Recently, Forrester hosted predictions events across Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai to discuss what awaits business leaders in 2024, providing me with the opportunity to connect with many of the 250-plus CXOs who attended. A few key topics bubbled up to the top, and generative AI, not surprisingly, was one of them. Other discussions hovered around the role of marketing in strengthening the opportunity pipeline for the organization, new go-to-market strategies, evolving buyer behavior, and marketing effectiveness.
Here are the key trends that are shaping the ways that key Indian marketing leaders are looking to adapt and steer their decision-making in 2024:
- Adapting to the rise of Millennial and Gen Z influence in B2B buying decisions is a must. Our data suggests that the number of Millennial and Gen Z customers making business buying decisions is constantly on the rise. And these younger buyers have significantly different buying preferences and expectations from their providers. This mandates a rethink for B2B businesses. These buyers want “more” from their vendors, and they expect to get it, or they’ll find someone else that does deliver. While buying directly from the vendor continues to be the most common channel, these younger buyers are pushing vendors to a variety of digital and self-serve transaction channels, including external marketplaces, app stores, vendor websites, and even through existing products (often referred to as product-led growth). They seek information from sources that are less controlled by the vendor. To ensure success, it thus becomes imperative to understand their preferences and adapt your marketing strategy to meet these expectations.
- A focus on existing customers is becoming a key marketing priority. CMOs and marketing leaders are significantly boosting their customer engagement budgets and revamping programs to effectively engage with their existing customers. This means that you must transform existing marketing processes, KPIs, budgets, and technology spend to accommodate the shift. Lifecycle revenue marketing will take center stage, and marketers will be able to contribute better to shared business goals by focusing on the post-sale customer lifecycle. Building customer marketing blueprints with clear outcomes will be critical to define the scope and degree of marketing involvement with customers, in partnership with sales and product teams.
- Companies may be blindsided in application of genAI. As organizations gear up with their genAI adoption, and experience with genAI starts becoming a key requirement in CMO job descriptions, successful CMOs will focus on the end objectives of being accomplished with genAI in marketing, rather than solely adopting the technology. The CMO will play a vital role in establishing governance guardrails and genAI usage policies within the organization — while adhering to brand guidelines — to avoid getting blindsided with genAI adoption.
- GenAI accelerates content creation, but the approach to content creation must change. Data suggests that B2B buyers are already saturated with content, even before the use of genAI. Vendors give them too much material, and much of it can be found elsewhere. Most vendor content is biased toward the vendor and is not differentiated. This not only affects new buyers but also existing customers who are saying that they are unlikely to renew or buy more from a vendor when the vendor’s content isn’t valuable or helpful. GenAI will amplify this degraded experience unless the content creation habit shifts from a product-centric approach to an audience-centric one.
Forrester is committed to helping you navigate these changes and adapt to the evolving landscape. Contact us to discuss your long-term marketing strategy, your 2024 annual marketing plan, or your genAI adoption in marketing. The world of marketing continues to change, and by staying ahead of these trends, you can position your organization for success.