’s in & What’s Out

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the only constant in life is change. 

That’s especially true in the world of B2B marketing. 

From privacy updates to ad platform changes to new regulations and more, there are always changes afoot.

To help our customers (and ourselves!) stay on top of this crazy industry, we sat down with five experts to talk about what’s in and what’s out this year when it comes to B2B marketing and advertising.

To say we got some great tips would be an understatement! 

From email to MQLs to LinkedIn and even design, our panelists absolutely brought it.

While we aren’t going to dive into every tip our panelists provided (you can watch the webinar for that), we are going to give you a few of the highlights. 

So, let’s dive into these expert tips and kick your B2B marketing and advertising strategies into high gear.

B2B Email Marketing

Larry Kim, CEO & Founder, Customers.ai

Email is a complicated channel. There is so much that goes into it and honestly, we could do 100 webinars on the topic and still not cover everything you need to know!

That being said, when we look at email marketing in the B2B space, it’s pretty clear what is out and what is in.

Out: Outbound Emailing

With the recent changes to Google and Yahoo’s spam algorithms, outbound email campaigns are only getting more complicated. 

As you can see in the image above (and in our B2B Spam Complaint Rate Study), spam complaint ranges are nowhere near the new thresholds set by the platforms, leaving B2B marketers in a precarious position.

The result? We can’t keep sending relying on outbound.

While cold emails have been a work horse for decades in the B2B space, they have higher chance of being marked as spam and as a result, a higher chance of getting your domain penalized. 

In: Intent-Driven Outbound Emailing

If outbound emails are out, that must mean inbound emails are in…right? Sort of.

What’s in is treating outbound the same as you would inbound. 

What makes inbound work? Warm leads!

People who have heard of you are less likely to mark you as spam. 

Using Customers.ai, you can start identifying high-intent visitors on your website who haven’t made a purchase, haven’t filled out a form, or haven’t previously received a message from you.

These are warm leads and these are the perfect people to consider for your outbound emailing. 

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Paid Advertising Spend

Molly Staats, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Lucky Orange

Paid ad spend has been on this rise the last few years and with the demise of third-party cookies and click IDs, it isn’t likely to get any better without some significant changes. 

That certainly doesn’t mean that there aren’t options. What is means is advertisers have to rethink how they are currently doing things and evolve past third-party cookies. 

Out: Rising Ad Costs & Third-Party Cookies

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know third-party cookies are slated to be removed from Chrome by the end of 2024. 

You also know that Apple removed click IDs with iOS17 and that since iOS14, Facebook advertising hasn’t been the same. 

All of this, combined with demand has led to rising ad costs across platforms like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 

As we head into the remainder of 2024, it’s time to say enough to these and start adapting to what’s in. 

In: First-Party Data & Owned Media 

Companies need to focus on collecting first-party data. Heck, even Google agrees with that! 

First-party data allows you to create better lookalike audiences, custom audience segments, and reach buyers in a much more cost-effective and efficient way. 

First-party data also allows you to focus on high-intent audiences – those who are truly interested in your business. These are the people who can be turned into subscribers and the people you can build real relationships with. 

For 2024, B2B marketers need to rely less on the platforms and focus on owned assets and media. First-party data is how we get there.

LinkedIn Advertising

AJ Wilcox, Founder, B2Linked.com

For B2B advertisers, LinkedIn has been a staple in the toolbox for years and they continue to get better. 

While it’s true we’ve seen rising ad costs there as well, their targeting capabilities have far outweighed that of Facebook and Google for B2B in recent years. 

LinkedIn continues to innovate and as a result, we are seeing new opportunities come in, and old ones head out the door.

Out: Single Image Ads & Corporate Videos

For years, LinkedIn advertisers have used single image ads, which, despite being straightforward to create, pretty much blend into the background. 

And with an average cost per click ranging from $10 to $16 and a click-through rate of less than half a percent, they aren’t exactly the low-cost ads they once were. They are out.

The same goes for video. 

While it’s great to see marketers evolving to video (we know the impact video ads can be extremely positive), it’s time to move away from those boring corporate videos. 

People want to feel a connection and traditional corporate videos tend to lack that emotional engagement. 

In: Thought Leadership Ads & Personal Videos

What do these two things have in common?

They feature real people!

That’s right. LinkedIn Thought Leader ads allow you to promote posts from actual employees (and coming in April 2024 – anyone). 

People are more likely to click on a post from a person than a company. This gives you an opportunity to connect with your target audience in a more effective way and guess what? It costs less! These ads perform 10x better than company posts and carry a much lower CPC.

As for video, the same thing applies – be a human! 

Focus on UGC or personal video posts to reach your customers. 

Personal videos can help you forge a genuine connection with your audience and they’re proven to be cost-effective and significantly impactful.

ABM Campaigns

Anastasia Warren, Senior Director of Paid Media, Walker Sands

ABM has been the hot buzzword for a few years and with good reason – as targeting capabilities became worse and worse, people needed to figure out a way to reach their audience. 

The focus? Accounts. 

But here’s the thing – it’s time to move past account-based marketing and focus on the people themselves (we call this contact-based marketing). 

Out: Siloed Campaigns & Generic Retargeting Lists

Single-phase campaigns, reliance solely on retargeting without segmentation, and broad, undifferentiated messaging are officially outdated.

People want personalization and they want to feel a connection to the brands they care about.

This means you can’t treat everyone the same and you must to build cohesive campaigns across channels. 

The time for generalization is over. 

In: Full-Funnel Campaigns & Segmented Audiences

We talk a lot about audience segmentation here and there is a reason for that – it’s a marketing must for B2B and B2C advertisers alike. 

With the right segmentation strategies in place, you can build really strong campaigns that target buyers throughout the funnel with personalized messaging and content that resonates. 

Look, with businesses needing upwards of 200 touchpoints to close a deal, you must ensure you are creating a full-funnel strategy.

Advanced segmentation and custom audiences are the way to do just that.  

B2B Messaging

Nica Latto, Content Marketing Strategist, Semrush

Whether you’re in B2B, B2C, DTC, or any other acronym, you know how difficult it can be to find the right messaging. 

You need messaging that resonates with your audience, captivates them, and gets them on board with your brand. 

Easier said than done. 

The right messaging also requires staying up to date with common vernacular, adapting to your audience, and evolving as language evolves. 

Out: Too Much Focus on Product Features 

The use of complex jargon, an overemphasis on product specifications without context, and the prevalent “Corporate Memphis” design style have got to go! 

These methods fail to resonate with modern B2B audiences seeking clarity and connection and are relics of a past world where B2B was treated differently than B2C.

B2B buyers aren’t the stiff, boring people we tend to treat them like. 

They are humans and they need to feel the same connection as any other customer out there.

In: Value to Customer

The key is to focus on relatable copy that emphasizes storytelling, highlights the value of products to customers rather than dry specifications, and incorporates unique design elements and colors. 

It can really be broken down into four key components:

  • Shift to Customer-Centric Messaging: Focus on what the customer gains from the product vs. the brand itself.
  • Humanize the Brand: Use real customer stories and UGC to add authenticity.
  • Incorporate Humor: Don’t shy away from adding humor to resonate more deeply with the audience.
  • Testing and Adaptation: Continuously test different aspects of your campaigns to discover what resonates best with your audience.

At the end of the day, it’s about the customer and that’s what your messaging needs to reflect.

A Shifting B2B Marketing Landscape

The B2B marketing world is not immune to changes happening across the board. 

Technology platforms are putting a hard focus on privacy, customer expectations have shifted and continue to shift, and what worked last year (or even six months ago) no longer works as effectively.

All of our panelists gave us some amazing tips for moving forward. From a focus on first-party data to better outbounding to more efficient ads and messaging, there is plenty of work that can be done.

These aren’t all the tips though!

Sign up for the webinar replay and you will get not only the video itself, but you’ll also get more insights into our new B2B consumer directory.

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