The business-to-business (B2B) marketplace in 2023 and beyond continues to witness fierce competition driven by rapid digitalization, persistent innovations of business models, and increasing global connectivity.
Building a strong B2B brand has become increasingly valuable as a business investment as the demand to stand out from the market requires experts who are keen on trending factors that generate leads and company growth.
But do these branding experts have a magic bullet? A particular strategy might have worked five years ago but things always change. With an increasing discussion of automation, AI technology, and other discoveries that shook the marketplace to the core, there is no denying that experts have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something new.
Fortunately, certain B2B marketing trends seemed to have popped out from the rest and this guide will tell you all you need to know about what it takes to bring your B2B marketing strategy to the next level.
Let’s get started!
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing is any strategy, campaign, or content that is directed toward other businesses.
It differs from traditional B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing because its target audience is generally c-suite level rather than the general consumers B2C businesses have as its market. Because of it, there is a difference between their marketing approach and campaign.
The modern B2B marketer should be knowledgeable, creative, and agile to stand out in a crowded space. B2B marketers must also recognize the importance of social media and digital marketing techniques such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), email marketing, relevant content curation, and web design.
What is the Difference between B2B and B2C marketing?
The primary difference between B2B and B2C marketing is the target audience. B2B marketing focuses on businesses and therefore business executives, while B2C marketing targets individual consumers. As a result, the strategies used to reach these two audiences differ greatly.
The first thing is the purchasing reason. A B2C marketing strategy varies accounting for the myriad of reasons why a B2C customer makes a purchase. They could be buying out of necessity, entertainment, or out of whim.
A B2B approach tends to make sure that the products or services fulfill the organization’s ROI, have a much more efficient work process, or have particular expertise for the team.
A B2B marketing strategy also aims for a longer sales cycle and closer relationship with their customers rather than B2C direct and short-term purchases.
The B2B marketing approach thus appeals to the ones who decide within a company, but their services affect the whole organization.
Keep in mind that B2B and B2C companies aren’t always mutually exclusive and their products might also intersect with each other.
Here are some of the Best B2B Marketing Examples
Knowing the key differences between B2B and B2C is essential, but so is having a few examples of successful B2B marketing strategies Here are some of the most innovative B2B marketing examples that have made a difference in recent years:
Campaign marketing is a B2B strategy that uses multiple components, such as email campaigns, blog posts, press releases, and webinars, to leverage various channels and reach a larger audience.
One way of implementing campaign marketing strategies is through email campaigns. Potential leads are sent emails with the following characteristics:
- Concise - you are getting borrowed attention from your customer so appeal to a shorter attention span and tell your intent as clearly and as simply as possible. The message should be at most 100 words.
- Direct CTA - If your campaign offers discounts or free offers, then your CTA must make sure that what you are advertising for is what they get.
- Relevance - if your target audience downloads guides, and demos, or has taken advantage of free analysis, make an offer only based on what they are looking for. Their interaction with your content, and website should tell you their interest in what particular services you offer.
- Sentiment - communicate your value, acknowledge their pain points, and present your email as a positive interaction.
A website serves as your online presence as well as the visual representation of your company, so having a robust website is one of the most important factors in a B2B business.
Business owners search online for services, not specific B2B brands so it is up to the ding an optimized site so that your company will be seen and considered as a prospect for their purchasing decisions.
One other way to gauge the company’s technical knowledge is how sleek, informative, and convenient its website is. Marketing B2B brands should represent their skills in their field through their site’s landing page, tech B2B and SaaS must impress website visitors by using technical details in their content to showcase that they know what they are about.
Design is also critical, from the enticing visual aspects to the layout of important parts like newsletters, call-to-action links, and responsive UI/UX design.
Having an established customer base is already a good starting point to campaign for referral programs. Here are some of the benefits of using referral marketing programs:
- Low cost - encouraging existing clients to refer to your services is an advertising cost saved. The cost could cover things like discounts, freebies, and additional services to your customers and their business owner colleagues.
- Higher conversion rates - word-of-mouth marketing is always effective, especially if it comes from someone people trust.
- Earns trust - if your services are referred to someone means that what you offer is to be trusted.
Online interaction is perhaps becoming a dominant aspect of communication between people, and marketing teams know how to leverage this. Business owners looking for service don’t call for people, they go to search engines for their desired services online so what better way to market your company and your brand than to do it online?
You have multiple channels to use - social media marketing, emails, influencers, etc., and it is not uncommon to use all of them, to maximize your digital presence. It’s not far-fetched to say that this is at the forefront of all marketing strategies in 2023 and beyond.
Here are some channels and aspects of digital marketing that you should know about:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a marketing tool that helps businesses get their content and websites seen by potential buyers and ensure their content is ranked higher in search engine results.
Your marketing team should be equipped with the knowledge of these tools as competition is ever tighter in the online market, especially since the first page of search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) are the sites potential prospective buyers first would consider visiting.
SEO involves optimizing sites by keyword inputs, creating content relevant to the audience, and building backlinks.
Social Media Leverage
Digital presence is critical as company-customer relationships are required to have a closer relationship.
This is no different, and perhaps it's a much more important thing, in B2B companies, that business owners as buyer’s persona tend to have a longer purchase decision process and a successful sale often requires consistent communication, connection, and transaction with each other.
Having a social media presence is therefore essential as it allows you to broaden your value proposition into a wider customer base and be able to connect with your potential customers much easier.
There are no stats needed to tell that potential customers prefer your client’s words over yours if your products or services are deemed worthy of purchase or not.
B2B websites put their client testimonials in the forefront of their sites (the bigger the client, the more credible you are), to tell the world that your solutions were able to deliver their promise and the clients you have worked it can see their ROI, just as what companies want in their B2B services.
You can take advantage of this by encouraging your existing clients to write their testimonials and make sure that it is worth their time.
Influencer and Employee Advocacy Program
One of the trending B2B marketing strategies today is to focus on the internal influence of the company. Employee information is accessible online in channels such as job review sites, social media, and content sites, and just like clients, people see individual voices from employees as more credible than delegated messaging from your marketing team.
A raw, genuine, and relatable voice is something the B2B marketing campaign looked to leverage for the company’s B2B marketing strategy.
Powerful B2B Marketing Strategies for 2023
As the B2B marketing landscape evolves, businesses must stay on top of the latest trends and innovations. Here are some of the most powerful B2B marketing strategies for 2023:
Research your Target Audience
Having a clear description of your buyer’s persona is critical for B2B marketing strategies. Here are some steps to find the right people for your B2B marketing strategy:
- Analyze your existing clients - This can be the basis of your ideal buyer’s persona as they at least represent a group of people that is most willing to purchase your product or your service.
- Check your competitors - another basis is the existing customer personas from your competitors. This can provide you with a comparison between your audience and their market to further adjust or refine your B2B marketing strategy. This can also provide you with data that you might need should you be willing to expand your target audience.
- Reevaluate your data - sometimes your primary analysis doesn’t always generate good results and assessing your data again might give you a better insight into targeting the right people for your B2B marketing campaign.
Identify your Brand Positioning
You can’t design your B2B marketing strategy without a proper framework for your roadmap. You should be able to know your own brand identity and positioning by now as it is the basis on where you take your marketing efforts - from which part of your company you want to brand, to what makes you deserving to lead your market.
Here are the things to consider when formulating your brand positioning:
- How do you position your brand?
- What makes you unique?
- What is your competitor’s positioning?
Creating your B2B brand positioning is not a one-way trip and it must undergo cycles of evaluation and revision to come up with a statement that fully fits your brand and makes you stand out from the rest.
Here are some factors to consider when creating your brand positioning:
It’s important to stay current with the latest B2B market trends and developments. Monitoring your competitors can help you stay ahead of the curve and create a competitive advantage. Here are some factors to look at from your competitors:
- What is their brand positioning statement?
- What are their strategies for their positioning?
- How much presence do they have online and offline?
Learning from your competitors gives a better insight into what they stand for so that they serve as a comparison for your brand positioning.
Use AI in Marketing Automation
Creating your brand positioning statement doesn’t have to be fully manual - B2B companies would position themselves to automate some of these processes.
AI software and tools are capable of doing the following in B2B marketing campaigns:
- Data Analysis
- SEO optimization tools
- Content Correction/Revision
- Workflow Automation
- Email Automation
- AI-assisted marketing
It is no shame to leverage the innovation of these technologies, and it is expected that B2B is already doing these anyway. Companies shouldn’t exhaust themselves with repetitive tasks when software and tools like these can be used to put off some of the workloads from you and your employees and put your focus into something that leads to growth and creativity, something that AI tools aren’t capable of, at least for now.
Employ B2C strategies
Though the difference between B2B and B2C marketing strategies must be considered, you can borrow some aspects from B2C marketing for your brand positioning. This includes:
- Provide pricing information - potential customers shouldn’t have to ask for this information from you and it must be detailed in your channels like on websites and other appropriate digital platforms.
- Simple buying process - sales calls should still be encouraged between clients and the company to foster a closer relationship but the sales process should be simplified like a B2C strategy.
- Give free offers - Free trials for your products and services are a two-birds-in-one-stone tactic that makes you closer to a sale while also creating a connection with your clients.
- Be relatable and accessible - having a strong digital presence from your marketing channels is a surefire way to present yourself as accessible to your clients. This includes participating in online forums, being active on social media, being present in your B2B marketing campaign advertisements, and having your contact information available online.
B2C strategies can be your basis in designing your B2B marketing strategies.
Millennials now represent a significant population in the B2B market demographic and campaigns from marketing channels are geared toward them.
Millennials are also a market that you can’t ignore as they are a generation that is more willing to share their experience with the products they use, whether in their social media or personally.
Millennial purchasing reasons also vary: from supporting advocacy to being emotionally attached to the value proposition that a B2B presents itself. Moreover, companies whose core values extend beyond just making a profit are something that millennials take note of in their purchasing decisions.
Decide on Your Goals
Having clear and measurable goals is essential for any B2B business. This will help you stay focused and ensure that your B2B marketing efforts are being directed toward the right objectives. Here are some trending factors that you should consider in creating your core values as a B2B company:
Showing an authentic, human side to your B2B brand will help build trust with customers and create a more meaningful connection.
Go beyond the corporate persona and incorporate empathy and emotions alongside rationality and logic to make your brand feel more personable. Make sure that your B2B marketing campaign speaks for the people within your client’s company, not the company itself.
Think with Precision and Volume
The B2B marketing team often puts a tunnel vision to c-suite executives in a client’s company for their marketing funnel campaigns as they are often the decision makers, even though B2B products and services are often something that will affect the whole organization.
Your B2B marketing campaigns must also consider stakeholders who can influence and authorize purchasing decisions. This can be done by targeted ads on sites like Linkedin.
Create a Career Development Content
While the bottom line in a marketing campaign is to make a sale, potential customers search for B2B products and services as a way to educate themselves or build their profile.
B2B Marketing campaigns must also consider creating content from digital channels like social media and websites, that provide new insight to your site visitors - a way to make a closer connection between the company and the client.
Create Digital Presence
It cannot be overstated how critical digital presence is for B2B companies. Social media as one of your marketing channels addresses factors in B2B marketing strategies like cost, reach, and accessibility, something that is harder to reach when the internet isn’t readily available to everyone.
Here are some actionable tactics for generating a digital presence for your B2B company:
Use Facebook ads and reviews.
Facebook is still one of the leading platforms for B2B businesses. Create a Facebook business as it serves as an informative window to your main site.
You can also use Facebook Messenger as your platform for online customer support, should you need to.
Leverage Facebook ads and encourage reviews to reach potential customers from a high-traffic site.
Use Linkedin Post and Profile Targeting
LinkedIn is also a powerful platform for B2B businesses. Use the platform’s post and profile targeting features to reach potential customers most likely interested in your products or services.
Also, encourage your employees to share content on Linkedin as employee-shared content generates more engagement than brand channels.
There are other social media channels that you can work with and having multiple platforms is something you should consider to have a strong digital presence
2023’s Key Trends for B2B Marketing
To give some insight into your B2B marketing strategies, here are some key trends to watch out for in 2023:
Short and Dynamic Content
B2B content marketing trends to be more dynamic and personalized, in contrast to the expected atmosphere that B2B companies should identify as having a professional tone. Site features like a live chat and personalized content invigorate a potential customer’s user experience, create engagement, and guarantee to generate leads.
Moreover, you have to take note that content should respect visitors' time by making it concise, simple, and straight to the point. Having a balance between dynamic and direct content is something B2B marketing teams take note of and consider for their content marketing.
Videos are Used the Most
2023 trends in content marketing leverage video content as it gets attention quickly and also provides necessary information in infographics and visual details that make it more understandable.
Moreover, video content also sets the brand voice and presents a visual presentation of your brand image.
Rise of Artificial Intelligence
Recent innovations in 2023 put artificial intelligence at the forefront of technological advancements. Even though AI already has many forms in use by B2B marketing strategists (grammar correction, automation software, content marketing tool, etc.) it is expected that these tools will be used more often beyond 2023.
Influencer Marketing is the Trend
A bulk of B2B customer interaction in 2023 is online, and post-pandemic saw a rise in influencer marketing as more marketers are willing to invest in influencers as the industry continues to grow.
One thing to consider is who to associate with. Influencers having a massive audience isn’t a key determiner anymore and marketers are more willing to associate with smaller influencers who better represent their B2B brand.
Be sure to conduct appropriate research to correctly choose the person that best fits your core values.
People are more willing to share their opinions online and it would be no different from telling other people if your philanthropic campaigns are done with the best intentions. In an increasingly skeptical view of the corporate world, it best represents your core values.
For example, Pride Month campaigns are generally viewed negatively when the policies upheld by the companies don’t reflect the purpose of why Pride Month is celebrated in the first place - to protect and celebrate LGBT+ communities.
The key thought for this is that advocacies must be supported by B2B companies because it best represents what they are as an organization. Brands shouldn’t use their support just to have a positive reputation with the public; your potential customers are keen to determine whether you are genuine or not.
If you are willing to stand with the values of your belief, you are seen as someone trustworthy - and this ultimately affects your bottom line.
Several powerful business-to-business marketing strategies are trending in 2023 that companies should pay attention to if they want success this year and beyond! The key is staying current on the latest trends and thinking outside the box regarding your B2B
If you want to create content that resonates with your target audience, check out blog posts from branding industry experts, try out A/B testing to see what works best for your audience, and focus on creating quality content that will help you reach and engage more customers. With the right strategies, you can watch your B2B business soar!