Trend 1: Web3: A New Frontier for B2B Marketing?
Web3, the latest iteration of the World Wide Web, aims to empower users by shifting control away from companies. Its key features revolve around decentralized data, blockchain-based systems, and the metaverse. This transformative technology has the potential to revolutionize marketing by fostering transparency, offering immersive virtual experiences, and facilitating community building.
In this context, first-party data emerges as a crucial element. First-party data is the future of marketing, enabling businesses to understand and cater to the specific wants and needs of their B2B customers, ultimately driving conversions.
If you find yourself overly reliant on third-party data, we encourage you to speak to our experts today to learn how to establish and leverage your first-party database effectively.
Trend 2: Purpose-Driven Marketing
In 2023, one of the most significant B2B branding trends revolves around ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), sustainability, and ethical brands. There is a heightened emphasis on these factors.
Modern B2B customers seek more than just a FinTech solution or SaaS software; they want to align themselves with brands that have a purpose beyond profit. They want to connect with your brand’s story and witness your active involvement in the world you operate in. Trust, in the eyes of clients, extends beyond the expectation of a quality product or service. Presenting your organization’s purpose through strategic marketing plays a vital role in securing the sale.
Trend 3: Micro-Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has emerged as a significant trend in the B2B realm, influenced in part by the growing importance customers place on testimonials and proof points rather than relying solely on the brand’s voice. This shift began before the pandemic but has gained even more momentum in recent years.
Recent research indicates that the effectiveness of influencers is not solely determined by their follower count. In fact, niche influencers have proven to be highly impactful and relevant. A study by Marketing Chart has shown that micro-influencers, who have less than 15K followers, achieve the highest engagement rates across various platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
B2B customers now prefer to receive information from sources they trust, whether it’s celebrities, industry experts, or satisfied customers. They value honest, straightforward, and knowledgeable advice, which is often provided by influencers rather than traditional salespeople.
Trend 4: AI-Enabled Tools and their power to transform B2B marketing
The emergence of platforms like Chat-GPT, Copy.AI, and Midjourney has transformed the theoretical potential of AI into a practical reality. This advancement has the capacity to bring significant changes to B2B marketing in several key areas:
1. Personalization: AI enables the creation of highly personalized marketing campaigns by tailoring messaging and content to align with the unique characteristics and interests of specific target audiences.
2. Predictive Analytics: By analyzing vast amounts of data, including customer behavior and sales data, AI can make accurate predictions about future customer behavior and market trends, empowering marketers to make informed decisions.
3. Automation: AI has the ability to automate time-consuming tasks such as lead generation and email campaigns. This frees up marketers to focus on more strategic initiatives, driving efficiency and productivity.
4. Optimization: Real-time optimization is facilitated by AI, which can adjust targeting and messaging based on performance data. This ensures that marketing campaigns are continually refined for maximum effectiveness.
5. Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots offer instant support and guidance to potential customers, aiding in lead generation and providing a seamless customer experience.
6. Content Creation: AI-enabled tools play a significant role in generating B2B content. Natural Language Generation (NLG) technology, for example, can automatically produce written content based on structured data, such as product descriptions, news articles, and social media posts. This streamlines content creation processes and enhances productivity. For instance, an e-commerce platform could employ NLG to generate product descriptions by extracting information from its product catalog.
Overall, AI has the potential to revolutionize B2B marketing by enabling personalized campaigns, leveraging predictive analytics, automating tasks, optimizing campaigns, deploying chatbots, and streamlining content creation.
Trend 5: Goodbye Walled Garden, Hello Open Web
When it comes to finding relevant and impactful advertisements, the open web surpasses walled gardens such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Amazon in consumer preference.
In collaboration with The Harris Poll, OpenX conducted a nationwide study involving 2000 U.S. consumers. The research findings indicate that marketers have been disproportionately allocating their advertising budgets to walled gardens, neglecting the potential of the open web. The study reveals that 84% of consumers turn to the open web as their primary source of information about a business, while 81% of consumers rely on the open web to discover and consider products for purchase.
This underscores the crucial role of programmatic advertising in B2B marketing strategies. By leveraging programmatic advertising, businesses can ensure their presence in the spaces where consumers are more likely to shop or engage in product consideration.
Trend 6: Shifting Beyond Mainstream Social
Expand your social horizons beyond the familiar Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn circuit, and delve into the emerging social platforms that are attracting major B2B customers in the tech industry. These platforms operate under unique rules of privacy, encryption, lack of traceability, and disappearing messages. Yet, they attract massive crowds and serve as knowledge-sharing hubs. Think of platforms like Telegram, private Discord servers, Reddit, and more.
If your brand is visible on social media or in the press, chances are it will be discussed on these networks. This presents a remarkable opportunity for businesses to establish relationships with prospects and customers. Rather than simply providing information, it’s crucial to actively engage by asking questions, listening to feedback, and learning through attentive listening.
In today’s sales funnel, customers conduct research, engage in peer discussions weighing the pros and cons, and only involve salespeople as a last resort—often after they have already made up their minds. Many deals are closed before customers even interact with a salesperson.
This highlights the importance of brands being present and offering the information that buyers seek—right where they already are. Don’t miss out on this vital opportunity to connect with your target audience.
Trend 7: Building a Diverse Content Strategy is Key
In 2023, the concept of social media will transcend vanity metrics.
Historically, B2B brands have primarily focused on a select few social media networks. However, recent fluctuations and uncertainties surrounding platforms like Twitter and Meta highlight the potential risks of this approach.
For those utilizing social media for marketing, customer service, and PR, it’s crucial to make significant shifts, if not done already. Diversifying content formats, such as incorporating videos, images, GIFs, and more, is one aspect. However, it’s equally important to rethink how we gauge performance and metrics.
Brands may need to shift away from the traditional “reach and impressions” mindset and instead prioritize limited but high-quality engagements. Newer networks tend to foster stronger and more engaged communities, albeit smaller in scale. We’ve witnessed how small Reddit groups can significantly impact the stock market and the crypto world, indicating a behavior that is likely to extend to other industries as well.
Additionally, having a diversified platform strategy could become increasingly vital. This means selecting specific networks for particular purposes. For instance, SlideShare might be ideal for customer education, Discord for fostering discussions, and YouTube for raising product awareness. By strategically leveraging different platforms, brands can effectively target their desired audience and achieve their objectives.
Trend 8: Community will be Essential for B2B
With the phasing out of third-party cookies, brands face the challenge of strengthening their relationships with customers and prospects, both offline and on social media.
In 2023, the concept of community, typically associated with B2C interactions, will take on greater significance.
To adapt to this shift, brands will need to focus on creating meaningful user experiences, actively sharing information and insights, and engaging with participants to guide them through the sales funnel.
Trend 9: From Individual Customer Personas to Buyer Groups
In the B2B landscape, purchase decisions are typically made by a group of decision-makers rather than a single persona. This group often includes individuals such as the CTO, commercial team, sales head, and marketing lead, each with their own specific requirements for the product.
While marketing may prioritize qualified leads as their primary performance indicator, sales focuses on revenue generation. This misalignment has led to the development of a strategy aimed at targeting conversion-ready buying groups within an account. According to Forrester in 2021, 63% of B2B purchases involved four or more buyers. B2B marketers are already familiar with this trend, and MarTech solutions have evolved to address this requirement.
Trend 10: Simplify technicalities for B2B customers
Younger, digitally focused B2B audiences seek marketing experiences and messaging that align with their B2C journeys. These age cohorts anticipate a marketing approach characterized by a user-friendly tone, human-centricity, visual appeal, data-driven insights, and a deep understanding of their predominantly digital business operations.
In 2023, expect B2B sales language to simplify, imagery to become more interactive and captivating, and marketing channels to expand from professional platforms like LinkedIn to include personal platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Discord.
Explore our report on Language Matters and how words can significantly impact your B2B sales cycle.
Trend 11: The emergence of Sales-enabled B2B Public Relations
Effective public relations has always played a crucial role in B2B marketing, and in 2023, its significance will be more pronounced than ever.
In the realm of B2B PR in 2023, you might find your brand featured in renowned publications like the South China Morning Post, receiving video reviews from influential figures, or gaining mentions in trade magazines. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that thought leadership plays a significant role in PR and can serve as a valuable long-term investment for your brand.
However, not all B2B businesses have fully embraced the potential of PR. Some hesitate due to cost concerns, while others seek clarity on how PR can directly contribute to sales and revenue.
The solution to these challenges lies in Sales-enabled PR.
At Current Asia, we possess the expertise to leverage PR effectively, enabling you to achieve tangible results:
- Shorten the sales cycle
- Drive revenue
- Build a robust and high-quality lead pipeline
Trend 12: Human-Centric Organizations
In today’s business landscape, there is a growing demand for organizations led by people, not just faceless entities. Consequently, it is crucial for your leadership to take center stage in your communications strategy.
Your leaders should develop personal brands that are worth following. The startup culture, which emphasizes the importance of individuality and authenticity, has permeated even the highest levels of corporate and SMB industries.
Gone are the days when an elusive CEO provided a competitive advantage. In reality, CEOs who are vocal and engage in public discourse can leverage their influence for positive impact. In 2023, B2B buyers will actively seek out leaders who speak out and demonstrate their ability to make a difference.