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Top Trends that will Drive B2B Digital Growth in 2019

B2B Marketing Insights 2019:  More advanced thinking about technology, data and audience targeting will drive digital growth for B2B Marketers 2

Programmatic and Account-Based Marketing (ABM) will continue to be top themes for B2B marketers in the digital space according to the IAB B2B Committee, driven by new thinking about technology, data and audience targeting that will bring new opportunities – and also some potential challenges for 2019 and beyond.

IAB member eMarketer recently published their B2B Digital Advertising Trends report, projecting that B2B spend will exceed $6 billion in 2019, up +18.7% vs. YAG, and highlighting that the market still lacks maturity for digital overall.

New technologies are helping B2B marketers cross over to digital and IAB’s goal is to help educate the industry to advance digital transformation. Digital tools and data advancements will enable more effective targeting and messaging to ensure greater ROI from digital investments. This is especially important for B2B marketers whose digital spend lags, especially on mobile which is where the majority of total digital revenue is reported and where consumers spend the vast majority of their time:

  • 37% of B2B digital spend is on mobile (eMarketer) which lags behind the 63% of total industry digital revenue coming from mobile (IAB/PwC Ad Revenue Report, 2H, 2018)
  • To reinforce the importance of mobile presence, 71% of total US digital time spent is on a mobile device, vs. 29% on Desktop. B2B marketers need to be where their target consumers are spending their time online. (ComScore US Media Metrix Multi-Platform, Total Time Spent (12 Mos. Avg. Jun. ’17 – Jun. ’18)

Some B2B Committee members shed some light on what we might expect in 2019. Key themes include:

Data Driven Targeting on the Rise – More sophisticated data and analytic techniques present opportunities and also some challenges:

It appears that the demand for attribution data and measurement capabilities is on everyone’s mind, especially as efforts to refine spend and conversion metrics are front and center. The top leadgen providers are focused on differentiation, value add, and demonstrable means to combat the continued commoditization of ‘marketing-ready’ upper-funnel leads.
Jim Riesenbach, Executive Vice President, Ziff Davis B2B

Today, we’re in the Age of Local —marketing wars are digital, skirmishes are ongoing, and you win or lose based on local relevance. This is not only the new reality for major brands and their agencies, but also for companies whose bread and butter has always been local, such as hospitals, real estate agents, auto dealerships, and the advertising and media companies who service them. Luckily, the Age of Local brings with it the means to compete. I predict that the democratization of advertising and marketing technology and platforms —including programmatic for display and connected television, social, and better conversion tracking – will continue to level the playing field and make it a golden age for local marketing.
Lynn Tornabene, Chief Marketing Officer, AffinityX

In 2019, B2B marketers will invest more heavily in building data and analytics capabilities that provide them with a competitive advantage.The most sophisticated B2B marketers have realized that possession of these capabilities can be key to unlocking greater ROI from the broader investments they’ve made in their MarTech stack, enabling them to drive key sales and marketing metrics such as customer retention, pipeline generation and sales cycle speed.

This coming year, B2B marketers will be focused on increasing their organizations ‘data proficiency’ by enlisting support from external partners, aligning more closely with sales, and securing Executive level support for their vision.
Mark Treacy, Head of Sales – B2B, Oracle Data Cloud

Lately, advertisers/agencies have heavily invested in DMPs to grow their first-party data — according to a global Salesforce survey, 91 percent of advertisers have already adopted or plan to adopt a DMP solution in 2018 and 94 percent of brands were using first-party CRM data by 2017.However, bridging the different identifiers across the digital ecosystem — from mobile, tablet, desktop to TV — has been a significant challenge and brands have not been able to make full use of their own data. In 2019 and beyond, companies that find a way to connect their offline identifiers (such as emails and mobile phone numbers) to digital identifiers (such as mobile device ID and cookies) in a deterministic or precise way — while complying with global privacy standards— will gain greater relevance in the market.
Daniel Heer, Founder & CEO, zeotap

2019 is going to bring increased focus on data leakage for B2B marketers. “Data laundering” will become as commonplace of a term as “malvertising” is today. Billions of dollars of media arbitrage still occurs on the heels of data freely leaking from ads, trackers and integrations. Just like money laundering, this data is sync’d enough times by enough companies, both synchronously and asynchronously, that at some point, a company’s proprietary user data is being used to create “intender” audiences used by their competitors.
— Kate Reinmiller, CRO, AdLightning

ABM will become smarter, more efficient and more effective.

From understanding how buyers are making decisions – and who those decision makers actually are, to opportunities for more personalized content/messaging for both upper and lower funnel goals, and advancement in local targeting, data will help enable more effective ABM marketing results. With longer lead times for most B2B marketers, advanced targeting techniques will ensure that the right message gets to the right person at the right time in the sales cycle on platforms where decision makers spend their time.

The expansion of buying committees: Marketers will shift focus from just the direct decision maker and/or C-suite to expand those who influence purchasing as decision making becomes more holistic in B2B
Tusar Barik, Marketing, Agency & Channel Partnerships, LinkedIn

Programmatic ABM will gain steam and companies will increase spend in digital channels.
Anudit Vikram, SVP, Dun & Bradstreet

As B2B brands continue to invest in and strengthen their ABM strategies, the next step will be embracing a deeper level of personalized content/messaging, and in turn, they will need more refined audience targeting strategies to effectively reach their consumer with the right message that resonates.
Derek Klimkowski, Head of Demand Sales, Eyeota

In 2019 we’ll see more B2B marketers embrace branding and awareness, filling the funnel, casting a wider net, increasing overall net sales while ensuring brand longevity. Now, more than ever, there are many options for audience based targeting, including ABM across programmatic or advanced TV, digital audio as well as OOH.
Ethan Simblist, VP, Digital Solutions, MeritDirect, LLC

In 2019, the 150-member IAB B2B Committee, led by Tusar Barik/LinkedIn, Jim Riesenbach/Ziff Davis B2B and Anudit Vikram/Dun & Bradstreet will focus on ABM and Programmatic to provide guidance to the industry to spur growth and effectiveness of B2B marketing efforts on digital.To learn more about the IAB B2B Committee or to join the committee as an IAB member, please email [email protected].


Susan Borst
Head of Social and Content Marketing Solutions
at IAB