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Brand Purpose Stein IAS Predictions

What does B2B marketing have in store in 2020?

By Tom Stein, Chairman and CCO

Stein IAS


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January 3, 2020 | 5 min read

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Stein IAS’ purpose is to continually advance the theory and practice of B2B marketing to help make our clients the most important in their markets. We must be doing something right as we’ve just received the 2019 Drum Agency Business Award for Purpose!

What does B2B marketing have in store in 2020?

Stein IAS predict a move away from social impact stunts and a return to genuine purpose driven work

Thus, in the interest of advancement for B2B, our predictions for 2020 follows. What cuts across are a few key uber predications. One is that there is real energy and passion to expand the boundaries and bravery of B2B creativity. This passion is shared by brands and agencies alike. Another is the just-right role of purpose as a business driver and social impact driver. Yet another, and maybe the most important of all, is developing and continually improving our peoples’ competencies and capacity at a time when complexity and change make this an urgent priority.

With all that as preamble, our predictions follow!

We predict that the growing conversation about higher-order creativity in B2B will intensify. Clients and agencies alike realize the need for improvement. We predict they will work together more closely and honestly to make serious progress. To wit, The Drum and Stein IAS hosted a conclave of senior marketers and senor agency creative leaders – with the result being a true desire to collaborate to achieve everyone’s end goal: better creative concepts and content experiences rooted in both commercial and emotional impact, and better approaches to sell these ideas through to the ultimate c-suite decision makers.

We predict that this conversation will include a re-definition of creativity in our almost-entirely-digital world. And that the best definition of creativity will prove to be ‘Ideas with Value’ – ideas that seamlessly combine the commercial and emotional impact referenced above for the greatest possible impact. These ideas can and will also be “big” and “long” – compellingly big enough to cut through with the length to extend relevantly across the buyer journey.

We predict that brands’ “rush to purpose” will continue – but that the cynicism and confusion about the role of purpose should play will give way to an understanding that every company has an essential role to play in securing the future for humankind. (If for no other reason than their own survival.) For all brands, and B2B brands for sure, purpose cannot be a short-term stunt. It must be something authentic, contextual to the business, sustainable and truly meaningful. Importantly, for purpose to “stick,” a data case will have to be made to businesses that purpose aligns with business outcomes.

We predict that, whether the Marketing Technology Landscape, will increase beyond 7,040 solutions or not, the Landscape will be featured in in 7 billion Powerpoint presentations.

More seriously, we predict that the industry will finally ‘round the corner on Martech, turning considerable growth pains into growing gains in utilization and impact.

We predict that despite rounding said corner, digital marketing transformation as a strategy and process will be a focal point for many if not most B2B enterprises given the transformation journey is a such long and important one.

We predict that the intensifying focus on data and privacy driven by GDPR, CCPA and a globally more stringent regulatory environment will be a costly and complex headache for many brands. But for some, it will actually create competitive advantage. Brands that make privacy-by-design and consent-by-design will both build trust, develop more-engaged databases, and enable far better marketing performance.

We predict that the artificial islands of brand and demand in B2B will be seen for what they are: inside-out thinking that is the opposite of customer-centered. Connecting the customer experience from brand to demand and back again will emerge as a much, much better practice.

We predict the marketing world – brands and agencies alike – will begin to realize just what a shit job it has done in developing and continually improving their peoples’ competencies and capacity at a time when complexity and change make this an urgent priority. Continuous workforce improvement, in fact, will emerge as the ultimate competitive advantage.

We predict that the jurists at Cannes and the D&AD Awards will realize that the social impact stunts that have been winning lots of pencils and lions have more to do with award-winning than they do genuine purpose. The emphasis will return to amazing work that truly moves the needle – commercially, emotionally and socially.

To hear more predictions for 2020, attend our Predictions breakfast event on 21 Jan, register here.

Brand Purpose Stein IAS Predictions

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Stein IAS

Stein IAS helps build the world’s most demanded B2B brands by unifying brand and demand—and strengthening each to the benefit of both. Through highly effective,...

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