May 21, 2024

The State of Omnichannel Overload in 2024

By:

Ashley Levesque

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For years, B2B marketers have grappled with a buyer’s journey that has become increasingly complex with the introduction of more touch points and channels. What are the trends? What are the challenges of omnichannel marketing, and how are B2B leaders addressing them?

To shed light on these issues, we reviewed research from leading consulting firms, analysts, and vendors. This report covers the key findings along with insights from our own interviews with B2B marketing experts.

Interested in a PDF of this report? Download here 👇👇👇

A More Complex Buyers’ Journey Is the New Reality

The number of channels B2B buyers use has doubled in the last several years.

B2B buyers regularly use 10 or more channels to interact with suppliers, doubling from 2016 figures. Although this research is a few years old (published in 2021), history has shown the number of channels only increases over time. For example, in 2024, B2B communities and AI chatbots command more attention than they did only a few years ago, so the buyer’s journey (and touchpoints) is even more complicated for marketers to manage.

Omnichannel Marketing: What Is It Exactly?

True omnichannel marketing means orchestrating (or fully integrating) all channel efforts and coordinating campaigns across platforms so you can target the same audiences through different mediums, regardless of where they are in the buyer’s journey. It produces advertising that makes audiences well informed, engaged, and understood by using data to infer their interests. When these three criteria are achieved, it sets the stage for sales teams to be more consultative instead of merely pushing their products.

If you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone: Less than half (48%) of marketers have achieved full integration of their omnichannel marketing. Over 90% of this survey pool worked at companies with over $100 million in revenue, so even larger businesses struggle to realize full integration.

Winterberry Group Survey 2023

Omnichannel Marketing Requires an Omnichannel Strategy

A surveyed 89% of B2B marketers agree that having a cohesive marketing strategy across all channels is important. This is especially critical since the buyer’s journey isn’t strictly linear.

Further, B2B buyers conduct the majority of their product or service research before they hop on a sales call, so they’re well equipped with knowledge by the time your sales reps greet them. A robust omnichannel strategy accommodates these criteria by ensuring your marketing:

• Connects with your audience wherever they are in the sales funnel.

• Keeps your brand top of mind for consideration when a prospect nears their buying decision

• Has a multiplier effect where each channel increases the effectiveness of the others

• Is properly measured so you allocate resources to channels based on relevant performance metrics

• Has a mix of appropriately prioritized channels, since each new portal requires different resources and adds complexity

According to the Content Marketing Institute, in 2023, a majority of B2B marketers created content for social media, blogs, email newsletters, email, in-person events, and webinars to reach potential buyers. Their online behavior determines which platforms will prove most effective for businesses, so it’s important to analyze patterns to identify the most popular channels for the widest reach.

Most B2B Leaders Struggle With Omnichannel Strategy

Nearly 10 years ago, research found 55% of companies have no cohesive strategy in place to manage multiple channels — and there’s been no improvement since then. “Creating an effective strategy” across all channels was the biggest challenge among B2B marketing leaders, stymieing 57% of those surveyed.  

Meanwhile, 46% cited insufficient budget/resources as their greatest obstacle to execution. So, companies are interested in mastering the omnichannel beast, but they lack the assets to handle it.

B2B marketers are also grappling with the need to create content for more channels, which also requires sufficient resources. The content needs to be not only relevant and engaging but also tailored to each channel (as well as different devices).

Source: ZoomInfo and Ascend2 2023 Survey

What Channels Are B2B Marketers Using?

To remain competitive, B2B marketers have to juggle a mix of channels, each with their own rules and best practices: Marketers need to optimize websites for conversions, master online events, and tailor online advertising, to name a few.

Additionally, B2B digital marketing now includes channels that were traditionally considered B2C. For example, 42% of B2B marketers use connected TV advertising, 39% leverage influencer marketing, and 35% employ referral programs, according to the Winterberry Group. SEO and social media continue to seethe greatest usage among B2B marketers at 59% each. Channels continue to evolve, so advertisers need to stay on top of these developments to drive brand awareness.

How Are Marketers Dealing With the Challenges?

Marketers constantly have to adapt to the evolving landscape. Below, we’ve outlined the approaches they’re taking to stay ahead of the curve, along with observations on how to handle the challenges of omnichannel marketing.

Repurpose and Optimize Content

To meet the increasing demand for content with more channels, marketers are repurposing content in new formats, using evergreen content and more.

Increasingly, marketers are using AI to turn long-form content into short-form. Viewers can digest the latter quickly and easily, which is important given the short attention spans of buyers. Knowing how fast people lose interest, it’s understandable that the two most widely used types of content among B2B marketers last year were short articles (94%) and videos (84%).

Ensure Accurate Data

Omnichannel marketing is only as strong as the data it pulls from. A well-developed data strategy — supported by the right technology stack — can provide a more comprehensive view of customers and help orchestrate efforts.

Focus on Your Most Active Channels

To innovate and elevate advertising efforts, prioritize the channels that see the most activity from consumers. Support them with assets like generative AI, chatbots, and personalization.

Refine Your Website

Your website is the cornerstone of your marketing efforts, as it provides buyer intent signals, captures leads and is the destination that all your other channels lead to. This place of prominence underscores the need to personalize your site so the messaging and content are aligned and tailored to specific audience segments. For example, account-specific landing pages can go a long way in enterprise sales, where a deep understanding of specific accounts is critical to the sales process. Chatbots that recognize users and their companies (tailor messaging based on that knowledge) create an engaging experience that can also improve website conversion rates.

“With accounts increasingly conducting heavy research, a website is often the first customer touchpoint.Finding ways to do more than simply make a good first impression and insteadturn visitors into warm opportunities is essential.”
Demandbase Guide to B2B Omnichannel Marketing

Consider the Omnichannel Potential of ABM Beyond Your Site

“B2B buyers don’t make decisions individually anymore. Rather, they are usually part of large buying groups of up to 30 people, which makes it difficult for sales teams to build consensus.”
– Nick Heys, CEO of

A modern digital account-based marketing (ABM) program works best with an omnichannel approach, which includes the following channels (outside of your website):

Display advertising

Facebook and Instagram

Google

Email

LinkedIn

Having more channels with account-specific targeting enables marketers to reach each audience segment according to their unique preferences and the platform’s algorithms, which elevates brand awareness. The right platforms help with the orchestration.

Improve the Omnichannel Experience for Existing Customers

When budgets are cut and it’s harder to acquire new customers, ensure sufficient resources are allocated to improving the experience of current customers across all channels. That can include self-service portals, a knowledge base for customers. and AI-based chatbots that answer common buyer questions.

Gear up for Omnichannel Sales Enablement

Omnichannel success depends on speed, transparency, and expertise in digital sales. It highlights the need for B2B companies to offer customers face-to-face, remote, and self-service channels at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Since marketing teams are charged with sales enablement, this brings up some key issues to tackle:

Is your marketing equipped to enable, support, and drive sales through different sales channels? Which ones matter most for enablement?

Omnichannel Efforts Affect Your Brand

McKinsey's research on B2B omnichannel excellence emphasizes the need for organizations to “balance human connection with digital tools for a seamless customer experience.” Examples include personalized follow-up based on website engagement, account-specific chatbots with tailored messaging, and routing leads to specific reps according to their interests and/or location. An overwhelming 85% of business buyers give flawless engagement and product quality equal priority, which highlights the importance of creating consistent experiences across all channels. In other words, buyer perception of the digital experience (including marketing) is as critical as what they think of the product itself.The quality of your advertising is thus a reflection on your brand and your company, so your B2B marketing — not just sales efforts — must demonstrate a deep knowledge of your audience to encourage conversions. When a company shows they understand their prospects’ goals, 84% of business buyers said they’re more likely to buy from them.

The Bottom Line

It’s important for your brand to meet your audience where they are and coordinate your presence across channels. That’s why a well-honed omnichannel strategy is essential, particularly for marketers who are being asked to do more with fewer resources. B2B leaders must be intentional and focus on developing an omnichannel plan that both expands your audience reach and furthers your business objectives.

Interested in a PDF of this report? Download here 👇👇👇