It's time for our annual roundup of trends and predictions for the coming year. We've gathered our experts to get their points of view and created a list of trends to share with you. And we discovered something interesting. Each trend had one very distinct element in common.
2024 Will Be The Era of Storytelling
As Seth Godin once said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell." We predict that 2024 will be the era of storytelling.
Storytelling, with its power to captivate, engage, and resonate, is the foundation of every marketing trend for 2024. It is also the foundation of every successful marketing strategy. As we look ahead, marketers who master the craft of storytelling will not only communicate brand messages. They will also create immersive experiences that leave a lasting impact on the audience. In a time dominated by digital noise, stories have the potential to cut through the clutter. They offer a compelling and relatable way to communicate brand values, missions, and unique selling propositions. Remember, it's not just about what you make; it's about the stories you tell and the experiences you create.
Welcome to the storytelling era of marketing. Here are the top marketing trends as we see them for 2024 and beyond.
AI and Machine Learning
2023 was the year Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning joined mainstream culture. Both generative AI tools like ChatGPT and AI-driven functions built into everyday business tools like HubSpot, Google, and Microsoft have become more accessible. AI enhances efficiency in sales and marketing tasks. It's used for lead scoring, predictive analytics, and personalization. It can also help marketers connect with target audiences through insights into their needs and preferences.
AI has become a valuable tool, but we recommend caution in 2024. Content-generating tools like ChatGPT may be tempting. However, without extensive training and prompts, the output may be less than ideal. In the era of storytelling, marketing teams need to produce human-centered, brand-right, and accurate content. Some tools are not quite ready for that. It's essential to understand the tool's limitations and set your expectations accordingly.
AI tools can help a marketing team be more efficient. However, they should not replace thoughtful marketing strategy and a complete understanding of your target audience. You cannot replace real people and authentic storytelling with AI…yet. Read more about our take on AI here.
The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. In fact, 90% of the information our brains process is visual. This is why B2B video marketing is on the rise.
Wyzowl's State of Video Marketing Report states that 95% of marketing leaders say video marketing has helped them increase brand awareness. Smart marketers are also using video for product demonstrations, customer testimonials, and other storytelling efforts.
For example, a compelling brand anthem video builds a sense of loyalty to and pride in a brand among existing customers. It also inspires potential customers to find out more. But consumers can spot inauthenticity a mile away. The current trend is creating videos that are not highly produced or scripted. The more natural and honest the video, the more connected the audience will feel with the brand.
Influencer marketing has become a billion-dollar industry. B2B companies you wouldn't expect to benefit from an influencer campaign are jumping on board. They see influencer marketing as building trust and credibility through social storytelling.
According to a recent study from Gartner, B2B buyers value third-party interactions 1.4 times more than any other digital marketing. These interactions include consuming content from influencers. B2B influencers are often industry experts or thought leaders. They speak the target audience's language and can tell relatable stories. B2B influencer marketing focuses on providing solutions, experience, and insights to unique industry situations.
For case studies on how Phase 3 leverages B2B influencer marketing, click here to read our recent blog post.
Voice Search Optimization
The growing use of voice-activated devices has led B2B marketers to optimize their content for voice search. This entails a change in many B2B search and content strategies, focusing on leveraging human behavior and spoken language to engage with search engines. This evolution in search patterns requires B2B marketers to rethink keywords. They also should structure content for natural language patterns.
The goal is to ensure that when users search for information related to B2B products or services using voice commands, the content they receive is relevant. The content should provide concise, informative, and easily digestible information. By staying ahead of this paradigm shift, B2B marketers can position themselves to meet current user expectations. They can also remain authentic, visible, and valuable to their target audiences.
In 2024, interactive content will continue gaining prominence in B2B marketing, reshaping how businesses engage with their audiences. The appeal of interactive content lies in its dynamic nature. It offers a departure from traditional static marketing materials. Formats like quizzes, polls, and interactive infographics have evolved beyond being novelties. B2B marketers now view them as powerful tools for driving engagement, education, and building meaningful connections.
Interactive content captures and sustains attention by engaging users with an active role. The audience enjoys this engagement. It helps them remember complex information, so it's an effective storytelling tool. Interactive content also allows B2B marketers to collect valuable user preferences and behavioral data. This data, in turn, creates personalized content opportunities and tailored marketing strategies, enhancing the user experience.
Essentially, interactive content allows B2B marketers to tell brand stories in a dynamic and immersive fashion. Embracing interactive content will meet the expectations of a tech-savvy audience. They will also unlock new avenues for engagement, education, and lead generation.
Customer Experience (CX)
B2B companies are increasingly focused on providing an excellent customer experience. They are investing in strategies that go beyond transactional interactions by focusing on the buyer’s journey. This means understanding every touchpoint a customer has with a brand. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to tell a compelling story that enhances the customer experience. By mapping the entire journey, marketers gain insights into areas for improvement and optimization. The goal is to create a seamless and satisfying experience for every prospect and every customer.
Personalization is a crucial element of enhancing the customer experience. Customized experiences foster a stronger connection. They show a deep understanding of the audience.
Even in the B2B world, emotional connections enhance the customer experience. Crafting narratives that resonate emotionally with clients, show empathy, and display shared values contributes to a more meaningful customer experience. Emotional connections foster lifetime loyalty.
In 2024, providing an exceptional customer experience is not just a good practice—it's a competitive differentiator. Clients are more likely to advocate for a brand that consistently exceeds their expectations. We recently published a blog on nurturing customers into becoming brand advocates. Read more here
Personalization and Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
In 2024, tailoring sales and marketing efforts to a specific target audience will continue to gain importance. In particular, account-based marketing (ABM) is a shift B2B companies are moving towards. This strategic shift underscores the increasing importance of personalized storytelling in reaching key business clients.
ABM takes personalization to the next level. It tailors sales and marketing efforts to specific accounts or individual decision-makers within those accounts. This hyper-personalized approach ensures that content, messaging, and outreach are directly aligned with the unique needs and challenges of the targeted businesses. It also maximizes resources and increases the likelihood of acquiring valuable, long-term clients.
ABM relies on close collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Teams work together to create a unified and seamless experience for potential clients. They do this by jointly defining target accounts and developing tailored strategies. The goal is to create a comprehensive and cohesive brand experience that resonates with decision-makers.
ABM empowers businesses to move beyond mass marketing. Through strategic targeting and authentic storytelling, ABM represents a strategic evolution in B2B marketing emphasizing precision, personalization, and the cultivation of meaningful, long-term relationships.
Social Media Engagement
In 2024, B2B brands will become more active on social media, using them for brand awareness, customer engagement, and thought leadership. Platforms like LinkedIn, X, and TikTok provide ways to interact with customers in real time. They also foster conversations with colleagues about industry trends.
Social platforms enable B2B brands to reach a wider audience. It offers an opportunity to humanize a brand with storytelling. Behind-the-scenes content, employee spotlights, and candid glimpses into company culture can contribute to a more approachable and relatable brand image.
B2B companies also use social media to position themselves as thought leaders in their industries. By sharing insightful content and engaging in relevant conversations, brands establish credibility and authority, attracting clients and potential collaborators.
The evolution of social media in the B2B space reflects a strategic shift from mere brand awareness to active participation. We recently posted a blog discussing the trends that will affect specific social media platforms in 2024.
The Last Word
As B2B marketing becomes even more global and digitally driven, it's important to remember that humans are at the center of the purchase decision. In 2024, storytelling will emerge as a powerful vehicle for B2B brands. They will use it to communicate authenticity, values, and expertise to the people behind their target business accounts.
Human connection is and will always be paramount. Compelling narratives will always resonate, and stories will always leave a lasting imprint. Businesses that master the art of storytelling through the trends of ABM, AI, CX, influencer marketing, interactive content, social media, and voice search will survive and thrive in 2024.