The business-to-business (B2B) marketing industry is constantly evolving. As new technologies and platforms emerge, so do new trends and strategies for marketing to businesses. Marketers must understand where the industry is heading to stay ahead of the curve. This article will discuss the top B2B marketing trends and strategies for 2023. We'll also provide tips on how you can adapt these trends to fit your own business needs.
The Rise of Purpose-Driven Brands
Younger generations have always lived in an information-rich, globalized world, but what's different now is that they also have a voice. They are the first generation to use their buying power to influence the world around them for good—and they are using it.
According to the Cone/Porter Novelli survey, 66% of people said they would switch from a product they always use to one from a purpose-driven company.
Brand purpose is the practice of aligning a company's values with the needs of the world around them. It's about more than just making money; it's about using business as a force for good. A purpose-driven brand knows its why and communicates it in everything they do, from its advertising to its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Most brands are starting to include CSR as part of their brand purpose. CSR is the practice of incorporating social and environmental concerns into a company's business operations and decision-making. It's a way for brands to give back to their communities and positively impact the world.
To appeal to purpose-driven consumers, brands need to be transparent about their CSR initiatives. Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, set the purpose-driven bar by donating his entire $3 billion company to a trust and non-profit organization.
Although your company doesn't have to take things quite that far, you can still implement CSR and purpose by aligning your brand with an important cause. There are many ways to do this, such as through donations, volunteering, or supporting a local charity.
Forrester's B2B 2022 Marketing Survey confirms the purpose-based trend by showing brands planned on aligning purpose with vision, mission, and CSR goals to support high growth in the company.
Better Customer Experiences
Your clients always expect a seamless and personalized experience, no matter the stage of the buyer's journey. That means you shouldn't stop nurturing them once the deal is closed. Customer Experience (CX) has become one of the most significant factors in helping a brand stand apart from its competition. To provide a competitive edge, marketers need to think creatively and use the strengths of all marketing departments in 2023.
Forrester's Priorities Survey from 2022 explains that cross-selling and upselling are already high priorities for improving the customer experience and will continue to be in 2023.
Turning a potential lead into a client is the first part of the customer experience. Now that they have become your client, you can further engage them to help retain and grow existing accounts. Here are some ways B2B Marketers are doing this:
- Personalizing Your Client's Experience. Doing so begins with the data you have about them. Make specific customer personas to create valuable and educational content for each customer and use marketing automation to trigger personalized emails based on your customer's behavior.
- More self-service options. People today have significantly shorter attention spans than those in the past, expecting immediate answers to their questions. Customers would instead handle their issues independently than wait for a customer service rep. So make sure to invest in detailed FAQs, resource centers, and customer education webinars to uplevel their knowledge of your product and resolve their issues with as little friction as possible.
- Offering Online Experiences. Brands are rethinking interactive ways to provide unique virtual experiences adapted to their customers. Think of different ways to delight your top customers. Maybe offer virtual cooking or wine tasting classes, or host a product roadmap webinar, deep dive into the product and give them a chance to voice their needs and ideas for the future.
Creating advocates for your brand is a trend in 2023 that your brand must commit to. Marketing decision makers plan to increase the budget for customer engagement headcount by 10% or more in 2023.
Gifting is the New Customer Retention Strategy
As more of the world moves online, the opportunity to create in-person experiences becomes rarer every year. To accommodate the change, your company must find new ways to connect and retain clients.
One way to create an amazing customer experience is through gifting. Businesses can use gifting to show appreciation, build relationships, and create loyalty. Use gifts creatively in a welcome package or included with the first purchase of an item.
When done right, gifting can significantly impact the customer experience. Coresight Research reported that 35% of respondents were gifting more than usual since remote work.
Loop & Tie, a corporate gifting platform, has created a double opportunity for customer retention by pairing gifting with sustainability. They support craft makers and artisans and donate to land restoration and regenerative agriculture initiatives.
Gifting is also a way to retain employees. Turnover rates have skyrocketed, and The Great Resignation has left many companies understaffed and overworked. The power of a gift to employees can not be understated. The simple act of goodwill can leave a lasting impression on the employee and not only cause them to stay longer, but they will recommend your company to other qualified candidates.
Virtual Events Are Here to Stay
Webinars and virtual meetings have been commonplace in the work environment for years. It wasn't until people were forced indoors that virtual events really began to take off, and they show no signs of slowing down in 2023.
Different use cases for virtual events have expanded, and so have the reasons why companies are continuing to use them:
- Increased accessibility for a global audience
- Lower cost of production
- Future marketing opportunities
- Promotion of a new service or product
- Environmentally beneficial
Virtual events are here to stay, and environmental sustainability is a big added benefit. According to Forrester, two-thirds of B2B businesses identify environmental sustainability as a high priority in the next 12 months.
By hosting a virtual event, your company can avoid the pollution caused by travel and reduce its carbon footprint. You can also donate to causes that help offset any emissions from the event itself. Lowering the carbon footprint is a key benefit of virtual events for 36% of B2B marketers.
So while the temptation to revert to in-person events might be high, virtual events hold more benefits and will remain a crucial channel for marketing into 2023 and beyond.
Webinars are another marketing tool that have become widely popularized after the pandemic to engage customers and generate leads. While most webinars have followed a rather mundane template, trends show more creative webinar platforms and tools are transforming the experience.
Every aspect of the webinar will be reimagined, from the production to the speaker presentations and attendee experience. Polls, chat, and Q&A have become table stakes engagement features but they're now being redesigned to be even more interactive and immersive. Clickable CTAs in the platform help continue the buyer's journey, and companies are putting more resources into developing tools that can measure ROI accurately and effectively. You want people to show up, but more importantly, you want the webinar to translate into sales and revenue.
Adoption of the B2B Influencer
Although more popular in the B2C industries, influencers are becoming a more significant part of marketing strategies for B2B companies in 2023.
Influencers can reach new target audiences and create a connection that might not have been possible. They build trust for a company and generate more leads by connecting to a wider market.
The key to a successful B2B influencer marketing strategy is to select an influencer who is knowledgeable about your industry and can speak to the needs of your target audience. Ideally, you should create a long-term relationship with them as your brand ambassador.
It's also important that the influencer has a genuine interest in your company and what you do. The goal is to create interesting and informative content, not a sales pitch in disguise.
Look for influencers with years of experience in their industry or a clear history of success.
A B2B influencer strategy can be highly effective and help you reach your target market more organically.
Learning the strategies and trends for the upcoming year is critical for any marketer who wants to stay ahead of the competition.
By understanding what is popular and effective, you can create a plan to help your company succeed. Use the advice in this article to inform how your company moves forward with its marketing goals. Implementing the right strategy will help ensure a successful future for your business.