Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is on the precipice of a monumental shift. You may have noticed that many new B2B marketing campaigns resemble business-to-consumer (B2C) campaigns. And for good reason.

It’s an effort from marketers to better connect with the person ‘behind the job title’, as the B2B marketing landscape suffers from increasingly uniform content styles. Everything looks, sounds, and smells the same to today’s decision makers.

But this hasn’t been super effective either. There is a reason B2B and B2C marketing operate in different spheres: they serve different purposes and have different audiences. While the ambition to shake things up is admirable, this new wave of content lacks depth and doesn’t align to long-term strategies. So, simply replacing one with the other is not the answer, nor is it the future.

B2B marketing requires a reset which consolidates its purpose, aligning it with business aims rather than the (often conflicting) objectives of various siloed departments.

In the face of changing technology, skillsets, workplaces, expectations, and disruptions, appealing to a new audience of decision-makers necessitates a more thoughtful approach.

But what does that look like in practice, what specifically will change in the next few years, and how should we manage this shift? There are lots of questions (possibly more so than answers), and we’ve compiled the most important points to consider in 2024:

Understanding the altered landscape of decision-makers

B2B decision-making will be more complex, as a communal effort involving various stakeholders becomes standard. This comes in tandem with the emergence of a tech-savvy generation of decision-makers. They tend to prefer experiences that are not only digitally native, but also highly personalised, globally conscious, and engaging.

To prepare for this evolution, businesses must discard outdated practices like funnel-filling and one-size-fits-all strategies. They should instead create campaigns that continue to resonate with their target audience as it changes. This will mean regularly reviewing and adapting content to reflect the priorities of a new demographic  – or risk alienating them.

Revamping engagement strategies

Continuing along this vein, engaging decision-makers now requires constructing corporate value experiences that resonate on a personal level. This must be accomplished while catering to the global market through technological integration.

Stepping away from conventional B2B interactions, businesses must embrace hybrid environments, immersive experiences, and meaningful networks to stay relevant.

A great example of this came from multinational software company Adobe, during their 2023 annual, global summit conference. At this hybrid event, they combined their B2B messaging with a personalised experience – delivering bespoke messages to their 46,000 attendees by leveraging first-person data. Not only did it delight attendees, it also streamlined post-event sales. post-event sales.

Aligning technology with purpose

The strategic use of technology is pivotal in this paradigm shift. Businesses must aim to make technology an extension of the team, where self-service platforms and community forums drive engagement, and meaningful interactions take precedence over transactional exchanges.

Thriving in this new era mandates the integration of a culture of listening and learning, tailored strategies, and the creation of genuine connections. Technology will be a powerful tool here and should be embedded alongside content personalisation. Recent McKinsey research shows that early adopters of advanced sales technology are more effectively connecting with customers, converting business, and growing their market share.

Redefining data for growth

In parallel with a purposeful approach to technology, businesses must redefine measurement metrics, focusing on value exchange and customer feedback over mere data accumulation.

Brands must blend the professional and personal aspects of today’s hybrid world and leverage insights from real people.

This will require they repurpose data processing in favour of producing qualitative insights, based on the personal experience of customers, enabling companies to create content that is human and relatable – and speaks to the real issues clients face.

Embracing a future of mutual benefit

The forthcoming end of B2B marketing as we know it doesn’t spell loss, but rather an evolution toward a more connected, responsive, and value-driven approach. By building corporate value experiences that mirror the richness and diversity of the communities they serve, businesses set the stage for a future where B2B relationships foster shared growth and success. This shift calls for a renewed focus on innovation and an unwavering dedication to the real people at the heart of every transaction.

Preparing for the end of B2B marketing as we know it won’t be a passive endeavour. It will require strategic foresight and proactive measures.

Businesses that undertake this preparation, embracing change with commitment and innovation, will not only navigate the impending shift successfully, but emerge as pioneers; shaping a future where B2B relationships thrive in an era of shared prosperity.

Customer Engagement Director at krow Group

Sam is a Customer Engagement Director with a decade of expertise in sculpting the future of engagement for B2B and B2C clients. With a rich history in content creation and digital innovation, Sam has a deep understanding of how to leverage data, insights and customer relationship management to craft messaging that resonates.

Sam combines a mastery of social and digital experiences with a forward-thinking approach to stay ahead of the evolving digital landscape. Their work has not only driven successful campaigns but has also challenged to push B2B client communications strategy to do more.