Like today’s technology, modern marketing, along with its techniques and strategies, is ever-evolving. As a marketer, you have to navigate such changes, as well as adapt newer technologies and more integrated approaches to marketing. You also have to consider your audience, their behaviour and their expectations. What do clients in the B2B sector want? What kind of experiences are they looking for?
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly altered not only consumer demand but also the way we do business. For business-to-business companies to stay relevant and competitive, they needed to make changes, especially in terms of their buyer-seller dynamics. There’s now a need for B2B marketers to anticipate and cater to the demands of this new dynamic, as well as incorporate it into their future marketing strategies.
The need to embrace digital transformation has also spurred many B2B organisations to adopt new methods and technologies in a bid to deliver better customer experience and drive sales.
In B2B sales, for example, as part of their digital marketing tactics, many B2B companies are providing their clients with resources that will allow them to conduct their own research and due diligence. This is because, nowadays, B2B buyers themselves are taking proactive charge of B2B transactions by doing all the legwork before contacting a vendor.
Given all these changes, how can you keep your business agile? How do you leverage emerging trends and technologies? What digital marketing strategies can you implement that will enable you to generate high-quality leads while delivering unparalleled customer experiences and driving revenue?
Here’s a preview of what the B2B digital marketing landscape could look like in 2023 and what you can do to craft a digital marketing strategy that works.
What Is B2B Digital Marketing?
In a nutshell, B2B digital marketing refers to businesses using digital marketing tactics to target and attract other businesses or organisations. It helps you introduce your brand to other businesses while letting them know how your products or services can benefit them.
What Are the 4 Types of B2B Buyers?
Potential B2B buyers can fall into any of these four categories:
Producers use or transform the offerings of other businesses to create their own products or services.
Resellers purchase another company’s products or services with the intention of reselling the said items. Often, resellers, which include retailers and wholesalers, sell these items without making any alterations to them.
These are organisations that tend to purchase products or services in bulk to lower costs. Charitable organisations, churches, private colleges and hospitals are some examples of institutions.
Governments all over the world work with various companies, usually through contracts or different procurement methods, to purchase products needed by their branches and departments. They also purchase services, such as medical and construction services, that they’ll be providing for their citizens.
11 B2B Digital Marketing Trends to Look Out For in 2023
Stay on top of emerging B2B digital marketing trends, so you can derive actionable insights and make informed decisions. Prepare for the future and discover some of the notable B2B digital marketing trends that can potentially shape the digital marketing landscape in 2023.
1. Increased Investment in Digital Marketing
Marketers in general are seeing the value of digital marketing channels in the B2B sphere, particularly video, social media and digital ads, followed by digital content and websites or apps. Furthermore, a majority of marketers or more than 75% are looking to increase their investments in marketing technology (martech) by 2023 to improve their delivery of personalised content, enhance customer experience and create automated campaigns, among other goals. Meanwhile, approximately 61% are aiming for a moderate increase in their martech investments.
2. The Growing Demand for Personalisation
While personalisation isn’t exactly a new concept, it’s still a vital component in B2B digital marketing. Unfortunately, it’s also an often-overlooked factor.
Personalisation is important because it makes your clients feel that you value them and you want to do business with them. It also makes them feel that you know their pain points and can offer a potential solution. As a marketer, personalisation enables you to have a deeper understanding of who your customers are, what they need and what products or services can solve their pain points.
Furthermore, personalisation is vital because no two B2B buyers are the same. And even if they do happen to come from the same industry, each one will likely have a unique set of needs.
So it’s important to include personalisation in your B2B digital marketing strategy as a key element—primarily because 71% of consumers are expecting companies to deliver personalised experiences.
Instead of providing a very generic experience for all your clients, which is a frustrating experience to 76% of consumers, take the time to carve out a marketing strategy that offers personalised website content, for example.
As part of your commitment to improving your marketing strategy, you can look into applying account-based marketing (ABM). It’s a growth strategy that leverages personalised campaigns or buying experiences to engage individual accounts. When applied to B2B, it can help companies establish long-term relationships with high-value accounts, as well as increase their ROI.
3. Social Commerce and Its Popularity
Social commerce is making waves in the B2B sphere, with 46% of B2B buyers using social media in the early stages of their buyer’s journey. They use such channels to discover different solutions for their pain points. Some B2B buyers turn to social media to compare options, while others use it to learn more about a particular solution before making a final decision.
As such, it’s important for B2B companies to use social media platforms to highlight their products and services, and not just use their social networks solely for building brand awareness. B2B companies should look into bolstering their content marketing strategy as part of their overall digital marketing tactics. One way to do this is by highlighting user-generated content or positioning yourself as a thought leader by sharing relevant resources with your target market.
4. The Sustained Popularity of Video Content
Video content is a powerful marketing tool but only when it’s utilised properly. This means using it only where it’s necessary and as a means to nurture audience engagement. If you’re planning to incorporate video content into your digital marketing strategy, make sure that it adds value and isn’t redundant. Don’t just create and publish videos just because you can. One way to use video content is to create short-form videos that act as jumping-off points for discussions. You can also use videos for how-to guides or brief explainers.
5. Utilising Emerging Technologies to Create Engaging Content
Emerging tech, such as AR and VR, can be used to deliver unique, immersive experiences to your target audience. For example, you can use AR to help overseas B2B buyers picture what your product will look like. You can also create a virtual store where B2B buyers can learn more about and interact with your product using only their mobile devices.
6. Taking SEO to the Next Level
Search engine optimisation (SEO) will still play a major role in B2B digital marketing strategies. However, there’s a new kid on the block, and it’s called ‘brain engine optimisation’ (BEO).
Brain engine optimisation makes use of a B2B buyer’s knowledge and experience, instead of solely relying on search engines to get answers. It’s a bit similar to SEO, as both operate primarily by using keywords. The difference is that with BEO, your brand will be linked to a mental keyword or a ‘category entry point’ (CEP), which is crucial because buyers use it to tap into their memories when thrust into a buying situation.
In a marketing context, when a brand is linked to a lot of CEPs, the said brand can rank higher in what researchers call ‘brain search’. Aside from helping with customer acquisition, BEO can also help B2B companies retain their customers.
7. Influencer Marketing Will Still Be a Key Focus of B2B Marketers
Influencer marketing is expected to become a $16.4-billion industry this year. And in 2023, it’s expected that marketers will increase their spending on influencers up to $4.6 billion. This is primarily because influencers are key players in increasing brand awareness, expanding reach and engaging your target audience, whether they’re prospective customers, new customers or loyal clients.
8. Investing in Data Security
Data security is a pressing issue that needs to be looked into time and again. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of their data and what they share online. Governments are also coming up with regulations that will require companies to keep their client’s data safe.
Based on these, it’s expected that one of the biggest trends next year will be enhanced data management measures, along with better security practices. These go hand-in-hand with transparency and B2B companies investing in more robust security systems.
9. A Renewed Interest in Brand Purpose
According to Forrester, one of the factors that will influence how B2B CMOs plan their marketing strategies in 2023 is brand purpose. It’s expected that it will give rise to the trend of putting an emphasis on building a brand purpose that’s consistent with not only their vision and mission but also their corporate social responsibility.
10. Engaging Customers After Sales
Another trend that can potentially influence B2B companies is the need to focus on engaging customers post-sale. Doing so can help companies not only retain customers but also create brand advocates.
11. Bringing Omnichannel Experiences to B2B Buyers
A McKinsey study found that omnichannel is the way to go when it came to B2B sales. In fact, it has become the standard, as B2B buyers are now starting to prefer having multiple options for interactions.
According to the same study, 83% of B2B leaders think that this approach is a more effective way of finding and securing new business compared to traditional methods.
7 B2B Digital Marketing Strategies to Explore in 2023
Having a solid digital marketing strategy allows you to have a better understanding of your customers and their needs. Aside from bolstering your marketing efforts, a good marketing strategy lets you offer relevant, value-adding solutions to your target audience. This, in turn, can give you a competitive edge, enabling you to stand out even in a saturated marketplace.
To help you create a winning strategy for next year, below are some of the B2B digital marketing strategies to consider.
1. Prioritise Knowing Your Target Audience and Creating a Winning Company Website
Before anything else, you should focus on defining your target audience. Knowing who this demographic is will form the backbone of your digital strategies and ensure that your B2B marketing efforts will be received by the right people.
Additionally, you need to have a company website. Aside from being valuable resources, websites are a great online marketing tool. They can influence a consumer’s purchasing decision and give you a channel that you can use to generate leads and collect customer data.
What makes a good company website? It should:
- Contain accurate, up-to-date information
- Be mobile-responsive
- Include information relevant to your target audience and industry
- Have clear CTAs
- Be engaging and informative
- Be easy to navigate
2. Carry Out a Competitive Analysis
Use competitive analysis to learn more about how other businesses approach digital marketing or marketing in general. When doing market research, try to focus on your competitors’ marketing campaigns (their execution, marketing strategies, and improvements that can be made) and their products or services.
3. Pay Close Attention to B2B Content Marketing Trends
Content marketing is a key player in any B2B digital marketing strategy, with 92% of content marketers saying they consider content as an asset.
Content isn’t just blog posts or short videos that you post on social media platforms. For example, a potential that you might see in 2023 is the increased emphasis on creating user-centric content. This means coming up with content that’s not just about using SEO to rank higher on search engine results pages. It’s about creating the type of content that meets your audience’s needs.
Before creating and publishing content, determine whether it’s useful or relevant. Make sure it’s engaging and you’re giving your audience something valuable and unique.
Another trend worth considering is working with influencers to generate on-brand, relevant content. Additionally, you can use technology to create next-level immersive content for your audience. Aside from real-time content like livestreams, you may want to consider using immersive extended reality tech like augmented reality, virtual reality or mixed reality to create novel experiences for existing clients and potential customers.
You may want to look at creating more useful resources, such as e-books and how-to guides, to entice B2B buyers. Both mediums are easily accessible and are usually written in clear, concise language. Repurposing is also a great way to create ‘new’ content without necessarily starting from scratch. Now, when we say repurposing, this doesn’t mean copying old, forgotten content from one channel (say, your website) and pasting it to a new one (like your social media page).
Content repurposing lets you use old content and turn it into something new by changing its format or adding newer, more relevant information to the existing piece to extend its longevity and reach. For example, if you have an old blog post that’s popular or still doing well, you can choose to update that with new information, turn it into an infographic or use it as a basis for a podcast episode.
4. Consider Email Marketing for B2B
Email marketing is a proven strategy that has the power to convert visitors and subscribers into paying customers. For B2B email marketing to be effective, you need to be consistent in your messaging and continue bringing value to customers. Email newsletters are a great way of letting your customers know about your business and what you can offer.
5. Pay Attention to PPC Campaigns
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows you to strategically place your business in front of your target market and new audience segments. While this requires some upfront investment, you can maximise your PPC campaigns by leveraging data (buyer persona) and publishing content that’s relevant to your target demographic.
6. Tap Into the Power of Social Media
Social media marketing is a powerful tool that, when done right, can make your business more visible to more people. It can build brand awareness and help establish your company’s presence online. It also makes it easier for interested buyers to find your business and increase the chances of you nurturing qualified leads that you can successfully convert. Social media allows you to post content that will highlight your brand, story, values, mission and goals.
Furthermore, it gives you an avenue where you can directly connect and engage with your audience, thus adding a human aspect to your brand.
7. Strengthen Your SEO Efforts
SEO helps your website generate high-quality organic traffic, which fuels business growth. It also promotes brand awareness, drives conversions and sales and expands your brand’s reach.
Following SEO best practices not only improves the likelihood of your website ranking higher on search engines like Google but also allows you to establish yourself as a thought leader. Aside from creating your own branded content, you may also want to collaborate with other experts within your industry or with well-known personalities working within your niche. Besides broadening your reach, you have the opportunity to tap into a new set of audience while being able to gain high-quality backlinks for your website.
3 Emerging Technologies Worth Considering
Despite the return of face-to-face events, hybrid events, which are a blend of online and in-person events, are proving to be a powerful tool that makes B2B companies more accessible to a wider audience. It gives people the freedom to choose how to attend your events (online or in-person) and allows people with disabilities, individuals with mobility issues or potential customers located overseas to virtually attend your event and learn more about your company.
The metaverse has become a buzzword these past few years. For many global brands, tech companies and entrepreneurs, the metaverse, given its newness, offers a lot of untapped potential for growth and for connecting with potential investors. B2B enterprises might also benefit from establishing their presence in the metaverse, allowing them to create innovative networking opportunities, offer more interactive experiences to clients and drive more sales.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
B2B companies can utilise AI and ML to drive personalised campaigns and improve the accessibility of their business. For example, you can use such technologies to learn more about your target audience’s behaviour or preferences, allowing you to create tailored campaigns or improve segmentation.
The Benefits of Digital Marketing for B2B Companies
Digital marketing is a vital part of any B2B company’s marketing strategy.
It gives businesses a competitive edge in an increasingly digital world, helping them become more visible and easily accessible to a wider audience. Having a solid digital marketing strategy also gives B2B companies the opportunity to cultivate their online presence and increase brand awareness. It lets them capture and nurture leads over the long term. Lastly, digital marketing gives marketers access to data that will allow them to assess their performance, determine areas for improvement and identify tactics for further optimising their campaigns.
Today’s customers have a different set of expectations from businesses. By leveraging digital marketing, you’re essentially finding more ways to make sure your clients are getting better, if not the best, experiences.
Crafting Your Own Digital Marketing Strategy
Want to build an effective digital marketing strategy for your business? Get access to industry insights, data and tips from some of the world’s leading marketing experts. We have two events lined up for you!
Or if you want to further your growth in 2023, then we invite you to participate in the 8th Annual B2B Marketing Leaders Forum APAC 2023 in Sydney on May 24 and May 25, 2023. This is the APAC’s largest B2B marketing conference designed to help you drive revenue, create a pipeline, grow your business, cultivate your brand and more. Access a community of 600+ B2B CMOs and get the chance to grow your own network. Past speakers include Telstra CMO Jeremy Nicholas, Deloitte CMO and Partner Rochelle Tognetti and PWC Head of Thought Leadership Roslyn Atkinson.