Geoffrey Precourt taps the IAB’s Susan Borst to discover what’s happening in the world of B2B digital marketing.

The countdown clock has started ticking for the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) 2019 Annual Leadership Conference in Phoenix, an event that carries the theme, “The Theory of Revolution – Sparking Growth in the Direct-Brand Economy”.

It’s the second consecutive year that the IAB has zeroed in on the direct-to-consumer passion that seems to be reinventing – once again – global marketing. But even as direct brands will have the center-stage spotlight, the growth and maturation of all kinds of digital marketing remain critical parts of the IAB remit.

For B2B brand stewards, who may find it difficult to gain much glow from the direct-brand halo, programmatic and account-based marketing (ABM) will continue to be critical themes for growth.

“New technologies are helping B2B marketers cross over to digital and IAB’s goal is to help educate the industry to advance digital transformation,” observes Susan Borst, who leads the IAB’S Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence.

“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.”

More specifically, Borst notes, “37% of B2B digital spend is on mobile, which lags behind the 63% of total industry digital revenue coming from mobile. 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,” she concludes.

A Borst Top Trends for 2019 blog recently tapped into a group of thought leaders from the IAB B2B Committee to dig deeper into the key themes for the year ahead.

Data-driven targeting is 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, evp, 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, cmo, 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

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