How B2B Marketing Will Transform in 2023 – 5 Predictions

B2B marketing is constantly evolving. An unstable economy, emerging technologies, and global inflation have affected marketers and consumers. Continue reading to learn about five leading predictions for B2B marketing in 2023. 
 
Throughout this article, we’ll be giving our own insight from Theorem’s marketing experts to show you what other marketers are saying!

B2B Marketing is Embracing B2C Tactics

User experience plays a part in the success of the interactions on your website. Cultivating an emotional connection with your customer by providing an outstanding user experience also contributes to brand loyalty. With an increased focus on UX, your brand can continue to excel in the current landscape. 

In 2022, Ascend 2 and Oracle conducted a survey to assess the year’s current marketing trends. This survey revealed an abundance of valuable information about both B2B and B2C marketers. Interestingly, one emerging trend that the survey revealed was how B2B marketers are beginning to adopt B2C marketing tactics. 

 

This study revealed that there were several methods that B2B marketers were likely to implement in the future. Below is a list of these tactics and the percentage of marketers who are planning to use them:
 
  1. 41% will use personalized content and offers
  2. 37% will use virtual events and webinars
  3. 39% will use customer loyalty programs
 
To help illustrate the overlap between B2B and B2C marketers, below is a list of the percentage of B2C marketers who are looking to utilize the same tactics:
  1. 45% will use personalized content and offers
  2. 35% will use virtual events and webinars
  3. 34% will use customer loyalty programs
 

This trend and the selection of these specific marketing strategies emerge following an increased desire for marketers to directly target their consumers. The above tactics take advantage of a business’s ability to gather consumer data and tailor their marketing approach directly to the individual consumer. Now, marketers can target a specific individual at the company instead of just marketing to the organization as a whole, which in turn increases their ROI.

Theorem Says: “We do think there is a growing amount of overlap between B2B and B2C strategies now more than ever…with personalization and highly targeted messaging being essential for marketing in a B2B setting as well as in a B2C setting.”

Changing Sales Cycles

Given that sales cycles determine when a lead becomes a customer, understanding how they’re changing will allow you to continue your B2B success. Recent reports have shown that sales cycles are getting longer, involving more decision-makers, and becoming more robust. 

Getting Longer

According to a study conducted by Demand Gen Report, of 212 B2B professionals surveyed, 68 percent claimed that the B2B sales cycle had increased compared to previous years. This is a trend that began to emerge in 2020, largely due to buyer hesitation caused by COVID-19. In 2023, inflation and economic concerns have perpetuated this uncertainty. Understanding that the sales cycle is getting longer means you can adjust your strategy accordingly, anticipating roadblocks and putting measures in place that will help you overcome these challenges.

Involving More People

Sales cycles have also begun to involve more people, with an average of approximately six people now having input in a sales decision. While not every business is experiencing this challenge, those that are would be wise to adjust their marketing strategies. More buyers involved in purchasing decisions means sales decisions are likely to be prolonged. Now, it’s the marketer’s responsibility to target buyers more effectively, making their decision to make a purchase that much easier (and faster)

Adapting an Omnichannel Approach

Today, B2B marketing requires an omnichannel approach. Buyers have been shown to consume various sources of information before making a buying decision, including vendor websites, web searches, online social networks, professional networks, and their own past experience with a vendor. The challenge here is that with buyers consuming various sources before making a decision, there is not necessarily one approach marketers should use to target leads. However, this means there is also an equal opportunity for marketers to gain customers by simply throwing tactics at the wall to see what sticks via an omnichannel approach.

Theorem Says: “A longer sales cycle would mean that more long-term business strategies should be implemented, such as a more robust content marketing program, brand fortification, overall customer experience enhancement, and introducing more touchpoints and therefore, more opportunities for conversion into the customer’s journey. We would also put more emphasis on retaining clients that we already have and strengthening customer relationships.”

Changing Budgets

Businesses will always adjust their budgets to accommodate changing circumstances in the market. Last year alone, marketers had to respond to the aftershock of COVID-19, global inflation, and a looming recession. Marketers are taking note and reacting to these circumstances that they anticipate will continue to play a significant role in buyer behavior in 2023. 
 
More than other factors, marketers are preparing for the worst in case of a recession. A recent study confirms this as 60 percent of B2B marketers claimed that budgets are either staying the same or being cut. Despite these challenges, the good news is that 80 percent of marketers claimed they were optimistic about their prospects in 2023. 

Changing Buyer Behavior

It’s anticipated that emerging trends will influence the consumer’s buying habits. Marketers can take advantage of these trends by adopting tactics that capitalize on these new decision-makers in the market.

Embracing Old And New Methods

In 2022, marketers invested more money into digital advertising spending, which is predicted to surpass $300 billion by 2025. While these methods have proven effective, they’ve become too expensive to yield the same ROI as in the past. 
 
To overcome this challenge, marketers can consider combining both old and new methods in order for their strategies to remain effective. For instance, while newsletters can be informative and help you maintain your audience, they can also be lengthy and demanding of consumers’ attention spans. Instead of investing so much time and money in newsletters, marketers can invest more in their websites. Your website is your digital store, so creating an intuitive interface and uploading consistent content can be a great way to keep customers engaged while guiding them toward a purchase. 

Theorem Says: “One of our main focuses as we head into this new post-pandemic era is how we can take previous marketing strategies and scale them to achieve greater output. A large pain point for many companies, however, when it comes to scalability, is how to increase ROI while also increasing output and spend. That’s why we are such advocates for automation, because such technologies can play a large part in easing these growing pains for businesses.”

Data Always Comes First

Data and analytics tools have advanced to the point where marketing campaigns can be assessed much faster, allowing marketers to reflect on the success of campaigns they’ve recently established. Using these dynamic measurement tools can help you see how buyer behavior is fluctuating and where your campaigns are least successful. With marketing budgets growing tighter than usual, making data a priority can give marketers a competitive edge.

Theorem Says: “We have had to get more creative with our data collection methods, while ensuring we remain compliant with ever-changing regulations. For example, we are placing an additional emphasis on developing quality and highly valuable gated content to capture consumer interest. We have also begun to automate more tasks throughout our workflow, such as data collection from multiple sources, to lessen the amount of manual time spent on data collection, meaning we can spend more time understanding the data to optimize campaigns rather than spending time simply aggregating data.”

Changes to Measurement

Data analytics methods continue to evolve. Marketers can now predict the success of their campaigns in advance and make adjustments following the release of their campaign. Should marketers use these evolving methods, they stand to reap the benefits of increased ROI. Some of these emerging methods include:

Measuring Fast and Slow

The idea of measuring fast and slow claims that marketers would have greater success if they focused more on the metrics that actually mattered. This is not to say that marketers don’t measure important metrics, but that some may not be the best indication of performance. For instance, marketers may focus more on click-through rates because they provide an easy metric. However, a high click-through rate doesn’t guarantee that the clicks were productive. Because of this, it might be more beneficial to measure a metric like revenue per lead because it clearly indicates the ROI.

Consistent Measurement

In 2019, LinkedIn performed a survey that demonstrated that 4,000 B2B and B2C marketers globally performed ROI measurements too early. The problem with this is that marketers end up measuring ROI before having a full picture of how effective their campaign has been. Making the change to taking consistent measurements throughout your campaign, measuring the appropriate metrics, and then assessing ROI after some time can give you a better idea of how effective your campaigns are.
 
Theorem Says: “As marketers, we are very conscious of the fact that data should always remain at the heart of all strategy. As data privacy laws continue to change and get stricter, customer data is increasingly difficult to gather, which emphasizes the importance of knowing how to collect, analyze and make the best use of the data that we can gather. We are assessing data more frequently because it is arguably harder to come by, emphasizing its importance.”

Follow Emerging Trends in 2023

B2B marketing is constantly advancing and adapting to changing trends. Businesses have to adjust to their market to continue to thrive. Fortunately, these turbulent times don’t have to be roadblocks. Challenges present opportunities, and there are many new trends and technologies that can benefit the B2B marketer. Start planning for these trends to see great success in 2023 and beyond

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