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9 B2B marketing trends for 2023

April 11, 2023
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As consumers and companies respond to the pressure of ongoing economic downturn, B2B businesses face unprecedented marketing, advertising and sales challenges.1

In light of those challenges, which B2B marketing trends have appeared at the forefront of brands’ growth efforts in 2023? Emphasis on value, integration of new tech and continued investment in brand development have all taken hold in Q1, and all signs point toward these tactics’ continued dominance in Q2 and beyond.

This guide is designed to support brands with ambitious growth goals in 2023—whether they’re partnering with a digital marketing agency to supplement growth or developing their own strategies for reaching a new target audience. Let’s break down ten B2B marketing strategies that companies should consider throughout the rest of 2023.

 

digital marketing for private equity

#1 Marketing through an economic downturn

While the US still isn’t technically in a recession according to economists, brands should consider developing recession-specific marketing strategies in the event that 2023’s first quarter slump persists into Q2.2

For companies founded after the 2008 recession, developing marketing strategies during an economic downturn might seem like a risky proposition, However, data from the two most recent American recessions indicates that maintaining (or even enhancing) marketing efforts during a recession can produce long-term gains:3

  • A study examining 600 brands during the 1980 to 1985 recession revealed that:
  • Brands that maintained or slightly increased their marketing efforts were rewarded with significantly higher sales after economic recovery than companies that completely dashed their marketing budget.
  • Businesses that opted for aggressive marketing tactics during the recession secured 256% higher sales in post-recession years than brands that stopped advertising altogether during the recession.
  • An analysis of marketing trends surrounding the 2008 recession discovered that 60% of the brands that completely paused their marketing efforts saw a 24% decrease in brand use and a 28% decrease in brand image.

If you want to become a recession proof business, maintaining your B2B marketing strategy would be wise despite 2023’s relatively bleak economic predictions.

#2 Centering value in campaigns

As B2B purchasing teams become more heavily saturated with Millennials and Gen-Z, their processes for choosing vendors and service providers become more value-focused.1 Current reports suggest that in 2023, purchasing teams want unique value propositions to be at the forefront of sales conversations.

So, a marketing campaign that centers value has already taken hold in 2023, and in light of recession-era conservative spending trends, this focus may continue in B2B advertising in Q2 and Q3.

Brands looking to showcase value in their advertising efforts might consider:

  • Emphasizing the value of their services by calculating how much their existing customers stand to earn or save when they purchase a product or service.
  • Developing a pricing model that highlights customers’ value in relation to cost (like a tiered pricing strategy).
  • Creating and publishing case studies that demonstrate how their existing customers have saved or earned after purchasing a product or service.

#3 Staying educated about new technology

B2B companies will continue to encounter new marketing technologies throughout 2023. Whether brands choose to adopt them into their practices is entirely up to them, but understanding what each B2B marketing trend isand how it stands to change the current ways of things is essential.

For example, recent technological advances in marketing may:

  • Leverage AI for increased content volume and production efficiency
  • Demand increased diversification of digital assets designed for specific platforms
  • Affirm the need for human intelligence and collaboration in marketing conversations

Simply put, today’s brands should maintain eye contact with emerging technologies to develop marketing strategies that are as impactful and cost-effective as possible. Let’s dive deeper into the technological demands for a marketing campaign in 2023.

#4 Diversifying platforms and content

As newer social media platforms (like TikTok) continue to grow, brands must evolve their B2B content marketing to keep up. But that doesn’t mean making content for every possible platform. In 2023, social media users are paying particular attention to marketing efforts that embrace the varying contexts of different platforms to create content that resonates with users.

To demonstrate what users are looking for when they turn to social media in 2023, let’s compare two popular social media marketing platforms: Instagram and TikTok.

  • Instagram users are increasingly engaged with content posted on Stories. In fact, 62% of users are more interested in a B2B business after engaging with its Stories content on the platform.4
  • TikTok users are primarily using the platform for a daily dose of joy or community-building. As such, they expect a B2B brand on the platform to produce advertising material that serves these primary functions.5

In 2023, content diversification doesn’t just describe developing a presence on every social media platform. It also means that brands must develop the kind of content that users are looking for on a specific platform.

#5 Combining AI and human intelligence for marketing analytics

While social media platforms are expanding, so are the tools marketers can use to create digital marketing strategies. In 2023, highly effective digital marketing strategy software combines two powerful tactics to build optimized campaigns:

  1. AI-enabled analytics and reporting
  2. Human expertise

At this stage of the game, it’s unlikely that professional marketers in 2023 are developing strategies without some help from AI.6 But since AI tools for marketing aren’t perfect, brands that want to optimize their efforts without sacrificing the inherently human elements of marketing are still leaning on professional, human expertise. That might look like:

  • Using AI to compile data but relying on human data analysis
  • Compiling AI-generated marketing reports that strategists use to tweak campaigns
  • Brainstorming content ideas using AI tools but vetting them with human focus groups

#6 Integrating AI content with care

The critical balance between human and AI tools applies to both your B2B marketing strategy and your B2B content creation in 2023. Consider an AI that’s been experiencing a meteoric rise over the last twelve months with the rise of AI-powered content generators.

While using verbatim written content produced by these generators can trigger everything from plagiarism detectors to Google spam filters, marketers can choose to use a combination of AI and human content generation without sacrificing integrity.7

#7 Investing in brand-building

Perhaps drawing inspiration from campaigns during the 2008 recession, B2B companies have emphasized continued brand-building in 2023—developing customer loyalty by investing in:

  • Credible brand voices
  • Brand personas that consumers can easily identify with
  • Product and brand awareness throughout the market

It’s important to note that brand-building efforts in 2023 are primarily centered around authenticity and creativity—characteristics that attract customers and drive organic growth.8

#8 Emphasizing demand generation over lead generation

One organic marketing effort that’s continuing to play a role in 2023 B2B marketing strategies is an emphasis on demand generation over lead generation.9

  • Demand generation describes tactics that get consumers excited about a product or service, while
  • Lead generation involves collecting information from high-intent potential customers for vetting, targeting marketing efforts and other follow-up tactics

While focusing on demand generation might not sound like a brand-building effort at first, tactics that develop buzz about a business could increase consumers’ association between that business and a marketing trend—and ultimately increase a company’s brand awareness along the way.

#9 Educating the audience

During the marketing campaign, B2B brands must overcome a significant hurdle: explaining complex services to consumers.

In 2023, marketers are tackling that issue before it becomes relevant in sales conversations by educating the market on the functions of their products or service before the sales process even begins.

By educating their audiences, brands can accomplish two major tasks:

  • Increasing product or service awareness – Similar to demand generation, consumer education efforts try to make consumers aware of the usefulness of or the need for a product or service—whether potential customers know they need it or not.
  • Streamlining the sales process – When brands run informational campaigns, they create informed customer bases that already know what they’re looking for in a product or service. When customers already know what their ideal offer looks like, businesses can create sales pitches that highlight the unique value propositions that align with these perceived needs.

But brands should keep in mind that a credible voice is critical to developing consumer trust during an informational campaign. Businesses can enhance their credibility by:

  • Citing reliable sources when appropriate
  • Collaborating with thought leaders and industry experts while creating content
  • Being as transparent as possible about their education efforts (I.e., making sources, reports and expert testimonies available when consumers want to learn more)

Embrace value, tech and branding in 2023 growth marketing

B2B marketing trends in 2023 primarily center value, leverage tech for growth and emphasize continued brand development—tactics that all stand to help companies grow despite the looming threat of economic downturn.

Pursuing growth objectives during a recession can be challenging, but brands investing in continued development deserve strategic partners with the expertise to support their ambitious goals.

Enter Power Digital: We’re a tech-enabled growth firm with the AI tools and human expertise to unlock your business’s full potential in 2023. Brands that work with us for at least six months grow their revenue by an average of 71% year over year—more than two times faster than standard market rates.

Our full-funnel digital marketing services are designed to help you reach your target audience, bridge the gaps in your current strategy and connect with future loyal customers. If you’re ready to discover what your B2B brand can be, reach out to Power Digital today.

 

Sources:

  1. Forbes. 2023 Will Be the Year of Business Enablement in Sales. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/01/20/2023-will-be-the-year-of-business-enablement-for-b2b-sales/?sh=227a72eb7a16
  2. NerdWallet. Are We in a Recession?. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/are-we-in-a-recession
  3. VentureBeat. Why You Shouldn’t Cut Back on Marketing During a Recession. https://venturebeat.com/business/why-you-shouldnt-cut-back-on-marketing-during-a-recession/
  4. DemandSage. 71+ Instagram Statistics for Marketers in 2023. https://www.demandsage.com/instagram-statistics/
  5. TikTok. What’s Next 2023 Trend Report. https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/whats-next-2023-trend-report
  6. Forbes. Artificial Intelligence and The Future of Marketing. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2022/09/09/artificial-intelligence-and-the-future-of-marketing/?sh=26adb415697f
  7. Search Engine Journal. ChatGPT for Content and SEO?. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/chatgpt-for-content-and-seo/473823/
  8. LinkedIn. Importance of Brand Building in 2023. https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/importance-of-brand-building-in-2023-5100001/
  9. LinkedIn. Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation (and How to Optimize Both for B2B Marketing). https://www.linkedin.com/business/marketing/blog/lead-generation/demand-generation-vs-lead-generation-for-b2b-marketing

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