How should B2B marketers approach 2024? 

Lottie O'Donoghue B2B Branding, B2B Storytelling, B2B Strategy, Industrial, Professional Services, Technology


This article follows our “2024’s trends in B2B marketing for those targeting a niche” article and focuses on what you can do to navigate 2024 as a B2B marketer targeting a niche. 

B2B marketers must find and engage with buyers — even when they are small in number within a tight niche. With more volatility expected and changing consumer habits, what do we think are the most important plays in 2024? 

Balance short-run sales activation with long-run brand, even with tighter budgets. 

The friction between conducting short-term lead gen campaigns with longer-term brand building remains. Budgets will not relax, so accountability for performance in the near term adds fuel to that fire.  

Brand building is hard, too. It needs clear positioning that resonates, is differentiated, unique and relevant. The strength comes from clarity, awareness and being held in high esteem.   

Many are moving to different GTM motions (labelled XLG GTM motions), adding further complexity — especially when partners or channel is involved. 

In a volatile world, some B2B marketers have lost the appetite for brand building even though it amplifies campaign performance. The detrimental effect can often only be felt a number of quarters in advance of now if it is cut.   

The right answer is a balance, and some have even defined it as 46:54 in favour of sales activation.  

Recommendation: Follow the science and keep a balance. If brand awareness campaigns are not part of your thinking in 2024, we urge you to think again. 

The visual and verbal part of your Brand Identity needs to evolve. 

Buying journeys contain more self-directed research than ever before, exacerbated by generation Z taking purchase decision responsibility. Influencers on LinkedIn are increasingly senior staff at high-profile vendors, with buyers forming perceptions on who to trust based on their interactions with potential vendor brands. They’re judging you. Right now. 

Ask yourself: are you proud of your brand identity? Does it reflect who you are in a relevant way to your customers? Is it clear and consistent, and does it portray you in a way that is differentiated and resonates with your audiences? If the answer is ‘no’, then it is time to redefine and refresh your brand identity.  

Recommendation: A brand survey is one of the most effective ways of understanding your brand strength — even if it is as simple as a NPS survey. Ideally, this would include customers. But, for larger organisations, asking your client-facing team to report back on their impressions of customer perceptions based on their conversations will provide a read on whether action is appropriate.  

Creativity and messaging pays for itself. Don’t be shy. 

Based on research from the B2B Institute, strong creative can outperform mediocre creative by 10-20x in terms of sales impact. As our audiences are looking for that moment of fun or surprise, we must tell strong stories in engaging and interesting ways. It is hard to do, but that should not put you off. Done well, it pays for itself many times over. 

Recommendation: choose a hero campaign from this year’s plan and allocate funds to creative and messaging to lift the impact and craft some marketing to be proud of. 

ESG is more than a report. It defines your purpose. 

Our audiences want to work for and with brands who have a higher purpose and take responsibility for their impact. That may be on the planet, or the people it employs.   

For many, supply chain pressure from procurement teams has rendered this a form-filling exercise, but it is time for it to be so much more. Most B2B brands have a great story to tell in this area. It will attract further business and new generations of staff.  

The more of us that tell our stories, the more we will take responsibility for the impact we have as an industry. And, as a community, we can march to a decarbonised future. 

Recommendation: Being brave and publishing your own ESG report forces you to define your greater purpose. 

AI is a tool, not the answer. Time to proceed with caution. 

AI has arrived, and it is firmly sat in the middle of most conversations and making mischief. It is a tool to be used, with results that need checking — but it can accelerate creativity. However, not without checking and validation. 

AI won’t take your job, but those using AI will. Skills in prompting to fast forward ideation and research tasks are needed, but it cannot do the job of a digital marketer. It is a tool, prone to errors, not a replacement. If you’re not using it yet, it is time to. 

Generative AI allows testing for quicker learning by doing the heavy lifting for content production, but it needs checking. To the cynical eye, it is increasingly obvious when it is used, so creativity is still essential. Feed the algorithm, but don’t blindly trust it.

Embrace AI where it appears when embedded within your present toolset to create efficiency where possible, such as chatbots, ad platforms and more. 

Recommendation: It is time to proceed with caution with AI. 

Martech is now an ecosystem — not a platform — and it needs attention. 

Most B2B marketers rely on a website CMS, such as WordPress, combined with analytics tools using Tag Manager, enhanced with tools like Clearbit or LeadForensics passing customer data into a platform such as SFDC or HubSpot, with associated automation tools like Pardot, Hubspot or Marketo alongside plug-in tools like Drift and other chatbots. And breathe. It sounds like a lot when you list it.  

Outside of your owned estate, paid and earned activity on search, social and programmatic display (LinkedIn and Google remain dominant) and third-party media and publications remain important.

It isn’t a stack anymore, nor one platform. It is an ecosystem, and managing the integrations and effectiveness is a role within itself. AI is driving enhancements — particularly around the interpretation of structured/unstructured data allowing more integrations and accelerating acquisitions. The consequence is that your MarTech stack is changing, and it needs management.

Access to LLMs will also see new tools appear in tandem with enhancement within existing tools, but for those targeting a niche, developing your own tools based on an LLM will not be accurate enough to justify the effort. 

Recommendation: Adopt a core set of tools and monitor substitutes. Do not implement and leave it. Review the changes in functionality quarterly.  

Cookies will crumble, so you need first party data. 

First party data is all customer data you capture yourself directly. And, assuming you’ve followed appropriate data regulation around privacy and permission, it will be the bedrock of your ongoing marketing. Capturing it and resolving the identity to enhance individual records rather than duplications held in separate silos will see the further adoption of platforms such as HubSpot and It will drive changes in marketing practices to provide content and offers that provide enough value exchange to capture data, all aligned to more self-directed research by buyers evaluating suppliers.

Recommendation: Plot your buying units and journeys overlapping your sales journey to make sure that your website and your marketing supports data capture and talks to all customers.   

LinkedIn is more than a B2B networking platform. 

Beyond providing a way to stay in contact with past colleagues, LinkedIn has grown to be so much more — including a recruitment, advertising and prospecting tool. With investments in storytelling tools, it is becoming a media outlet in its own right, and the top place for those influencers dominant in a niche to extend and exert their influence. It is an extension of your website. 

Recommendation: Develop a strategy for taking advantage of all aspects of LinkedIn — from individual to corporate profiles through to the marketing channels it provides. 

You need an influencer strategy, but not the one you are thinking of. 

Trust is vital to building relationships in B2B, and this means buyers look to those that they class as credible for insights. Some of the most influential people for your brand are your senior team.  Making sure their profiles are professional, credible and include thought leadership as an extension to your company profile is vital. Buyers look at them. 

Recommendation:  Review your senior team’s profiles as a priority, and then support them with ghost-written content to raise their profile, extend their reach and build their influence. 

B2B brands will conquer in 2024. There is much innovation in most sectors, driven by the need to change. B2B marketers have a lot to look forward to. It will be a bumpy ride but, buckle up, it’ll be worthwhile! 

This article followed “2024’s trends in B2B marketing for those targeting a niche” so, if you’ve not read this one yet, we’d recommend that you do! 

Lottie O’Donoghue

Lottie O’Donoghue

Lead Business Development Manager

A marketer through and through, before Velo, Lottie led the marketing function of a scale-up tech SaaS platform moving to the world of agencies to run Accenture’s ABM and marketing activity across EMEAR.  Now, Lottie leads the agency's teams for new business clients across brand strategy projects through to websites and campaign activation. She also owns Velo's own marketing, too.