B2B buyer trends 2023 and how they should inform your marketing
In 2023, B2B (business-to-business) digital marketing strategies need to be prepared to align with customer trends, buying habits and the evolving B2B buyer journey. B2B companies that adapt to the transforming buyer journey can create a competitive advantage by connecting with buyers and offering experiences that match new demands. The B2B buying process has changed and your marketing strategy must too. To support your content strategy and market understanding, we have identified key trends that will shape B2B buyer trends in 2023 and - most importantly - how you should use them to inform your digital and content marketing.
Let’s dive into the latest trends to prepare your marketing strategy for 2023… The first step is understanding what your customers want and need from you.
1. Customer Experience
Customer experience is starting to catch up in the B2B world to match technology-driven, B2C experiences. Gartner research finds that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend 45% of their time researching independently online - you need to provide a seamless, personalised online experience at every touchpoint to win over today's time poor buyers.
This means going above and beyond to meet their needs and solve their problems. One of the best ways to do this is through content creation. By creating high-quality, engaging, and helpful content, businesses can improve the customer experience in several ways:
Build Awareness B2B content has the power to build an online relationship between your target audience and your brand; increasing visibility, brand awareness and customer support. It’s important here to diversify content, provide value and establish a human-to-human connection. For B2B content creation, remember that business people are just that, people. Communicate with your audience, build trust as an authority and balance big data for decision-making with meaningful connection.
Educating your audience Gartner also reveals that 77% of B2B buyers stated their last purchase was very difficult or complex. Use your content to provide helpful information, answer common questions or offer resources. It’s vital to show your customers that your product or service can solve the challenge they might be experiencing. Be a reliable expert in your field and showcase what your audience can achieve.
Brand loyalty and advocacy Customer experience feeds into building loyalty and advocacy among your audience. If your content truly resonates with your target audience - and retains them - they will be more likely to stick with you (and recommend you to their peers). This type of customer loyalty is invaluable for any business, so it's worth striving for!
Need more ideas for your B2B LinkedIn content strategy? Read our blog: B2B LinkedIn Content Ideas: Content Pillars to Drive your Online Marketing Forward
2. LinkedIn Community Activation
For the next B2B buyer trend, we expect a continued shift towards B2B community building - which explains why 4 out of 5 founders believe that they are essential to B2B success.
Brand communities increase customer loyalty, product understanding and make customers feel heard and supported. 66% of branded communities believe that the community has significantly increased their ability to retain customers - it’s time to start engaging with yours.
From strategic account based marketing that builds purposeful connection, to engaging with your community through regular interaction, this will elevate your brand voice and drive intent. LinkedIn favours interaction more than any other B2B social channel due to its feed algorithm. It champions comments and community conversation by not only notifying the author, but expanding comments and likes into wider audience feeds, thus boosting visibility.
Leverage your LinkedIn by fostering a B2B brand community, engaging with your network and employees, and by commenting with value and purpose. Our B2B marketing ecosystem covers community activation in further detail: learn more or get support.
Did we mention employees? Enter our next B2B buyer trend.
3. Employee Advocacy
Employee advocacy is the new generation of B2B marketing that allows companies to amplify reach, humanise its voice and drive meaningful business results - making it our third B2B buyer trend in 2023. Nearly half of CMOs say that employee advocacy was their best performing social media initiative. Your team have the power to develop brand awareness, build strong connections and even drive sales, all at their fingertips. Essentially the promotion of an organisation by its workforce, employee advocacy champions employee content - blogs, job opportunities, resources, company news - that offers a glimpse into company culture. It can also include company posts that celebrate its employees; new starters, employee awards or accolades. For B2B buyers, 52% of consumers trust employees at a company more than the company or brand itself. Employee advocacy humanises your B2B brand by connecting it with real people, with names and faces. It makes it personal and provides a trusted source. A network of numerous advocates for B2B buyers to tap into.
Employee advocacy can help you to meet new demands for your B2B marketing in 2023.
Read our full blog on employee advocacy: What Is Employee Advocacy on LinkedIn
4. A Generation for Digital-First Channels
According to a recent Forrester survey, an average B2B buyer performs more than half of their research online. Buyers now prefer a self-serve experience. They’re seeking out information on their own and finding out as much as possible about available products before making a final decision.
Enter, the self-serve buyer as our fourth B2B buyer trend. With Milliennials now encompassing the largest proportion of decision-makers, they are accustomed to having information at their fingertips - social media, online forums, user reviews or interested topics. This highly connected generation are typically motivated to seek advice from peers and share their own opinion.
In fact, 41% of Gen-Zers and 29% of Millennials stated that “checking review sites” was the first step in their buying journey and had the greatest impact on their purchasing decisions. With the majority of your audience conducting the initial research on their own, B2B businesses need to be smart with their content. Providing resources, testimonials and supporting the customer at every stage of the buyer journey can help increase your pipeline and lead to more conversions.
When considering this, it’s no surprise 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands or businesses. That’s why influencer marketing is so popular - and effective. Action the next B2B buyer trend.
5. B2B Thought-leaders and Influencer Marketing
Influence-based marketing is nothing new to experienced marketers. Synonymous with Insta-famous celebrities, B2B influencer marketing can be anybody of relevance within your industry or sector. It focuses on key leaders driving a brand message to the larger market. It’s widely thought B2B brands have been slower to adopt influencer marketing than B2C - but that doesn’t mean influencer marketing isn’t worthwhile or a viable B2B buyer trend. On the contrary. Influencers in the B2B space can have a greater impact than those that work in B2C, because credibility and expertise are so critical when it comes to large B2B purchases.
Influencer marketing allows you to:
Seamlessly tap into key business-to-business conversations
Provide authentic credibility that can help provide answers to the pain points of your target audience
Access invaluable networks and professional contacts
LinkedIn uses influencer marketing as a way to build trust and confidence in its brand. By partnering with influencers on the platform whose interests and messaging fits LinkedIn’s audience, they’ve achieved 84m in potential reach and more than 2,000 brand mentions by influencers and their followers. Here are some statistics on influencer marketing to get the juices flowing:
74% of B2B marketers agree that influencer marketing improves customer experience with the brand
95% of brands that use B2B influencer marketing find it successful
85% believe that the use of business influencers will grow in the year ahead
Over 50% intend to expand their influencer marketing budget
5. B2B Thought-leaders and Influencer Marketing
Our sixth B2B buyer trend covers multimedia content. Over the last year, more and more B2B businesses have been investing in alternative forms of content marketing - podcasts, audio and video content and webinars. This form of multimedia content can be an excellent tool for education, engagement and adding value. With around 20 million people in the UK listening to podcasts - accounting for 61% of the population - this is a huge market for B2B business.
Content is king in B2B marketing; the more ways you can get your message out there, the better. Podcasts offer the perfect opportunity to dive deep into exactly what you’ve got to say. In 2022, 85% of marketers planned to keep investing in podcasts. This content trend is effective if your B2B audience responds to thought-leadership. If you want to include your audience or prospects, consider hosting a sector-relevant webinar that supports and adds value. (Top tip: post clips of the webinar on social channels to encourage conversation and new attendees!)
If brand awareness is something you hope to increase in 2023, podcasts are the way to go.
7. Optimising B2B brands with SEO
We’ve made it to the final trend - organic SEO. With the typical B2B buyer doing half their research online, you cannot afford to ignore organic searches. People generally think about SEO in terms of ranking high in popular keyword searches. But for B2B companies, the strategy shifts from a broad audience to a very specific one.
Alongside your content marketing strategy, optimising your website content with powerful keywords, meta-tags and meta-descriptions will boost organic search visibility and give your brand a higher ranking on search engines - increasing lead generation and capturing revenue. With 51% of buyers saying vendor websites are their top source of information when looking for a product, you’re in the race for the top search position!
It’s important not to rely on content written by AI for your website - although a quick fix of content generation. Google machine learning is only getting better at deprioritising websites that publish low-effort content and low-quality links. Which means high-quality, optimised content will give your B2B business the competitive edge in 2023.
Will you add SEO to your B2B strategy in 2023?
Are you ready to transform your B2B digital marketing strategy in 2023?
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