Lo, the time for prognostication is at hand!
We stand at the threshold of yet another year. This liminal space between the shaky economic conditions, geopolitical unrest, the surprising platform changes of 2022, and the yet-to-be-known of 2023 offers us a moment for cautious optimism and planning.
With the rumble of greater economic uncertainty hanging in the air, marketing leaders are eager to identify ways they can surpass expectations and prove value in the coming year.
Will the fallout of events in 2022 continue to shape business moving forward? Will new marketing trends offer resilience? Let’s hear what marketing leaders, experts, and influencers are envisioning for the industry in 2023.
The Consensus: Humanize Your B2B Marketing in 2023
The last several years have seen B2B marketing trend toward more engaged, creative, and human-centered strategies. Here’s how that looks for 2023.
Make an appeal to emotion
“I’m still shocked when a B2B marketer only focuses on the rational appeal of their offering and forgets or scoffs at the emotional side of the equation. Especially when the offering is at parity with the competition. You’re selling to humans. Humans are emotional beings. You can only win with emotion.” – EJ McNulty, Executive Creative Director, North America at Wunderman Thompson
Embrace creativity – customers expect it
“If you want to stand out in the crowded B2B space, you must prioritize creativity. Buyers have changed. And thus B2B marketing has changed. When you find creative ways to resonate with your target audience, it builds trust and authenticity which is required for B2B organizations to lead. We have to start thinking outside of the box.
What worked 5 years ago, or even 3 years ago, isn’t working the same today. Buyers expect a lot more and they are choosing the brands that ‘get it.’ And in order to ‘get it’ you have to embrace creative marketing and try new things to stand out from the crowd.” – Mandy McEwen, Social Sales Coach at Mod Girl Marketing
Play the long game with growth strategies
“For our own agency, our approach to how we communicate with clients had strong changes. Before the downturn, companies were looking for strategies to accelerate their growth and scale quickly. But today, companies are looking for help with the basics, they want to make sure they have the foundations figured out so they can grow sustainably, they can’t afford to lose any capital at this moment.
The biggest lever companies can pull to improve their strategy in the next 12-24 months is to go deep into customer research and insights… If you take the time to collect and act on those insights, your marketing and business will be steps ahead of your competition.” – Diego Oquendo, Founder & CEO at Vulkan Marketing
Tell the story of how you’re solving customer problems
“A successful B2B marketing campaign is audience-first and starts with defining ‘why’ this matters to your buyer. You identify the problem or opportunity, outline the solution and present the value in a way that aligns to your audience’s decision-making style.
The story arc should carry a more human tone and focus on sparking conversation and building community, not broadcasting. Measure the campaign using KPIs that provide you with the data and insights to show that you’re delivering relevant solutions to your buyer, and driving business impact.
It’s important that we put the customer at the core of all we do because it’s truly a win-win. Customers that have great experiences spend more, stay longer and tell more people about their experiences. Carry that forward and that means increased brand loyalty, repeat purchases and referrals.“ – Danielle Guzman, Global Head of Social Media at Mercer
Humanize your brand, and be authentic about it
“B2C moments are coming into B2B – feelings, emotions, and humanity. The world has changed. Just be present online and you’d get results. It was enough. Today, it’s not enough to create a great product/service and publish it somewhere. The product itself is not enough.
Customers want to engage with you – with people working in the company, building the company, running the company – and relate to you on an emotional level. We’re going into the era where your success is no longer driven by what your product does. It is driven by who you are as a brand and by what is your story.” – Nemanja Zivkovic, CEO & Founder at Funky Marketing
Clarify and amplify your brand purpose
“One thing I recommend to grow clients, as well as my own personal brand, is to get crystal clear on the overall brand purpose. Meaning, what are we truly here to do, who are we here to do it for, who do we want to do it with and how do we want people to feel when they connect with us online, i.e., what can we create of true quality, consistently, that has conviction and will build a stronger community?
If we’re just getting started, we can focus on engagement, not just sharing posts to be heard or seen. Engagement that is personal, intentional and thoughtful is key. We must then collaborate with others who align with our core message and values – then we can engage with their content and share it with our community as well.” – Jessicka Phillips, Relationship Marketing Evangelist & President at NOW Marketing Group
Take strategic creative risks
“No marketer wants to be known as unimaginative, boring and unoriginal! In fact, look at any marketing job description and you’ll likely see the word ‘creative’ listed among the required skills.
Ultimately, the biggest benefit of developing your creativity is that you’ll be able to come up with ideas that nobody else has thought of … which means internal credibility and influence.” – Stacey Danheiser, Founder and CMO at SHAKE Marketing
Evolve Your B2B Marketing in 2023
Given the state of the B2B marketing environment, it should come as no surprise that top influential marketers everywhere are urging their peers to lean into a more emotional, purpose-driven, humanized vision for business-oriented marketing. Here’s a quick recap of the trending best practices they recommend for the year ahead:
- Appeal to emotions: It’s one of the best ways to stand out in B2B categories with solution parity.
- Embrace creativity: Buyers want to engage with brands that connect and resonate with them in novel ways.
- Play the long game for growth: Focusing narrowly on short-term strategies and campaigns will diminish your brand’s sustainable revenue impact over time.
- Tell stories about solving problems: Help buyers understand what your solution can do for them by using data and insights to form relevant, hard-hitting narratives.
- Humanize your brand with authenticity: Success is no longer driven solely by what your product does, but by what your company is truly about.
- Center on brand purpose: On that last note, elevating your brand’s values and guiding philosophy can be a great way to differentiate and stand out.
- Take strategic risks: Creativity is about doing things differently, and that means being willing to experiment and see what catches with your audience.