5 B2B marketing non-predictions for 2018

For a change of pace, contributor Peter Isaacson tells us what not to expect in the coming year in marketing.

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Prediction Crystal Ball

The year’s coming to a close, which means it’s time for B2B marketers to pull out their crystal balls and start theorizing about what’s in store for 2018. The list of predictions this year is likely to be long, given the new innovations and technologies that have emerged in 2017.

I also have some thoughts about what’s coming in the new year. But I thought I’d change things up a bit and share what’s not going to happen. Here are five things that definitely won’t happen in 2018:

1. Artificial Intelligence won’t go away.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the buzzword of 2017, and its emergence in the B2B world had marketers scrambling to make sense of its potential and true impact. But despite all of the conversation around the technology, we’ve only started to scratch the surface of what AI has to offer for B2B marketers.

AI’s prominence will only continue in 2018 as the technology gets easier to use, becomes more customizable and drives meaningful and measurable results.

2. ABM won’t just be for early adopters.

The Account-Based Marketing (ABM) category has been growing at an incredible pace, and one thing we’ve seen over the past 12 months is that the market has really shifted from early adopters — those who were willing to stitch together ABM solutions and work through emerging technology — to the mainstream.

These later adopters prize products that are easy to use, simple to get started with, user-friendly and deliver noticeable results. In 2018, we’ll see more B2B companies build and execute on ABM strategies.

3. GDPR won’t be confused with a tiny country in Eastern Europe.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR for short) has made some quiet waves in the last few months. The regulation, which carries provisions that require businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens, is set to take effect on May 25, 2018.

But despite the looming deadline, there are still a lot of misconceptions around the regulation and its fine print. As companies move through the compliance process, expect the awareness and conversation around GDPR to heat up and become increasingly important.

4. The Martech Landscape won’t shrink.

You’ve probably seen Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape supergraphic, which grew to include a grand total of 5,381 martech solutions in 2017. While you may think the kind of consolidations that happened in ad tech will inevitably happen in martech, chances are that the speed of innovation will outpace consolidation and the martech landscape will continue to grow exponentially.

We’ll see marketing technology continue to sprout and flourish, creating new companies, new partnerships and new avenues for growth. On the other side of the coin, for marketers, this continued innovation will translate into a lot of confusion, havoc and increasingly difficult budgeting decisions. However, we shouldn’t be fearful of this byproduct of innovation; we should embrace it because competition drives creativity and improvement, which, in the end, will benefit marketers.

5. Marketers won’t rule the world.

Marketing departments have become increasingly sophisticated and better at proving their value, and as a result, have been commanding a lot more attention (and bigger budgets) these days. But while our role and influence in the organization is growing, the conversation around marketing’s importance has been somewhat self-centered.

Though marketing is increasingly getting a seat at the table and our place in the company is becoming more important, company success is still a team sport. As marketers build out their 2018 plans, it’s important that they keep the bigger picture in mind and have a holistic view of what’s good for their organizations.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Peter Isaacson
Peter Isaacson has over 25 years of marketing experience in both B2B and B2C marketing, ranging from branding, advertising, corporate communications and product marketing on a global scale. As CMO for Demandbase, Peter is responsible for overall marketing strategy and execution, including product, corporate and field marketing. Prior to joining Demandbase, Peter was CMO at Castlight Health, helping to scale the company and build the marketing team prior to its successful IPO. Peter got his start in advertising, working at agencies in New York on accounts ranging from Procter & Gamble to Compaq computers.

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