It’s been six months since we conducted our last MarketView poll of the B2B buying lifecycle, and the evolving role of human engagement within it and, even in that short space of time, a lot has changed.
AI buyer research aids
ChatGPT and equivalent tools have come in as a new aid to so many of us, promising the ability to condense a lot of material into quick summaries, for instance. As ever, though, such developments should be viewed with caution. AI-based content digests are all well and good if the context is carefully vetted. Yet, even if the fluency of the reported ‘results’ seems enticing, repetition might cause some findings to feature more heavily than subtler but potentially important themes. So relying on time-saving aids alone is risky.
Having said that, I used ChatGPT to digest and summarize the key findings from across the 60 interviews we conducted for this latest MarketView publication. We’ve included the output, categorized into 3 categories with key bullets underneath each, as key takeaways at the end of this report – you can make your own mind up about how well the AI tool did at distilling the most important themes.
Over the following pages, you’ll see a whole raft of reflections emerge – the diverse mix of B2B sales and marketing leaders who’ve contributed from North America and the UK this time have been particularly thoughtful in their feedback and ideas, together providing rich food for thought.
Personalization, authenticity & collaboration
For me, the themes of personalization at scale, the need for authenticity, relevance, and deeper engagement with buyers through innovative and value-adding marketing initiatives come through especially loud and clear. My favorite quote comes from Michael Baer (No.43) "Millennials don't hate marketing, they hate irrelevance and annoyance. Relevance is about understanding my challenges and needs and providing content that speaks to that – if you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter if you’re entertaining or providing an experience, you’ll still be irrelevant."
There are two specific actions we’ve taken at Network Sunday to meet B2B brands in their own journeys to engage prospects in new ways. One is to launch a B2B Customer Acquisition Guild forum (please join us), as a CMO community, where our own clients and interview and event participants can start conversations and share insights with their peers. That’s as first-generation business social networks, like LinkedIn, lose their value for authentic networking (beyond recruitment and advertising) and become more of a mindless scrolling platform.
The other is our weekly new, ‘Challenge Forum’ virtual roundtables and podcast, which address a real enterprise marketing challenge currently facing one of the five participants. The other participants each give their advice after discussing the challenge in detail and all participants are interviewed for a Podcast episode the following week. If you are interested in getting involved register at our event experiences page.
The evolving role of events comes out strongly in the current MarketView survey, too. Emerging approaches involve much more creative forms of participant engagement, from before the event (asking them for topics/themes/challenges to table) right through to post-event opportunities for continued engagement. That’s something we’ve been actively engaged with recently, linked to the recent in-person SAP Sapphire trade show, for one of SAP’s partners.
Now that the post-pandemic panic has eased, and marketers and sales leads are finding new sources of creativity and innovation to insert human value and augment and enhance their digital buyer journeys, there is much to be inspired and excited by. We’re confident you’ll feel the same as you survey the latest themes over the following pages.
Thanks again to all the participants who took the time to take the interview and speak with my colleague Simon Warman-Freed, and also to the growing number of you getting involved in our follow on events and podcasts.
I have no doubt that reading through all 63 market views will be a good use of time, perhaps when you're traveling next!