Marketing in the B2B sector has always been a different animal, one with no fluff, but ‘tough skin’ and an analytical, creative eye, especially in the Biotech, Life Science and Chemical manufacturing markets. Since the pandemic, there have been some significant changes to the way B2B marketing has changed, turning the traditional ways of working upside down for good. Spotting trends early and adapting your strategy to capitalise on them is crucial for success, but what trends can you include in your 2023 B2B marketing strategy to get ahead?
In this article we set out three macro trends in marketing we are seeing here at Notch Communications from closely with our clients in the B2B sector and how they will impact future marketing strategies for 2023 and beyond.
1. Embracing the omni-channel buyer – seller dynamic:
The Omni-channel buyer and seller approach is here to stay. The pandemic has fundamentally altered the way we do business and to stay relevant, marketing must move with the demands of the buyer-seller relationship. When building a B2B marketing strategy for 2023, businesses need to anticipate and integrate these demands. In a recent study by Mckinsey of 3,500 senior B2B leaders, it was found that:
- There is an expectation now for the buyer to be able to interact with the seller via remote, virtual or via self-serve solutions. Two out of three B2B buyers prefer remote human interaction or digital self-serve from sellers, especially when it comes to placing an order/re-ordering, as well as searching, researching and weighing up different suppliers.
- The sales lead role is becoming hybrid. Sales teams across the board are now only spending 50% of their role doing more traditional sales activities.
- Eight in ten B2B leaders say that Omni-channel is as or more effective than traditional methods—a sentiment that has grown sharply throughout the past year—rising from 54% at the start of the pandemic to 83% in February 2021.
2. Marketeers in B2B are increasing investment in digital marketing:
This B2B marketing trend has been around for some time. In fact, some of our clients have already increased their digital spending by up to 93% in this year alone! This should be a clear sign that B2B marketing trends are going digital, and that this change is here to stay.
In the ‘State of marketing’ study by Salesforce, covering 35 countries and over 8,270 marketeers, it was found that there were 5 main channels B2B marketers would be committing more investment towards in the coming year. Taking joint top priority with the highest number of votes was Video and Social Media, (82% of the respondents), followed closely by digital content (78% of the respondents), digital ads (74% of the respondents) and finally website/ app investments (65% of the respondents)
At the moment, almost 60% of B2B brands choose to outsource their marketing and content requirements, whereas 41% keep all their marketing in-house. With this in mind, there is a talent battle of strategic digital marketing expertise across both B2B and. So, as well as increasing investment in digital marketing, we are also seeing a need to upskill both marketing and possibly sales departments to become able to support this shift and support the omni- channel sales journey.
3. Targeting challenges narrow the digital channels and LinkedIn becomes the place to be.
As technology providers and governments place tighter restrictions on targeting abilities, the landscape is becoming more challenging to operate within.
Some specific changes that are coming about include:
- The Google third party cookie ban and their replacements that have been deemed either too intrusive or not good enough for marketers. (Google is introducing a new “topics” based targeting which is too broad and random.)
- Meta choosing to drop interest-based targeting, making it more difficult to focus on definitive audience.
- Microsoft’s shutdown of LinkedIn in China.
Because of these restrictions, marketers are looking for partners, like Notch Communications, with the expertise to navigate these novel challenges and build up lead generation strategies that can help drive first party data, their followers and their reach. In 2021 alone, 38% of marketers increased their use of Customer Data Platforms to help with the management of first party data collection.
What does this mean for your B2B Marketing Strategy 2023?
Understanding these trends is only half the battle, we can’t take a blanket approach to strategy without first understanding where the business priorities are, meaning that you will need a bespoke strategy for 2023 that draws in both traditional and non-traditional marketing elements like big events or some traditional sales elements. However, on the surface, it is clear that Digital marketing and the customer’s digital journey is at the forefront of a lot of client’s minds.
At Notch our team are made up scientists and marketeers, specialising in life science, biotech and chemistry marketing. To learn more about how Notch’s creative B2B marketing communication solutions can help you in the science and technology space, click here to get in touch.
Rasha El-Shirbini is our head of strategy as well as a CIM regional board member with over 14 years of marketing experience. Rasha holds varied sector experience over finance, health and beauty, retail, FMCG and technology with many blue-chip clients. A senior leader working across digital, content and marketing departments, pulling in insights, analysis and research, as well as setting metrics and strategic marketing objectives for our client projects.