Global B2B marketing leaders are emerging from a challenging year with renewed hope as the sector experiences a shift in tides. According to recent research conducted by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network and leading B2B advertising platform, approximately two-thirds (65%) of B2B marketing leaders anticipate an increase in marketing budgets over the next year. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of them, around 75%, plan to leverage Generative AI to generate content more efficiently (56%), improve productivity (55%), and create captivating content (51%).

LinkedIn’s study, titled ‘The B2B Marketing Benchmark‘ surveyed nearly 2,000 senior B2B marketing and finance leaders from organizations worldwide. The research, conducted prior to the 2023 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, reveals that B2B marketers have successfully adapted to uncertainty and made strategic investments to emerge stronger.

With glimpses of recovery in the B2B landscape, 64% of B2B Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) highlight the heightened importance of brand building, as recognized by the C-suite, to secure a larger market share in the current business climate. One key factor contributing to this shift is the increasing financial fluency among B2B CMOs. A significant proportion (80%) claim to have acquired financial literacy, enabling them to communicate the value of brand marketing to their CEO and CFO effectively. In fact, 84% of B2B CMOs report strengthened skills in demonstrating the value of brand marketing, a testament to their commitment to winning over the executive suite. The study also indicates that B2B marketers enjoy strong support from their organizations, with 60% of B2B CFOs expressing optimism in marketing’s ability to drive revenue in the coming year.

For B2B marketing leaders, prioritizing bolder creative approaches in campaigns to enhance mental availability (52%) stands as a top goal this year. Leading the charge are France (64%), Germany (53%), India (51%), and the UK (51%). Moreover, B2B marketing leaders exhibit confidence in the creative capabilities of their teams, with 70% believing they possess the necessary skills to support brand-building endeavors. Analyzing LinkedIn data, it becomes evident that the profiles of marketers worldwide have witnessed a 46% surge in creative skills acquired over the past year. Among the most crucial skills sought after by B2B marketers today are creative strategy, problem-solving, and proficiency in marketing technology and data analytics.

As B2B marketing leaders anticipate budget growth, embrace Generative AI, and elevate the importance of brand building, the industry gears up for a period of revitalization. The findings from LinkedIn’s ‘The B2B Marketing Benchmark’ shed light on the industry’s resilience and adaptability, positioning B2B marketers for a promising future.

“B2B marketers have shown their prowess in navigating economic uncertainty and helping business leaders see the brand building growth opportunity as they look to win share in the current climate. Eager to experiment with Generative AI and creativity, B2B marketers have emerged as optimistic powerhouses focused on building memorable, best-in-class B2B brands. The strides B2B CMOs have made in improving ‘financial fluency’ and proving marketing effectiveness are paying off, and their efforts will be rewarded through driving their company’s next wave of growth.”

Tom Pepper, Senior Director, EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

 

New Features and Products Announced

LinkedIn is piloting AI-generated Copy Suggestions and launching new tools to help measure brand marketing effectiveness.  To help B2B companies bolster brand building, measure effectiveness, and connect with audiences in new ways, LinkedIn is launching new products and services:

  • AI-generated Copy Suggestions: AI-generated Copy Suggestions uses generative AI to create high performing intro text and headlines for ad creatives by leveraging data from an advertiser’s LinkedIn Page. LinkedIn is rolling out this feature in a pilot in North America, and plans to increase functionality, languages, and availability in the coming months.
  • CMO Scorecard: To help B2B marketers benchmark creative impact and media performance against competitors, and demonstrate how current brand advertising investments improve recruiter, marketer and seller efficiency, LinkedIn is introducing the CMO Scorecard, a new measurement program through its consultancy, B2B Edge.
  • In-stream video ads: To support a full-funnel experience, customers can tap into In-Stream Video ads to scale their campaign reach and connect with professional audiences across LinkedIn’s network of publishers. These ads, which will appear on mobile or desktop apps and sites, will play at the beginning (pre-roll) and middle (mid-roll) of long-form video content on trusted publisher sites across the LinkedIn Audience Network.
  • Thought Leader Ads: Thought Leader Ads allow brands to sponsor their thought leaders’ posts, helping them authentically communicate through a trusted voice to build brand equity and stay top-of-mind. Early performance indicators show that customers who participated in the Thought Leader Ad beta saw a 1.7x higher clickthrough rate (CTR) and 1.6x higher engagement rate compared to other single-image ads.
  • Conversation Ads: New and improved Conversation Ads allow advertisers to drive higher intent conversations with members in the Focused tab, helping them to increase their reach and maximise budgets with lower frequency caps and cost per click pricing.
  • Pages Messaging: LinkedIn is introducing the ability for members to organically connect with organisations through Pages Messaging. This functionality will enable members and Pages on LinkedIn to directly communicate with each other about the topics that matter most to them, like products and services, job listings, and other business inquiries. 
  • Audience Insights API: The Audience Insights API enables agencies and marketing technology companies to build solutions that help marketers discover and understand their target audiences to create more effective, relevant campaigns.

Note on Survey Methodology

LinkedIn commissioned Ipsos to survey 1,954 B2B CMOs, CFOs and senior-level B2B marketers at small, medium and large organisations across the globe (US, UK, Germany, France, India, Australia, Singapore and Brazil) to examine how they’re faring amid uncertainty, what they’re doing to drive growth at their companies and how their roles are evolving. The research was conducted online between March 24 and May 5, 2023.

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