What B2B Marketing Leaders Really Want in 2024

As we traverse 2024, B2B marketing executives face a rapidly evolving landscape with both new challenges and opportunities—looking at you, AI. To better understand their priorities, pain points, and what they truly value in an agency partner, we spoke with senior marketing leaders across several B2B industries. Priorities varied based on the specific business and stage, but a few common themes emerged:

Lead Generation vs Account Growth

For some companies, new customer acquisition through lead generation is the top priority. For others, especially more established businesses, the focus is on growing existing customer accounts and revenue. And all agreed that an audience-centric strategy is key for effectively targeting both new and current customers. Most executives we spoke to are either already using account-based marketing (ABM), or are looking to start by using first- and third-party data to focus their cross-channel marketing efforts on key accounts.

If you’re not segmenting your customers and prospects, it’s time to start. Think about the core nuances that differentiate large lumps of your customer base. Use these nuances to better connect with them through your marketing—the messaging, the imagery, the targeting. We’re here if you need help 😉.

Paid Marketing Wanes, Organic Content Reigns

Paid marketing is increasingly seen as having waning efficacy and return on investment. As a result, content marketing is becoming a greater priority—but incredibly challenging to execute well. Creating high-quality content that resonates with target audiences is an uphill battle for most, but presents an excellent opportunity for leaning on an agency partner. The right partner will have the tools and expertise to help you identify priority content areas, formats, dissemination channels, and journeys, and can help you measure the efficacy of your content as well.

This is not to say that paid marketing has lost all its efficacy—you still need to push your message and your content in front of the right people at the right time and place—but marketing leaders are understanding the importance of the payoff for a consumer, or the clicker, as I like to say. Give the clicker a reason to click.

The Attribution Struggle

Demonstrating clear marketing ROI and campaign attribution is crucially important yet very difficult. Companies are looking to better leverage their martech stacks for attribution, but this is often aspirational—having a robust, integrated martech stack is still the exception rather than the norm.

The Website Dissonance

There was some dissonance around the importance of company websites. While some made it clear their site wasn’t a top focus area, most repeatedly referenced web content, SEO, and lead forms as integral marketing components. The general sentiment was that websites are less important for marketing to existing customers, but still important for attracting new ones.

The Agency Partnership Imperative

And finally, what our agency peers really want to know: What do these marketing leaders truly want from an agency partner? A few key qualities stood out:

•   A Trusted Strategic Partner: Not just a vendor, but an extension of their internal team that proactively brings ideas, asks tough questions, and collaborates on strategic thinking.

•   Relationship and Communication: They crave a partner invested in the relationship with strong communication and project management.

•   Deep Audience Understanding: Agencies must make the effort to truly understand a client’s customers, market, and unique challenges.

•   Creativity and Adaptability: With rapidly evolving marketing conditions, creative and flexible thinking is a must in an agency partner.

As the B2B marketing world charges through 2024, the most successful leaders will be those who can keep a pulse on constantly shifting priorities while identifying trusted partners to help them navigate the storm.

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