The Rules Of The Game Change: B2B Brands Face Privacy Issues, Other Challenges

B2B marketers are like their B2C cousins in one regard — they face the loss of third-party cookies and other changes that will affect how they interact with customers. But they have unique issues of their own — for example, how to reach work-at-home clients. 

Act-On Software, a 13-year-old marketing automation platform, sees three emerging trends in the B2B space.

First-party cookies become the standard for data collection

Even B2B marketers have been affected by Apple’s software update in September 2021 and its effect on email metrics. Then there is the forthcoming ban on third-party cookies. The result is that the safest way to build relationships with customers will be to rely on the data that people themselves provide.  

As in B2C, first-party data collection will be the standard practice. And key metrics like click-through rates, website behavior and unsubscribes will come to the forefront.  



Brands will need to “interface with those who have opted in, understand what that behavior means through first-party cookie data and create more tailored programs in response,” says Gregg Ames, chief commercial officer at Act-On.

Anyone who fills out a contact request form gets picked up right away. “That’s pretty intuitive — most companies are reasonably good at doing that,” Ames says. “When you get folks who are going to take a more tempered journey through, you want to build a myriad of programs and use interactions with your website. Content becomes critical.” 

Multichannel messaging will become more prevalent 

Email remains a leading B2B tool, but brands will increasingly lean on SMS and other channels and use them in an integrated fashion.

“Capturing a mobile or cellular number is more important than ever,” Ames notes. Why? “No one’s at their desk: you can’t think of placing a phone call to an individual unless you have a mobile phone number.”

Act-On launched SMS capabilities in 2021, and believes text is now critical. “If you’re doing a webinar and want to run an automated program, you can send SMS to remind them,” Ames says. 

But marketers will need marketing automation workflows that seamlessly integrate with SMS and email. They must update their platforms with UX interfaces that support these strategies. 

Marketing tools will become more centralized

Act-On believes centralization of marketing tools will be a key component of successful marketing teams in 2022 — “not just a perk, but rather the bare minimum for companies,” Ames says.  

“It’s no longer a world where you can just buy a platform.. and think that’s going to solve all of your problems — you’re going to have to rely on other technologies,” Ames says. “Bringing them together is a challenge, but also an opportunity for the marketer.” 

Act-On helps marketers run multichannel automation programs and manage of content, email, forms and landing pages. The company has roughly 200 employees globally, and expects the number to grow by 15%-20% this year. 


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