What’s New in B2B Marketing for 2023

2023 Marketing Trends

Here’s a round-up of new ideas and trends I’m seeing in B2B marketing, to help us plan for 2023.

Marketing spend trends for 2023.  The Winterberry Group has recently released its annual projections on marketing spend, and I am happy to say that this year they have also produced a B2B-specific study, in collaboration with the ANA.   Most B2B offline media spending will remain flat, they say, except for experiential/event marketing, which they predict to grow at a whopping 11.8%.  (No surprise.  Everyone wants to get back to conferences and trade shows this year.)  On the digital side, 70% of B2B media spend goes to two channels, search and social, according to the report.  And these will continue to grow,  +12% and +16.9, respectively.

Newly sophisticated B2B ecommerce.  The integration of ecommerce into B2B buying and selling received a big boost from the pandemic, as we’ve seen.  But the platforms are now becoming more capable of delivering a consumer-like experience and easier integrations.  Have a look at Spryker, as an example.

Omnichannel marketing communications are here to stay.  As business buying grows in complexity, with buying groups expanding, and work from home becoming the norm, B2B marketers have responded with methods intended to reach buyers wherever they are, through whatever screen or print medium they are consuming.  One of the most effective approaches to omnichannel is account-based marketing (ABM), especially when it includes CTV.

Increased need for data accuracy and completeness.  I’ve been preaching on this subject for years, and happy to see that others are, too.  Here’s a report from DNB calling inaccurate data the Number One impediment to B2B marketing success.  Yes!   I add the point that marketers need to take responsibility for data quality themselves, rather than delegating it to someone over in operations.

Real-life research into insights for your copy and design.  Marketers can test till the cows come home, but response rates won’t tell you the “why” behind a customer’s reaction to your messages.  Wynter is a research company that has assembled a diverse panel of business people who will answer questions about why your headline didn’t grab them.  An extra benefit: You can join the panel and get paid to answer marketer questions as a side hustle.  I just signed up myself.  Sounds like fun.

Higher capture rates of website visitors.  Most B2B marketing efforts to identify otherwise-anonymous website visitors has relied on IP address identifications or webforms.  Now, along comes Mobile Monkey, which claims to be able to identify 10%-30% of site visitors by approaching the problem from a consumer perspective.  Mobile Monkey actually started with a product targeted to consumer-facing marketers, but soon realized that they had a B2B opportunity, too.  Their “X-Ray” contact resolution product matches your site visitors to their large database of opt-in individuals from a network of partners, irrespective of the visitor’s business affiliation.  Which is pretty neat, because the visitor’s arrival at your site is likely a strong enough indicator of intent to make them worth some outreach.  Why else would they be there, right?

The real emotion behind B2B purchase decision-making?  It’s learning.  New research out of Canada suggests that business buyers—at least in the tech sector—are primarily motivated by growing their knowledge.   Turns out, it’s less about power, connection and status—the drivers we’ve assumed for years.  This will give the copywriters something to play with in 2023.  A shout out to Scott Gillum for the insights.

Voice search arrives.  Smart B2B marketers are experimenting with smart speakers, with promising early results in marketing, customer service and logistics.  Have a look at Jeanna Barrett’s excellent article in MarketingProfs for examples and tips on how to get started.

Sonic branding arrives, in Australia, anyway.  I’ve been waiting for sonic branding, like the familiar “dun-dun” we hear at the beginning of a Law & Order episode, to reach the B2B world.  Well, they’re trying it down under!  Aircall, a provider of cloud-based call center solutions, created this lively sound to impress their clients, prospects and even employees.

Ruth Stevens

Ruth Stevens advises clients on customer acquisition and retention. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the business accelerator in New York City. Ruth is an author and contributor to many notable business publications. Her books include B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results and Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, Trade Show and Event Marketing, and co-author of the white paper series “B-to-B Database Marketing.” Ruth is a sought-after speaker and trainer, and has presented to audiences and business schools in Asia, Australia, and Latin America. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff Davis, and IBM.

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