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B2B Digital Trends in 2023 That Need to Stay There

Posted March 11, 2024
Jordan Koene, Co-Founder and CEO of Previsible, joins our host, Camela Thompson, Go-To-Market Thought Leader and B2B Insights Expert, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Jordan shares his view on which trends in B2B marketing in 2023 weren’t a great thing for marketers going forward.

Jordan Koene, Co-Founder and CEO of Previsible, joins our host, Camela Thompson, Go-To-Market Thought Leader and B2B Insights Expert, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Jordan shares his view on which trends in B2B marketing in 2023 weren’t a great thing for marketers going forward.

Our topic today is digital trends that should stay in 2023. We are in 2024 and yes I am saying let’s just leave it in the back mirror.

“There are a lot of different trends that I think should stay in 2023. I think notably and perhaps the most common topic for all our listeners is how we use AI and that it will fundamentally take over all our jobs. Notably, anybody who writes content, creates images, or wants to do video work, all our creativity is useless and the robots are going to take over.”

I have seen this manifest in quite a few different ways. When we were talking before recording, we concluded that it reminded us of when self-publishing became an option on Amazon. Does that make sense to you? Do you want to explain that?

“There are a lot of correlations there, but more broadly, I think that the first piece about 2023 is that AI just came out of the gates hard in the year. It was this carryover of how Open AI made a big splash with ChatGPT. Then just the proliferation of various other technologies within this space, from the notable large tech companies to startups, were developing some sort of generative AI solution. The hype created this misnomer in 2023 that candidly left many of us that are marketers or thought leaders wondering if this is a real trend. Is this going to be here to stay? Not necessarily the technology. I think that the technology is here to stay. We all know that there are some useful applications, but is it a displacement type of a technology? 

The best analogy that I can think of is that I am a carpenter. For years I’ve been working with a manual screwdriver and all of a sudden I have been told that there’s an electric screwdriver or drill as they call it, that can put in more screws than any manual one can. That is what happened, but the reality is we still use screwdrivers and there are still a lot of screwdrivers sold. In fact, there are probably more screwdrivers sold now than ever before. Clearly, there is still a use for that manual element that the battery-powered one or electric-powered, can’t perform.”

That is a great point and back to the Amazon reference to explain it a little bit better. We went to a fairly regulated industry where there was a stringent approval process, that was flawed, to get authors through to publication. Then, the gate was taken away and now we have so much content that it’s hard to find what you’re looking for. If you are looking for a book to read in a certain genre, it is hard to tell the quality. What I mean by that is I see many companies trying to supplement their content department by having ChatGPT create a lot of content. As Google algorithms are moving away from favoring keyword stuffing and all of these things to favoring things people engage with and want to consume. It is becoming a bad idea.

“Yes. I think it’s also not just that the access to the concepts exist, whether it be self-publishing or in our conversation here leveraging generative AI for content production, it’s that the utility of them isn’t that great at scale. However, there are numerous people who benefit from self-publishing. There are a lot of people who benefit from having generative AI writing technology. Yet, at scale, it doesn’t necessarily yield the same benefit for humanity, consumers, industries, and what have you. I think that is where we miss out on the genuine benefit of how we use this technology.”

It just reminds me so much of Jurassic Park.

Yes, we need the dinosaurs back.”

Well, it’s that line of we are all so busy asking ourselves if we could, we didn’t ask if we should. I feel like that’s really applicable because so much of finding the right content is knowing your audience and your use case. There are so many foundational things. If you get any of those wrong, and we often do at the beginning, you’re just proliferating the wrong message to the wrong people.

“100%. That is exactly the challenge that I think we all came to identify in the over-hyped trend of AI is going to take over our jobs, at least our content jobs.

So we went straight for the jugular on this one with AI. What else should we leave in 2023?

“One of the trends that stands out to me from the past year is this belief that Google is taking over the entire experience and that Google is the primary archnemesis or competition that we all have. It’s complicated in terms that the trend for the past four or five years has certainly been in favor of making Google look like the bad guy. They have introduced so many different features. For example, if folks are in the travel category, they have got hotel and flight finders. If you are now even in SaaS categories, they have carousels that can show different products or product features that take over more of the SERP.

“Obviously, we know what’s been happening in e-commerce with the introduction of product listing ads that are taking control of Google in a more definitive way. The interesting component though, that I hope is the reason this trend needs to die, is that as much as Google is the enemy here, as they evolve the experience, the reality is that they’re still the single largest source of traffic for most websites and we can’t change that overnight. The reality is that although the rules may change in terms of how we play, it isn’t that they are the core enemy, the core evil and arbiter of where and how traffic is going to be controlled or managed or derived from.”

Well, they didn’t help themselves by being caught colluding over their analytics capability. However, back to your point, I’ve learned, I wouldn’t say the hard way, I’ve just learned quickly that technical SEO can make a huge impact on your site traffic. And, it’s a simple thing to do. Tedious, but simple. So, there are things we can do to make things, not only friendlier for Google and other search engines, but also visitors to our sites. Who are we really blaming if we are not getting a lot of traffic? We should be holding ourselves accountable if we aren’t creating material people want to consume. 

“Yes. 100%. I think the challenge that Google has today in how they position their future is that their core technologies that they are trying to propagate as the way of solving for the control they have in their market, aren’t as effective or transparent as we want them to be. I will give you a quick example: PMax which has been Google’s biggest push on the paid side for the better part of two or three years nows, is to break down the different channels or siloes that they have to generate users, paid users to your site, whether it be YouTube, their display network and the search ads. However, the reality is that there’s such a lack of information being shared with the advertiser about how that attribution is working and where am I actually making the best connection with my consumer. At the end of the day, that’s what businesses care about. As much as Google says they care about the user, us as business owners, us as B2B marketers, us as content marketers or search marketers, we care about how to connect with the consumer too and we need that data and that insight.”

I totally agree, going back to the collusion emails.

“Exactly.”

I’ve one to add to the list, and I think it’s going to happen. Speaking of Google, Gmail sender policies are changing, and I would like to leave most forms of automated prospecting, and cold outreach behind me. I know that is going to make many people angry, particularly salespeople. There might be a time and a place, but I think it’s created plenty of bad habits.

“Yes, no doubt. Still, many people love to ask me questions about spam and that SEO is just full of spam and bad actors and those people who buy backlinks and do all those malicious things to create outcomes in Google search. I ask what about email? It is probably the most littered digital landscape that exists. I mean anyone’s inbox or for that matter, anyone’s social media direct message box, maybe it’s LinkedIn or even Facebook, these days is just caked with advertisers and spam and people trying to contact you for no particular reason at all.”

Yes and it is funny, I expect it on LinkedIn. I’m not thrilled by it, but I expect it, and then on Facebook, I just get angry. I don’t know why. This is not where I talk about business.

“I am concerned about LinkedIn because at this particular point in the year here when we’re recording in January. I think that most of my outreach messages are a sort of therapist who is going to change my mental health or a weight loss professional who is going to get me on a new workout routine. It just makes me feel and wonder if this is the place for conversation on LinkedIn. I appreciate that you want me to lose 20 lbs, but I don’t know if this is the right place for this.”

I think my algorithm is a little bit different since it’s MBA programs for women and executive coaching.

“Right, lots of executive coaches. It’s crazy. It’s nuts.”

For more content on B2B marketing trends, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.