The final fiscal quarter for many B2B companies is underway, and sales and marketers’ attention is focused on an aggressive push toward the year-end revenue goal. However, it’s just as important to begin establishing plans aimed at next year’s goal, too.
Evaluating up-and-coming marketing trends is as good a place as any to start, as well as where a return to marketing fundamentals is necessary. From creating content and boosting customer engagement to analyzing data and optimizing conversions, and from improving process automation to increasing sales and marketing alignment, there are many possibilities to evaluate.
Let’s look at the trends we feel will have the largest impact on marketing success in 2023 based on our evaluation of the best-of-the-best ideas we’ve researched, including a few of our own.
- When it comes down to it, many trends tend to lean toward marketing fundamentals infused with a healthy dose of enhanced ways to put them into practice. In other words, the trend is ‘new and improved.’
- Breaking down trends into logical categories and the most actionable options within each makes the consideration and adoption process easier. You can’t choose them all, so select what feels right for your organization next year.
- Invest more into trends that have made other organizations successful. When it comes to good ideas, avoid the ‘not made here so not done here’ mindset. It’s perfectly fine to imitate, emulate, borrow, and reframe.
- Content continues to be an important driver of demand, leads, and engagement, and the content marketing game is multi-layered with lots of trends and optimization opportunities. Pick a few and go at them hard!
Create Useful, Engaging Content and Deploy It Smarter
We could just let the headline speak for itself, but let’s break down this topic for context because content is the foundation of demand generation success.
Authenticity: Avoid tactics that may boost short-term SEO and clicks but will take a hefty hit on your brand reputation in the end. Instead, create meaningful, helpful, original content that contains information relevant to your solutions and subject matter expertise, AND that your audience is interested in.
Video: It’s a must-have these days to enhance your user experience! If you were thinking about writing an eBook, guide, or social proof story, consider instead how to get the points across using a short and compelling video approach instead. Be mindful that the market is saturated with video, so use it only when it makes sense.
Stage-Specific Content: Create what’s relevant to each buyer stage vs. one size fits all. This takes time and careful planning, so don’t rush or skimp. Conduct a more thorough content audit than you’ve done in the past and create a development plan that closes gaps. Awareness, Interest and Engagement are still the key categories.
Deploy Smarter: Consider options like syndication to broaden your reach to new prospects. While syndication isn’t new, it is a relatively recent trend many marketers haven’t tried, and the syndication approach has become more refined so it’s worth adopting now. And while we’re on the subject, consider that omnichannel content delivery demands consistent messaging with platform-specific relevance and well-timed delivery. From social posts to email to initial sales outreach, use content automation to give each buyer the impression you’re focused only on them.
Gather Data and Use It Effectively – Especially Intent Data
According to Demand Gen Report’s 2022 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey, marketers will rely more heavily on data to tell them if the content they’re creating is creating traction. Since buyers need digital content that understands and addresses their pain points and gives them solutions aligned with their needs, gathering and analyzing data is essential to demand generation success.
Smart marketers will step up their efforts to access intent and signal data from third-party vendors as part of their demand generation strategies next year. It’s important to remember that third-party data has to be balanced against imminent changes to privacy and data-sharing regulations.
That said, while privacy regulations are likely to impact availability and quality of intent data, building something better instead is an option. For example, first-party cookies, Google’s Privacy Sandbox, and identity-mapping software are good options and can lead to creating a better seller-buyer conversational approach.
Also worth noting, is that B2B marketers are relying on improvements in voice search by changing how they frame information. To answer buyers’ questions based on intent, content creators are using more conversational Q&A formats so consumers using voice search receive more accurate and higher quality responses quicker.
Continue Aligning and Integrating Marketing and Sales
Tighter alignment and integration allow marketers to achieve more from their demand generation strategies. Creating consistent messaging that’s easily transitioned between marketing and sales takes alignment to a new level.
We addressed content earlier, but we’re calling it out here as part of the alignment trend because it’s related. Creating content that addresses each buyer stage, including the post-purchasing decision stage, creates user experiences that nurture and influence prospects to remain customers and purchase more – this assists your growth strategy.
Using your CRM, data analytics software, and other tech platforms creates the opportunity for marketing and sales to collaborate and create stronger buyer/user experiences, so research and purchase tools that make this happen.
Beyond content, anything marketing can do to bring their sales peers closer to the go-to-market plan and tightly aligned with all inbound and outbound marketing programs is beneficial on so all levels. Examples include cross-functional brainstorming and closed-loop feedback sessions, marketing participation in customer and prospect sales calls and meetings, dual attendance at conferences, collaborative competitor landscape and win-loss analysis, etc.
Leverage Social Media
Some marketers feel social media isn’t a significant game-changer and leans more toward feel-good/vanity metrics. That sense is most likely due to improper social execution and expectations. Engagement is still the name of the social media game, so make sure you’re using channels and platforms aligned with your business type and audience.
For many B2B brands, marketers need to enhance their brand’s presence and online interactions through LinkedIn and other social platforms reaching target audiences. Use them to share helpful insight in the form of infographics, downloadable content and other assets, compelling videos, and fostering effective digital prospecting and networking.
Social media will continue to have more of an impact on long-term seller-buyer relationships developed through conversational, ‘always-on’ marketing, storytelling, and influencing. Should it be the biggest chunk of your budget? No. Should it receive a fair share of your team’s time and investment? Absolutely.
Influencer Marketing Will Continue to Boom
B2B marketers are reporting significant ROI gains from their influencer marketing efforts. The “network effect” of influencer marketing is powerful.
Until recently, leveraging influencers was a tool primarily used by a small percentage of marketers and mostly in B2C, but it’s now being used by any businesses with a partial or full digital existence. TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are the primary influencer platforms, but other networks like impact.com and Upfluence are also now offering B2B targeting.
When it comes to understanding exactly what type of influencers you need for your brand, focus on their relevant audience, reach, and reputation.
Real-Time Messaging Platforms Are Great for Data Collection
A real-time messaging platform is unmatched at not only communicating with customers quickly and directly and for giving customers the speedy information access they’re demanding, but also for data collection.
For digital marketers, the maturing real-time messaging platforms market is a godsend for gathering highly useful customer data. And they’re rapidly approaching becoming data repositories for everything B2B marketers need to better understand customers.
If you haven’t already invested in chatbots, plan to do this in 2023. They help a variety of businesses that don’t operate 24/7/365 to answer consumer questions at their convenience, while accommodating your need to cluster meaningful future marketing data.
Contact us to learn more about what and why we do what we do, and how we can help you create in-market connections that leverage the best marketing trends.