Think for a second about how you conduct research as a business buyer. Would you say it’s dramatically different from the way you conduct research as a consumer? If I were shopping for a new martech solution for the Evergage marketing team to use, for example, I’ll probably either start with a Google search, or I’d go directly to a few vendor sites that were already top-of-mind for me. And if I were shopping for a new ceiling fan for my living room, I’d either start with a Google search or go directly to the Home Depot or Lowes website. In other words, I’d approach my research in a very similar way. Of course, there will be a few key differences in how I think about making a business vs. personal purchase, but I don’t fundamentally change who I am as a person when I shop for things in my business life. 

While B2B marketing may get a bad rap as “boring” sometimes, the truth is that any B2B marketing program that’s boring is behind the times. B2B marketers have had to keep evolving and innovating just as their B2C counterparts have — because business buyers are consumers too.

To help B2B marketers identify areas for innovation, we recently hosted a webinar titled “Innovations in B2B Marketing: 5 Demand Generation Trends to Watch.” In it, Jessie Johnson, Research Director, Demand Marketing Strategies at SiriusDecisions, and Dave Parsons, Senior Customer Success Director at Evergage, walked through five key trends: buyer enablement, interconnected tactic mix, media optimization, artificial intelligence (AI) and experimentation culture. 

I’ll briefly describe two of those trends in this blog post, but check out the webinar replay for all of the details!

Media Optimization

Digital advertising plays an important role in marketing programs across industries. It’s one of the key tactics marketers use to stay top-of-mind for their audiences.

According to SiriusDecisions: “Innovation in digital media requires a content strategy and audience journey activated through multiple channels and access to first- and third-party data sources to tailor messaging at scale.”

Put in simpler terms, with the targeting technology available today, the quantity of ad impressions no longer matters. It’s the quality of impressions that counts. In the B2B world, that means hitting the right industries, accounts, personas or in-market buyers.

At Evergage, we use segment-based advertising to reach our audience with a relevant message. In one example, we created a segment of visitors who have demonstrated interest in Evergage (as indicated by their past browsing behavior on our website), but have not spoken to a salesperson. We target them on LinkedIn with an ad asking them to “get a demo.” 

demand generation trends

Digital ads targeted to past website visitors who have demonstrated an interest in Evergage but have not requested a demo.

This innovation in targeting is essential to optimize media spend for B2B marketers. Better ad targeting allows them to reach prospects with relevant content, as well as optimize media spend.

Artificial Intelligence

“Artificial intelligence” (AI) has been a major buzzword in the marketing world for the past few years. But it’s not just buzz, SiriusDecisions’ 2018 Global CMO Study found that nearly a third (31%) of organizations are prioritizing AI implementation in the next two years.

According to SiriusDecisions: “Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible to know the b-to-b buyer like never before and to answer critical questions about who the buyer is and what attracts and engages that buyer.” 

With that in mind, one of the easiest ways to leverage AI in your marketing efforts is through machine learning-driven recommendations. There’s a lot of information you’re collecting about your prospects all the time including how they interact with your website, how they engage with your emails, etc. Machine learning can synthesize all of that information to select the most relevant piece of content for an individual. 

In other words, machine learning can take all you know about a person and use it to deliver a better experience.

Nuxeo is a good example of this. Its machine learning-driven content recommendations have led to a 34% lift in blog engagement among visitors — defined as reading two or more blog posts after seeing the recommendations.

demand generation trends

Machine learning-driven recommendations featured at the bottom of each blog post have led to a 34% lift in blog engagement for Nuxeo.

Most B2B marketers have particular blog posts or other content they want to be seen by certain prospects. Innovations in AI and machine learning can make this possible. 

Final Thoughts

Every marketer must be constantly innovating to keep up with changing buyer expectations and evolving technology capabilities. 

I’ve outlined two demand generation trends to watch in this blog post, but be sure to watch the full webinar replay for more on these and three more! 

And to discover how Evergage can help you capitalize on these trends, request a demo today.