Getting Ahead in B2B Marketing: Lessons from Google’s Think B2B 2023
In the high-speed race that is B2B marketing, it’s not enough to just keep up. Getting ahead of the curve (that is, being better every day, in Noble-speak) is essential. One simple way to do that? Understanding the key themes that shape successful B2B marketing strategies–especially as B2B buyers shift their preferences based on new information.
To help accelerate our better practices, Noble Studios’ Mason Furr and Rodrigo Villacorta flew out to The Googleplex in Mountain View, California, for Think B2B 2023. The event showcased valuable research insights and hosted discussions on the latest trends impacting B2B marketers. Mason & Rodrigo walked away with plenty of fresh fuel to supercharge our approach to creative digital performance, including:
- A better understanding of the research-oriented nature of buyers
- Ways to harness the transformative power of branding and AI integration
- Valuable statistics and insights sourced from industry resources
To get ahead, you have to get started first. Here are five pivotal themes from Google’s Think B2B 2023 to shape and empower your own B2B marketing strategies!
Informed and Research-Oriented Buyers
On the speedway of B2B marketing, knowledge is nitrous, and today’s B2B buyers are armed with more information than ever before. They conduct extensive research before making purchase decisions. In fact, 45% of buyers’ lifetime is spent doing in-depth research, while only 17% is spent interacting with vendors. Your mission? Provide them with comprehensive and relevant content.
Positioning yourself as a trusted source of information is essential to courting research-driven buyers. Some good ways to establish credibility (and build better relationships) include:
- Creating valuable, insightful content that addresses their pain points
- Showcasing your business’s reputable thought leadership and strategies
- Offering educational resources such as whitepapers (case studies, industry reports
Don’t forget to optimize your online presence to align with B2B buyers’ research habits. Start by ensuring your website is user-friendly and informative. Maintaining active and engaging social media channels, plus a presence on industry-specific platforms and forums, is also helpful. By being accessible and providing valuable content across various online touchpoints, you can establish your B2B brand as a go-to resource in your industry.
Embracing the Online Experience
The B2B buying journey looks very different in the digital age. Today, shoppers expect seamless online experiences that let them finalize their purchases digitally–and at their own pace. Google revealed that 77% of B2B buyers prefer online experiences similar to individual shopping: a process without sales representatives or a need for phone conversations.
Optimizing your online presence means offering a self-service experience for buyers. A few simple ways to do that include:
- Creating intuitive and user-friendly websites
- Offering interactive product demos and virtual tours
- Adding live chat or chatbot functionalities to provide instant support
In short: let buyers navigate the purchase process without cold calls, emails and other traditional B2B sales tactics. It streamlines their journey and increases their satisfaction with your brand.
Be sure to consider personalization, too. Tailoring content, product recommendations and messaging based on buyer preferences and behavior can significantly enhance engagement and drive conversions. This is one of the reasons why valuable personally relevant experiences matter so much to Noble Studios.
Leveraging technologies such as AI and machine learning allows businesses to analyze buyer data and deliver targeted experiences that resonate with their needs and interests.
An astounding 86% of B2B buyers have a Day 1 list. This list typically comprises seven companies. To shape and influence this list, businesses must showcase meticulous attention to detail, develop a profound understanding of their target market, and carefully assess how their brand is perceived in relation to competitors.Google Think B2B 2023
Demand Generation and Branding
Speaking of demand generation: what’s the difference between branding and performance marketing? Google clarifies that branding focuses on creating interest and awareness, while performance marketing aims to capture that interest and drive tangible results.
Investing in demand marketing efforts, including branding initiatives, is crucial for consistently driving future sales. Despite the challenge of tracking and attributing the impact of branding campaigns, they play a vital role in creating demand and building brand perception.
According to Google’s presentation at Think B2B 2023, an astounding 86% of B2B buyers have a Day 1 list. This list typically comprises seven companies. To shape and influence this list, you’ll need to pay meticulous attention to detail, develop a profound understanding of your target market and carefully assess how your brand is perceived relative to competitors.
Creating a strong brand sparks interest. Perhaps more importantly, it leads to pricing power. Your business can position itself as a premium provider in its market if you can charge more for products or services–and that’s all based on brand reputation and perceived value. (Think about how AirPods command a higher price compared to equivalent products. That’s the strength of the Apple brand.)
Establishing a compelling brand presence means building exceptional customer experiences. By understanding the pain points and challenges faced by potential buyers, companies can develop dedicated teams to promptly and effectively address these issues. This customer-centric approach, along with the creation of “organic” sounding and looking content, fosters a genuine connection with buyers, building trust and loyalty.
Targeted Engagement and Understanding Buyers
We hope you’re ready for commitment because it’s time to get engaged. (With each stakeholder’s needs and priorities, of course.) It starts with understanding the composition of the B2B buying committee. More and more junior team members are getting involved in the decision-making process. In fact, 92% of stakeholders admit to listening to junior employees when making decisions.
To engage effectively, you need a deep understanding of your target markets: buyer fears, anxieties and job requirements, plus competitors’ shortcomings. Armed with this knowledge, marketers can create highly targeted campaigns that specifically address pain points and position their offerings as ideal solutions.
Remember, one size doesn’t fit all. Segment your approach to prospects by strategically allocating resources. That way, you can focus on opportunities aligned with your ideal customer profile, optimize marketing budgets and increase effectiveness. Otherwise, you could end up with wasted resources on your hands. Google recommends investing in prospects who are most likely to convert, and consequently, allocating fewer resources to uncertain prospects.
Be sure to align your marketing strategies with sales efforts, too. By fostering open communication and feedback loops with sales teams, marketers can gain valuable insight into buyer objections, pain points and the evolving sales cycle. With this knowledge you can create and fuel targeted campaigns, plus valuable content that resonates with buyers at different stages of their journeys.
Evolving Marketing Strategies and AI Integration
Everyone’s talking about it, but it’s more valuable to act on it. Google confirmed that B2B marketers must embrace evolving marketing strategies and leverage AI integration to stay ahead. Presenters highlighted several areas where AI can make a big difference: pattern identification, campaign optimization and customer insights, to name a few.
Pattern identification using AI helps marketers analyze data as well as uncover trends and patterns in buyer behavior. With those insights, it’s easier to optimize campaigns and messaging based on what works and what doesn’t. AI-powered personalization also lets businesses deliver tailored experiences at scale, increasing engagement, conversion rates and loyalty. (And maybe even the chance of being on the “Day One” list.)
Incremental testing, attribution models and marketing analytics are also vital components of successful B2B marketing strategies. But rather than striving for a perfect attribution model, it’s better to focus on continuous improvement (be better every day, right?) and making educated guesses faster than the competition. By testing, incorporating conversion rate optimization programs, conducting lift studies and gradually implementing incrementality, marketers can refine their strategies and optimize budget allocation for better results.
Moving Closer to B2B Marketing Success
Putting the pedal to the metal in B2B marketing means gearing up for a never-ending race. As buyer habits change, so must our strategies–and quickly. We’re proud to have had Mason and Rodrigo join the Google team in Mountain View, and we’re excited about the insights they brought back to help power our creative digital performance services. Tomorrow, we’ll be better by:
- Catering to informed and research-oriented buyers
- Embracing the online experience
- Investing in demand generation and branding
- Prioritizing engagement
- Leveraging AI integrations
What about you? Noble Studios is your guide to better B2B marketing, every day. Our team has been developing and implementing effective B2B marketing strategies for over 20 years. Let’s talk about your business’s goals and explore ways to help you get there. Just raise your hand.