Top 5 Digital B2B Marketing Trends to Grow your Business
Creating an effective B2B marketing strategy in 2023 and beyond is shaped by the latest digital B2B marketing trends. CMOs (Chief Marketing Officer) and marketing professionals are increasingly focused on personalization, and customer centricity to drive the funnel with relevant content to ease the B2B buying process. They are searching for ways to integrate software and automate processes to reach their individual and business goals.
But what are the 5 main B2B marketing trends in 2023 which all highlight the importance of digital transformation? Join us as we take a deep dive into today’s B2B digital environment.
#1: B2B buyers expect B2C experiences
B2C brands have long been using data to reach consumers via their preferred channels with targeted messaging and communications. This data first approach has supported the end-to-end buying process including the sharing of information, facilitating sales, and even after sale support, which has aided the rapid migration from brick-to-click shopping. Automated, personalized, cross-channel marketing has been at the core of B2C digital marketing for decades.
Now the B2B industry recognizes the need to adopt some of these essential ingredients despite their more complex journeys and sales models. It’s motivated by an ever-increasing percentage of B2B buyers, who are digital natives and intolerant to mediocre digital experiences. As a result marketing professionals are prioritizing their digital transformation to meet these changing trends and to futureproof their business.
A key B2B marketing trend which has gathered pace over the past five years is the migration from offline to online. This encouraged many businesses to speed up their digital transformation. However, others, especially from more traditional industries that have relied heavily on face-to-face or over the phone interactions to exchange information and support the complex sales process, it was the catalyst to begin their digital transformation process. Forced to reinvent their sales processes and futureproof their business.
The bottom line is that to acquire and retain this digital-first demographic, CMOs must rethink and develop complex digital marketing strategies which incorporate the fundamental practices seen in B2C digital journeys. As a result, we are seeing a widespread transition from basic CMSs (Content Management Systems) to Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs).
CMOs and market professionals are realizing the power of DXPs which are transforming automation, personalization, and communication within today’s B2B environment. They are facilitating a shift from siloed ways of working through the integration of software to deliver seamless, personalized, digital experiences. Moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach which is helping businesses to increase their market share and stay aligned to the latest B2B marketing trends.
#2: Buying process is anything but linear
The challenge for B2B products and service providers is that B2B buyers jump from one stage of the buyer journey to another without a linear pattern. This makes it difficult for B2B sellers to predict and map the buyer journey, to influence the end-to-end experience, to deliver on those buyer demands, or to anticipate a sale.
The journey is complex due to several factors including the number of decision makers and influencers involved, each with their own motives. The complexity of B2B products or services also makes them hard to present and sell online, and the lengthy nature of the B2B decision making process from awareness through to purchase is an additional pain point.
Whilst many of these complexities materialize due to internal factors in which marketing professionals have little or no influence, it is their responsibility to simplify and support this process in any way they can. This is especially important as businesses have less time and fewer opportunities to influence B2B buyers.
#3. Cross-channel personalization rewarded
Buyers reward businesses that help them navigate the complex world of B2B digital buying. So, for B2B marketers, getting their message across to acquire a lead and nurture them is the ultimate challenge.
The focus is on providing a frictionless, omnichannel approach with cohesive messaging which allows them to interact and sell to customers everywhere the customer might wish to engage and make a purchase.
A McKinsey report emphasized these shifting B2B marketing trends. In 2015 B2B decision makers were using five channels to interact with suppliers, while today that number has doubled to 10.
The task of orchestrating a digital journey with multiple channels to communicate and engage at a global scale is not simple. But that is exactly what today’s B2B buyer demands. Therefore, CMOs must know the channels the customers use, and how they use them throughout the journey to achieve their targets in 2023 and beyond.
With what might seem like an infinite number of service vendors, gaining attention amongst the noise throughout the various online channels can only be accomplished through automated, personalized journeys which treat each customer individually based on their interactions and learnings.
This can only be achieved through the collection and use of customer data to serve up messaging and content which is specific to their individual needs and addresses their unique pain points.
Today’s businesses that are more advanced in their digital transformation process are using Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), which track the specific interactions that a customer has with their brand, products, and services. This information is stored in a database which can then be segmented, allowing them to create personalized, automated, cross-channel customer journeys which resonate with each individual user.
#4. Buyers favor self-service
Gartner® predicts that by 2024, 15% of B2B organizations will use digital commerce platforms to support both customers and sales reps in all sales activities. Easing the end sale of B2B products is anything but simple, and when the process must be digitized it becomes even more complex. As we have seen B2B sellers must find ways to enable and simplify the process as buyers prefer to conduct most, if not all the buying journey without the need for face-to-face interactions.
But why is it so complex?
It can be considered complex for several reasons. Businesses often have vast catalogues of products and services, and product naming conventions that are non-descriptive. Complications can also arise when buyers must give information for custom-made products, or when confirming the compatibility of one product or service with another.
But that’s not all. Once the correct items have been chosen, there is the small matter of negotiating the price which may vary by account depending on the quantity or frequency of the purchase. This information must be displayed correctly to ensure a smooth buying experience. However, B2B customers may still require a salesperson’s assistance to explain the product in detail, give advice on customizing the order, and to close the sale.
B2B ecommerce solutions continue to improve. With custom pricing for different customer groups, personalized product recommendations, shopping cart management, repeat purchasing, and centralized product information management. These features are all aimed at enabling the self-service model, and many companies are adopting a hybrid model where a salesperson is aiding in the final steps of the sales process.
#5. Missing tech to manage content
We are now clear that B2B buyers are increasingly reliant on digital information which guides them through the complex B2B buying journey without the need for a salesperson.
CMOs and marketing professionals are the first to recognize the value of meaningful content to drive business growth throughout digital channels, but for multinational and global companies' obstacles occur when trying to localize and personalize content for each of the markets and buyer personas.
A B2B content marketing trends report conducted by LinkedIn found that only 28 percent of respondents have the right technology in place to manage B2B content across their organization. 61 percent said they do not, with an almost even split between those unable to maximize their current tech, and those not having the right tech to begin with.
There is immense value in creating content in various digital formats to drive each stage of the sales funnel. These formats include video, webinars, podcasts, events, guides, whitepapers, eBooks, case studies, user generated content, chatbots, and many more. But the challenge is not simply in the ideation and creation of content, but rather how it is fed to the right audience, on their preferred channel, at the right time. Automation, localization, and translation are core to an effective global content strategy and of course identifying and implementing the right technology plays a key role in that process.
Many of the platforms used within B2B such as basic Content Management Systems (CMS) are unable to support today's end-to-end B2B buying journey. For this reason, B2B sellers who are looking to accelerate their digital transformation are migrating from their traditional CMS to DXPs in vast numbers, and for those that are just beginning their digital transformation they are opting for DXPs, which supply a scalable, frictionless way of working.
DXPs are far more equipped to meet today’s B2B buyer needs, with the ability to incorporate a full suite of tools, DXPs are using data to take personalization and experience to a whole new level.
If you are looking for a scalable, futureproof solution to begin or accelerate your digital transformation process why not take our digital maturity test today. It will only take a couple of minutes to complete and once the survey is complete, we'll share with you a wealth of useful information that can help you define your digital transformation strategy.
Alternatively, you can download our free and exclusive eBook: Digital Experience Platform (DXP) Requests for Information (RFI). We guide you through requesting the right information for your specific needs with a range of useful templates and information to kick-start and accelerate your digital transformation strategy.
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