Though demand generation as a concept has been around in the marketing world for a while, it started gaining popularity in the last 5 to 6 years. Some of the key reasons for this are:
- The emergence of ‘dark social’ and its irrefutable impact on business growth.
- The decline in ad performance owing to multiple factors like competition and increasing privacy concerns.
- The reduction in popularity of VC-led growth, which in turn forced startups to focus on lean growth strategies.
Regardless of the industry, demand generation has become a key priority for B2B founders and marketing leaders. However, demand generation is evolving fast. What worked 1 or 2 years back might not work anymore. In addition, the advent of AI has given a new face and pace to B2B demand generation efforts. Given these, you need to stay updated on the latest trends so that you can devise a marketing strategy that suits the needs of modern-day customers.
In this blog post, we look at 35+ most important B2B demand generation trends that will redefine marketing in 2024 and beyond. I have added a ton of additional resources that will help you dive deep into each of the individual topics.
Let’s get started.
What is B2B demand generation?
Demand generation refers to any activity that helps generate demand for your solutions. You use a combination of channels and tactics to create awareness and attract potential customers to your business. Unlike demand capture, demand generation focuses on grabbing as many eyeballs as possible to your products or services, and not forcing them to fill out a lead gen form.
This is the reason why tactics like thought leadership are an essential element of demand generation. It focuses on establishing your credibility as a business instead of trying to sell all the time. Examples of demand gen channels and tactics include:
- Content marketing
- Event marketing
- Social media marketing
Often, there is a thin line between demand gen and demand capture channels. More than the categorization, what is more important is understanding how demand generation and demand capture engines work in tandem to push your business forward.
Characteristics of B2B demand generation
A demand generation engine is characterized by certain features and traits. They include:
- The primary objective should be to create awareness and generate demand for the business.
- The impact of demand generation should be measured by a combination of top-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel metrics.
- There can be certain channels that are suitable for both demand gen and demand capture (such as emails and ads).
- A differentiated PoV (Point of View) is a must for a demand gen engine to succeed in the long run.
- The new marketing funnel with demand generation and demand capture as the two layers is multi-dimensional with multiple entry and exit points.
The B2B demand generation framework
Demand generation needs a systematic approach. The earlier you understand this, the better. We have developed a 9-step framework you can follow to build a system for generating demand for your business. The steps are:
- Defining goals and outcomes
- Getting management buy-in and ensuring alignment
- Understanding where your ICP hangs out
- Defining content pillars (or categories) for your ICP
- Devising a content marketing strategy
- Team building and work allocation
- Building the right tech stack
- Putting the demand gen program into action
- Measuring outcomes and finetuning the program
To learn in detail about the framework, I suggest you give the following article a read:
B2B demand generation trends to watch out for in 2024
To better understand the different trends, we will divide them into the following categories:
- Content marketing & SEO
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Event marketing
- Paid ads
- Account based marketing
- Video marketing
1. Content marketing and SEO trends in B2B demand generation
Content marketing and SEO are key elements of a demand generation engine. Content drives most of the demand generation efforts – whether it’s in the form of blogging, video marketing, podcasting, or email marketing.
Below are some of the key content marketing and SEO trends that are changing the way we are approaching demand generation:
- AI redefining content marketing and SEO – Using AI for writing product descriptions, social media posts, email copy, and blog posts has accelerated the process of content generation. AI-based tools like Grammarly and Quillbot have also made content editing and enhancement faster. This will have a positive impact on demand generation with companies gaining the ability to kickstart demand generation efforts with lightning speed. When it comes to SEO, AI helps in automating various tasks like keyword analysis and schema generation.
- Giving away your best advice – Traditional marketers tend to hide their company’s best advice to its target audience in the form of gated ebooks, whitepapers, or case studies. However, with ‘dark social’ gaining momentum, more and more marketers are inclined towards ungating such content pieces and giving them away without the user having to fill out a form. This is expected to help generate more demand by having more people from your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) consume your content.
- Personal branding will become a part of demand gen – Early-stage founders will try to leverage social media and personal branding tactics to generate demand for the solutions their companies offer.
- Zero-click content will become more important for demand generation with initiatives like SGE (Search Generative Experience) by Google.
- Brand visibility will positively impact demand – Brand visibility sends positive signals to search engines and they tend to rank your website’s content higher and higher as brand awareness increases.
To learn more about the latest content marketing and SEO trends, check out the below article:
2. Podcasting in B2B demand generation
According to DemandSage, the worldwide podcasting market will be worth $30.03 billion in 2024 and is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.6% between 2023 and 2030. At the same time, only 28% of the population listens to a podcast every week in the US. These numbers indicate a growing trend with less competition compared to other channels such as SEO or social media. So, podcasting is definitely worth investing in now.
Let us look at some of the key trends that I think will redefine podcasting in the coming years with respect to B2B demand generation:
B2B demand generation Trends In Podcasting
- Video podcasting – According to Backlinko, around 17% of podcast hosts record their episodes in both audio and video formats. This also helps with content repurposing.
- Live streaming of podcasts – Many B2B companies are using live streaming platforms like Restream and StreamYard to broadcast their podcast episodes live. This helps to attract audiences from multiple platforms like LinkedIn and YouTube while creating content that can be redistributed later.
- Podcast collaborations will increase – Podcasting is one space where a lot of collaborations are not happening currently. Examples of collaborations include cross-promoting each other’s podcasts and posting the same content in multiple podcasts (for example, when the host and the guest have different podcasts, one recording can give content for both podcasts).
- All-in-one podcast platforms are likely to rise – Presently, podcasting requires you to have multiple tools – one for hosting, another one for editing, and a third one for live streaming. Existing or newer SaaS players are likely to come up with end-to-end podcasting platforms in 2024.
- More agencies will specialize in podcast services – Currently, there are only a handful of podcast services companies that focus on the B2B sector. This is likely to change in 2024. The need for agencies that can support podcast hosting, creation, and promotion will rise.
With podcasts becoming a key medium for thought leadership, many B2B businesses will leverage them in 2024 as a key demand generation channel.
3. Social media marketing as a B2B demand generation trend
We have already discussed the top B2B social media marketing trends for 2024 in one of the earlier articles. I recommend you check it out. Here, let me list down some of the trends that are key when it comes to demand generation:
B2B demand generation Trends In Social media
- LinkedIn newsletters – LinkedIn newsletters remain one of the most unused channels in B2B. It will become a channel of choice for many businesses in 2024 and beyond.
- LinkedIn Live – As mentioned in the podcasting section, LinkedIn Live will be used by thought leaders to showcase their expertise in their respective fields.
- YouTube collaborations – What is currently a thing in B2C will also find its way into the B2B world. More B2B businesses will collaborate with YouTube creators to spread the word about their solutions.
- Focus on local languages – This is relevant only if you are targeting non-English speaking countries.
4. Email marketing trends
Many argue that email marketing is a demand capture channel. In my opinion, it can help in generating as well as capturing demand. Using email as a medium to educate your target audience (say using a newsletter) is an example of demand generation. On the other hand, sending automated emails to those who fill out a form on your website is an example of demand capture. That said, let us learn some of the key demand gen trends in email marketing.
- Video emails – Video emailing tools like Bonjoro have made it possible for businesses to stand out among the noise using email.
- Hyper-personalization – Tools like xIQ offer the ability to personalize email copy beyond basic parameters like the first name and last name of the recipient.
- Interactive emails – Like video emails, interactive emails are another way to increase the response rate and engagement of your email campaigns.
- Integrating email with other channels – This is not a trend specific to email but all the other B2B marketing channels. Email should not be seen in isolation. Rather, it should be used in combination with other marketing channels to generate demand for the business.
- Multi-touch email marketing campaigns – This involves warming up your target audience with something like a newsletter campaign before you send sales-driven outbound email campaigns.
Learn more about B2B email marketing trends here.
5. Event marketing
Event marketing beyond doubt is one of the best ways to show up in front of potential customers. No demand generation strategy will be complete without events in it. With the COVID threat out of the way, event marketing is active in its old form with all the glamor and glory. Though there is an economic downturn and associated budget cuts, B2B founders and marketing leaders still give high priority to events.
Hence, you need to understand the latest trends and updates in event marketing. They include:
- Big bang events are back – With the pandemic out of the way, big bang industry events with participation from thousands are back. In almost every niche, you will find events where people from your ICP hang out.
- Adding personalization to event marketing – Bulk event promotions are old school. Today, you can personalize your event promotions in a few ways. Check out this edition of The Skalegrow Newsletter to learn 2 hacks to make your event promotions more laser-targeted.
- Masterminds will grow in popularity – Generic events are crowded. While they give you wide exposure, such events lack focus. Organizing a mastermind and building a community around your target audience is a great way to focus your attention on a limited number of high-value potential clients.
- Content repurposing – In the past, events used to be exclusive, and the content presented during the event was available only to the attendees. This has changed in the recent past. Many are redistributing the same content and making it available for public consumption. This episode of the Revenue Vitals podcast is a great example of this.
6. Paid ads for B2B demand generation
A common notion is that ads cannot be used to generate demand. However, I have a counterintuitive view here. They can be equally good for demand generation. The primary reason is that users do not care whether they get the information they want from ads or organic results. All they care about is whether your content or solution solves their problem or query. So, ads can be as effective a channel for demand gen as SEO for instance.
With that in mind, let us look at some key trends in paid ads and performance marketing that will impact demand generation:
- An increase in privacy rules by Apple and Google will lead to a shift towards demand gen than conversion-focused ads. While conversion will remain a key goal, the inability to accurately track data end to end for retargeting purposes will encourage businesses to focus more on creating awareness, which will further popularize demand generation practices.
- Paid ads will be increasingly used alongside other channels and tactics like email and ABM.
- Retargeting ads will become more important as marketers realize the importance of creating an awareness or demand generation layer first rather than trying to convert users right away.
- Paid ads will expand their dimensions with B2B businesses moving to media outlets and online magazines in their niche to run advertisements like newsletter campaigns, banner ads, content syndication, and video promotions.
7. Account based marketing trends in B2B demand generation
Account based marketing is going to be one of the key focus areas in 2024 when it comes to demand generation efforts. While most demand generation tactics target everyone, ABM helps to run super-targeted campaigns to accounts and people who matter.
Here are some of the key trends in ABM that will define the future of demand generation:
- ABM will be highly personalized – Instead of personalizing messages merely by the first name or other basic details of the recipient, hyper-personalized ABM involves knowing your recipient deeply. Your first communication (email, LinkedIn message, or cold call) would go out as a 1-on-1 message (this hack is discussed in detail in this edition of The Skalegrow Newsletter. Do check it out).
- Consolidation of the ABM martech stack – Key ABM players in the market like Demandbase, 6sense, and Terminus are trying to offer all ABM solutions under one umbrella through acquisitions and integrations. This is done to provide an end-to-end ABM solution to customers rather than them having to depend on multiple tools. This trend will gain momentum in years to come. In a way, this is good for demand generation managers where they will have a single source of truth for all their ABM-focused demand gen efforts.
- ABM will have multiple layers and touchpoints – As we discussed in the email marketing trends section, ABM will also have multiple touchpoints and interactions such as paid ads (in traditional ad platforms as well as ABM tools like Demandbase), email, cold calling, event marketing, etc.
- Intent data will gain more prominence as a means to add a method to the madness of finding and targeting the right accounts. This will include a combination of first-party, second-party, and third-party intent data.
8. Video marketing
Videos are one of the best ways to establish yourself as a thought leader in the market. They can be used to:
- Educate your target audience on topics related to your niche.
- Create awareness for your products or solutions.
- Show behind the scenes of your business.
- Create event or webinar teaser videos.
The use cases are plenty. Video marketing is also one of the areas that will be heavily impacted by artificial intelligence. Below are the key trends in video marketing that will have a positive impact on demand generation:
- Automated video creation using AI
- Video emails
- Personalized videos
- Short-form videos
- Live streaming
- Video repurposing using AI
- Videos assisting sales
To explore these trends in detail, visit the below article:
Final words about B2B demand generation trends
B2B demand generation is vast. It cuts across almost all areas and channels in marketing. I have tried to comprehensively cover all the popular trends in the article. While some have already started happening, a few others are futuristic. Staying updated about these trends is critical in gaining an edge over your competitors.
At the same time, keep in mind that the trends discussed in this article are generic and not industry-specific. Before you base any of your marketing or growth decisions on them, make sure to evaluate all the pros and cons. You can feel free to get in touch with us if you need help there.
Skalegrow – B2B marketing agency
With marketing getting tougher and tougher, every wrong foot you make might hamper your growth. What you need is the right guidance and a helping hand. This is where Skalegrow can make a sea of difference.
Skalegrow helps IT, tech, SaaS, and embedded systems companies leverage new-age marketing tactics to grow their business. Check out the below intro video to learn more about what Skalegrow brings to the table:
Our services include content marketing, SEO, graphic design, video marketing, LinkedIn marketing, email marketing, performance marketing, and website management. Write to us at email@example.com, or visit our services page for more details.
About the author
Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.
Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.
You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.