What’s the next big thing in B2B marketing?

This is the question on everyone’s lips. Every B2B brand is searching for the next big opportunity as buyer journeys and attitudes have significantly changed post-COVID.

We know from history and experience that click-through rates and the effectiveness of various channels and tactics decay over time (also known as “The Law of Shitty Click Through Rates”).

This means we need to be constantly on the lookout for what’s next.

In this article, I explore the future of B2B marketing, with a particular focus on digital marketing. I will highlight emerging frontiers and where smart brands are looking to play both tactically and strategically.

Channel arbitrage opportunities

Channel arbitrage refers to the practice of identifying and exploiting opportunities in marketing channels where the cost of reaching potential customers is low, or even free.

Where can we find channel arbitrage in 2024?

As marketers, our role can often be seen as that of algorithm manipulators, particularly in channels like PPC, social media, and SEO. In these algorithmically controlled environments, our task is to influence the algorithms to reach our target audience with the right message and content, ultimately shaping their purchasing behaviour and brand preferences.

The challenge we face is that every algorithm we try to manipulate or consume content through, whether as marketers or end users, is designed primarily to make the platform richer, not to help us reach our audiences more effectively or serve us better content.

This leads to misaligned incentives, where organic reach diminishes over time as dominant platforms scoop up internet traffic and gain a monopoly. They initially provided free organic traffic to attract brands and content, but as they gained dominance, they started to cut off this free visibility and push brands into paying for reach through advertising.

A prime example of historic channel arbitrage is Facebook in its early years. When Facebook first introduced business pages, it provided a significant amount of free organic reach. Businesses could easily reach their audience without spending on advertising, leveraging Facebook’s algorithm to promote their content widely.

However, around 2015-2016, Facebook drastically reduced the organic reach of business pages. This change forced brands to invest in paid advertising to maintain their visibility on the platform. What started as an opportunity for free exposure turned into a pay-to-play model as the platform grew and sought to monetise its user base.

Channel arbitrage therefore represents a tactical opportunity that is often short-lived. As more brands recognise and capitalise on these channels, competition increases, leading to higher costs and reduced effectiveness.

Tactical Arbitrage Opportunities

Where can we find cheap(er) or free eyeballs in 2024? Here are a few of the opportunities on my radar.

1. Threads by Meta

Threads, Meta’s competitor to X (formerly known as Twitter), is an emerging platform closely tied to Instagram. This integration leverages Instagram’s massive user base. Unlike X, which now feels like an engagement ghost town, Threads users are much more active and responsive. The content on Threads tends to be more authentic and relatable, as users aren’t yet influenced by an algorithm that prioritises polished perfection over genuine interaction.

Threads is still in its early stages, but its connection with Instagram gives it significant potential. One notable feature is that Threads messages can appear in users’ Instagram feeds, boosting visibility and engagement. As a user, I’ve observed that engagement on Threads is higher; people are interacting more, and the overall environment feels more dynamic and lively compared to X.

This makes Threads a fertile ground for brands looking to engage with a highly responsive audience. The platform’s nascent stage means that it hasn’t yet become saturated with content, offering an opportunity for early adopters to establish a strong presence.

However, whether Threads represents an opportunity for your brand depends on your target audience. Threads’ users are generally early adopters with an appetite for news, information, and long-form content. If your brand’s audience fits this profile, Threads could be worth experimenting with.

Additionally, the platform’s focus on more genuine and relatable content aligns well with brands that prioritise authenticity in their messaging.

2. LLMs

Generative AI, particularly large language models like ChatGPT, is emerging as a powerful channel for marketers. People are increasingly using AI interfaces for search and information retrieval, which raises the question: How do you ensure your brand is the one that crops up in the AI conversation?

As Brittany Muller pointed out in her MozCon talk, LLMs are not actually search engines or information retrieval systems, nor are they deterministic. LLMs generate randomised outputs based on a probability distribution. Despite being used as search engines, they do not function like traditional search engines. Instead, they generate responses based on patterns learned from their training data.

Also contrary to popular belief, LLMs do not scrape the entire internet to get their training data. Many use datasets like Common Crawl, which aggregates snapshots of millions of websites. For instance, analysis by The Washington Post on Google’s C4 dataset, derived from Common Crawl, includes content from 15 million websites. This is a substantial amount but not everything. The dataset is dominated by websites from industries including journalism, entertainment, software development, medicine and content creation, with news outlets featuring heavily.

Forums are also a substantial source of information for LLMs. Reddit recently announced a deal with Google to licence its content for training Google’s AI models.

To ensure your brand is ingested and recalled by an LLM, a good approach is to build credibility on reputable websites (ideally those that are represented in the training data) through digital PR initiatives. You should also consider engaging in online forums and other community-driven sites where discussions about your products or services take place.

3. TikTok

TikTok continues to offer an arbitrage opportunity, especially in the B2B space where it is less saturated compared to B2C.

While TikTok is increasingly monetising its user base with features like live shopping and streaming, there remains untapped potential for B2B brands. As the number of young decision-makers increases, social media’s importance in B2B marketing strategies is growing as well. Forrester’s Buyers’ Journey Survey, 2022, revealed that Millennials and Gen Zers now make up the majority of B2B buyers, accounting for 64%, while 40% of millennials use TikTok to discover new things. It doesn’t take much foresight to see how these trends will collide.

Most B2B companies are ignoring or still figuring out how to leverage TikTok, which means there’s less competition and more opportunity for those who can crack the code. TikTok’s short-form video format is perfect for creating engaging, bite-sized content that can educate and entertain simultaneously.

The key to the platform is to recognise that it is not a place for dry sales-led messaging. Instead, successful B2B content on TikTok should be informative yet entertaining, leveraging the platform’s creative tools to tell compelling stories and showcase expertise in a way that resonates with the audience. If that means memes, then so be it.

So what are the strategic opportunities?

Channel arbitrage tactics, while useful, often result in marginal gains. They offer incremental increases in reach and are worth doing for short-term gains, but longer growth needs a more rounded approach that looks at both long and short term opportunities.

To truly succeed, companies need to focus on the broader, more strategic shifts in buyer behaviour that are shaping marketing as we know it.

So what are the shifts shaping long view marketing strategy decisions?

B2B buyers don’t want to be sold to

We actually first talked about this trend in our 2023 marketing trends report and if anything, it has grown in relevance since.

Customers now prefer to self-serve information rather than engage directly with sales. They come to sales conversations armed with extensive knowledge, and salespeople act more as facilitators than advisors. This shift offers a strategic opportunity for brands. By providing easy access to comprehensive information and supporting the self-serve journey, brands can enhance the overall customer experience and build stronger relationships with their audience. This approach not only meets the current demands of consumers but also positions brands as trustworthy and customer-centric.

Brands relying on outdated strategies, like PPC campaigns leading to gated landing pages, need to adapt. The goal should be to provide easy access to information and support the self-serve journey, enhancing the overall customer experience.

An example of what not to do in 2024


Understanding the ACTUAL customer buying journey is crucial for several reasons. First, mapping the customer journey helps identify pain points and areas where customers may face difficulties.

By asking customers directly about their experiences and points of friction, brands can gain valuable insights into what needs to be improved. For example, you might discover that customers prefer a self-guided walkthrough of your platform instead of a demo call. This allows them to personally interact with the user interface and assess the product at their own pace.

These insights can better inform your content strategy, ensuring it delivers value and leverages the tactical arbitrage opportunities outlined above effectively.

Additionally, understanding the journey helps brands make sense of the market and their position within it. As April Dunford emphasises in her work on positioning, helping customers understand the market landscape and their choices can be a differentiator. By providing context and clarity, brands can guide customers more effectively and help them better understand why your solution is the right fit.

Entertainment meets commerce

The convergence of entertainment and commerce represents a strategic opportunity for both B2C and B2B brands to adapt to the evolving preferences and behaviours of consumers. As platforms like TikTok introduce features such as live shopping and streaming, the lines between content consumption and purchasing are blurring, leading to a fundamental shift in how consumers engage with brands and make buying decisions.

To clarify the distinction between TikTok as a tactical channel opportunity and social commerce as a strategic one, it’s essential to understand their differences in scope and potential impact. TikTok offers a short-term, platform-specific chance for brands to reach their target audience cost-effectively. In contrast, social commerce encompasses a broader, long-term shift in consumer behaviour and preferences across various platforms.

The shift towards entertainment-infused commerce requires B2B brands to create content that is not only informative but also engaging and relatable. This approach aligns with the self-serve trend among B2B buyers, who prefer to gather information independently before engaging with sales teams.

Social commerce features like live shopping and streaming can be adapted for B2B use. For example, live Q&A sessions, product showcases, and behind-the-scenes previews can provide valuable insights and foster a deeper connection with the audience.

Imagine replacing a traditional product demo with an interactive webinar where participants can click on specific points being discussed to access more detailed information about the product, and even sign up for a free trial during the webinar within the same interface. This is the kind of engaging experience that social commerce can offer. The question is: how do you make it genuinely interesting and authentic? To find the answer, again you need to know the preferences and needs of your target audience.

Text gives way to video

If you’ve been on any social media channel recently, you’ll know video is king. Producing compelling video content is challenging and resource-intensive, making it harder for competitors to replicate. Video can build a deeper connection with audiences compared to written content. Despite the rise of AI-generated audio and video, authentic content still resonates with users.

Eighty-one percent of consumers want to see more short-form videos from brands in 2024. This trend highlights the growing preference for bite-sized, easily digestible content that fits into busy lifestyles. In our own content, we have seen short form video drives better content engagement across LinkedIn and other social platforms.

However, there are signs the window of opportunity is closing. For US adults, video’s share of the average daily social media time is plateauing. This indicates that while video remains a popular content format, the market is becoming saturated and gaining attention is increasingly competitive, but the shift in preference for video is likely to stick.

Creating video content has become easier with the availability of various tools, but producing high-quality content still requires a strong understanding of aesthetics, storytelling and effective human presentation (the age of animated infographics is over – my best advice is to put a human front and centre).

But it’s crucial to tie video production back to effective distribution channels. There’s no point in creating videos if they don’t reach an audience. You also need to be clear about your target audience and the messaging that will be effective in educating/entertaining/persuading this audience, as this directly relates to the channels and distribution methods you choose.

To learn more about the concepts outlined above and to hear Bethan Vincent’s thoughts on the future of marketing, be sure to check out their talks at Turing Fest and MozCon this year.

Photo of Bethan Vincent

Bethan Vincent, Managing Partner

B2B marketer and entrepreneur, with over 12 years of marketing experience and leading teams at Marketing Director level. Bethan knows what it’s like to start your own businesses, they are a regular speaker at international conferences and podcast host of ‘The Brave’.


Business Challenges
marketing strategy
Positioning & Differentiation

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