B2B Marketing trends for 2023
Although the field of marketing or anything else relevant to consumer behavior is always dynamic and rapidly evolving but, due the dramatic turn of events in the economic conditions and major change in the internet user behavior we at Rumors believe 2023 will be a time period of significant shift in the B2B marketing world.
The rising cost of digital media advertising, a sense of ad fatigue among consumers, lack of quality information and a lot of snake oil sellers, all of this has forced marketers to look at new avenues of generating revenue and growth for their organizations.
Some key trends we are looking out for are as follows:
- B2B marketing will focus on brand
- Influencers will play a vital role in B2B now
- Socials over search
- Inbound demand generation vs outbound sales
- LinkedIn will rise in value and utility
- Personal brands and social media content
- Business podcasts over SEO blogs
- Digital marketing will take trade show booth budgets
- Dark social and word of mouth
- Communities will remain popular
- Digital out of home advertising
These are the major trends that started brewing in 2022 and will see maturity in 2023 where almost all great marketers will incorporate them inside their b2b marketing strategies.
Now if you wanted a quick fix you got it, but for the marketing nerds of the internet let’s break down each trend.
B2B Marketing will focus on brand
The marketplaces are more crowded than they have ever been, it is harder and harder to innovate. We have reached a point where most of the products and services are now converging particularly from a b2b SaaS standpoint.
How does one stand out in such conditions? How do you innovate?
The state of commoditization in the market will force b2b marketers to focus on building brand just like our folks over in the B2C space.
This means b2b marketing is now also about capturing and retaining that top of mind status which only a brand can achieve.
How do you build a b2b brand?
If that is what you are searching for on the internet for “ How to build a brand? ” we have bad news, you won’t find a clear answer. But here are a few things you can focus on which might help:
- The simplest and most important thing is delivering a consistent and pleasant / valuable product / service experience over a prolonged period of time. HAH! Easier said than done right?
- Deep understanding of consumer - by deep we mean Mariana Trench deep. These insights help you build the product experience for a world class brand
- Creative and meaningful communications - when was the last time a piece of B2B marketing really moved you? We are emotional beings and we need to be connected with - in that way.
Influencers will play a vital role in B2B now
Influencers or better known in the B2B world as “Subject Matter Experts” will become more vital than ever. As modern marketing demands more exposure to the markets there is an intrinsic need in that to build credibility, and who holds the credibility?
B2B brands will need to leverage these influencers to build affinity with their prospects and gain the status of thought leaders to capture any meaningful market share.
Socials over search
We are in the age of millennials, they are the present and the future of the economy and business. A fun fact about these millennials is that they are digital natives and they take their tech and internet quite seriously.
Now I don't remember which new publisher it was ( you can search it up - Chris Walker posted about it on LinkedIn and TikTok ) but they published a report which explained how millennials don’t trust google results as much as they used to. (PS marketers it’s our fault as we put out too many crappy SEO blogs like this one)
These people are more active on socials and communities / groups inside those socials making social media channels much more credible and more important than SEM from a marketing tactic perspective.
The world is moving towards video anyway so that is a factor too.
Inbound demand generation vs outbound sales
If you are in the world of B2B marketing and you spend any amount of time on LinkedIn among other marketers you will know what I’m talking about.
Increased levels of sophistication among buyers means the Zone of resistance has a wider breadth for sales people than ever before.
The popularity of the product led growth model and the sheer scale of information available to the buyers through the internet means buyers prefer low/no touch sales cycle.
This means consumers are expecting businesses to provide all the required information and tackle all their possible questions - well most of their questions through sales and marketing material or content.
Thus, enabling the buyers to get educated at their own pace during the buying journey and come inbound when they feel like it.
HOW TO GENERATE INBOUND DEMAND?
The same mindset we apply to SEO content is applicable here too, where you map out the b2b buyer journey and produce content for every stage of the journey, naturally answering the queries they might have.
But the key in 2023 is that social media channels are the place where this content needs to live on and due to the nature of these platforms the content needs to be published much more frequently compared to SEO because it has a shorter shelf life than search engines.
Following are key channels to drive inbound demand in 2023:
- LinkedIn organic content
- Youtube long form educational videos
- Business related podcast
- Snackable tips and tricks on social media video
- Build an industry reporting engine and deliver through content
- SEO - remains in the list as a mean of doing this still but the bar is very high on execution.
LinkedIn will rise in value and utility
Over the years LinkedIn has evolved massively from a job platform to a business and professional hub. It is a social media platform and a business conference mashed up in one.
- LinkedIn has grown to over 810 million members, this number has grown to 875 as of October 2022 according to SMPERTH
- LinkedIn had 15.4 billion sessions by Q2 - 2022
- Over 58 million companies listed on LinkedIn
- According their own disclosure there is a 33% increase in customers purchase intent from LinkedIn ad exposure
- 40% of B2B marketers surveyed indicated LinkedIn as the most effective channel for driving high-quality leads.
- Brands get 7x more reactions and 24x more comments on LinkedIn Live streams than regular video
Key people who are active on LinkedIn are:
- B2B marketing teams
- Financial services sector , investors , venture capitalists
- Software as a service founders and entrepreneurs
- Sales people
There is no doubt that LinkedIn remains a powerhouse channel from a b2b marketing standpoint.
The most attractive thing about LinkedIn is that it provides value not only from a paid media side but also from an organic standpoint and that reach remains available heading into 2023.
Personal brands and social media content
( The image show the interest levels in the search term Personal Brand - Source Google trends )
The discussion around personal brands has been around for a while with the topic seeing peak high times as we move towards 2023. The need for social media content naturally drives the concept of personal branding as both are somewhat interlinked.
We see solopreneurs, thought leaders and influencers generating serious revenues through personal brands and that trend is only going to grow as the creator economy continues to thrive.
Business podcasts over SEO blogs
The web evolved from text, to images, to video and now there is a hyper focus on audio as personal voice assistants, home automation devices and AI become more mature and readily available.
This trend is affecting B2B as well, giving popularity to podcasting as a channel of capturing attention. This channel is much more effective than a blog as it tends to build a lot more affinity and produces higher and longer rates of engagement within the consumers and prospects.
We are calling podcasts the blogs of the future and advising all our clients here at Rumors to focus on building a podcasting strategy for their business.
Digital marketing will take trade show booth budgets
When it comes to b2b marketing budgets there is always a balancing act of physical marketing or building trade show booths Vs focusing on trade show booths.
Covid has created a massive shift to digital and worked as an awareness catalyst for the digital scale and effectiveness. This is resulting in a huge shift and a lot more budget allocation towards digital marketing.
This is what we are observing in our set of b2b SaaS clients and also in the broader market.
Dark Social and word of mouth
2022 b2b marketing commentary shined a light on the concept of Dark social and word of mouth. This was a huge part of the commentary circuits particularly in the VC backed startup land and the b2b SaaS space.
B2b marketers are acknowledging the limitations of attribution software and it biases towards intent capture behavior.
This is putting a lot more focus on driving marketing campaigns that can go and efficiently work beyond the scope of attribution and ultimately drive the word of mouth component in the market.
This is not a new trend by any means however we saw an enormous increase in the use and effectiveness of communities as a marketing tactic particularly as a middle of funnel tactic to nurture people.
This trend remains on the rise with focus on building pools of engaged audiences and share value.
This is also getting marketers on a somewhat forgotten channel which is Reddit.
Digital out of home advertising
With the slowdown in the effectiveness of digital lead generation campaigns and a newborn awareness around dark social, b2b marketers are flocking towards digital out of home advertising.
This is a great tool to build instant credibility for startups and appear to be much bigger than they actually are.
Modern technologies and DSP’s are capable of executing on digital out of home at a fraction of a cost compared to that of a traditional billboard hire.
We expect an increase in demand for digital out of home and continue to work with our clients to leverage this channel.
If you are looking for a great resource to execute on DOOH we recommend CAASIE - The self serve DOOH tool
If you notice, the shift in the market is such that it requires marketers to now think not in channel and tactics rather customers and goto market motions.
The changes in the market are rapid and non optional, businesses that have become complacent over the past decade will get wiped out if they do not innovate in their goto market motions.
The only way to stay ahead of the curve is to research these trends and figure out how to deliver on these consumer demands effectively and proactively.