A new year is right around the corner and you know what that means: trends pieces! We’ll do our part by taking a look at some trends in B2B marketing that we think will be important to pay attention to in 2023. Will we offer some marketing insights along the way? You’d better believe it.
Trend 1: B2B buyers are researching more than ever
Researching a purchase before you buy is just the way we all live now. Before a buyer even thinks about picking up a phone or clicking your site’s “contact us” CTA they’ve spent time vetting potential vendors and narrowing down their lists. A study by Forrester reported that “... the number of buying interactions, defined as any activity to gather information about an offering or vendor… jumped from 17 in 2019 to 27 in 2021.”
They’re trying to suss out if you understand their industry, if you can offer a good ROI, if your products or services match their needs, and any number of other factors their boss (or the committee of bosses they need to answer to) have asked them to investigate.
The number of buying interactions jumped from 17 in 2019 to 27 in 2021. — Forrester
Unlike B2C industries, B2B buyers generally don’t have pages of user reviews to look at to help inform their decision. So how are they doing this research? Your website.
If your site runs poorly, looks dated, or has incorrect (or very little) information available about how your business can solve their problems, they’re probably crossing you off their lists and moving on.
We’ll be bold and predict that this trend isn’t changing any time soon. Take advantage of this trend by:
- Optimizing your site for search
- Offering lots of relevant content
- Optimizing your site for speed and performance
Trend 2: Buyers’ journeys are increasingly nonlinear
Back in the day, a buyer would move seamlessly from awareness to consideration to purchase to service to loyalty in a nice, neat straight line.
Well, maybe not. But what we do know is that buyers’ journeys now are definitely not that cut and dried. With so many purchases and large commitments being decided by a group of stakeholders, a buyer (or their bosses) may hop in and out of the traditional linear journey points a few times before finally making a decision to partner with your business.
Think about the last time you bought something you’d been thinking about purchasing for a while. What was your decision-making journey like? How did you hear about it? Would you describe your own buyer’s journey as linear or nonlinear?
As marketers, our job is to meet our prospects where they are and give them the answers or experiences they need at any given stage in their journey. For example, someone in the awareness stage following you on social media probably isn’t interested in a deep whitepaper on a highly specific topic. But they might like seeing a simple, eye-catching post that shows them you understand a challenge in their industry.
We all need to be ready to help our prospects in their own winding journey. Take advantage of this trend by:
- Developing a detailed customer journey map
- Creating a variety of content that serves each stage of the journey
- Maintaining a presence in channels your target audience uses, like:
- Social channels like LinkedIn
- Google search
- Your website
- Industry pubs
Trend 3: B2B buyers are people too
B2B buyers want to be inspired just as much as B2C buyers do. In other words, specs are important but so are stories. A “2022 Content Preferences Survey” by DemandGen reported that 41% of B2B buyers want content that will help them lead their internal stakeholders to a decision.
There are a few ways to do that, but one of the simplest (in our opinion) is to make sure your B2B content is created with your customer’s needs — not your sales team’s messages — in mind. That usually means writing in language that isn’t overly complicated or packed with too many technical terms and offering content that speaks directly to your audience’s needs. And, it’s ok to be interesting, inspiring, and entertaining — all the things B2B content marketing supposedly is not — while doing it.
87% of the most successful B2B marketers prioritize the audience’s informational needs over the organization’s sales/promotional message. — Content Marketing Institute
Since your buyers are almost certainly going to continue to be living breathing humans for the foreseeable future, we recommend taking advantage of this trend by:
- Writing in plain language, not industry jargon
- Putting your product/service in real-world scenarios
- Showing how your product/service solves your prospects’ problems
- Leading with empathy for buyers
Prediction: More B2B orgs will talk about their marketing strategies with CID in 2023. You might be one of them. Contact us now to make this prediction come true.