One of my favorite recurring reports is the Gartner Hype Cycle, which is published at various times throughout the year covering a range of technology categories. In Gartner’s words, “They highlight overhyped areas, estimate when innovations and trends will reach maturity, and provide actionable advice to help organizations decide when to adopt.” The report that is closest to home for us at Octane11 is the 2020 Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing, which Gartner published in July 2020…but we thought we’d take it a step further by focusing in on the most important trends specifically for B2B. That meant pulling out a handful of B2C trends and dropping in a few that are of particular interest for B2B marketers.
Here’s Part 1 of our take on the top technologies for B2B Digital Marketing and where they fit on the hype curve, starting with the first two phases “On the Rise” and “At the First Peak”. Do you agree with these placements? What other trends should be included and where would you place them? Read on!
On the Rise
Blockchain for B2B Marketing: Although Blockchain holds so much promise for creating accountability for marketers, protecting end-user data, and even improving the end-user experience, it’s still very early days. From big players like IBM and Mediaocean to pure plays like NYIAX, this is an important space to watch.
Programmatic Print for B2B: Combining the tactile impact of direct mail with the efficiency of targeting and personalization of programmatic is a huge win. We’re big fans of PebblePost and see major opportunities for programmatic print in B2B – especially in a world of increased remote working and fewer in-person events.
Advanced TV Ads for B2B: While growth in Advanced TV advertising has accelerated dramatically in the last year, audience targeting, ad customization and reporting has still been too cumbersome for it to be cost-effective for the highly-targeted needs of B2B marketing. Expect that to change before you know it, especially with innovators like IRIS.tv, TVision and others pushing the edges of targeting and reporting.
Digital Out of Home for B2B: Digital Out of Home (DOOH) is a super high-impact medium that will be particularly effective for B2B as people return to offices and more normal traffic patterns. In the meantime, players like Place Exchange and Clear Channel Outdoor (which recently announced a partnership with B2B data platform Bombora), are making DOOH increasingly more efficient for the B2B use case.
At the First Peak
Customer Journey Analytics: We love customer journey analytics, and for B2B it’s particularly complicated due to long sales cycles, complex buying criteria, a wide range of touchpoints and large decision-making committees. Stitching this all together is a prerequisite for showing the true customer journey across all touchpoints and members of the buying group…and that’s a big part of what we’ve built at Octane11.
Sales Enablement Platforms: We’ve seen huge adoption in this category in the last 2-3 years and it makes a ton of sense. Sales people need the right data about the right prospects at just the right moment. Platforms like Outreach and SalesLoft have become must haves in this category, though look out for incumbent platforms to roll-out lookalike capabilities. In our view, quality and breadth of data, as well as usability will determine the long-term winners.
Packaged ABM Platforms: Players like Demandbase and 6sense have dramatically simplified “Account-Based Marketing” with user-friendly bundles and analytics, and are rightfully gaining adoption. In some ways they remind me of B2C-focused, retargeting-based platforms epitomized by Criteo, that grew rapidly based on sheer focus and simplicity, but ultimately faced headwinds due to their rigidity and limited focus.
Conversational Marketing & Chat: Major updates in usability and intelligence have helped live chat and chat bot penetration from a range of vendors like Drift and Intercom soar in recent years among B2B marketers. While penetration looks to be near 100% among enterprise software companies, in our recent review of the top B2B companies in every state, we found that just 20% had a chatbot on their home page, so there is still plenty of headroom for growth.
That’s the first part of the cycle, maybe the most fun part, the early innovation and early rise. In Part 2 next week, we’ll look at the next two phases of the cycle – “Sliding into the Trough” and “Climbing the Slope” where technologies begin to face new headwinds as they move past the easy wins and aim to achieve lasting, widespread adoption.
Let us know what you think of these technologies, trends and vendors – and if you’re struggling to build out your martech roadmap, drop us a note at www.octane11.com. We’d love to help you solve these B2B technology challenges.