“If x + y = 10, what is x and what is y?”
That’s the question marketing savant Martina Lauchengco, author of LOVED: How to Rethink Marketing for Tech Products, posed to our gathering of 70+ B2B marketing executives at the 17th Annual Tech CMO Roundtable.
At first glance, the answer seems simple enough: x and y are both 5. But think a little harder and you quickly realize an endless number of combinations complete the equation. 3+7, 4.2+5.8, 0+10… you get the idea.
Martina’s underlying message was that the journey to marketing excellence looks different for each of us, even if the result is the same. She was challenging the room to shift our perspective and transform how we go to market.
The ensuing discussions revealed what’s top of mind for technology marketers as they lead their teams into 2024. Naturally, we’ve rounded up these insights into 10 top trends for you to share and bring back to your own organization.
Some 16 years ago, during our earliest days in business, Vice President Micky Long joined us to architect and lead our demand generation and digital marketing practice.
And while the marketing world has changed a great deal since, Micky’s wisdom, leadership, and dedication to growth have not. He played an instrumental role building Arketi into who we are today, along with many of the programs and practices we apply to deliver powerful results for clients.
At the end of this year, Micky is setting off on a new adventure: retirement! We will miss him and his presence dearly, but we know he will have a fantastic retirement filled with restoring classic cars, exploring alongside his dogs, and quality time with family.
Getting the right message in front of the right audience at just the right time was a common thread for each marketer in the room. Whether it’s a corporate or product message, all agreed messaging is less about explaining every nuance, and more about clearly conveying your value propositions in a way that resonates – or as Martina puts it, “clarity beats completeness.” Several also pointed out the need for formalized, systematic message activation throughout the organization.
Events make a comeback
Nearly three-quarters of attendees indicated more tradeshows are on the horizon for their business. The tried-and-true booth and popup banner won’t cut it alone, however. Marketing leaders are looking to break through the noise at tradeshows with pre-, during- and post-event campaigns designed to engage attendees. The Roundtable buzzed with creative tactics – from seat drop prizes and live podcasting to mascots and hot air balloons.
Customers on top
Savvy marketers recognize that buyers care more about solutions and benefits than specs and features. Yet, Marketing is continually tasked with promoting every bit and byte of a product portfolio, rather than the challenges they solve. Several executives said they are pushing back by adopting and championing a customer-first mindset. How? By talking to them, surveying them, and asking their opinions before going to market. We believe that’s why nearly 90% of attendees said more product marketing is on the horizon for their business.
A dose of (healthy) skepticism
The biggest skeptic of new technology is the best person to vet it. Take the hype around AI, for instance. Several execs recommended skipping your internal AI champion and, instead, asking your biggest nay-sayer to trial run the technology for your marketing team. If they find value, then it merits further consideration.
We predict 2024 is the year smart marketers streamline their marketing tech stacks. Just because you implemented (or inherited) a technology solution doesn’t mean it’s needed. Me-too purchases are a thing of the past. Integration and interoperability are the new imperatives – keeping data clean and workflows smooth and manageable. In fact, 100% of Roundtable attendees said reining in their martech solutions was a priority.
Marketers know to tailor their communications and campaigns for the right audience – but do they know how to tailor them for the right generation?
With an increasing number of Millennials transitioning to the c-suite, and a Gen Z cohort right behind them, we are conducting new research on generational preferences and how they impact the B2B technology buying process.
Our previous study upturned much of the conventional wisdom about influences and influencers in the buying cycle. Make sure your perspective is reflected in our research using the link below.
Follow the data
As in past years, three out of four of our marketers said they plan to devote more time and resources to data-driven marketing. What stood apart this year was the group’s willingness to follow the data wherever it leads – even if the outcome isn’t what’s expected or desired. The room agreed: marketing leaders must be open to the reality that results can push us in new, uncomfortable directions.
Attribution was central to several Roundtable conversations, and a consensus emerged that MQLs have lost relevance in a sea of tracking. Instead, to truly communicate – and demonstrate – marketing’s value, we must align our objectives and tracking with those used by Sales. Several said they focus exclusively on SQLs.
Product marketing drives alignment
Even with proper attribution, however, misalignment between Sales, Marketing and Product teams remains a recurring Roundtable theme. But there is hope: as more time and resources are dedicated to product marketing, organizations become better equipped to close operational gaps and ensure everyone is marching to the same beat. Marketers often make for the best consensus builders.
Email’s uncertain future
This year’s Roundtable was strongly divided on the future of email marketing. Half of the room said they planned to cut back their campaigns, while the other half intends to continue or even grow their email outreach. Still, everyone agreed that breaking through in a market awash in content and noise is a challenge for all B2B tech marketers.
Executive visibility through thought leadership
Though we asked about the two separately, almost all Roundtable attendees said they plan to maintain or expand their executive visibility and thought leadership programs. This is great for those leaders and brands with something meaningful to share. But many cautioned it’s essential to provide the audience with something they simply can’t get anywhere else. As the saying goes, “to be a thought leader, you must first have a thought.”
It was an evening of celebration as PRSA Georgia once again brought the public relations and communications community together for its annual Phoenix Awards gala.
Arketi and our clients had a blast as we were recognized with 10 Phoenix Awards and Awards for Excellence in categories such as Media Relations, Creative Tactics, Digital Publications, Websites, and B2B Marketing.
A list of all lists
We made the list, checked it twice, and hope you glean something valuable from our top 10 B2B marketing trends for 2024.
It’s not every day you get the brainpower of a room filled with experienced marketing pros willing to share their perspectives and insights, after all. Except the Annual Tech CMO Roundtable is exactly that: a one-of-a-kind opportunity to share valuable ideas and draw inspiration from fellow marketing leaders.
If you could not join us this year, we hope these trends give you and your team a taste of complex issues, emerging trends, and real-time insights we addressed. And we look forward to the opportunity to greet you at the 18th Tech CMO Roundtable next October!
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