If you are like me you begin each year with renewed optimism, a clean slate and limitless possibilities.  Like a new sports season; all teams are tied at 0-0 and every team has the same chance.  As I contemplate 2014, I have a few things I think are very likely to happen in the next year.

Let me first say that I think we are in an exciting time in the evolution of B2B marketing.  For many years the tools and tracking that B2B marketers had to help with leads were poor at best.  Finally, however, this has begun to change.  As we are working with these tools, they are reshaping our work.

2014 is here!
2014 will be a great year for marketers!

But what’s next?  What breakthroughs would really make a material difference?  Here are three that I know are in progress and believe will begin to have a significant impact on B2B marketing starting in 2014.

  1. Big data having a positive effect on B2B marketing lists  We have become more proficient at gathering and mashing up data in search  of better information.  At long last big data technologies are being applied to one of the “holy grail” of business marketing: developing a target list of customers.  Lists that represent individuals within a company have been poor since the dawn of time.  I have great hope that a paradigm sift level of improvement is due us.  For more hope, check out what InsideView is working on; they have the right idea, let’s hope they can make it happen.
  2. Better business demographics allow better targeting of B2B prospects  I have executed dozens of business-targeted marketing projects, many of which suffer from the lack of meaningful business demographics.   Again, if you are at all familiar with the depth of consumer demographics that can be used for targeting, then you look at what is available from the B2B side and just shake your head.  It is hard to separate prospects from non prospects based on company size and SIC code.  Thanks fully people are working on the issue.  Take a look at Lattice Engines; they are doing some exciting work in the area.
  3. Improvement in social media monitoring tools. There are a lot of social media tools for tracking and understanding followers, etc.  To really be helpful, these things need to be integrated right into your dashboards for marketing programs.  In addition, marketers will want to monitor not only who reads and follows you, but also monitoring what is said about your company and/or product.  Salesforce.com just acquired a powerful monitoring tool with Radian6.

I really hope you share the optimism I have that we live in a world of continually-improving tools and results.  For those of us in the marketing profession this has and will continue to be an exciting time to do our jobs.  Take a moment to have a quick look at the tools I have highlighted above and see if you agree!

What other exciting new marketing tools have you seen?  What are your hopes for 2014?

You can connect with Eric on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ericlundbohm/

Follow his updates on Twitter @lundbohm