There are many marketing strategies out there, and each one has a guiding principle of some kind: product-led growth, lead generation, and brand building are common approaches. While there are valuable elements in each school of thought, growth marketing has quickly become the strongest path to success for B2B companies.
What Is B2B Growth Marketing?
Growth marketing is customer-focused: it uses intricate data analytics to reach more of the target audience. It experiments quickly and often and isn’t afraid for a given experiment to fail, because only through rapid experimentation can a business collect the data that shows them the winning strategy.
This marketing method is especially successful because it’s scalable and leads to long-term, sustainable growth and retention.
In this article, we’ll look at future marketing trends that are currently gaining traction and examine how they fit into growth marketing vs. traditional performance marketing strategies.
Personalization and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Personalized marketing is simply a strategy by which companies leverage data to serve specific, customized messages to potential customers. It’s not new, and it isn’t exclusive to growth digital marketing. But the way personalization is changing, thanks to the rise in AI, pushes the concept to new, growth-oriented heights.
AI’s ability to mine and read huge volumes of data and produce intricate customer segmentations ultimately leads to high levels of personalization— for example, in targeted ads, product recommendations, and chatbots. Many businesses find this hyper-personalization to be the ultimate customer experience, and it’s one of the key B2B growth marketing strategies within growth digital marketing.
Some examples of companies championing AI personalization include Under Armour and Thread:
- Through its Record mobile app, Under Armour analyzes data about users’ sleep, diet, and physical activity to make customized health recommendations and goals.
- UK fashion company, Thread, is collecting data through style quizzes to analyze customers’ preferences and provide personalized clothing recommendations.
While the eventual promise and even current capabilities of AI are quite impressive, most companies are not using AI-powered tools to their advantage. As we look to the future, AI technologies will continue to improve and become an even better tool for B2B digital growth marketing efforts.
Effective Growth Marketing Leads with Data-Driven Marketing
As data is being captured so rapidly in nearly every aspect of our lives, data-driven marketing is the new normal. Analyzing data across customer touchpoints generates higher sales, but even more importantly it allows your company to enhance the entire customer journey and keep those customers coming back.
The difference between B2B growth marketing and traditional digital marketing strategies comes down to how companies make use of the data at hand.
- Digital marketing focuses on increasing awareness and website traffic: pulling as many people into the top of the marketing funnel as possible.
- B2B Growth marketing uses data to market with higher precision to a smaller pool of more qualified leads.
Look to Netflix and Uber as two successful data-driven titans. Through analyzing its users’ behavioral data (such as plays, searches, and ratings), Netflix has been able to predict which types of content will be watched by subscribers. The company uses these predictions both to serve up content from its library that you will enjoy, and to predict at scale what kinds of content will please the largest segments of its subscriber base.
Likewise, Uber gathers key metrics (number of rides requested, plus where and when those requests come in) so it can better balance supply and demand.
As data protection continues to become more of a concern for consumers, brands are at risk for losing access to more and more third-party data. To stay relevant in today’s world, it is critical for companies to leverage the data they’re collecting themselves—and potentially consider developing first-party data resources.
Voice Search and Virtual Assistants
Voice Search and Virtual Assistants are another trend dominating the marketing world, with 50% of all consumers using voice search daily. Essentially, voice recognition technology allows users to make hyper specific queries and commands in seconds by simply speaking to their phones, smart speakers, or even technology activations in business and retail spaces.
Look at how brands PayPal and Macy’s are leveraging voice recognition technology:
- With the Paypal app, users can send or request payments or check their balance through voice commands.
- Macy’s On Call app provides shoppers with an instant in-store virtual assistant, directing guests through the store and guiding their shopping experiences.
As AI improves with machine learning, predictions are that computer-generated speech will soon be indistinguishable from the real thing, opening the door for much more conversational and connective experiences with customers. There are certainly Uncanny Valley pitfalls to avoid, but these technology developments nonetheless hold lots of promise.
Remember, the digital growth marketing approach embraces experimentation and rapid testing. So even if these AI-powered tools aren’t perfect quite yet, they at minimum provide another avenue for that experimentation.
Customer Experience and Retention
When comparing strategies like product marketing vs growth marketing, you will see that product or performance marketing approaches often become hyperfocused on generating traffic and leads. When this happens, businesses can struggle to give proper attention to customer experience and retention.
In a growth digital marketing strategy, a company collects data at each touchpoint in the customer journey—before, during, and after a purchase—so that the entire customer experience can continually be improved and personalized.
Apple and Walmart are two very different companies, but both achieve stellar customer retention results. Walmart, the largest company by revenue, leverages the Walmart Pay app to provide quick payment options and push exclusive “app only” deals. They’ve also invested heavily in a tech-driven online ordering/pickup/delivery strategy that keeps customers coming back for the sheer convenience.
Apple, a leader in brand loyalty, designs the entire store around the customer experience and offers a level of service through their Genius Bar that was unprecedented when Apple pioneered it.
Soon, customer experience will be strongly linked to predictive CX platforms. Rather than using surveys or reviews as indicators of satisfaction, predictive analytics will give companies a systematic view into opportunity areas and specific moments that made a difference for customers in their journey.
With social media entities operating as major marketing channels, influencer marketing is another trend that’s become extremely popular and that drives results in many segments. B2B brands can leverage similar tactics, focusing on strategic partnerships with thought leaders that have highly engaged audiences.
Using micro influencers in the gaming industry, Schell Games gave away early access codes in exchange for influencers filming themselves playing a new videogame. This collaboration led viewers to buying the game or saving it to a digital wishlist.
Brands can also leverage the following of mega influencers, as seen in the partnership between Dunkin’ Donuts and the #1 most followed TikTok creator, Charli D’Amelio. The team released a viral video of the star ordering the Dunkin’ products and released a new beverage called “The Charli,” amounting to 57% increase in app downloads and 45% increase in sales the next day.
While influencer marketing is not going anywhere, influencer marketing campaigns can produce sporadic results rather than sustainable growth, which is a major difference in performance marketing vs. digital marketing approaches. For B2B brands, it will always be best to consider partnering with thought leaders that have highly engaged audiences.
Execute B2B Growth Marketing the Right Way with New North
There are a myriad of approaches to marketing—many with overlapping ideas and tactics. When examining trends in the market today like AI personalization, data-driven approaches, voice search & virtual assistants, influencer marketing, and customer retention, it’s easy to see how they all tie into the ultimate B2B strategy: growth digital marketing.
With marketing budgets shrinking and market competition looming, it’s important to spend your marketing resources wisely and develop a plan that leads to sustainable, long-term success. That’s why more companies are leaning into growth digital marketing tactics.
The first step to success is making a plan! Start your plan with us by booking a free 30-minute consultation with one of our growth marketing strategists. We’ll show you how your B2B company can leverage growth marketing tactics into exponential growth.