As the UK’s February half-term school holiday approaches, many businesses will start to feel the positivity of spring approaching.
With the long, dark January days behind us, it’s a period when many businesses take time to consider their plans for the year ahead.
So – as East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency – we thought we’d take a look at some of the predictions being made about the direction of B2B marketing in 2023.
Prediction 1 – Canny businesses will strengthen their marketing strategies
In the face of an economic downturn, some businesses are going to find the next twelve months challenging.
However, this time too will pass. And it’s that finite nature of the next year – and the brighter economic predictions for the autumn and 2024 – which ensures many businesses will double-down on marketing to put them in the best position.
In times of recession, it’s tempting to cut marketing expenditure. However, it is historically those who stand firm – or invest more – who rise to the top.
If you haven’t already got a defined marketing strategy, putting your plans down on paper will help crystallise them. In business, many things take longer than we predict, so beginning your proactive marketing strategy now will also allow you to iron out any kinks.
As B2B marketing success is so often related to momentum, those who work hard through the challenging times to grow brand awareness often benefit most in the inevitable upturn.
Prediction 2 – Social media will become even more important
Those who have used LinkedIn for B2B marketing over the last 10 years will have already witnessed quite a change.
Once solely devoted to company news or updating your connections on your latest job, it has become a much more varied noticeboard.
Both individuals and businesses are now much more likely to share insights, opinion and even light-hearted posts. Personal posts which wouldn’t look out of place on Facebook are now proving popular on LinkedIn too.
The key is personality. Social media users want to witness the human side of businesses and get a feel for the people and culture which makes up your organisation.
That said, there is still a line. B2B social media – and LinkedIn in particular – should still focus on the 9-5 not the 5-9!
Keep your social media business-related and consider how any update or opinion reflects on the professionalism of your organisation before posting it.
Prediction 3 – Content needs to be more diverse
In the age of content marketing, audiences get bored quickly.
Though long form content is great for SEO and demonstrating your sector leadership to die-hard industry devotees, your audience is looking to be entertained as well as informed.
As such, content marketing – so often at the very centre of successful B2B marketing – has to become more varied to stand out and grab attention.
How-to guides and white papers, blogs and opinion pieces, videos and podcasts, infographics and animations – they all have a rising role to play in a varied and valued mix of content marketing.
And, AI (computer-generated) content comes with increasing health warning too.
Though artificial intelligence has become more sophisticated in the way it can produce written content on B2B marketers’ behalf, so have the search algorithms which can sniff it out.
Search engines and content marketing are all about quality. Use AI-generated or low-quality content with caution, particularly if SEO is critical to your success.
Personalised and targeted content is likely to play an ever-greater role in 2023 too. Not only can you share your knowledge and insights, but tailor it to your recipient’s own business or sector.
Prediction 4 – B2B will focus more on human experience
Adding value is everything. Whether it’s the service you deliver or the content marketing you share, your recipients are interested in its worth to them.
Once incorrectly viewed as emotionless collectives, businesses are made up of people – and consumers. The line between what we personally buy and the goods and services we source for our employer, is becoming blurred.
In 2023, successful B2B marketing will again continue its path towards embracing individuals and as well as businesses – appealing to emotions and experiences, as well as technical features and rational benefits.
Prediction 5 – Long-term business relationships will be critical
Most businesses appreciate that finding new customers is costly and holding on to loyal clients is where profitability often lies.
This has frequently been the key to success for many businesses and B2B marketing is increasingly becoming focused on maintaining relationships.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) – a highly tailored approach to marketing to individual companies and decision-makers – is going to play an even bigger role this year and beyond.
Return-on-investment will become a little harder to analyse as the softer side of wooing clients and maintaining relationships becomes important for long-term customer value.
Prediction 6 – Digital self-service may begin to dominate the B2B buyer journey
As in our consumer lives, many professionals and business people wish to engage less with other people and do more online.
This is likely to be a growth area in 2023, as businesses who serve other companies seek to provide their customers with greater functionality to engage with their products or services any time of the day.
When visiting company’s websites or apps, we increasingly want to see great information and even greater functionality. Where the company website was once simply an online presence or brochure, it now needs greater thought and investment in many B2B sectors.
Prediction 7 – B2B marketers will look more at the full customer life cycle
In a competitive world, businesses are increasingly focusing on getting maximum value from loyal customers.
This year and beyond, marketers are predicted to concentrate more on upselling other products and services to their clients and encouraging loyalty.
By taking a holistic approach to the customer life-cycle, marketers will be able to gain insights to use in new business campaigns to improve engagement and conversion rates.
Customer experience programmes will centre on brand, company values and talented personalities within the business.
In an age of social media and online reviews, turning satisfied customers into advocates – willing to sing your organisation’s praises – is also a key objective for many businesses in 2023.
If you’re keen to improve your B2B marketing in 2023 – whether by embracing any of these predictions or simply getting more from your existing marketing – we’re here to help.
If you’d like expert support to identify, deliver and benefit from the most effective B2B marketing, get in touch here.