Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing

B2B Marketing Trends 2022

Like everything else, B2B marketing trends in 2022 reflect how the world has changed over the last few years. Even the familiar strategies on this list have been shaped by the explosion of new possibilities and priorities. Going forward, B2B marketers will want to invest in the channels and well-crafted content best suited for today’s audiences.

The latest B2B marketing tactics also require integration. Blend these trends into a holistic approach to sales, marketing, and customer experience for the most fruitful returns.

From events to creating various types of content for your potential customers, there are several emerging trends for marketers to utilize. Incorporate these growing digital marketing trends into your strategy to help your business grow.

1. Digital-First Approach

The COVID-19 crisis only accelerated the shift toward digital types of B2B marketing. B2B decision-makers have increasingly interacted with suppliers through digital channels at every stage of the sales funnel, and 70-80% of these customers prefer the new way of doing business. While we all hope personal-safety considerations will be less of a factor in the future, B2B customers have gotten used to the greater efficiency and lower costs of a digital-first approach.

Tailor your customer service and marketing approaches to this new world order. Invest in digital tools such as inbound-marketing aids and social media tools. Your digital campaigns are the most likely to reach new prospects, give them ample material they can use to evaluate your offerings, and enable your team to successfully follow up.

2. Digital Self-Service

There’s a reason that B2C marketing required a digital-first approach before B2B marketing. Personal purchases often come with lower price tags and commitments than business purchases do.

But B2B buyers have now made the transition. They’re not just open to remote interactions but also to digital self-service for increasingly larger transactions. 70% are willing to spend more than $50K on something new, and 15% will go over $1M with only digital connections.

3. AI Personalization

“Digital” doesn’t mean “general.” Use AI marketing to personalize content and guide consumers from their initial touchpoint through the purchase and all the way to successive reorders.

AI tools such as chatbots allow customers to quickly and easily find the material they need. You can also use AI software to track customer behaviour and respond to it with relevant and well-timed messages.

While personal relationship-building remains a vital part of account management, business customers have little patience when they want information. Let AI handle routine queries and gentle nudges. Save your time for longer conversations and creative problem-solving.

4. Sales and Marketing Alignment

How strong is the alignment between your sales and digital marketing departments? Highly aligned companies grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable than misaligned ones.

Despite the intuitive connection between sales and marketing, many businesses lose sales due to communication and coordination failures. For example, departments taking advantage of digital marketing B2B trends may get frustrated when leads go nowhere. Sales teams may chafe when too many leads are unqualified or poorly qualified.

Make sure that your sales and marketing teams share goals, tools, and information. Create content that converts, and include sales members in strategy sessions. Discuss metrics that demonstrate content marketing ROI, and track them. Some statistics may seem promising without leading to actual sales.

5. Content Variety

Create various content to address the different needs of your B2B buyer. You should have material that suits prospects at each point of the sales funnel. B2B marketing examples of high-performing content include:

  • Company blogs
  • Newsletters
  • E-books
  • Webinars
  • White papers
  • Podcasts
  • Press releases
  • Video demonstrations

Remember to court earned media as well as produce original content. Press coverage helps spread the word about your business, and user-generated content such as social mentions provides valuable social proof to support your claims.

6. Review-Cultivation

Review websites aren’t just another one of the many B2B marketing strategies. They’re an established part of the customer journey. Most people research purchases before committing, and reviews are a form of user-generated content you can’t afford to overlook.

In addition to on-site and Google testimonials, encourage happy clients to leave reviews on sites such as the B2B services review platforms that prospects often investigate.

7. YouTube Influencer Marketing

Another important form of user-generated content? Videos by YouTube influencers. These how-to videos and reviews establish credibility and direct highly qualified prospects your way.

Search out the best influencers for your industry and offer them opportunities to give your products a try. These relationships can be vital resources — particularly if you provide SaaS or other high-tech tools.

8. Thought Leadership

As for the content you create for yourself, use thought-leadership pieces to stand out from your competition. Discuss upcoming technologies, evolving trends, and your own ideas about the state or purpose of your industry.

While you can — and should — share some of this material on your corporate social accounts and owned media, find opportunities to write bylined articles for reputable outlets. Many publications are readier than ever to outsource their content to respected sources.

9. LinkedIn Audience-Targeting

LinkedIn and thought leadership often go hand-in-hand. The platform is one of the best for B2b social media marketing, and it’s a great source of digital marketing strategies. It’s also one of the best places to communicate your value proposition and connect with your target audience. What is it that makes your business the best option?

In addition to posting on LinkedIn, invest a good percentage of your social marketing budget there. LinkedIn audience-targeting fits B2B needs well, allowing you to target for job experience and company. It’s also a site where users expect to engage with business services and so are more receptive to your message.

10. Digital Marketplaces

The next generation of B2B purchasing will be performed by millennials, who use digital marketplaces in record numbers, making them a vital platform for lead generation and nurturing. Increase your presence on marketplaces such as:

  • Amazon Business
  • eWorldTrade
  • Alibaba
  • ECPlaza
  • Global Sources
  • Fashion United

Wholesalers in all sectors should expect to do more business through digital marketplaces in the coming years.

11. Omnichannel Marketing

As you collect B2B marketing trends, combine them into a holistic approach and develop content that’s appropriate for each of your major channels. B2B marketing channels you can explore include:

  • Email Marketing
  • Video content
  • Social media
  • In-person/virtual events
  • Blogs

Omnichannel marketing is about more than reformatting a piece of content to look good across channels. Ask yourself where your target customers are likely to look at different places in their journey and develop material that responds to their immediate needs.

For example, a prospect in the early stages may want to collect a list of options. Paid advertisements, succinct LinkedIn articles, and even round-up blog pieces that include your competitors can all serve you well. As they move closer to the sale, they’ll engage more with your website directly. Provide detailed information, and make touchpoints more interactive to respond to their questions.

12. Intent Monitoring

Intent monitoring is about tracking businesses’ online activities that indicate their intention to purchase a product like the one that you offer. By monitoring their interactions with your owned media and sales departments, you can improve your omnichannel strategy.

You can also track trends across users. What topics and keywords produce the most engagement? Use this data to shape your content strategy.

13. Privacy-First Marketing

Even as you track user data, you need to adapt your content strategy to new data privacy laws. Privacy-first marketing requires you to rethink how you collect data.

Try some of these Google-approved strategies to make the adjustment:

Use global site tags or Google Tag Manager to optimize marketing campaigns.
Create B2B partnerships with related companies to share first-person data.
Let machine-learning tools supplement data on customer journeys.
In other words, while privacy-first marketing excludes third-party data that may have informed prior strategies, there are both low and high-tech ways to fill the gap — while still respecting customer privacy.

14. Storytelling

Stories are memorable and help build connections between people. No matter how technical your product is, don’t overlook the power of sharing the story behind both it and your business. While statistics and other numbers may help you nail down the final sale, the story will keep your business in the buyer’s mind long enough to get to that point.

Share customer stories, too. Case studies and personal anecdotes anchor your claims and make it easier for the buyer to imagine working with you.

15. Brand Personalization

Along the same lines, brand personalization and consistency make it easier for prospects to remember you. They also unify types of B2B marketing across channels and content, pulling them all into a coherent impression of your business.

Create — and adhere to — brand guidelines that cover:

  • Mission
  • Logo
  • Design elements (colours, typography, imagery)
  • Tone
  • Voice (writing style and brand persona)

Distribute your guide broadly so that anyone creating content or otherwise speaking on behalf of your business can refer to it.

16. Implement a Chatbot Into Your Website

AI-powered chatbots aren’t new, but like other B2B trends in marketing practices, they’re getting more advanced. Their capabilities are expanding, making the customer experience more enjoyable. Benefits of having a chatbot on your website include:

Site navigation help: Some industries are more complex than others, meaning the website must also be more elaborate. Having a chatbot can direct users where they should go to find the answers they need.

Instant gratification: More often than not, asking questions to someone (or something) directly is more convenient than trying to search for it yourself. Chatbots provide instant gratification by giving users the answers they need when they need them.

Quick payment processes: In 2022, more chatbots will have payment processing capabilities. When a user submits a request to purchase a company product, the chatbot will issue an API request and send a payment link to complete the purchase. This makes payment quick and easy for the user and gives the company a more efficient way to receive payments.

17. Analyze Data To Discover Where Users Drop Off

Analyzing the data of each of your digital platforms allows you to understand where users make it to your site and where they decide to end their sessions. Users could decide to drop off for a variety of reasons, such as:

Irrelevant content: When users look for something in a search engine, they expect to be directed precisely to the content they need. Make sure the content you’re writing is relevant and makes sense in accordance with a page or topic title.

Difficult to read on a mobile device: In 2016, mobile site views exceeded desktop site views for the first time ever. If your website is difficult to read on a mobile device, you’re losing a crucial audience. When developing your website, make sure it’s mobile-friendly so you don’t lose a key demographic.

No conversion point: Conversion points (or calls to action) must be obvious. By having these readily available, the user knows what you want them to do with the information you’ve given them.

Site is slow: Is your website’s bounce rate well over 55%? If so, you may need to check the speed of your site. A lagging site frequently encourages users to press the back arrow to browse on a site that’s running more efficiently.

These are important considerations when evaluating the customer experience. If you’re noticing a frequent drop off from your site, check these areas and make adjustments as needed.

18. Social Media

All right, your business has a social media profile—now what? Although you have a profile, this doesn’t mean that you will gain traction and attention from users and convert them into customers. There are various social media marketing trends your company should follow in 2022, and here they are broken down by platform.

LinkedIn is a social media platform that’s frequently overlooked in B2B businesses’ lead generation strategy. However, it’s essential to take advantage of its capabilities for your 2022 marketing strategy. Although social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have more users overall, it doesn’t mean that you’ll recruit more potential customers on them. LinkedIn allows you to be more industry specific with the content you share, which typically cannot be achieved through more mainstream platforms. Since LinkedIn is more targeted, it’s easier to connect with like-minded professionals and pitch your products or services to people who understand the industry.

LinkedIn users love seeing company and employee success stories, and a great way to do this is by sharing visual content that highlights your company’s success. This is often achieved through long-form collateral videos because they are engaging and tell a great story. One of the most significant benefits of sharing company case studies on LinkedIn is that they highlight both your company and the business you partnered with.

LinkedIn users engage with the platform because they enjoy learning about different trends in the industry. When posting on LinkedIn, make sure the content is more of a thought-leadership piece than a sales pitch. Sales-focused content can turn potential customers away before you have the chance to speak with them through your cold calling efforts. When sharing content, make sure it’s either information or educational for readers, so they are encouraged to learn more about what your company has to offer.

Facebook is a leading social media platform because it has the largest number of users compared to other platforms. Since that’s the case, it’s much more challenging to grow your following organically since so many brands want to make their voices heard. To get your content in front of the eyes of your target audience, your business must prompt targeted Facebook ads.

Since Facebook has a high-earning user base, ads are crucial on this platform. By taking advantage of targeted Facebook ads, your business has the opportunity to position posts in front of individuals who are interested in learning more about your business’s product or service. This could be a local business owner, someone in a similar industry, or someone looking to change their current B2B partnership.

According to DMEXCO, 90% of users follow at least one company on Instagram. While B2B marketing trends are shifting more towards Instagram, there are more correct ways to engage your target market than others. Instagram is becoming a trending marketing platform for B2B businesses to post relevant and informational content about current industry problems and solutions. However, with Instagram, it’s crucial to post eye-catching content, like short-form collateral videos, to appeal to the senses and emotions of viewers.

Twitter is unique compared to other social media platforms because there is less opportunity to promote long-form, thought-provoking content. Since the character count maxes out at 280, the content you write must be relevant and grab the user’s attention immediately. Each piece of content you write must have intent and provide a call to action.

Here are some recent Twitter statistics provided by Business 2 Community:

Tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement as tweets without hashtags
Adding images to your content results in 89% more favorites
Tweets sent on the weekend have higher engagement rates than during the week
It’s important to keep these Twitter marketing trends and statistics in mind during your content creation process because it ensures that you get more engagement on your content and increases the opportunity to convert readers into customers.

While developing fresh content is important, so is responding to tweet replies. If a Twitter user engages with your Tweet or replies with a question, responding to their reply is crucial because it enhances user experience and supports customer retention.

Every company loves the newest and most trending social media platforms. However, they aren’t always practical for your lead generation efforts. Although TikTok has new users joining every day, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best social media opportunity for your business. While it may seem intriguing and like you need to be on it, don’t be fooled by its popularity.

While TikTok may not be a fit for every B2B company, it could be a fit if you’re willing to do the following:

Create unique, experimental content for the platform: Effective B2B TikTok content must be out-of-the-box and more than likely be unrelated to your company’s product or service. You must be willing to think bigger than your current content strategy and consider other messaging trends.
Engage on a more personal level: TikTok users love storytelling and feeling like they can relate to videos, no matter how personal the content may be. If you integrate TikTok into your B2B content strategy, be ready to be vulnerable with your audience.
Reach a younger audience: According to Gallup, Gen Z and millennials make up 46% of the full-time U.S. workforce. Most TikTok users also fit into these demographics. If you’re looking to recruit new and fresh-out-of-college workers to your business, TikTok may be a good recruitment strategy for your business. Be comfortable waiting longer to see results: Like any social media platform, digital growth and media presence take a while. If you want to see an immediate ROI, look into other lead generation strategies to maximize profits.While TikTok may not be an ideal platform for generating revenue, it can be helpful to spread your brand voice and get more people talking about your company.

19. More Focus on Video Marketing

Customer attention spans are diminishing, so B2B marketing teams must increase their focus on creating captivating content.

Visual content marketing is proving a critical B2B marketing trend in 2022. It’s not just because it helps combat the issue of reduced attention span. Consumers also seem to love video content.

Video marketing campaigns help the brand stay relevant. Video content is also ideal for social shares and drives conversion rates.

Here are the most common video assets that B2B companies can create:

Corporate videos – These are videos designed to showcase the company culture and establish brand identity

Collateral videos – These are B2B sales videos that are highly customizable and geared toward specific B2B leads

Short-form videos – Short-form videos are under 2.5 minutes and are best if you’re targeting click-through rates

Here are a couple of things to help you create an effective video marketing strategy:

  • Identify the target audience and where they spend most of their time to know the type of video content to produce. For example, you can get away with longer videos on YouTube, but you’ll need shorter ones on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
  • Set timelines and a budget for each video campaign
  • Identify the best social media platforms for video distribution. That will depend on where most of your target audience hangs out.
  • Develop the ideal message for different target personas
  • Identify the metrics to track and measure for success
  • The video creation process will entirely depend on the purpose of your digital marketing strategy. For example, you can create corporate and fun short-form videos for brand awareness. But if you’re looking to convert prospects, you may need to create customer testimonial videos, and video case studies, among others.

20. Machine learning augmentation of data in CRM, marketing automation and web analytics

Machine learning augmentation of data uses machine learning algorithms to improve the quality, accuracy, and completeness of data. It’s a key ingredient in modern data science. It has been used with great success to improve the accuracy of recommendation systems, identify patterns in large datasets, analyse text for sentiment analysis, and more.

Machine learning augmentation takes existing customer information (e.g., demographic characteristics) and enriches it by applying machine learning techniques to discover new patterns or associations that were not obvious from the data alone.

Leveraging machine learning and AI to augment data will be one of the big B2B marketing trends of 2022. The tightening of privacy restrictions means businesses will have to depend increasingly on first-party and inferred data for lead generation and closing deals.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are already being used by many businesses to increase efficiency, provide personalised experiences for customers, and improve the accuracy of marketing campaigns. Gartner predicts that machine learning will be the top AI initiative for businesses by 2030, with decision support/augmentation surpassing all other types of AI initiatives.

The dynamics of B2B Marketing are changing, and with that, the tools we use to be effective must change. Machine learning and AI are already being used to great effect in CRM, marketing automation, and web analytics.

However, taking advantage of these technologies is not a given. It requires having a robust, clean data foundation to build on. Data cleansing and data augmentation will be essential to enable these technologies to work their magic.

Customer loyalty and profitability are increasingly tied to a company’s personalisation of customer experience. Machine learning and AI offer the potential to personalise at a scale that was not previously possible. However, this can only be realised if businesses have access to high-quality data throughout their systems.

To be successful in the years to come, businesses will need to focus on data quality and data augmentation. This means ensuring that all customer information is cleansed and enriched with machine learning algorithms to be used effectively to personalise the customer experience.