The latest predictions by Forrester highlight the rising expectations of business buyers, the disruption of digital buying, and evolving partner ecosystems, all contributing to increased costs in winning and protecting revenue. B2B organizations will need to align their marketing, sales, and product teams around customer-obsessed strategies to deliver value to buyers.
Generative AI’s Role in Product Launches
Generative AI will significantly impact B2B organizations, with 80% of AI decision-makers expecting a high impact over the next two years. The technology will influence one in five new B2B product launches. Product teams will use GenAI to analyze customer data and identify innovative ideas for product development. Marketers will need to adapt their systems to safely and securely provide GenAI with access to both structured and unstructured data.
Superficially customized AI-generated content
Poorly personalized content created by GenAI will negatively impact the purchasing experience for 70% of buyers. GenAI’s capacity to produce tailored content in large quantities can result in an overload of low-quality content. Forrester anticipates that a significant majority of business buyers, over 70%, will express dissatisfaction with content that inadequately reflects their specific business needs and conditions. Marketers often feel compelled to continually produce more content to support demand generation and sales, typically focusing on specific industries or geographic areas. However, this approach is superficial—they should instead concentrate on understanding customer personas and addressing their specific use cases and requirements.
Privacy-related legal proceedings
As B2B data providers and marketing platforms shift their focus from firmographic targeting to individual targeting, the lack of robust consent processes, preference management, and anonymization techniques could lead to legal issues. Data providers and platform companies are moving away from demographic targeting because of the increase in remote work, making it harder to locate individuals at company addresses. This shift towards more personal targeting raises concerns about privacy and personal information protection.
Companies are not adequately implementing necessary consent, preference management, and anonymization processes to prevent personal data leaks. According to Forrester, a significant data provider is expected to face a legal challenge, such as a lawsuit or fine, as a result of intensified efforts by lawyers and governments to enforce privacy laws like GDPR or CCPA.
B2B experts sought by Millennials
40% of Millennial buyers will seek early engagement with B2B product specialists. Professionals aged 25 to 44 will constitute the majority of business purchasing teams in 2024, valuing direct interactions with product experts during face-to-face buying more than other types of in-person engagements. (See also: The B2B Buyer’s Independent Journey)
This trend poses significant considerations for B2B marketers. Millennials are able to make quicker decisions when they have early conversations with experts. However, it’s impractical to have experts spend all their time with customers. To address this, B2B marketers need to strategically use experts’ time and provide buyers with various resources like videos and white papers that reflect expert knowledge. Additionally, brands can implement ‘office hours’ as a scalable solution, where experts are available at designated times to share insights and best practices with a select group of buyers at similar stages in their purchase process.
Boosting partner ecosystem
50% of B2B companies are expected to increase their investment in partner ecosystem technologies and processes. A surge in reliance on partners in 2024 will be driven by economic factors affecting direct sales and shifting buyer preferences towards partners providing comprehensive solutions and services.
Companies are advised to engage in multi-party collaborative efforts like co-innovation, account mapping, co-marketing, and co-selling; redesigning partner attribution methods; and incorporating new features such as GenAI and partner-led marketplaces. Partners should not be viewed merely as a sales extension. They often develop solutions combining various elements, including those from the company and other sources, tailored to specific market segments, which would be more resource-intensive for a large organization to achieve directly.