As the end of year approaches my socials are flooded with the big predictions for next year. From a tik tok-er guessing that Gwyneth Paltrow will have another conscious uncoupling, to LinkedIn News predicting nights out will begin and end earlier, with 6 pm dinner slots being the most coveted (I’m all for that!).
But pop culture aside, what are the big predictions for 2024 for Marketing Ops? Well, I do not have a crystal ball and I’m not normally a betting woman, but what I am sure of, is that Marketing Operations (particularly in B2B) is going to have some of the biggest shifts in 2024. And here’s why!
1. Multiple buyers
Firstly relationships are going to be critical next year. They’re critical now, but I’m talking about relationships at scale. Gone are the days when we were talking to one person to get a deal across the line. Recently Gartner said the average sales cycle now requires 11 people or more. That means connecting with a range of roles across an account, across seniority levels, and all at the same time. So, do we just need to include a few more people in our campaign lists? I wish it was that easy. Marketing Ops will have to pivot efforts to ensure campaigns reach multiple layers in prioritized accounts as well as leverage existing relationships. Our data will be our currency. Most importantly we need to identify the key actions of the decision-makers in that mix and alert teams to unlock those conversations at the right time. This requires more than just Ops teams but if we don’t adjust to this trend, you know that our competitors will.
2. Complex buyer journeys
Buying journeys are no longer linear, it’s a messy and multi-faceted journey across individuals. Many of us work the leads, score them, and when they’re ‘Marketing Qualified’ pass them to Sales. This is starting to feel outdated because what I’m seeing more and more, are prospects continuing to engage with marketing throughout the buying process which makes specific marketing attribution increasingly difficult.
Marketing almost has no endpoint, it’s cyclical from a prospect to a closed opportunity. What does this mean for MOps? Well, we will have to ensure tight alignment across marketing and sales, all whilst driving consistency in activities to support the ongoing conversation throughout the buying process. Personally, I think the biggest challenge is convincing Sales of this shift and emphasizing a heavier importance on marketing efforts.
3. Buying shifts
As a true millennial who is all for the earlier dinner slot, it came as no surprise that across B2B we’re already seeing a shift towards digital first buyers. Millennials are now becoming the decision buyers and in typical millennial fashion, they don’t want to talk to anyone until the end. They want a self-service experience. G2 did a recent study and found that 68% of B2B buyers are only connecting with a sales team in the last stage of the buying process. That’s a major shift in focus and goes back to that handoff I mentioned between marketing and sales. Marketing has a huge opportunity here to not only produce great self-serve content that gets prospects to that final stage of the sale but also to work with Sales to recognize that Marketing is engaging people further into the buying cycle. Again the difficulty for Marketing Operations will be demonstrating the impact of all those messy touchpoints along the way.
Finally, no blog on shifts or changes in the year ahead would be complete without the mention of GenAI. Yes, we all know it’s going to change…well, everything. But what specifically does it mean for Marketing Operations in the year ahead? It’s an opportunity as much as a threat. Marketing Ops will be asked how can we do more with less now that we have GenAI. As quickly as it is taking off, Marketing Ops professionals need to get ahead of the curve to enable others. There’s a chance to look at the governance around it for your organization, and quality assurance processes too, and truly assess how much value is it driving. These are all things to think about as the dust settles on the shiny new toy of 2023.
So rest up this holiday period, as 2024 is going to be a busy one!
I’d love to hear what you think about the year ahead, what do you predict? But most importantly how we do collectively overcome these challenges and opportunities in the next 12 months?