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B2B & B2C Digital Trends

B2B-B2C-Digital-Trends

Econsultancy and Adobe fielded a survey to document B2B & B2C Digital Trends and key highlights have been summarized below for use on developing and executing go to market plans.

The big winners in the B2B & B2C Digital Trends research are companies that are succeeding are delivering first-class, personalized customer experiences built on a foundation of integrated marketing and CX technology.

  • Those organizations classifying themselves as ‘very advanced’ at customer experience are almost three times more likely than their peers to have exceeded their top 2018 business goal by a significant margin
  • But only 10% of responding companies regard themselves as very advanced at CX, and the same percentage describe themselves as ‘digital-first’.
  • Digital-first companies are 64% more likely than their peers to have exceeded their top 2018 business goal by a significant margin (23% vs. 14%)
  • CX leaders are four-and-a-half times more likely than other companies to have a highly integrated, cloud- based technology stack (32% vs. 7%).
  • Companies with a highly unified technology stack are 131% more likely to have significantly outperformed their top 2018 business goal (30% vs. 13%)
  • Half (50%) of client-side respondents say their organizations are planning to increase CX-related technology spending in 2019, and only 5% say they plan to reduce it

The most dominant theme emerging from the B2B & B2C Digital Trends research is the importance of customer data, and the greater levels of urgency that are apparent when it comes to harnessing data for commercial gain.

  • The larger organizations surveyed for this research ($195m+ annual revenue) regard ‘data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual’ (24%) as the single most exciting opportunity for their organizations in 2019, ahead of ‘optimizing the customer experience’ (19%) in second place.
  • Marketers surveyed for this research are particularly focused on data. Most marketers (55%) expect ‘better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting’ to be among their top three organizational priorities during 2019.
  • The second most popular choice for marketers is ‘improving customer intelligence and insights for a holistic customer view’ (42%), another data-related discipline.
  • Customer journey management (33%) is the top digital-related priority for larger organizations. For these larger companies ‘delivering personalized experiences in real time’ (37%) is the most exciting prospect in three years’ time.

Companies are seeking greater control and ownership of their data, with a focus on compliance and concern about ‘walled gardens’.

  • More than a quarter (28%) of marketers cite difficulties ‘personalizing customer experience without violating consumer privacy’ as a challenge most likely to keep them awake at night.
  • Across all regions, significantly more businesses say they have experienced a positive rather than negative impact from the increased focus on consumer data protection.
  • More than half (52%) of CX leaders report a ‘positive impact’, compared to only 8% who see a ‘negative impact’.
  • Those in Europe – where companies have been focused on becoming compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – are significantly more likely than those in other regions to report a negative impact (24%), though even here a higher proportion report a positive impact (34%).
  • More than four in ten (44%) agency respondents working in advertising describe ‘walled audience data silos, such as Facebook and Google’ as one of the three biggest challenges, making this their clients’ number-one headache ahead of other high-profile challenges such as ‘ad viewability’ (20%) and ‘ad fraud’ (17%).

AI has gained significant traction in the last year, but there are still significant barriers preventing organizations from reaping the benefits.

  • B2B & B2C Digital Trends respondents are most likely to describe themselves as ‘curious’ (36%) when it comes to the impact of automation, positioned in the context of ‘self-driving cars’ and ‘grocery stores without employees’. Just over a quarter (26%) of client- side respondents are ‘really excited’, while 22% are ‘cautious’ and 5% are ‘happy’.
  • Relatively few B2B & B2C Digital Trends respondents report more negative emotions, with only 4% saying they are ‘afraid’ and 1% ‘angry’.
  • Where there is inertia within businesses around AI uptake it is due to the lack of awareness and understanding about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of artificial intelligence. A third (33%) of larger organizations cite ‘no perceived need’, while 37% concede a ‘lack of knowledge on how they can use AI’, and 38% have not yet ‘assessed how they could use AI’.
  • There has been a 50% increase since last year in the proportion of larger organizations stating they are already using AI, up from 24% to 36%. CX leaders are twice as likely as other companies to be using AI within their organizations.

Digital-Transformation-is-Reshaping-B2B-Marketing


B2B & B2C Digital Trends – How Companies Rate Themselves, in Terms of Customer Experience (CX) Maturity

  • 10% Very advanced – our strategy and technology are well aligned around CX to successful effect
  • 38% Quite advanced – our strategy and technology are aligned but CX is not fully embedded yet
  • 44% Not very advanced – we have some ad hoc tactical initiatives but no real CX strategy or tech capability
  • 8% Immature – we haven’t even started on this journey

Those organizations classifying themselves as ‘very advanced’ at CX (CX leaders) are almost three times more likely than their peers to have exceeded their top 2018 business goal by a significant margin (37% vs. 13%).


Proportion of Responding Companies That Exceeded 2018 Business Goal by a Significant Margin (for different levels of CX maturity)

  • 37% Very advanced – our strategy and technology are well aligned around CX to successful effect
  • 18% Quite advanced – our strategy and technology are aligned but CX is not fully embedded yet
  • 10% Not very advanced – we have some ad hoc tactical initiatives but no real CX strategy or tech capability
  • 8% immature – we haven’t even started on this journey

Digital-first companies are 64% more likely than their peers to have significantly outperformed their top 2018 business goal (23% vs. 14%).


Proportion of Responding Companies That Exceeded 2018 Business Goal by a Significant Margin (by level of CX maturity)

  • 23% We are a digital-first organization
  • 16% Digital permeates all our marketing activities
  • 14% Digital permeates most of our marketing activities
  • 15% Digital marketing is very much separate

B2B & B2C Digital Trends – How Technology Underpins Success

  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of B2B & B2C Digital Trends respondents either have ‘little or no cloud-based technology’ (18%), or base activities on a ‘fragmented approach with inconsistent integration between technologies’ (46%)
  • companies classifying as CX leaders are four-and-a-half times more likely than their peers to have a highly integrated, cloud-based technology stack (32% vs. 7%).
  • Further highlighting the importance of integrated systems, companies with a highly unified technology stack are 131% more likely than their peers to have exceeded their top 2018 business goal by a significant margin
    (30% vs. 13%

What Best Describes CX Leaders Organization Approach to Marketing & Customer Experience Technology?

  • 32% We have a highly integrated, cloud-based technology stack
  • 33% We have a somewhat integrated, cloud-based technology stack
  • 26% We have a fragmented approach with inconsistent integration between technologies
  • 9% We have little or no cloud- based technology

B2B & B2C Digital Trends – What IT Professionals Rank as Top Priorities in Their Job

  • 25% Delivering improved experiences for our customers through new technology deployment
  • 22% Delivering improved experiences for our customers by optimizing existing technology
  • 20% Delivering improved experiences for our employees by optimizing existing technology
  • 19% Improvements to our data collection and data unification capabilities
  • 16% Delivering improved experiences for our employees through new technology deployment

B2B & B2C Digital Trends – Organizations With <$195M in Revenues Rank Most Attractive Opportunities in 2019

  • 18% Optimizing the customer experience
  • 16% Creating compelling content for digital experiences
  • 15% Data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual
  • 12% Video to increase brand engagement
  • 9% Using marketing automation to increase efficiency and yield
  • 8% Social marketing
  • 7% Multichannel marketing
  • 4% Reaching and understanding mobile customers
  • 3% Internet of Things (IoT) / connected devices e.g. wearables, audience tracking
  • 3% Engaging audiences through virtual or augmented reality
  • 2% Utilizing artificial intelligence / bots to drive campaigns and experiences

B2B & B2C Digital Trends – Organizations With >$195M in Revenues Rank Most Attractive Opportunities in 2019

  • 24% Data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual
  • 19% Optimizing the customer experience
  • 12% Creating compelling content for digital experiences
  • 10% Using marketing automation to increase efficiency and yield
  • 8% Multichannel marketing
  • 7% Utilizing artificial intelligence / bots to drive campaigns and experiences
  • 5% Video to increase brand engagement
  • 5% Internet of Things (IoT) / connected devices e.g. wearables, audience tracking
  • 4% Social marketing
  • 2% Reaching and understanding mobile customers
  • 1% Engaging audiences through virtual or augmented reality

The differences between B2B and B2C – data-driven marketing to be the single most exciting opportunity for B2C companies


B2B & B2C Digital Trends – The Single Most Exciting Opportunity for B2B Organizations in 2019

  • 20% Optimizing the customer experience
  • 15% Creating compelling content for digital experiences
  • 12% Data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual
  • 10% Video to increase brand engagement
  • 10% Using marketing automation to increase efficiency and yield
  • 7% Social marketing
  • 6% Multichannel marketing
  • 5% Utilizing artificial intelligence / bots to drive campaigns and experiences

B2B & B2C Digital Trends – The Single Most Exciting Opportunity for B2C Organizations in 2019

  • 19% Optimizing the customer experience
  • 13% Creating compelling content for digital experiences
  • 21% Data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual
  • 7% Video to increase brand engagement
  • 8% Using marketing automation to increase efficiency and yield
  • 8% Social marketing
  • 7% Multichannel marketing
  • 4% Utilizing artificial intelligence / bots to drive campaigns and experiences

Additional Go to Market Resources From Four Quadrant

CIOs Guide to Data Analytics Investments >>

IT Technology Spending Forecast Details >>

MegaTrends in Analytics >>

How Digital is Reshaping B2B Marketing >>

Go to Market Templates >>


Go to Market Planning Examples

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