Eight trends in B2B marketing for 2023 | WARC | The Feed
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Eight trends in B2B marketing for 2023
From ensuring customer retention to addressing employee burnout, B2B CMOs face a particularly challenging year ahead – and how they tackle these issues now will have long-lasting implications for businesses and careers.
Why it matters
After a period in which the world emerged out of lockdowns only to then face widespread economic uncertainty, 2023 is shaping up to be as difficult a year as anyone can remember. Marketing budgets are being cut and hiring freezes implemented, but the pressure remains on CMOs to do the same, or more, with fewer resources.
The following trends have been identified by AdWeek based on conversations with analysts, researchers and consultants, as well as CMOs representing professional services, ad tech, mar tech, IT software, risk management, analytics services and account-based marketing (ABM). It indicates where their thinking ought to be directed.
- Customer retention takes priority
With the economic environment making it harder to win new customers, CMOs will place greater focus on retaining existing customers. But this is likely to be more difficult than in previous years, as buyers become more demanding.
Marketers will need to develop a deeper and more holistic understanding of customer needs and devise or rethink loyalty programs, because customers are increasingly looking to have relationships that are tailored to their specific requirements.
- ABM gains momentum
A recent survey suggested that 70% of US digital marketing leaders plan to invest in ABM technology in 2023, as marketers move away from simply generating as many leads as possible to identifying high-value accounts and building lasting relationships with them.
At the same time, the way in which ABM is being used is developing in new directions, no longer being just about sales and advertising but also encompassing communications and thought leadership.
- Experimentation across the board
The pressures to do more with less will push many CMOs toward experimenting with new technologies and applications, channels and brand narratives.
Expect more “snackable” content. “Getting an executive to commit to a 30-minute webinar is a big ask. But short-form video content combined with LinkedIn’s B2B targeting could be a killer combo,” observes Michelle Wiles, senior marketing director at testing platform Swayable.
- AI helps drive efficiency
There are opportunities for smart CMOs to embrace AI to drive greater efficiencies, whether that’s using an AI assistant to automatically schedule and coordinate sales meetings over email, or exploring the use of tech like ChatGPT to help draft content and marketing copy.
“We could see marketers’ roles evolve to take on new responsibilities, including being the idea generator and editor for these new content-creating AI engines,” says Lawrence Schwartz, CMO of B2B software provider Aspen Technology.
- Sustainability is baked in
Sustainability will take its place alongside the usual business factors relating to operational excellence, profitability and performance – and that lens will include the carbon footprint of marketing itself.
“There is a growing trend toward CMOs holding their media agencies accountable for making smarter choices around where investment dollars for advertising are placed,” says Lucy Birch, chief marketing and communications officer at researcher Kantar Public.
- An end to silos
Often talked about, less often achieved, but in an economic downturn it becomes more important than ever to work effectively across an organization. Cross-functional collaboration can be difficult to implement, in terms of figuring out the relevant tech and processes needed; get it wrong and CMOs could end up putting their teams under more pressure.
- Addressing employee burnout
Working conditions and practices changed dramatically during the pandemic and for many marketers that resulted in exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy in the workplace. It’s unrealistic to expect them to continue to function at the same level as before, as a new crisis envelops the business world. CMOs need to avoid spreading their resources, whether that’s people or money, too thinly.
- Telling better stories
“If you are one of those CMOs who is still not able to build a compelling story about how you build enterprise value, you are in trouble in 2023,” says Ewan McIntyre, VP analyst and chief of research at the Gartner for Marketers Practice. And that applies internally as well as externally, as CMOs defend their budgets.
Sourced from Ad Week
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