The world of B2B digital marketing is evolving rapidly. New technologies and platforms are shifting buyer behavior and expectations and sparking recent trends. In this two-part series, we’ll look at 23 B2B digital marketing trends shaping B2B marketing this year, from the rise of artificial intelligence to the demand for video content and the growth of B2B social media. We’ll share ways to stay ahead of the curve, be competitive, and effectively reach your customers.
Part One will review digital trends that are shaping the world of B2B marketing in general, and Part Two will take a close look at digital trends impacting demand generation through the lens of our demand generation framework.
Let’s dive in and discover the future of B2B digital marketing in 2023!
Trend #1: Build Digital-first Experiences
Digital transformation has accelerated significantly. And as B2B marketers, we are constantly adapting to the changing digital landscape. According to Gartner, buyers only connect with sales reps once they’re 80% through the decision-making process.
Instead of customers reaching out to your business from the start, they’re talking to their peers, consuming content, and doing their own research.
Double Down on Educational Marketing
Companies hire other companies because they have a problem they can’t or don’t want to solve on their own. B2B buyers are looking for helpful content that focuses on overcoming these problems. This gives every B2B marketer a huge opportunity to attract prospects with information & education. We must focus on building content that creates awareness and educates prospects on the problem you can solve for them. We call this nurturing with knowledge.
At Vende Digital, we first leverage our social channels as an educational platform. Our goal is to educate prospects on our Point of View (POV) on the problem we can solve for them. We also host a monthly webcast series, Demand Gen Jam Sessions, to build community and connect with our ideal customers with the primary objective of assisting them in making better decisions about their marketing.
And we know that eventually, some of the consumers of our content will want to reach out to us for help. These are just a few examples of how we “nurture with knowledge,” and you can do the same.
Trend #2: Robots are Taking Over the World.
2022 was the year of AI. Projects like Mid-Journey, Dall-E 2, and Jasper gained tremendous momentum in the mainstream. And they are revolutionizing how we interact with data, do our job, and create content.
Nobody expected just how good AI-generated art would be, nor how threatening that would be to visual artists and designers.
But one of the most bubbling trends unfolding this year is, without a doubt, OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The chatbot became the fastest-growing internet application when it hit 100 million monthly active users in Jan 2023.
And the results of its use have been intriguing and groundbreaking. Yet, as GPT4 (a more complex model built on larger data sets) comes close to launching, we will see even more groundbreaking effects of this new technology on content creation, business, and society.
Here are three ways you can use AI to be more productive in 2023:
- Automating mundane tasks such as content research and editing frees up more time for other activities.
- Crafting custom content tailored to each target audience segment increases engagement and builds relationships.
- Generating fresh ideas for campaigns and projects that resonate with target audiences.
BTW- I used jasper to write these for me:
Trend #3: Less Clickbait, More Value!
Buyers are looking for content they can consume on social media that is easy to digest yet still interesting and informative.
In a digital-first world, you want to publish your content where your buyers spend their time. They want to avoid clicking off their social media app or page to do it. And it’s not just them; it’s the social media platforms too.
Amanda Natividad, from SparkToro, talks about “zero-click content” and highlights why you should avoid publishing content to get the reader to click offsite.
This may seem counterintuitive, but platforms are reducing the reach of content that has links. Whether it’s a LinkedIn post, YouTube video, or tweet, share content that doesn’t require buyers to follow links for the value. Share the value there and then.
Summarize the key points of your long-form content to create short, concise pieces that can educate your buyer yet are easy to consume.
This is zero-click content.
And it can radically improve your content performance on social media. The B2B businesses that do this will beat their competition in 2023, hands down!
Trend #4: Expect Budgets to Tighten
No one can be sure how far this economic slowdown will go. Will we see a full-blown recession, and will layoffs continue?
Either way, these uncertainties will lead to companies limiting their budgets.
And that goes for your customer’s budgets too. This will lead to fewer in-market customers in 2023 than you had in 2022.
You need to focus primarily on demand generation to leverage results in your B2B marketing campaigns. That is building a community of future buyers who know and love your brand and see you as the best solution.
But be sure you market to all your customers all the time, and then when the budgets loosen up, they’ll think of you as their first choice.
Assess and Recalibrate your Advertising
Spending money on advertising that doesn’t get results is burning cash. Always ensure you evaluate the effectiveness of all your campaigns regularly.
- Where are you spending your advertising dollars?
- How can you optimize your campaigns?
- What channels and tactics are not working?
Take a look at your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns first. Many companies are buying phrases that are too broad. Broad phases can chew up your budget because they can drive a lot of expensive clicks but rarely do those clicks convert into high-quality leads.
For example, a good key phrase for Vende Digital would be “B2B Demand Gen Agency” since it describes who we are. If someone searched with this term, we would want to talk to them.
But buying the phrase “Demand Gen” wouldn’t be a good choice. It’s too broad, and we’d fail to get a good return on our ad spend. This is why analyzing your campaigns and key phrases are critical for trimming waste.
Another issue to review is the effectiveness of your channels and how many leads are converting. Even though you might be capturing many leads from a channel, you may only convert a small fraction of them.
The point is to review the numbers, gauge the outcomes, and cut waste. Be sure you are getting the expected results, and recalibrate your campaigns where required.
Trend #5: More Video, Please
Video is blooming. Right now, we are seeing it over-indexing like crazy. And we will continue to see growth this year. Video is the second most consumed content on the web today.
Adding video to your content mix is a great way to level up your content marketing efforts. And there are many ways to do that. It doesn’t have to be done in an expensive studio, either.
Smartphones have become a powerful tool for capturing and creating high-quality videos:
- impromptu videos
- capturing industry events
- sharing company discussions
- interviewing customers or employees
As a B2B marketing agency, we will invest heavily in video and encourage our customers to do the same.
Trend #6: Content Marketing Mastery
They say money makes the world go round. But today, content has become one of the most effective mediums for opportunities in business. And its influence in society, business, and marketing will only grow exponentially. Here are three tips to level up your content marketing mastery in 2023.
Define Your Content Pillars
Before you run off and begin creating content, you need to know what content to create. And that starts with knowing what your core topics are.
These content pillars are the topics that lay the foundation of your expertise. They are the topics that are most relevant to your business. They answer the question, ‘what do you want to be known for?’
But limit content pillars to know more than 5 to avoid confusing your buyers and watering down your message. 3-5 content pillars will ensure your content is focused and delivers value for your customers.
Focusing on content pillars will help your SEO too. In August last year, Google rolled out their Helpful Content Update, which is great news, especially if you invest in content marketing. This update favors original content over superficial and rehashed content that is only written to rank on Google.
Provide Unique Insights
Sharing informative content is one piece of the content puzzle. But many people and businesses are doing this already.
So, how do you differentiate yourself from everyone else?
You need to share unique insights that relate to your buyers. And relate it to the market to provide insights and perspectives, not just facts and information.
Identify unique ideas your company holds, assess the content your competition is sharing, and identify the gaps you could fill to deliver even more value for your customer.
Refresh, Repurpose, Reformat
One of the most undervalued content marketing tactics is repurposing your existing content. This alone can significantly reduce content production time as you are utilizing content you already have.
Refresh older content to keep it up-to-date and relevant. Google will also reward you, which will positively impact your SEO.
Reformat content by transforming existing content into an infographic, report, social post, or PDF to make the information more accessible to your audience.
Repurpose your content to reduce production costs, strengthen your SEO, and provide a better content experience for your buyers. It’s a win for you and your customer.
Trend #7: Quality Creative will beat Quantity
In 2022, B2B businesses saw that social media platforms, like LinkedIn, became a place to connect with their customers. And many invested heavily in social media content and encouraged their employees to do the same.
Unfortunately, much of that content was rehashed company content that was boring and unhelpful. In 2023, invest in eye-catching creative assets, both visual and written.
LinkedIn says only 25% of B2B creative yields positive results. But, having the right creative can be a game-changer and lift results by 10-20x! To get these kinds of results, you must understand your customers first. Get clear about what formats, content, and information your buyers need. Analyze what content your buyers engage with and find opportunities to share content that attracts their attention and delivers value.
Trend # 8: Big Changes in Analytics and Attribution
In July (2023) Google’s Universal Analytics will be falling away. And you will need to set up Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to continue to capture web analytics. You will also need to download your historical data if you still care to make use of that data.
But the problem of attribution continues. Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics can’t give you the whole picture. Why? Because so much of your engagement with prospects happens off of your website.
You need to consider how you measure a customer’s lifecycle, regardless of where they interact with your brand. From the first time they become aware of you to the final steps they take to become a customer, from the first click to the last click.
It’s essential to build attribution models that can accomplish that. MQLs are dying. https://vendedigital.com/blog/transition-lead-generation-focus-to-demand-generation/Having gated content isn’t a good strategy for qualifying leads anymore. But if you eliminate gated content, you lose one of those attribution points. Check out our post on Marketing Metrics that Matter for a deeper dive into this topic.
One way to do this is to add self-reported attribution “How did you hear about us?” field on your forms. Ask people when they register for that demo, or get your sales reps to ask them while they are on a call.
Self-reported attribution will help you understand which demand generation tactics work best to drive awareness and convert them to leads. Then focus on leveraging those tactics.
Trend #9: Content Marketing Flywheel
Creating content is challenging. But what if there was an efficient way to create it? Well, there is. And the way you can is by using a content flywheel.
For us, our content flywheel starts with our Demand Gen Jam sessions. These are webinars that are recorded as videos each month. Each session contains valuable information on our five content pillars.
For you, this could be a blog post, ebook, or video that you have already created.
We then slice our sessions up into multiple micro-video segments. These are short, punchy videos highlighting good information for our audience. We want them to be value-packed and easy to consume on social media.
The flywheel method allows us to do this with minimal work to generate large volumes of short content that we can efficiently distribute through our chosen channels.
From these sessions, we can also create premium assets.
We recently held a Demand Gen Jam Session on the Google Helpful Content Update. And from that event, we created a premium guide to prepare our customers for the update.
This content framework has helped us create blogs, premium assets, social media content, YouTube videos, and more. And all this content helps us drive traffic to our website, generate leads, and convert visitors to customers.
Key Takeaways for Digital Trends Shaping B2B Marketing in 2023:
2023 is set to be an exciting year, with both challenges and opportunities on the horizon.
Here are key trends to apply to your marketing:
- Focus on offering prospects and customers digital-first experiences.
- Share educational content with all customers all the time.
- AI will impact how we create and consume content.
- Demand for video is growing and will influence buyers’ decisions.
- Repurposing content is a powerful way to maximize content production.
- Prepare for Google Analytics 4, and strengthen your attribution.
How Can We Help?
The world is changing fast, and being agile is critical to stay competitive. At Vende Digital, we help B2B organizations like yours develop B2B marketing strategies to win in the digital-first world. Tired of struggling on your own? Schedule a complimentary discovery call with our team to find out how we can help you accelerate your growth and leverage the latest trend to your advantage.