Top Stories Of 2018: Personalization, Intent Data, Influencers & More Trending Topics For Marketers

Published: December 28, 2018

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the B2B marketing world, as marketers took their strategies to the next level to engage buyers in a more authentic, human way. The landscape is ever-evolving and new technologies and channels have made it easier for marketers and sellers to build relationships with their audiences.

The Demand Gen Report team worked hard all year long to tell relevant and actionable stories with real-world case studies and the latest expert advice on B2B marketing success. From personalization and budget planning, to influencer marketing and intent data, this year’s top stories gave us a glimpse into key trends and priorities for today’s modern marketer.

1. Effective Personalization Emerging As A Top Priority As B2B Brands Look To Keep Pace On Creating Relevant, Contextual Buyer Experiences

Personalization was a popular topic in 2018, as B2B marketers strived to maintain authentic relationships with customers and prospects on their terms. Speakers at the 2018 B2B Marketing Exchange delivered thought-provoking presentations about the importance of personalization and the steps to take to execute it effectively — which were all highlighted in this article.

2. Rise Of Millennial Buyers Pushes Marketers To Reevaluate Traditional Tactics

Millennials now make up the largest generation in the workforce — a fact that can’t be overlooked by B2B marketers today. Unfortunately, Forrester research has shown that there is a clear disconnect between the number of Millennials making purchase decisions and how often B2B execs believe they are interacting with Millennials. This story shone light on how today’s B2B marketers are engaging Millennials with podcasts, videos and more.

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3. Must-Have Tools & Tactics: B2B Marketers Share The Solutions & Strategies They Are Prioritizing For 2018

A new year always calls for new priorities and additions to marketers’ tech stacks. In this beginning-of-the-year roundup, top marketers from companies such as Aptos, TeleTech, Quarry, Content4Demand and more shared their big 2018 plans. Plus, find out what was on their tech stack shopping list.

4. Forward-Thinking B2B Marketers Partner With Influencers To Create Cross-Channel, Long-Term Campaigns

 Today’s B2B buyer purchasing habits are similar to those of B2B consumers, especially when it comes to doing their own research from third-party sources. In fact, DGR’s 2018 B2B Buyer’s Survey revealed that 65% of buyers rely on peer recommendations and review sites. This may be why influencer marketing has gained some steam in 2018 — and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon. This article highlights the benefits of adding influencers to the marketing mix, with real-world examples of how companies such as the Content Marketing Institute and SAP saw success with influencer marketing.

5. New Budget Reality: B2B Marketers Look At Alignment Of Strategy And Spend In 2018

New Gartner research revealed that 2018 was the year of receding marketing budgets, which experts noted was the result of marketing’s inability to prove how its activities create business results that matter to the C-suite. This story reveals expert insights into modern marketing budgets and shares recommendations on how marketers should tackle budget planning.

6. 2018 State Of B2B Intent Data: An Inside Look At The Growing Applications Of Intent Data Across Marketing & Sales To Support Targeting & Account Strategies

Intent data was another hot topic for B2B marketers in 2018. Demand Gen Report’s annual ABM Benchmark Survey revealed that while only 25% of B2B companies said they currently use intent data and monitoring tools, 35% said they are planning on using intent insight within the next 12 months. This special report revealed how marketers are turning to intent data to identify surging accounts and engage them with targeted messaging at the right time, as well as practical examples of how intent data can impact marketing channels and more.

7. B2B Marketers Turn To Personalized Live Events, Mobile Apps As Shortcut To MQLs

Digital marketing may be on the rise, but traditional, face-to-face tactics are far from fading away. In fact, nearly half of marketers spend up to 25% of their budget on events, according to research from Certain and Heinz Marketing. This story explores the state of event marketing in 2018 and features insights from marketers at WorkWave, HubSpot and more on how to extend the impact of live events by driving lead generation through mobile apps and creating communities to promote yearlong engagement.

8. B2B Marketers Embracing Review Sites As Valuable, Trust-Building Tools Across Buyer Journey

Peer reviews are becoming a crucial component of our personal and professional lives. Buyers are increasingly turning to B2B software and service review sites such as TrustRadius and G2 Crowd before making a purchase decision. Companies such as InsideView and Quick Base are embracing review sites as a way to collect trustworthy customer testimonials to fuel their content marketing efforts. Check out this story to learn how TrustRadius vendors see an average 30% lift in conversion rates by sprinkling reviews throughout the buyer journey.

9. B2B Marketers Adopting AI To Streamline And Scale Personalization, Messaging And Consistent Customer Experience

Another trend in 2018 was the integration of AI and machine learning into B2B technology to help marketers enhance personalization efforts, share content recommendations and streamline the sales cycle. In fact, 70% feel AI-powered applications will help improve and accelerate the buyer’s journey by recommending next best actions, according to research from Demand Gen Report and Demandbase. This article highlights more AI statistics, as well as case studies from companies such as Qubole, which leveraged AI for content recommendations and account personalization with great success.

10. Mack Trucks Proves B2B Doesn’t Have To Be Boring With RoadLifeTV Campaign, VR

B2B marketers have gotten more and more creative with their content strategies, and 2018 was no exception. Mack Trucks, for example, launched a cool video series and VR campaign to deliver authentic, humanized stories that present the company’s offerings in a relatable way. The RoadLifeTV campaign featured videos and complementary content to share stories of everyday men and women using its trucks. The result was far from boring. Learn more about the entire campaign and see for yourself in this article.

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