What Are The Best B2B Trends To Implement For 2023?
‘Tis the season … to be planning. And planning for a big year in 2023 means getting ahead of the curve and taking a look at some of the best trends, advice, and approaches available to your B2B business. From digital marketing and B2B marketing to social messaging, SEO advice, influencer marketing options, and much more, our panel of partners and experts at UpCity offered their top advice and trends to help B2B decision-makers lay a rock-solid foundation for their marketing campaigns in the coming year and beyond.
Top Marketing Trends and Tips to Implement
Our panel of experts offered advice on just about everything from marketing strategy to optimization. In other words, if it had something to do with improving your B2B marketing for the coming year, they had thoughts on the latest trends and the ones that have stood the test of time. Here we’ve gathered up just some of the deep insights they offered for B2B companies as they look ahead toward 2023.
Among the most frequent advice, we heard centered around the customer experience, specifically within the marketing materials and methods you use. Several panelists are leaning heavily toward personalization, and they are recommending that every B2B organization step up its efforts in this area.
“Further refining content marketing, including better personalization and more specific nurture journeys, is a critical trend heading into 2023. Providing relevant and timely content will remain important, and the power of repurposing this content allows you to go from strength to strength.” –Victoria Samways, Marketing and Brand Manager at Major Tom
“Personalization is a major B2B trend that we fully embrace! We carefully research and send out mailers advertising our services to potential clients, complete with a personalized, handwritten note. This method of marketing helps to build a relationship and establish trust without ever having spoken with the client yet.” –Meg Mothershed, Co-owner and COO at Mothershed Design Co.
Speaking of those handwritten notes, moving your B2B marketing efforts beyond the digital realm was one interesting trend that warrants consideration.
“People are getting burnt out on living digitally. Let’s embrace the physical world, especially in marketing. Send a hand-written letter, meet potential clients for coffee, or invite your current clients to a local event.” –Jack Shepler, CEO of Ayokay
“Mix traditional and digital to create multiple touches. By utilizing social and search along with direct mail, you create a more personal touch with your prospect.” –Gary Geiman, President of DMN8 Partners
Customer-centric content was also important to our experts, as was making sure that it was not only relevant but also readily available.
“Focus on customer-centric content. It’s very important to put our customers at the center of our marketing strategy. Creating content that primarily solves our customers’ problems builds relationships and long-term value.” –Melvis Lombe, President/CEO of Gomel Digital Inc
“Businesses are realizing that they need to provide valuable content to their target audiences to capture their attention and drive results. As a result, we expect to see more businesses investing in quality content creation, distribution, and measurement.” –Jose Gomez, CTO, and CoFounder at Evinex
Video was another area that came up time and again, and for good reason. As perhaps the biggest part of any modern content marketing effort (especially during and since the pandemic), video can have a remarkable impact on lead generation and conversion rates.
“B2B continues to respond well to video, as most industries do. We’ll be leveraging more experiential videos to help companies better understand the caliber of our work and experience it. We’ll also be focusing on short-form video content to create more bite-sized pieces.” –Ashley Monk, CEO of Onya
“We want to put a major focus on marketing based around video. Reduced attention span is a real issue with a vast majority of users that are going to interact with any of your marketing efforts. But even if this weren’t true, it’s practically essential to have a video strategy if you want to stay relevant.” –Sophie Mann, Director of Content Strategy at encite branding + marketing + creative
Beyond just creating video content, though, our experts wanted marketing teams to focus on high-quality usage of video. In other words, choose how your videos will be used, how they can best engage your target audience, and how video content fits within your overall marketing tactics.
“My expert tip for B2B in 2023 is to properly utilize videos. For B2B marketing, however, the key is in HOW you use your videos. Email campaigns with short videos have proven to be extremely successful in recent months. This could be one way to drive your B2B activity and show that you are not just keeping up with trends, but that you’re willing to take a risk in search of an edge.” –Diana Vasile, Head of SEO at inSegment
Of course, video and content are not the only trends that B2B marketers should keep an eye on going into 2023. Several options are currently growing, and which may have a considerable impact depending on the business-to-business metrics you are targeting, and the return on investment that you are hoping to see.
“When it comes to other marketing topics of interest to the B2B world, they would include: Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) marketing tools and social selling. While this last one has always been on the top of the list, many in the B2B world have been slow to engage in social selling. For this reason, this will continue to be an important topic.” –Melih Oztalay, CEO of SmartFinds Marketing
One area that B2B brands often overlook as part of their marketing efforts is reputation management. But with the amount of information online about brands, and with the role they can play in purchase decisions, online reputation management is an area with major potential as a marketing trend you should consider.
“Oftentimes as business owners, we completely forget to manage our online reputation, especially since there are plenty of review sites out there. By using online reputation management software, getting reviews can now be automated and systemized. This means no more awkward follow-ups, no more not responding to reviews, and having the chance to hear what your customers’ thoughts are.” –Rg Enzon, Owner and Founder of Enzon Media
In terms of areas that are easier to manage, one of the best B2B marketing strategies you can implement regularly is to regularly review your brand and the value that you provide to customers. It’s impossible to overstate how your product or service can benefit people, and this message is more impactful and important than any other.
“Getting very specific about our best value and the people we want to work with has been more and more important to us. Stating that info on our website, in marketing material, and while networking in person has helped us find people with similar missions and values.” –Mike Palumbo, Film Director/Producer at Votary Films
Artificial intelligence and machine learning came up as recommended trends and ones to avoid, and both are valid. The key seems to be in understanding the how and why of implementing AI for your B2B marketing efforts.
“With the help of AI, marketers can analyze data related to customer purchasing patterns, customer service history, and more to get a clearer picture of customer needs and preferences. This can help businesses optimize their sales and marketing processes and make more targeted decisions.” –Tommy House, Creative Director and Owner at Tommy House Studios
Loyalty and rewards aren’t just for B2C businesses and customers, and our panel of experts brought up gifting as a very valuable component of any B2B marketing strategy. It combines the non-digital benefits mentioned above with many brand-building benefits.
“Gifting is trending higher than loyalty points or offers as a customer retention strategy. More than 80% of C-Suite executives surveyed believe gifting has a positive ROI. So we are working with clients to discover more unique and functional gifting programs for their employees and clients for the 2022-2023 season.” –Jonti Bolles, President of WHO Digital Strategy
Social has taken a hit in terms of value and impact in recent years, and that’s especially true for B2B businesses. But our panel of experts wasn’t ready to give up on social yet and had some recommendations to make it work smarter for your business.
“Advertising on LinkedIn isn’t new, but we’re seeing impressive results from the platform. The targeting capabilities have always been strong, and are a natural fit for B2B. We’re seeing improved results with cost per lead as compared with Google and other B2B ad platforms. The combination of powerful targeting and reduced cost per lead is unbeatable.” –Mark Lennon, CEO of Espresso B2B Marketing
As with a lot of different areas in life, cooperation is key in B2B marketing as well. And one of the trends our panel pointed to was cooperative and collaborative efforts in marketing with other B2B organizations.
“We are building relationships with other small businesses that complement the services we can give to our clients. This allows us to showcase each other on our marketing platforms, social media, and blogs, as well as when our clients share a need. It creates a warm lead for the other business and opens the door for them to move forward with the client.” –Amber Sigg Business and Brand Strategy Consultant at On Pointe Complete
With the personalization recommendation, several of our panelists pointed to Account-Based Marketing as a major trend for 2023. In terms of nurturing leads and providing a better user experience, it is hard to beat.
“In 2023, account-based marketing (ABM) with highly targeted content will be a major area of investment. With all the noise and irrelevant content that marketers are bombarding prospects with, it is critical to give people helpful information (no more, no less) in their buyer journey. Customized content is what they want and need.” –David Murphy, Founder of Nvent Marketing
“We plan to unify existing marketing tactics behind a robust ABM strategy governed by detailed audience research. Then we are targeting them across digital, traditional, and experiential channels at the opportune buying time.” –Aaron Henry, President and Creative Director at Foundry512
Above all else, the experts we spoke with pointed out that keeping up with the changes was perhaps the best trend they could recommend.
“Over the past few years, businesses have been expanding and buying, and you only had to convince them that they should buy your product/service over your competition. Now, you have to answer why they need what you are selling first and figure out how to show value, and then you’ll need to convince them you are the best choice. So it went from ‘who do I choose to ‘why do I need that?’ In summary, the new 2023 trend is ‘change.’” –Arif Gangji, Manager at Neon Rain
Common B2B Marketing Trends to Avoid
On the other side of the coin, our panel of B2B experts also had words of advice in terms of what trends or common practices they think you should avoid. And one of the top pieces of advice was to remember that one size does not fit all, especially when it comes to B2B marketing efforts.
“Some B2B trends work better for some businesses than others. Trends such as influencer marketing, podcasts, and account-based marketing (ABM) are rising in popularity and may help businesses grow their brands. However, it’s best to further research any B2B trend, with or without the hype, to understand whether your business can benefit.” –Asad Kausar, CEO of Dabaran Inc.
Among the methods that may work for some but will not work for others, cold emailing came up as both a new trend and an old practice to avoid.
“Most people do not want to be contacted through cold email outreach. If you are going to use this strategy, make sure that your message is useful and personable. Make sure that your email is customized with a personalized greeting to catch the attention of a targeted decision-maker without being too sales-y.” –Roger Avila, SEO Specialist at JetRank
Social media has certainly been a “top trend” for quite some time now, but the changes to platforms and content distribution have meant that the impact is no longer there for most B2B businesses.
“Organic social media is dead. With the way algorithms are these days, your content barely reaches an audience. You have to pay to play when it comes to social media, and spending money on social media management (for small businesses) is just not giving the return it once did.” –Paul Letourneau, CEO/Director of Digital at YEG Digital
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
“Now, if you create an Instagram or Facebook post, only 5% of your existing followers will even be shown that post at all, making it more challenging for businesses to get much engagement on these social channels, and making it incredibly difficult to grow a following organically.” –Kim Grennan, Founder and CEO of Axle Eight
Speaking of social, one of the trends that our panel warned against was having a “social-first” strategy for your B2B marketing initiatives.
“Honestly, there is way too much hype around building your brand on social media, even though most B2B businesses do not use social media as their primary lead-capturing channel. Even paid social ads only come in handy after you’ve maximized BOF lead capturing via other methods, and frankly, content-driven SEO is far more effective in capturing MOF leads and generating demand than social media.” –Xiao Faria daCunha, Founder of Westerlund, Co
And while LinkedIn is a valuable tool for B2B sales, our group of experts has seen too many examples of people misusing or even abusing the platform as a cold-contact, lead-generation platform.
“Stop spamming people’s LinkedIn accounts. People use LinkedIn to build connections, develop a personal brand, find jobs, and network. Repeatedly sending messages to people that you haven’t met yet or established trust with is a red flag.” –Nicole Denson, Marketing Manager at Big Leap
Content trends are just as prevalent as social media trends in the marketing space, and while some of them have staying power, most are not worth engaging in.
“Publishing lots of gated content is undoubtedly overhyped, especially considering how much content is available for free. Informative content that is freely available reflects the character of being generous and builds trust. In our studies, gated content makes visitors more likely to leave your website and look elsewhere.” –Noah Watson, President of Watson Media
Content, however, is much more valuable for B2B operations, and should be a focus. This means you can move your energy, effort, and budget away from other areas or trends that are perhaps not as effective as the hype would have you believe.
“In the face of uncertainty, we are recommending businesses invest in the ‘stickiest’ and most trusted forms of marketing. Pay Per Click is overrated for most B2B businesses. Instead, spend your money on owned content that will pay dividends now and in the future.” –Tara Coomans, CEO of Avaans Media PR
And don’t get mesmerized by a shiny new toy, either. Say, something like drone footage, for example.
“Drone footage and product content are great, but are only a supplement to your overall story! It can’t replace it entirely.” –Cameron Burns, Owner/CEO of Brv Media
Set Your B2B Marketing Up for Next Year
There is much, much more to be shared and considered when talking about B2B marketing trends, and you can believe that our panel of experts was sharing just the tip of the iceberg here. From CRM and email marketing strategies and automation to search engine trends, real-time monitoring of your brand, and on and on, don’t hesitate to reach out to one or more of our B2B marketing partners to see what specific advice they have for B2B marketing trends that may work well for your organization.
About the author
Rebecca helps keep all things content running at UpCity. Prior to joining, she was a magazine editor at an agency for several award-winning publications based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and a content specialist for several brands within the SMB/B2B landscape. She also has significant experience in digital content creation, most notably targeting hunters and anglers (despite being a vegetarian) during her time at Gander Outdoors. Rebecca has also worked in PR, covering a diverse terrain of products and events, including the promotion of local musicians and music festivals and the latest craft beer offerings from local breweries.