Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing

B2B Marketing Trends 2023

With 2023 less than two months away, professionals across the business-to-business market are beginning to brush up on their knowledge and prepare for a whole new wave of trends.

As a B2B marketer, you will likely be keen to get an insight into new marketing trends likely to emerge in 2023 and unlock tips to keep ahead of the curve. In this article, we’ll be exploring 10 up-and-coming trends set to rock the world of B2B marketing in 2023.

1. It’s getting really personal

Personalisation has grown massively in recent years – both within the consumer and B2B markets. From using automation to personalise email campaigns to boost sales with the help of account-based marketing (ABM), more and more B2B marketers are using personalisation within their campaigns to boost sales and build relationships.

The latest personalisation trend within the B2B sector is website personalisation, which allows B2B organisations to create customised website experiences for different users. And as we know, the more relevant you can make your content, the more likely a visitor is to make an enquiry or better yet, a purchase.

2. B2B marketers are succeeding with social selling

As with most areas of business, where B2C goes, B2B will soon follow. In recent years, we’ve seen a huge increase in the use of social media by B2B brands – and it’s showing no signs of slowing. Why? At the end of the day, no matter which market you’re operating within, you’re selling to a person. And with social media playing an increasingly important role in people’s personal lives, businesses are recognising the value of using these platforms to meet their audience where they are most active. Within the B2B space, 75% of buyers are now using social media at some stage in their buying journey, so if you’re not on it already, now’s the time to get started.

B2B marketers are succeeding with social selling
It will come as no surprise that within the B2B space, LinkedIn is by far the most popular social media platform. And on this platform, it’s all about getting relevant content in front of the right people. According to LinkedIn’s latest social selling report, 62% of B2B consumers respond to salespeople who connect by sharing relevant content and insights.

3. Influencer marketing is in

Whilst influencer marketing has been a big trend within the consumer market for a number of years, it’s taken a little longer to take off within the B2B space. But as they say, good things take time. With 86% of B2B brands who use influencer marketing reporting it to be successful for their business, it’s clear this trend is here to stay.

The beauty of influencer marketing is you’re working with people that your target audience already trusts. Not only this, but their large followings are great for brand awareness, they are killer content creators and they have tonnes of inside industry knowledge and insights you can leverage. Bring all of this together? You’re bound to see an increase in sales thanks to recommendations from a highly trusted influencer and top-class content.

4. Making moves with movie magic

Video marketing has made an appearance on these sorts of lists for the last few years – and with good reason. Whether you opt to share video testimonials, on-demand webinars, video podcasts or explainer videos, providing your content is of reasonable quality, is relevant and offers some form of value to your target audience, you’ll likely see some form of return.

Videos remain important to your B2B digital marketing efforts. While you may be doing video because you read it on a trends list for the last 10 years, there’s another pivotal reason to use it: user experience.

If you find that you are creating content that is better served in a video format, go with video. If you are making videos just for the sake of making videos, stop. Audiences are experiencing an oversaturation of videos, so you only want to use the format if it makes the most sense for the user. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time, money and energy that is better spent elsewhere.

5. B2B user-generated content is on the rise

In a similar vein to influencer marketing, more B2B marketers are turning to user-generated content (UGC) to obtain authentic content from people that their audience can trust and relate to. And with 93% of marketers agreeing that content created by consumers performs better than branded content, it’s clear the UGC trend will continue to infiltrate the B2B market.

B2B companies are finding they can leverage user-generated content to get their brand in front of more people, which increases engagement and builds trust. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to trust user-generated content compared to company-generated content.

Anyone can be a content producer these days. All you need is a phone to take pictures and videos, and a social media account to share your content. This low barrier to entry is why the global user-generated content platform market size is expected to be valued at $18.65 billion by 2028. Now’s the time to implement it into your B2B digital marketing strategy.

6. A better content marketing strategy

Content marketing stands a much better chance of success when it’s backed by a sound (written) strategy and the resources to execute that strategy.

Let’s share the most frequently cited content marketing challenges. With this question, marketers could pick as many challenges as they had. Many of the results mirror their answers to the one biggest challenge. But others focus on the content itself, such as content that appeals to different stages of the buyer’s journey (61%) and achieving consistency with messaging (33%). Only 2% say they don’t have any content marketing challenges.

Content Strategy

Without a strategy, you have a harder time proving your program’s value to executives. You risk being pulled in too many directions. You struggle to keep internal and external teams working toward a shared goal. CMI’s Ann Gynn shared a very doable approach in her recent article How To Write a 1-Page Content Marketing Strategy: 6 Easy-to-Follow Steps. And once you’ve written it down, make sure to share it far and wide.

7. Better measurement

In marketing, there are no standard rules for what defines success. The measurements – or metrics – that mean success at your company may indicate failure at mine. Anyway B2B Marketers cannot ignore the following 4 metrics:

  • CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
  • CPA  (Cost Per Acquisition)
  • Sales cycle length
  • CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)

Shared objectives without analytics are visions without a map. And deciding on analytics without objectives is like having a map but nowhere to go. If you start with a shared objective and a common understanding of how you’ll know if you’ve met it, then you can define it with numbers. That’s when the numbers have a purpose, and more importantly, meaning.

Too often, marketing leaders set goals and objectives for their teams while sales leaders establish objectives for their teams. Meanwhile, executives set their own set of objectives for the company. But no group has communicated these goals to one another.

The sales team is measured on the value of the opportunities that turn into customers. Marketing is measured by the number of leads created. That sounds like a match – but it’s not. I create a huge number of leads of customers looking for introductory products – but the sales team only cares about the leads we create for enterprise products.  We’re both meeting our objectives, but we’re losing for the business.

If you don’t have a clearly defined (and shared) vision for what success looks like, you can’t measure anything meaningful in content marketing or any other department.

Google announced it’s retiring Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023. Universal Analytics, also known as “UA” or “Google Analytics,” is what many B2B marketers use to measure engagement.

Google is replacing UA with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which is a more integrated, almost app-style analytics platform. While UA is great for tracking website engagement, GA4 does so much more. It works well with marketing sites, eCommerce sites, native apps and web apps to provide you with a comprehensive overview of how users interact with your whole brand.

Why is the change happening? There’s increasing pressure on advertisers due to privacy regulations and changes within products. Browsers are blocking more and more ads, and third-party cookies are slowly becoming obsolete. This is making it harder for advertisers to measure how their brands are performing. This is putting a greater emphasis on organic content and SEO, because if B2B marketers can’t target users, they need a way to lead the users to them. It also drives the need for boutique networks and partners.

8. The Rise of AI

The force is strong with this one. Back in 2020, we wrote that marketers must learn to work with—not solely rely on—AI. Fast forward to 2022, and there are a plethora of tools available that provide some sort of artificial intelligence capability to help B2Bs curate, automate, optimize, personalize, and more. In 2023, every business can leverage some form of machine learning to streamline its marketing efforts, and it could be as simple as automating email sequences or digitizing data to avoid potential manual errors. AI will undoubtedly give leaders insights and boost B2B marketing performance.

In fact, McKinsey predicts that while AI is being applied to business problems globally across economic sectors, the effects of AI will be felt most in marketing and sales. While there are many uses for AI in marketing, there are also some serious challenges to overcome before you can use this technology effectively. Not all artificial intelligence is created equal. In fact, most of it isn’t even close to being independently intelligent. But when used correctly, AI can be a valuable tool for digital campaigns, improving customer service, and increasing revenue.

The Pros of AI in Marketing are Cost and Time Savings, Clear Data Insights, Hyper-Personalization, and Streamlined Marketing Efforts. But we stand by what we said: smart technology needs smarter humans. AI is not yet self-evolved (or even self-aware). It requires programmers who understand how it functions before it can be implemented. This means that you may need to hire new employees or consultants who specialize in this kind of technology—or train your existing staff (and give them raises) to learn a whole new skill set that heightens their value to your team.

AI designed to do uniquely human tasks, like writing, still desperately needs human intervention. Through natural language processing (NLP), AI can write about practically anything. And while these can be helpful tools to get a rough draft of a simple product-driven blog, they won’t match up to the capabilities of a human. The more nuanced your topic, the more you’ll need human sensibilities to ensure high-quality writing, clear messaging, and easy readability.

Even though chatbots are engineered to be as human-like as possible, they’re still programmed by humans and can only take you so far in the conversation. This means that customers looking for more personalized experiences will find themselves frustrated when they’re forced into a roundabout way of requesting assistance or information—especially if all they want is the answer to a specific question—one that doesn’t have a programmed response. (We’ve all been there, clicking through three menus only to speak to a robot and wanting to throw the phone across the room.)

It’s also important to note that while AI has made it easier for marketers to scale their business processes and develop solutions, there’s no replacing human creativity and ingenuity when it comes to getting new ideas off the ground and putting them into action.

Despite what some people may think, AI is not yet as good at human intelligence. Overall, there are some significant upsides to using AI in your marketing—but it’s not a panacea. It may be helpful to consider it another tool in your arsenal that can give you an edge over competitors who don’t use it (or don’t use it effectively). We love Grammarly, so we’ve agreed that AI can improve our writing. But we know it can make mistakes, so we rely on our knowledge and judgement in the end.

9. Purpose-driven Branding

We’re all familiar with the term data-driven marketing, and certainly, it’s not going anywhere. But a strategy called purpose-driven marketing is prevailing in some ways—and it’s one of the biggest B2B branding trends for 2023.

Brand purpose is a statement of how an organization intends to change the world for the better and these days, all brands are being held to higher standards. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has emerged as a strategic function with implications for the entire organization. Buyers and customers make decisions based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, the best talent gravitates to companies that live their values, and investors are rewarding companies that lead on these issues.

Customers want to purchase from brands with a purpose beyond selling insurance or making a piece of technology. They want your brand’s story; they want to trust you. What clients mean by “trust” has expanded to more than simply that they trust you’ll provide them with a quality product or service. They want to trust your purpose.

Today, people trust B2B brands that not only provide quality services but that:

  • Demonstrate empathy and authenticity
  • Are inclusive
  • Are self-aware and humble enough to admit where their shortcomings lie
  • And are proactively working to become better at what they do, how they treat their employees, and how they serve the greater community.

If that sounds like a tall order, then chances are your firm has some soul-searching to do.

At the same time, if you’re doing all these things, but not being vocal about it through your branding, social media presence,

10. Focus On Post-Sale Customer Engagement

B2B organizations must support post-sale customer engagement systematically to retain customers, grow existing accounts, and create advocates. This is something that high growth enterprise companies understand. In fact, 34% of marketing decision-makers who have management authority of customer engagement, plan to increase the budget for customer engagement headcount by 10% or more. The primary focus being tied between increasing the value of post-sale engagement programs by sharing customer experiences and demonstrating the impact of customer advocacy and references.