B2B Marketing Trends in 2023
We want to be clear, we’re not going to sit here and tell you that B2B marketing is easy, it’s not. What we can tell you is that so often marketers who work in the B2B space create content and marketing strategies inside the lines, so to speak. We’re ready to explode outside the box, get creative, get bold and cut the crap with the boring stuff, because honestly, it just doesn’t need to be boring. At the end of the day, what is being created is for people and people ultimately want connection, authenticity, to be seen, to be heard and to be known – maybe there is a simplicity in that. So, let’s talk about 8 B2B marketing trends in 2023 that we think will hit the mark, and no, we’re not going to talk about setting KPIs and data because while it all helps, it’s stuff you already know. So here goes with some outside the box thinking.
1. B2B brands need to walk and talk with authenticity
Literally, stop with the bullshit talk.
Authenticity is key to connection. To be yourself, to come just as you are. It’s the same with brands, pitching, content, marketing and working to solve for the B2B decision makers. Instead of pitching like a slick Sally, real estate agent, pitch by just having a chat, understanding the other team’s needs, their challenges and how you can solve for them. And honestly, if you can’t solve for them in an authentic and powerful way, then don’t try to push for the sale because you’ll actually fail. You won’t be able to deliver. Authenticity is what builds trust and connection.
2. B2B teams need to be truly diverse
You might think, why does diversity matter when it comes to B2B marketing strategies and content. Well, when you think about the world at large, there are now 8 billion humans on the planet, all from diverse backgrounds. In order to represent and create for this diversity, we ourselves must mirror this. In order to have the most creativity, the most divergent thinking, the most out the box ideas, we need diverse minds. We need diverse cultures, religions and genders because our audiences are just as diverse as us. So, look around how diverse is your team? If you feel it’s all a bit same same, then maybe you next hire you can really consider how you add a diverse voice into the space, because representation matters when it comes to creating, solving for and authentically connecting to your audience.
3. B2B team culture should be empowering and safe
We talk about culture a lot and mostly within the broader business context or in B2C. But, we think culture in B2B teams and organisations should always be a consideration. B2B can sometimes feel pretty corporate which isn’t necessarily negative, it’s more that there are formalities and a level of professionalism that’s required. However, that doesn’t need to mean a professional or corporate culture is based on fear and an overly competitive environment that pits people against each other. Rather, any good culture has a sense of belonging, safety, connection and enjoying each other’s company and enjoying the work you do. Your ability to connect with people and organisations stems from the roots of how safe you feel in the culture you work in. If you and your team are in a state of fear and anxiety, it’s not a creative place to bloom from, rather it’s hindering the out the box thinking we think B2B marketing truly deserves.
4. Accessibility is key in B2B content marketing
Jargon, jargon, jargon. We’re so done with it. Using jargon is the opposite of authenticity. It’s so often connected to ego and that’s so connected to a culture within an organisation. If you’re a person or a team that uses a lot of jargon, just have a think about how that comes across. Is it truly accessible to the people you’re trying to sell to? Is it accessible to a wider audience? Is it accessible to people with any kind of disability? If you had to Google a word before you used it, maybe pick a simpler word.
Accessibility is more than just use of jargon of course. It’s about openness, a willingness for conversation and collaboration to solve key pain points experienced in the B2B marketing landscape. Content needs to offer the opportunity to connect not to alienate and while not all content is for all people, keep in mind how you bring your audience together.
5. Creative B2B content marketing and strategies will win
Boring B2B is done for. No more boring old eBooks to download with the same old data focuses. We’re not saying eBooks and data aren’t useful, they absolutely are but honestly who needs yet another eBook and 50 bajillion data points to read and unpack. What other ways could interesting research and helpful content be shared? How could you tailor content to a specific B2B set of stakeholders in a way that’s surprising and exciting and gets them to stop scrolling. We know that often what we’ve got to work with is people’s time and attention in the digital landscape so how do we share things that are unique and creative?
Here’s some really fun campaigns we loved in the B2B space this year that were creative in their approach. We reckon, they’ve taken a little leaf out of the B2C playbook but it works!
- Fiverr – Opportunity Knocks Campaign, helping businesses find freelancers
- Atlassian Confluence – generally, their tone is fun, free, friendly and f**king great. The four f’s – we reckon it’s okay to roll a little colloquial even in the B2B marketing space, because at the end of the day we are all human.
- HP Radical Reuse Campaign on TikTok – HP ran a campaign on how to reuse plastics at home, it’s a fun way to engage their audience both B2B and B2C in their environmental and social governance strategy as an organisation.
6. Building environmental and social governance (ESG) into your B2B storytelling and marketing strategy
If you haven’t yet discovered the acronym ESG, now’s the time to give that one a Google. Environmental and social governance is the newer term used when it comes to discussing businesses responsibility to understand their impact on both the environment and on humans more broadly. This is super important as we face things like climate change, wars, poverty, inequities and human rights issues globally. We can’t just ignore what’s going on around us.
It is NOT fine. It’s all businesses responsibility to understand and take positive action, in an authentic way. It’s not about ticking some boxes and saying we did a few things just to appease and audience, it’s actually about caring and taking incremental action for change.
Whether you’re going plastic or paper-free in the office or you’re volunteering some hours in a local non-profit… There are many ways to engage in ESG within an organisation.
Why does this matter in B2B you ask? Well, because this is the world we work in. The health of the planet and the health of humanity is deeply aligned and entrenched. We can’t ignore that there may not be a habitat for us to work in if we don’t take positive collective action, now. Businesses have the opportunity to make impact at scale, especially large organisations. People power helps.
7. When it comes to defining and onboarding new clients in B2B, don’t just work within anyone
We know it can be really hard to get new clients, especially with the highly competitive nature of B2B and the many stakeholders and decision makers there are. But, that does not mean you need to just work with anyone or the first organisation that comes along. If it’s not aligned with your authentic offering, or if you can’t actually help them or solve their issues, there will be no longevity in the relationship. Creating long-term, trusted relationships are much much better for business in the future. Relationships that are honest, mutual and reciprocal are always the most fruitful in any working relationship. So be intentional and specific about who you choose to work with and why. It’s better for both parties in the end.
8. Narrative storytelling in B2B marketing is imperative in building trust with your audience
We’re here, we’ve made it our 8th B2B Creative Marketing trend for 2023, are you ready? B2C is so good at building a powerful narrative that people can truly relate to. This is a huge opportunity for B2B marketers to really look at storytelling and share something compelling that takes people on a journey. Storytelling is what gives a brand an authentic tone that embeds them in a sector as a leader. You’ll notice brands who do the best work in telling their story are the ones that people gravitate towards. Humans connect with humans. How can you building an authentic human story within your brand messaging, content and campaigns?
Some examples of B2B brands doing great work in telling stories are:
- Microsoft Story Labs
- Google Ad Words – telling stories through the customer lens
- Salesforce Customer Success Stories – finding ways to share their case studies in a really accessible way. (Check out some of our case studies working with Salesforce, while you’re at it).
Well, there you have it, 8 B2B marketing trends for 2023:
- Be authentic in your B2B Marketing Strategy
- Be diverse
- Create a safe and empowering culture in your B2B teams & businesses
- Make sure your B2B content is accessible
- Be creative and think outside the box with your B2B content marketing
- Build your ESG strategy authentically into your B2B strategy
- Be intentional with who you work with
- Create a powerful narrative in your B2B storytelling
Do you have other ideas you’d like added to the mix here? Share them with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear your thoughts too. Thanks for taking the time to read our 8 B2B Marketing Trends in 2023.
Wana learn more about amplifying your B2B content marketing strategy, read more here?