Marketing B2B Marketing Brand Strategy

Bold predictions for B2B marketers, from CMO exhaustion to the AI explosion

By Scott Gillum | Carbon Design

January 25, 2023 | 5 min read

What will 2023 have in store for B2B marketers? Carbon Design founder Scott Gillum explains why message confusion and other factors will be top of mind.

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Gillum expects “big-time AI adoption” to occur during the second half of 2023 / Adobe Stock

For us, 2022 was an odd year. The first half was on fire, but it was hard to even get a spark ignited during the second half.

One thing was clear, at least for our clients: the recession mentally hit during the late summer. It began with budgets being clawed back and then the axe came down hard for 2023.

Heading into the new year, I believe we are going to see a similar situation. The first half will be slow, then improve during summer, with momentum significantly gaining into 2024. As a result, I’m going to segment my predictions for the year into two parts.

For the first half of the year, I envision the following:

Hiring freezes and staff cuts

This is probably not shocking, but where it occurs might surprise you. Covid hit event and travel budgets in 2020, but during this downturn, I see it hitting digital spending. And when it does, companies will freeze their digital staff hiring (once viewed as a never-ending need).

CMO exhaustion

It’s already happening. CMOs are exhausted from the internal battles over budgets, staffing, strategy, etc. The last three years have been a rollercoaster of highs and lows.

Message confusion

Never have I seen the wild swings hitting the B2B market in such a short amount of time. From supply chain disruptions to overstock warehouses and endless job openings to layoffs, it’s gone from one extreme to the next. It’s virtually impossible to stay current with your value proposition with so many swings between effectiveness and efficiency.

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The second half of the year, as I mentioned, should show some improvement in the economy. As a result, I think we’ll see:

CMO turnover

The burnout mentioned above will fuel CMOs’ desire for a clean start. As soon as the economy and hiring outlook improves, I suspect you will see a lot of movement.

Big-time AI adoption

ChatGPT is just the beginning. Expect to see agencies widely embrace AI for all types of creative, not just content. Open AI’s CEO Sam Altman sees the greatest application of AI for creative use, not in replacing blue-collar jobs as many had predicted.

Better tools for improving ROI

Better tools will come online to improve the quality of intent data, the cost of content syndication and the effectiveness of ABM programs.

And of course, as with any prediction, I could be entirely wrong. I am genuinely optimistic, though, that we will be in a much better position kicking off 2024 than we are today.

Scott Gillum is the founder and chief executive officer of the B2B consultancy Carbon Design.

Marketing B2B Marketing Brand Strategy

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