Skip to content
Optimize reach across channels with our self-service solutions, featuring high-fidelity B2B data and custom audiences.
Boost sales with expert BDRs and SDRs focused on prospecting to closing with key decision-makers.
Enhance engagement with buyers using our managed services, which leverage global B2B data and proprietary technology.
Access insights for data-driven decisions and trend analysis in marketing with our analytics services.
Streamline demand generation and programmatic advertising with our award-winning integrated platform.

Understanding the New Buyer Journey Insights Into B2B Omnichannel Marketing Transformation

Join this on-demand Tech-Talk Webinar, presented by Anteriad. Lynn Tornabene (CMO, Anteriad) and Bruce Biegel (Senior Managing Partner, Winterberry Group) are breaking down the top findings from their recent research on the B2B omnichannel marketing transformation, and sharing ways to help your marketing team understand and unify behind the new buyer journey.

You’ll learn from the insights shared on today’s B2B buyer journey:

  • Enhance your data and analytics to support B2B omnichannel marketing
  • Apply B2C tactics to your strategy to tap into today’s decision-making process
  • Respond as buyers rebalance spending priorities due to shifts in the market


Anteriad Tech-Talk on B2B Buyer Journey and Marketing’s Omnichannel Transformation


Introductions: 00:00 – 00:55

Henry Powderly: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us for another EMarketer Tech Talk, where we host amazing guests from all areas of media in Tech and Martech. I’m Henry Powderly, VP of Content and Insider Intelligence. Today, we’ll hear the latest research on why understanding today’s buyer is vital to success in the rapidly evolving B2B landscape.

I’m joined now by our special guests, Bruce Biegel, Senior Managing Partner at Winterberry Group and Lynn Tornabene, Chief Marketing Officer at Anteriad. Bruce and Lynn have a great presentation for you, and afterwards we’ll open it up for questions about what you’ve learned. Use the chat window to submit those questions for the Q&A, or to communicate with your peers.

Now let’s get started. Bruce, over to you.

Outlook for B2B Marketing: 00:55 – 01:40

Bruce Biegel: Thank you, Henry. I’ll take you back a little bit into our journey. About six months ago, we started seeing a lot of activity and getting a lot of questions about what has happened B2B since COVID. Why is it changing? How is it changing? What do you think is going to happen?

And, frankly, what are the drivers? With the support of Anteriad, we released a survey to about 200 marketers across the US and Europe, as well as 30 or so, expert interviews with people deep into B2B marketing to get their opinions, get their takeaways. What I’m going to share to you now, one, it’s shared in the report, which is available at the Anteriad website.

But two, I’m going to take you through some of the findings that we have.

B2C Behaviors Brought to Work: 01:40 – 03:03

Bruce Biegel: The first is a little bit of a step back. When we think about B2B marketing, we think about sales. It’s so often the conversation, it was sales driven, it was event-driven, it was direct mail driven, and a lot of experience and experiential events.

Starting around 2015 or so, we started to see technology adoption lagging behind B2C but starting to ramp up. You start to see content syndication, ABM, marketing automation platforms, and their use and adoption grew rapidly, right up as we got through 2019. We were cruising along and then all of a sudden the world changed, and it was the first week of March, that everything started to shut down, all of a sudden, no more events, nobody in the office. How are we going to reach people? And we started to see a big change, both in how people interact, how they make decisions, and how they think about the experience of buying. We call this first part, it’s really the consumerization of B2B marketing. B2B had to reach people the same way B2C and direct to consumer marketers have been reaching them. And we to see the adoption of new tools: more digital, more buying online, more ordering online.

Millennials Ascending Into Leadership: 03:03 – 04:55

Bruce Biegel: As we look today, it’s not just that we’re taking our consumer behaviors that we learned and refined during COVID when we were at home, but as we have, as a society became more digital native, we took those same behaviors and experiences to work. And then we started to think, okay: is the office the same environment? No, we’re going to communicate differently. The other part that we saw that really changed, you had a large retirement. Part of the wave of change that occurred from 2022 is a lot of people stepped out of the market. They changed jobs, they took new jobs.

And all of a sudden, digital natives, who were much more familiar with the technology, familiar with the experience, started to move into the decision making. Roles and they behave, they think differently as they go along the buyer journey, more time researching products and services online.

That was, the first big change. You weren’t waiting to be informed, but you weren’t looking. Social media adoption: you started to hear what your peers would say on social media, not necessarily in a meeting or at an event because we couldn’t go to events. Personalization: you’ve wanted that experience driven towards you as the buyer. All of this changed the way buyers were collaborating and it changed the way they made decisions and a much more, it was frankly, it was more collaborative and it was more digital, but it wasn’t only digital.

Seamless Journey Between Online & Offline Engagement: 04:55 – 05:46

Bruce Biegel: What we saw was a rebalancing, especially as we came out of COVID of how are we going to blend that on the channel journey? It’s no longer a linear journey. It goes online, then it comes offline, then it comes back. We’ve gone from mostly offline to all online. Now we are actually starting to see real personalized omnichannel.

Frankly, we may in some ways be ahead in B2B than we were in B2C. More hybrid events and that, the rise of social media. Interestingly enough, over in Europe, social media is less important. It is still as much the relationship as it is social media. So it hasn’t shifted as fast in those other markets.

Online Channel Spend Increasing, With Offline As Well: 05:46 – 06:30

Bruce Biegel: We can see this in how money is being spent. Ultimately, it sounds good, lots of people answer surveys, but did we see that same shift? So the market, which had been up at 50 billion, went down to 34. That digital came back higher than it had been, that big drop, mostly experiential as we went into 21 and 22.

Digital kept growing, digital was growing at about a 30% annual compound growth. Offline was still growing, so we were seeing growth, but nowhere near at the same rate. But money came back, and we started to get more of a balance in the market. So that was the first thing that we looked at.

Experiential/Event Marketing – More Hybrid with More Digital Components: 06:30 – 07:20

Bruce Biegel: The second was, we asked about experiential, and I said it had gotten more hybrid. What we are now seeing is the experiential journey frequently starts online promotion, online event, in person with an amplification of that event with live streaming and follow up and post event back online again. So when people think about their budgets, they’re actually increasing it for both.

The in person and the online component, it’s not a one or the other with a little bit of money being taken back from the in person, but overwhelmingly, we feel that we’ve seen a permanent shift in how experiential is done.

Importance of Brand Marketing: 07:20 – 08:25

Bruce Biegel: The other thing that we are now seeing, sales driven culture, it was very performance.

B2B took performance marketing and said, yes, we’re going to, again, quickly our outcomes that we’re looking for: conversions. As you start to think about a broader funnel with bigger reach, you start to think more about brand. And the conversation in the last 12 to 18 months has really been, okay, I need to rebalance my spending.

I need to, performance marketing, we look for intent signals, we look for conversion, but we need to balance that with filling the upper part of the funnel so that we’re seeing more marketers focus on both than before. That thing that we’ve seen is a lot of the leadership that has come into the market has come from B2C.

So they’re bringing B2C marketing behaviors into B2B where brand was, always more important.

In-House VS. Outsourced Content: 08:25 – 09:12

Bruce Biegel: The other thing that this is driving as you start to think about that mix is content.

We’re thinking about more content, with more online. We’re thinking about speed to content. How quickly can we create this? Should I do it in house? Should I do it out of house? Content was, we think about the purpose optimized for search engines, blogs, it’s around white papers. Because of that speed to content, you start to bring things more in house as we think about what comes next with generative AI. And I’ll talk more about that a little bit.

We’re seeing it get even faster. So high volume, speed to content seemed to be the top priorities, even over cost.

Significant Forecast Growth of B2B eCommerce:  09:12 – 10:07

Bruce Biegel: And probably the last proof point of that the journey had really changed was ultimately where people placing orders.

We’re seeing B2B e commerce. Everybody talks about B2C commerce. Think B2B commerce, think of it going from 1. 7 trillion to 2. 5 trillion over the next couple of years. Steady, solid growth, and some of the leaders are some people, it’s Amazon and it is consumer electronics, but it’s also marketplaces. So we are watching the evolution in B2B start to have similar product patterns that B2c had.

And it’s not one category or the other. So we’ve got, a change in the decision maker. We’ve got a change in the channel mix. We’ve got the journey finishing up online.

Supporting a Market in Transformation: 10:07 – 11:01

Bruce Biegel: So how do you support this? So what else had to change? So we had to get, we needed more tools. Depending on the size of the organization, it might be, you might have a handful of tools, two to five marketing tools as we see organizations scale up, the number of tools increases, but it’s not only at the enterprise, we have a far more complex marketing stack than we ever had before.

When I think about B2B and I think about 10 years ago, I was thinking about a handful of channels, that I really needed to focus on. And now in our B2B forecast models, we’re looking at probably 13 or 14 channels as compared to B2C, which is out at around 23. So there are a lot more ways to go to market and need more technology.

Data Infrastructure Provides a Foundation: 11:01 – 12:24

Bruce Biegel: But the other part of that technology question is I’ve made those investments. I started making them between 2015 and 2019. And I’ve been continued to invest in the tech, but now it’s okay, how do I get more from the technology I invested? I, one, I need my data layer to work, right? Ultimately I can have the best marketing automation tool, the best ABM, but if the data infrastructure is not embedded properly with accuracy, with completeness, et cetera I need the quality there.

I need the frequency of updates. Old data doesn’t perform as well as new data. And so as a result, we’re starting to see B2B CDPs to complement CRMs, a CRM, a HubSpot, a Salesforce, et cetera. Very good for certain tasks, not so good as your primary marketing database. Because it wasn’t purpose built for that. We are seeing tools within it that are very good. We’re seeing more use of data visualization.

And we’re starting to see more cloud based analytics. Analytics was not something we saw much of in B2B, even five years ago. And we’ve seen, with the growth of data, with the expansion of channels, far more use of analytics. Both for predictive and prescriptive purposes to figure out what should I offer next, but also measurement and attribution.

Data Characteristics Are Needed: 12:24 – 14:13

Bruce Biegel: When we think about the data, and this is from some work that Anteriad had done, they asked their panel, what is most important, is data accuracy, like bad data in, garbage performance out struggling with identifying the target audience and audience segmentation and building personas has not been easy before, but in a fragmented audience and a fragmented buyer decision group. That steering committee, the influencers, are broader and harder to reach. So how do I find those people? And then, of course, security, privacy, compliance.

Ultimately, B2B has gotten somewhat of a pass as we talk about consumer privacy. We saw it in Europe with GDPR, we saw CCPA, and now CPRA in California, legislation, I think we just saw one from the state of Indiana. Consumer privacy, but B2B is exempt, but it’s not the case in California, and it’s not the case in most other states that are enacting regulation. It’s going to be a hodgepodge, and you don’t, as a B2B marketer, want to get in trouble any more than you do as a B2C marketer.

In Europe, I think they’re a little bit further ahead and cracking down. It does not get the same level of press. That you see, around consumer privacy and around some of the regulatory issues, but it is coming. It is here. And I think that’s one of the reasons it’s top of mind.

Data Heroes Use Intent Data: 14:13 – 15:04

Bruce Biegel: The other is as much as we are looking at brand, it is still about brand and performance and understanding intent.

Leaders in this market are data heroes, are leveraging intent to build their audiences, far more often, it’s lead quality. It’s better campaigns. It’s better pipeline revenue forecasting. So we’re seeing this shift around, how do I get and capture intent and how do I act on it, rapidly? Not everybody’s in market and ready to make a decision, but I need to understand where they are on that journey. So what is the intent of their next step as well? But again, capturing that intent, whether it’s on the website, whether it’s out on a third party site, whether somebody’s doing research, whether it’s on a social site, all of those kind of critical to the journey.

Multiple Use Cases Emerge for AI: 15:04 – 17:21

Bruce Biegel: And part of that, brings it together when you think about what is going to drive us next. Everybody talks about AI. We break it down into two parts. We have machine learning use cases machine learning. We have seen actively in both martech and ad tech for the last seven or eight years.

It’s not quite so new paid media optimization in digital website optimization and personalization. We’re seeing it in market research on product innovation. Obviously, analytics and measurement. Generative AI, where the chat GPT wave started back in November with the first release is taking everything by storm.

People are testing. It seems like there is another gen AI product released every day, every other day. All of the major marketing platforms either have it on the road map or have released products or early stages of products. We’re seeing it one customer service. Is the first place I can take a large language model, I can model out what do I think the response to a question is going to be so one customer service for that FAQ.

Content generation. Getting started it’s always really hard when you’re gonna write something. So if I’m going to generate content and I can say, all right, I’m thinking about and I can put in filters. And I can get drafts. So content generation, the creative brief, some of the creative development. We’re also seeing an in trend analysis and product records.

So Gen AI, use cases, it has started to take off almost every organization we speak to is testing. I don’t think we’re anywhere near any level of maturity. This is like a maturity level zero. So a long way to go. But we do think this is going to be transformative. When we think about inflection points in the marketing industry, 2007. If in the 1990s, it was the web, 2007: mobile and social with the iPhone and Facebook really started to take off, this may be the biggest inflection point since then, which will permanently change how we think about executing marketing and doing marketing and creating content and optimize it.

Greatest Challenges to the Marketing Landscape Over the Next Three Years: 17:21 – 19:14

Bruce Biegel: Now sounds great, but what are we, where are the challenges that we’re seeing in the market?

So yes, targeting the right audience for campaigns, balancing, getting that balance right between traditional and digital marketing channels. Media mix modeling is not something that has been very common in the B2B world, but as the number of channels expands, start to think about, all right, what is that right balance?

What is going to give me the right level of awareness, the right level of performance to optimize my spend. It’s still about data, privacy, and regulatory. Changes in consumer behavior. Impacting the B2B journey as we as consumers continue to adopt and change consuming more video, for example, consuming streaming video.

There has been very little money spent in TV and video in B2B but we’re seeing it on paid social and we’re starting to see it on the streaming channels. And because addressable linear and addressable streaming allows people to find Bruce at home. I may not be in the office. I’m rarely in the office between travel and working remote, but they need to find me. And all of a sudden I will get , an advertisement for a demand side platform for paid media. I am sure everybody in my apartment building does not get that advertisement. And we’re seeing it in pockets, mostly major markets right now. But we are seeing more and more. So how do I balance all of this?

Transforming the Marketing Organization: 19:14 – 21:30

Bruce Biegel: So one set of challenges, transforming the marketing org is really the next big set of challenges. . In the U S when we ask, about organizational pain points, limited resources, difficulty in hiring people with B2B expertise, part of why we’ve seen B2C come over is because they developed expertise in digital, but getting people who understand digital and B2B, is still relatively scarce. Big challenge with measurement and attribution. It’s okay, we’re spending more money. That number at the top keeps going up. Am I getting the bang for my dollar?

The other is in a more complicated tech stack. I have to change how I think about building content. I have to think about how I’m delivering it. What touch point on the journey and am I organized as a marketing organization to seamlessly move from channel to channel? One of the things that we’re seeing is channel silos need to go away. So you can’t have, it’s almost, I need a whole layer of strategists and quality control people who are more nimble and more flexible.

Over in Europe, it’s still about right audience is the challenge. I think they seem to be a little bit more set. There were a lot of discussions around aligning marketing goals and business goals. I think we’ve seen more consolidation of roles in the US market, especially at large enterprise, where CMOs are taking on a larger portfolio.

In Europe it’s not at that same level. It’s still more traditional. So I think we’re moving a little bit quicker of bridging that CMO CFO, divide, not just CMO, CRO. And again, we just don’t, that they found that not enough people truly knew how to execute B2B marketing, especially B2B marketing beyond what had been traditional sales and experiential.

B2B Marketing Spend Forecasted to Grow Faster Than B2C: 21:30 – 22:32

Bruce Biegel: So where do we think that takes us? We think that the market spend, which was about 50 billion last year, grows, somewhere in the neighborhood of, 5, 6%. Digital grows twice as fast as that. The mix gets us to 40 percent ish digital, 60 percent offline, which is very flipped from consumer, so consumer has gone 60 percent digital, 40 percent offline channels.

So while we are heading in a direction, we don’t actually, especially because of experiential and that need to be in person and talk to people, we think that we don’t ever see B2B getting to that level, but we do see B2B spend increasing faster than B2C spend. So a couple of things that we want to be thinking about as we move forward.

What to Think About Next?: 22:32 – 25:23

Bruce Biegel: One, do I have the right talent as I described in the organization? How am I going to train people? So I need fluidity in my staffing model, but I also need fluidity in my training model. I need more strategy and I need to get more experience across those channels. And for B2B right now, that means going to stealing B2C marketers and saying, Hey, you know what B2B is more on the channel, more interesting. Come over to this side for a while.

Organization design, as I mentioned, desiloization. An omnichannel journey doesn’t allow the org to have silos. Think about hybrid experience. Think about how do we measure. Always think about tying it to outcomes and being able to measure those. One of the big sticking points, incentive alignment.

Part of the issue, sales is motivated and incented one way. Marketing is motivated and incented differently. You may be incented on MQLs and SQLs. They’re incented on ACV and contract value. We need to make sure everybody’s incented the same way, for the same outcomes, and I think that change management is one of the hardest things in the org. You can move the people around, you can go find the talent, if you’re willing to pay for it, realigning incentives, more of a challenge.

A couple of other things that we want to think about tech stack. Do I need more tools? Do I have the right tools? How do I rationalize my tech stack so that I have the right tools for decisioning and orchestration and the right tools for activation?

So I need to get more out of that investment, not necessarily more investment in there and then underpinning that, I need to make sure my data infrastructure is sound. Data lakes, customer data platforms, CRMs, all built with privacy by design. So I need the connectivity, I need the accuracy, that tech stack, with bad data doesn’t work. The tech stack and the data. None of it works if we’re having privacy issues. So those are a few of the findings. There’s about 35 odd pages. I would like to turn this back over to Henry to pick this up and to answer some of your questions.

Henry Powderly: Bruce, thanks so much. Great job, lots of great insights. You presented a really interesting perspective of B2B marketing and how, marketers really need to adopt a more digital and content driven approach to it. I’d love to invite Lynn now back onto the webinar. We do have a ton of questions to get through and maybe Lynn, you want to take the first one.

First question goes back to the research. What was the most surprising finding?

Most Surprising Findings From The Research: 25:23 – 26:29

Lynn Tornabene: What was most surprising to me from this research really was this fact that the difficulty in identifying and targeting the right audience was still the number one challenge. Ahead of competition, data regulations, the economy, and even how to implement AI, in your company.

And I think that challenge is top of mind because the data showed that about a third of companies with 500 million or more in revenue are using more than six different tools to support their marketing efforts, right? So they’re seeing the impact of having data here, there, and everywhere. And multiple integrations needed to understand who to target and where.

And so the fact that, Bruce did bring this up about how that really needs to be addressed. People need to simplify their tech stacks so that they can get rid of this challenge of identifying and targeting the right audience.

Henry Powderly: Great. Thank you. Bruce. How about this one for you? You listed a number of trends that have led to the transformation of B2B marketing.

What is the most important driver of change?

Most Important Driver of Change: 26:29 – 27:27

Bruce Biegel: Obviously, it’s always the economy, but I think it’s really buyer behavior that we as consumers have gotten so used to experiences. We’re being retrained by the Amazons of the world on what we expect, and we have taken that to work. And I think that as that experience in the consumer world changes, our expectation in the business world continues to change. We want the answers, we want the answers now. We don’t want to wait. Sounds familiar, sounds like people at home. Yeah so it doesn’t mean the buying cycle necessarily shortens, but I think that is probably one of the biggest things, is we’re taking experience to work.

Henry Powderly: Yeah, great insights. I’m not sure who should take this one. So maybe one of you will jump on it. But someone in the audience asks, did your research uncover any trends in media buying specifically digital channels that appeal more to millennials like streaming music or podcasts?

Millennial Media Buying Trends: 27:27 – 28:46

Bruce Biegel: I can probably weigh in a little bit on that. It wasn’t necessarily in this research, but we build a model every year and there’s a B2B outlook that as a detailed spend model. It is streaming, it is podcasts and millennials consume email. As people grow up and they move from college, like college is the last time you avoid email and you get into the working world and your life becomes more consumed by email.

So we’re seeing email offers paid social, paid social and what we are reading and seeing on LinkedIn matters more and more every day. It’s not just LinkedIn, it’s other platforms we’re seeing adoption like recruiting on TikTok, so there’s fragmentation, but it is much more about paid social, podcasts, and then probably streaming.

Henry Powderly: That’s fascinating. What aren’t people doing on TikTok right now? That’s pretty interesting.

Bruce Biegel: Unless you’re in Montana. Yeah. Haha.

Henry Powderly: All right, let’s get to the next one. Maybe Lynn, you want to jump on this. In your view, what have you seen as the most critical impediment to changing buying behaviors?

Any examples?

Most Critical Impediment To Changing Buying Behaviors: 28:46 – 31:38

Lynn Tornabene: This is where I’ll have maybe a different perspective than Bruce, maybe not, but because he approaches it from the research standpoint, and I approach this from being a CMO, right? So I’m like many of you in the audience, right? I’m a buyer of MarTech solutions and other solutions, productivity solutions.

So I get targeted quite aggressively, perhaps by some of you watching the webinar today. And I would say you can’t change my behavior, but you can use data to better understand my behavior and reach me in a more impactful way. So you asked for an example as an example. So I get a lot of outreach from vendors, that want to engage directly with me too early in the buying process when they should be engaging with my team. I’m the person that articulates the strategy, gets the budgets approved and yes, signs the contracts. I fully trust my team to dive into the weeds on any solution and how it will help us grow and meet our goals, right?

So if you understand that, and if you’re using buying groups in your marketing plays, and you have that data, you’re better able to then ensure that I’m aware of your brand and the value. So branding is important here because if I’m not aware of you and my team brings you to me, I may have more questions.

And then my team needs to get the details, the demos, that level of information so they can make the recommendation. So again, I don’t think you can really change behavior, but you can reflect that behavior. And I think particularly when you’re talking about executives, understanding the buying group and the role that we play and the role that teams play is really important in how you execute to be successful.

Henry Powderly: Yeah. Excellent.

Bruce Biegel: I’m sitting at a client. We’ve been working doing a strategy workshop all day. And somebody said our client’s the CMO. And it’s actually you’re your final decision maker. Maybe the CMO, maybe the CTO.

But there are a lot of people who are going to shape that decision as it moves forward and you need to be able to identify them early enough and nurture them along. So I completely agree with Lynn. She’s not your initial target, but don’t forget about it.

Henry Powderly: Great points. Let’s talk a little bit about Gen AI.

That’s obviously been one of the biggest topics this year, and marketers across organizations are still really trying to figure it out. You made some great points about using it in campaigns, Bruce. Some of the questions, I’m going to merge a couple into one. First overall, with the surging intention in AI, what do you think the biggest impact is going to be on marketers?

And then as a follow up, do you expect it to have an impact on marketing budgets next year?

Gen AI’s Impact on Marketing Budgets: 31:48 – 34:26

Bruce Biegel: I’ll split the question. The biggest impact on marketing is speed. One, make sure that whatever you’re doing in Gen AI, that your content is walled off from the large language models that are out there. So protect your IP and people like using the consumer versions of things, organizations are shifting to the paid.

So one, we’re going to pay for it, two we have to get comfortable with the answers and do a lot more QA and that is going to permeate customer service. Creative and content first, even before media buying. Media buying, we’ve seen a lot of work with machine learning, but Gen AI is content and creative because it speeds you through the entire production process. From a budgetary standpoint, Lynn, do you think AI, Gen AI is going to change your budget?

Lynn Tornabene: I don’t think in the short term, but I do think that productivity gains may have a big impact in the long term. I personally don’t believe in my 2024 plan, I’m going to have a bunch of prompt engineers on my team.

Or am I going to go the other way and say, I don’t need a team anymore because, I can run everything with Gen AI and large language models. So I think some of the discussions in the marketplace going, one or the other are not exactly where it’s going to go, right? We hear that every time something new happens.

You talk, Bruce, about the big changes when the Internet came along and then mobile and Facebook and work at that inflection point again, and I think actually one of the key gains of those different inflection points actually has been productivity and the ability then of marketers to be more strategic and more creative, right?

So marketing. Yes, we talk about data and yes, we talk about numbers, but at the heart, it’s a creative discipline. And so I’m excited about the creativity that this drives. And I don’t think again in the short term, it will make a big difference in overall my budgets. I may tweak how I spend in some areas to do testing.

And to try new things, but I don’t see a sea change in budgets yet. Now, CFOs like my CFO may feel differently and think, wow, we’re going to get all these productivity gains and marketing will need less dollars. But I definitely don’t see that.

Henry Powderly: Great. Thank you. And that actually segues really nice into another question we have just about, looking forward to the next few years.

Where do you think brands and suppliers should focus on the short, medium and long term?

Focus for the Short, Medium & Long Term: 34:26 – 38:27

Bruce Biegel: Focus on what? That’s the question. If I am building products, I need to get, I need to make sure that the data and intelligence, the decisioning layers got to work. So I need better decisioning to drive better personalization.

And I need the right content coming in because you can’t personalize in a vacuum. It’s not just, Oh, great. I know what to offer them next. I need all the creative to go with that. So I think better personalization with more of a focus on decisioning and orchestration so that I get that consistent message across channels.

I think that is still the hardest thing for people to get right.

Lynn Tornabene: I would take a little bit more of a macro view, maybe. I don’t disagree with you, Bruce, but I also think, as a marketing leader, it’s all about growth now, growth in the short term, medium term, and the long term, right? So that’s how I’m measured, right?

It’s all about growth. You found in your study about a third of marketers said that they were either focusing on solely on performance, or they were constantly looking at how to change between performance and brand. And I worry that those marketers are setting up their companies for irrelevance in the future.

By focusing on that short term sort of promotion, sorry, performance hit, but not creating that long term brand awareness and relevance. And so that data that you were talking about and that infrastructure is important to understand who you’re marketing to so that you can then have that deep, nuanced understanding to then be able to reach those customers wherever they are with your brand to make sure that you have a key success, short, medium, and long.

Branding in B2B has become a little bit more of a hot topic recently, and I’m wholeheartedly in support of that, because I do believe in some ways we’ve swung too far to their performance and too far to that immediate sort of impact without thinking through over that long term how it will affect those long term growth and the objectives, because people won’t know who we are.

So when they see that performance ad, They’re not going to click on it perhaps because they don’t know about us when you market to that buying group and when the, those folks who are vetting all the tools, bring them up to someone like me and the executive suite and say, here’s the tool we think we should buy, if I haven’t heard of it, it’s going to be a harder sell.

And so I do think for both short, medium and long, investing in brand is still going to be critical.

Bruce Biegel: Yeah, I would throw a macroeconomic lens on this one. We probably have a flat economy through the summer of 25. That’s what the Fed’s telling us right now, which means you’re going to have to take share.

If the economy isn’t growing, it’s growing 1 or 2%. It means that in order to grow fast, you have to take share from someone else. So I think that there is going to be a share taking focus, and how do we shift share in B2B? I think when we get longer term, we will go back to have a more normal growth rate.

Three, three to 4 percent in the economy, and it will open up more opportunities, but in a share shift, people are going to focus on retention and upselling and cross selling their customers. So I think part of that is what we will see short term before we see that longer term push back towards acquisition.

Henry Powderly: Good point. Maybe a little sobering, but certainly a good point. Let’s talk a little bit more about this shift in B2B and one of the points you mentioned was from performance, the branding and content and digitization of it. What are you most excited about over all these shifts in B2B? And on the other hand, what makes you most concerned?

Bruce Biegel: I’ll let you start, Lynn.

Most Exciting & Concerning Upcoming Shifts: 38:27 – 41:10

Lynn Tornabene: I think marketers are an excitable bunch. We tend to, I think marketing attracts people that tend to get, really excited by change and thrive and change. We have so many tools now and so much data which is both exciting and concerning, right? Which is what the data showed that Bruce reviewed too.

So I think, it’s now all about the opportunity really is more about how do you use the same tools and often a lot of the same data as your competitors and use analytics, differentiated positioning and smart targeting to really differentiate your offerings and win. As Bruce said, the market may be getting even more competitive.

You need to upsell, cross sell those customers. And so I think what excites me is the opportunity that we have. What concerns me is that it’s going to be more competitive and a little bit more of a challenge to differentiate. If everyone’s doing the same thing or using the same data, but again, that’s what marketers love.

That’s what we thrive on is how do we do that? How do we differentiate? How do we know our customers better today and where they’re going than anyone else in our space? So that we can win.

Bruce Biegel: I would probably add, I didn’t touch on this today, but brand trust. So two things, the thing that concerns me in a rush to get more content, faster content, We will not get better content.

We will just have lots of it. And that’s not going to help my brand. That’s not going to help my sales process. That’s not going to help marketing. So my concern is people over index on speed and volume at the expense of quality. And Gen AI is not there yet when it comes to quality. The other is I need to build brand trust.

Yeah. When I think about. I don’t need as much content. I don’t need the best creative. I need you to trust my brand so that you trust my story. So I think volume of low quality content is scary. The right content with the right branding behind it, I think is most exciting.

Henry Powderly: Excellent. Okay, I think we have time for one more question.

And Lynn, since you mentioned the tools, I think a good place to end would be going back to the stack. Where do you think investment should be focused now and in the next few years when it comes to the tech stack?

Where to Invest in Your Tech Stack: 41:10 – 44:00

Lynn Tornabene: Honestly, I would say you got to start really with your data first, right?

So if you add more to your tech stack, and you don’t actually have the right data, and you don’t have the right data in a way that it’s easy to get it in and out. If you don’t have the right analytics team, whether internally or externally, to help you understand what’s going on when you use that tech stack.

I think that will hold you back more than anything else. Bruce talked a little bit about simplification of the stack, right? Marketers, again, as I said, we’re an excitable bunch. And so we get really excited about what’s the next new tool. We’re shiny. I want something new.

And so I think that means we’ve added a lot of, cool tools to our tech stack over time. Some of them honestly are really features, not products. And so we’ve complicated our stack by buying the latest product, which is really a feature which may have already been in our tools. We just didn’t realize it.

So I think really going forward where people should be investing in is auditing, simplifying, using what they have to the best extent, being very targeted where you add and make sure that if you’re adding, it has to add value around how you gather data, cleanse data, analyze data, or use data, to reach someone across again, all the channels that we’ve been talking about from Tik Tok to streaming TV to, direct mail, which still works very well, actually, for many marketers.

I don’t think there’s any magic and what is the right stack for everyone? Because it will be different based on, what internal resources that you have, what people you have to use it. One of the things that Bruce mentioned was talent. And I think one of the big challenges people have with tech stacks today is they don’t necessarily have the right talent to be able to use them better.

So investing in that data, investing in the talent before you add another tool maybe you just use an external provider or you do different, your team gets more creative without having to actually add another tool to get to that goal you need to get to.

Bruce Biegel: I’d probably add on that one. Figuring out how to balance my in house resources and my partner resources, I think is going to be critical.

And also what should be onshore and what can I offshore where it’s going to cost less. So there’s a bit of a balancing act around talent and marketing operations and productivity that we’re not done with, but there’s a long way to go.

Henry Powderly: Thanks so much for you guys talk about quality content. This has been a really great webinar.

So thank you both for joining us and for sharing your insights with everybody here. We really appreciate it.