B2B Connect 2015: What Does the Future of B2B Marketing Look Like to You?

June 8, 2015

b2b connect 2015

As B2B marketers, busy with the daily task of generating leads and driving revenue, we don’t often have time to contemplate the seemingly esoteric question of what the future of B2B marketing looks like.

But, in a very real way, we make our own predictions of what the future of B2B marketing will be every single day. We’re essentially making our own predictions about B2B’s future when we set our marketing budgets -- when we decide how many dollars we’ll allocate to email marketing, to multi-channel nurturing, or to targeted advertising.

A marketing budget is a document that places a very practical bet on what strategies and tactics will be most effective for the future of our business. But we can’t make that bet on the B2B marketing future without -- every once in awhile -- taking time out to reflect and ask critical questions about what trends are shaping the future: How will technology change what’s possible in B2B marketing? And what new tactics are worth exploring (and which should be ignored)? What kind of employees should I be hiring in the future (and right now)?

LinkedIn’s B2B Connect, an event taking place Tuesday, June 9, in San Francisco, is one of those times for unplugging and exploring the themes and trends that will shape the future of B2B marketing. The event, which will feature LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, will contemplate some very big questions about B2B marketing’s future.

We asked LinkedIn executives who will be speaking at B2B Connect and other industry thought leaders this question: What does the future of B2B marketing look like to you? Below are their answers:

What does the future of B2B marketing look like to you?

Bryan Burdick, Global Head of B2B, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

The future of B2B marketing is all about scaled relevance. As a B2B marketer, you don’t actually care about delivering your message to the whole world, and frankly, chances are that most of the world doesn’t really care about your value proposition anyway. So, the key to success lies is your ability to deliver a highly relevant message to the right audience, and to reach this relevant audience wherever they may be within the digital world.

Alison Engel,Vice President, Global Marketing, Marketing Solutions

We have to put our buyers at the center of our business and create a lifecycle approach that totally aligns marketing, sales and service channels. To execute, companies will need to own their data and build models for engagement that pull in signals from their own and third party channels.

Russell Glass, Head of Products, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

The future of B2B marketing is all about creating great customer experiences. If you focus on creating the best possible experiences for your prospects and clients, you’ll ensure that your marketing efforts are delivering value and ultimately creating advocates for your brand. This starts with a deep understanding of your customer and their needs, and then building marketing and product experiences that are focused on solving those needs.

Justin Gray, CEO, LeadMD

With all of the technology available to marketers today the future is easy to think of in terms of apps and software – but now more than ever the fundamentals are key. Knowing the customer and translating that knowledge to every engagement point is the only path to success. The future of B2B marketing is data, every nuance, every preference, every interaction needs to be recorded, processed, modeled and translated – all for the purpose of doing exactly what we all started out doing, having a real, relevant conversation with the buyer.

Craig Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Chief Analyst, TOPO Inc.

In the future, marketing will be able to deliver the right content, right message to everyone no matter where they are. Sure, that is something people claim today, but we are far from where this can go. People will receive the right messages in tv, web, phone, in-store, etc. And by right message, I mean RIGHT message -- one that has been tested and works for that persona.

Ruth Stevens, President, eMarketing Strategy

More data will be available to marketers about customers and prospects.  And more tools and technologies.  The result: Better insight, sharper targeting and messaging.

Business buying will continue to evolve as it has done in the last 10 years, with buyers researching solutions online, and marketers moving to educate them via digital content.  But buying behavior will also change as companies seek to simplify how they buy, through vendor consolidation.  This means more of a need for sales and marketing to focus on key account management, account-based marketing and account penetration.

With all the tools and data, though, we will still need to exercise marketing judgment and experience.  Automation can’t provide strategy, or persuasive messaging.  The need for skilled marketing talent will continue to grow.

Jason Miller, Senior Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

The future of B2B marketing is all about mobile. Over 75% of engagement on LinkedIn happens on mobile devices so it’s vital that landing pages are responsive and look good on tiny screens. But even responsive landing pages are not going to be enough; content needs to be responsive as well. PDFs will be dead, HTML 5 will rule, and finger friendly forms using LinkedIn Autofill will become the norm.

Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing

The future of B2B marketing will be data driven. Story driven. Technology driven. Process driven. People driven. Sales driven. It’s exciting and terrifying, but isn’t that awesome?

Glenn Gow, CEO, Crimson Marketing

Measurement is the future of B2B Marketing. CMOs need to manage their organizations based on the KPIs that are most important to their company. More importantly, CMOs will need to report to the Exec Staff, the impact they are having on the business in financial terms.

CMOs will need to report contribution to pipeline, to revenue, to profit and to profits created over the lifetime of a customer relationship. Their reports will look more like financial reports, than marketing ones.

CMOs who succeed at this type of measurement and reporting will be rewarded and highly sought-after.

John McTigue, Executive Vice President, Kuno Creative

I think B2B marketing will continue to become more personalized and timely, leveraging "micromoments" to communicate with qualified buyers at precisely the moment when they are thinking about something you offer, independent of platform or channel. Technology will drive that predictive targeting and timing, but humans will still be responsible for making real connections and delivering value. The first live conversation will be more important than ever.

Penry Price, Vice President, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

The future of B2B Marketing is built on the foundations of its past. Develop compelling content for your audiences, build relationships with your current and future customers, and deliver on your brands promise. The change only comes from the devices, formats, and tools we have to execute on these foundations. The winners of the future will embrace both equally and not sit still.

To gain more insight into what the future of B2B holds, you can livestream the B2B Connect event straight to your computer. Register here! And Tweet your own thoughts about where B2B marketing is headed using the hashtag #FutureofB2B.