Con­nect­ed data will be king and ABM will take over as a core plat­form but the tired old per­sona-based adver­tis­ing will die in the com­ing year.

As we close out 2018, most of us have already been spend­ing the last cou­ple of months (at least!) think­ing about 2019. And as I think about the com­ing year, I think about “what’s next” for B2B mar­keters. This gets more and more chal­leng­ing each year, because the pace of change has accel­er­at­ed each year. But that’s also why B2B has become such an excit­ing and dynam­ic mar­ket dur­ing the past sev­er­al years.

So, here are five trends I pre­dict will be hot for B2B mar­keters in 2019.

1. ABM will become a core platform for marketers in the martech stack

While CRM is the sys­tem of record for all sales activ­i­ty and mar­ket­ing automa­tion sys­tems are used by almost all sophis­ti­cat­ed B2B mar­keters, each car­ries well known lim­i­ta­tions. In par­tic­u­lar, both focus on known, indi­vid­ual con­tacts. In an account-based world, that’s not enough. As a result, ABM plat­forms are quick­ly becom­ing the third leg to the B2B mar­ket­ing tech stack. Togeth­er with CRM and mar­ket­ing automa­tion solu­tions, B2B mar­keters can span indi­vid­ual to account, and known to unknown in their mar­ket­ing and sales activ­i­ties.

2. Connected data will be king

With a frag­ment­ed martech land­scape, it’s easy to under­stand why cus­tomer infor­ma­tion can become siloed. Get­ting a true 360-degree view of the cus­tomer has been a chal­lenge that has plagued mar­keters since the begin­ning of mar­ket­ing. But con­nect­ing cus­tomer data across dif­fer­ent mar­ket­ing tech­nolo­gies is get­ting clos­er to becom­ing a real­i­ty for many mar­keters.

By inte­grat­ing tech­nolo­gies such as CRM, mar­ket­ing automa­tion, and ABM plat­forms, mar­keters can start to share data across these appli­ca­tions. And this will start to give mar­keters the com­plete cus­tomer view that we have craved.

3. We’ll stop talking about Artificial Intelligence

For B2B mar­keters, AI has been front and cen­ter of the con­ver­sa­tion for the past cou­ple of years. That’s about to change. Not because AI is going away. It’s just becom­ing a giv­en- a set of under­ly­ing tech­nol­o­gy that is just “there”. Like elec­tric­i­ty. AI will become an accept­ed (and expect­ed) part of all mar­ket­ing, adver­tis­ing and sales tech­nol­o­gy. We’ll stop talk­ing about it watch just let it work its mag­ic in 2019, such as antic­i­pat­ing which con­tent or mes­sages vis­i­tors to a web­site will find most use­ful at each stage of their buy­ing jour­ney. There are almost a lim­it­less num­ber of appli­ca­tions for AI in mar­ket­ing. And 2019 will be the year that AI based becomes like a util­i­ty for B2B mar­keters.

4. Next best action will become feasible at scale

Mar­keters have long talked about tak­ing the ide­al next best action when it comes to mar­ket­ing pro­grams based on where peo­ple are in the buy­ing cycle. But it’s been impos­si­ble to achieve with­out mas­sive amounts of data being syn­the­sized by AI in real time. Humans just can’t process that amount of infor­ma­tion. The emer­gence of AI means that auto­mat­ed next best action trig­gered based on spe­cif­ic activ­i­ty in the buy­ing cycle will become a real­i­ty in 2019.’

5. Persona-based advertising is dead

For years B2B adver­tis­ers have used per­sonas as a proxy for reach­ing the right audi­ence: their tar­get buy­ers and influ­encers. But per­sonas used for adver­tis­ing amount to lit­tle more than guess­work in terms of who you actu­al­ly reach, so mar­keters waste a huge amount of mon­ey on poor­ly tar­get­ed ads each year. B2B adver­tis­ing is one of the last fron­tiers of mar­ket­ing to be mod­ern­ized but is final­ly under­go­ing a mas­sive trans­for­ma­tion that will sig­nif­i­cant­ly improve per­for­mance and the effi­cien­cy of ad dol­lars. By com­bin­ing an imme­di­ate under­stand­ing of the accounts mar­keters want to tar­get and sophis­ti­cat­ed intent data to iden­ti­fy the buy­ing com­mit­tee with­in those accounts, B2B adver­tis­ing can achieve pre­ci­sion and scale in 2019. And final­ly replace the tired old per­sonas that we’ve been forced to use.

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