B2B marketing teams will have to justify every dollar they spend over the next 12 months.
We know, you’ve heard it before. But most forecasts call for economic uncertainty in 2024, and that translates into a laser focus on booking revenue today. Your sales team will be looking to land those precious in-market prospects before your competition can, so you can’t afford to invest in bulk leads that don’t convert or brand awareness campaigns that won’t pay off for another 18 months.
In 2024, B2B marketing teams need to focus on opportunity generation – starting and nurturing conversations with customers who are going to impact your bottom line in the next 3-6 months. And that means working with a B2B marketing demand generation partner that not only has an impeccable foundation of quality data, but also the creativity and agility to help your campaigns drive engagement and outperform the competition.
The four pillars of successful ‘opportunity’ B2B marketing demand generation
At Bython, we believe that getting the highest ROI from your B2B marketing budget hinges on four key pillars of operational and strategic excellence.
Quality: Will the opportunities we deliver be actively in-market, or will they simply be “close enough” to your customer profile and then sit inactive in your CRM for the next 9 months?
Transparency: Are we willing to show you exactly how we are executing your campaign, as well as the results we are getting in near real-time?
Accountability: When something just isn’t working, do we recognize the issue and adapt to ensure that your campaign meets its goals and your revenue pipeline remains healthy?
Creativity: Can our team work with you to identify new tactics and demand generation strategies that move the needle, instead of just pumping out more of the same email blast to meet a quota?
Not every demand generation shop can answer “yes” to these questions. But pressure on B2B marketers to make the most of every dollar spent demands that your opportunity generation partnership be built on these four pillars.
And the pressure is real.
A sharp focus on B2B marketing campaigns that move the needle
Most predictions for B2B marketing budgets in 2024 show spending holding steady, but still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels.
Communications firm Percepture suggests that companies should expect to spend about 10 percent of their overall budget on B2B marketing in the coming year, with the lion’s share (50%) going to content strategy and production. Gartner reports that figure at about 9 percent for current year 2023, and both the reality and projection are below pre-Covid levels.
We should note that fears of an impending recession at the start of 2023 did lead to some dire predictions which did not entirely materialize. So not everything is bleak for B2B marketing budgets. In fact, a LinkedIn survey projects that more B2B marketers are likely to see budget increases than decreases in 2024.
Perhaps the most interesting data point from the LinkedIn survey is that 36 percent of B2B marketing budgets in 2024 will be targeted at “lead generation,” with just 20 percent allocated to “demand generation.”
To clarify these terms:
- Lead generation campaigns are highly transactional, and focus on getting a volume of potential customers to opt-in to a revenue pipeline.
- Demand generation campaigns tend to be broader and include a wide spectrum of channels – PPC, email, traditional mail, the works – to build brand and product awareness, in addition to generating opportunities not just leads.
The emphasis on “lead generation” illustrates the emphasis on fueling the near-term revenue pipeline, as opposed to laying the groundwork for future cycles with “demand generation.”
But in our view, that’s only half the story.
‘Opportunity’ generation creates conversations that convert
We describe what we do here at Bython as “opportunity generation.” When we deliver a contact to your database, it represents a genuine opportunity to convert to the next stage of your revenue strategy.
If you are looking for a volume of MQLs or AQLs that you want to move to the next stage of your pipeline, we’ll design a marketing demand generation program that finds and converts customers who are building a business case to purchase in your projected sales cycle.
If you are looking for low-funnel leads that meet demanding BANT criteria, we’ll design a campaign that includes multiple touch points, including phone outreach, to ensure that each name we deliver is interested.
Whatever the campaign, our focus is delivering on opportunities that not only meet your base criteria, but also demonstrate behaviors that indicate they are ready for a deeper conversation.
You’ll see a lot of commenters say that 2024 is the year to focus on the 5% in the “95-5 Rule” – the truism popularized a few years ago by the Ehrenberg-Bass research. When the pressure for near-term revenue is high, a laser focus on reaching the fraction of profile matches that are actually ready to buy is at a premium.
We think of it this way – whatever your goal, our job is to drive engagement and deliver opportunities that will get you there.
Putting Quality and Creativity to work
So, how do the four pillars of ‘opportunity’ marketing demand generation fuel your campaigns?
We own our contact database, so we design campaigns with a complete 360-degree view of prospect interest and behavior. When we do use third-party data, we limit it to filling in some gaps in the campaign’s overall audience profile. (Nobody has unlimited numbers of C-Suite decision makers in their database; if they tell you that they do, you are being spun.)
We build and execute the campaigns ourselves. We can see contacts’ interaction with other content offers and zero in on that one nuance that can differentiate your business and drive engagement with your message. Our intelligence matrix includes intent data and explicit 1st-party data – something you can’t get from lead brokerages and middle men that comprise so much of the demand generation space.
Obviously, we enforce the most stringent data quality standards and QA on the contacts we deliver to our customers. But that’s just the start. The real test of “quality” are conversions to the next step in your customer journey. That’s how we measure our success.
B2B marketing teams demand a clear understanding of how their partners are generating their opportunities, and they want to see how their campaigns are progressing in real time. Transparency begins before we drop the first email — our team is eager to discuss demand generation strategies and tactics as part of the initial engagement with our customers.
We like to think of ourselves as a seamless part of your overall B2B marketing program, but we are not a black box. Marketers want to have input into the process, but just as importantly, they want to be confident in our ability to execute and differentiate their message in a crowded marketplace.
We created our Byonic Platform to give marketers real-time insights into how their campaigns are progressing and increase speed to market. You can always see how we are doing, and we are always there to make things work.
If an issue does arise – and, let’s be honest, it happens in even the best-designed campaigns – your marketing demand generation partner needs to own up to the issue and find a solution. Our goal here at Bython is to ensure that working with us results in the best ROI on your B2B marketing budgets. We’ll do what it takes to eliminate obstacles and hit your targets.
Of course, accountability is a two-way street. Sometimes the solution is to reset expectations or resolve miscommunications on the customer end, often between marketing and sales. We are committed to open, honest communications to identify and correct the issues that may be keeping a campaign from performing to expectations. Sometimes that’s a make-good, but more often it’s a tweak or adjustment to an already solid strategy.
It’s all about results.
For our team, creativity comes down to campaign design – finding the behavioral patterns and triggers that drive engagement and move customers closer to the sale.
For the most part, our customers rely on classic B2B marketing content, like whitepapers and webinars. Our challenge is to find the best prospects and engage them in ways that create opportunities that convert. We love getting involved in our customer’s strategic planning, and as we build deeper relationships those opportunities are increasing.
But for now, we listen carefully, ask smart questions, and get creative by adding persona or behavioral details you may not have considered as you drafted your campaign goals.
Opportunity Generation to move your business forward
B2B marketing teams need top-quality opportunities that convert at key stages to booked revenue. To get there, you need a marketing demand generation partner that understands your goals, adds creative value in designing winning campaigns, and removes any barriers to your success.
It’s a lot to ask, but you need an opportunity generation partner that meets these expectations if you are going to reach genuinely in-market prospects and drive revenue in a challenging economy.