B2B Articles - December 28, 2022
By Nicky Capella, Content Strategist
The role of marketing within an organization has undergone a significant transformation over the past several years. As businesses increasingly focus on customer experience as a competitive differentiator, marketing has moved from a creative, brand-focused cost center to a data-focused revenue generator driving strategy and objectives.
To create and execute effective marketing strategies, marketing leaders must identify opportunities to positively impact the entire organization. B2B marketing trends to keep in mind for 2023 include producing more quality content, even if that means publishing less frequently; integrating data from a variety of sources for better insights; bringing first-party data to the party; and highlighting corporate social responsibility initiatives.
83% of marketers believe it’s more effective to create higher quality content less often.1
Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies used to focus on the frequency of content, with the idea that a website gains traction simply by posting relevant keywords more often. However, it is critical to focus on both the bots and the human beings that evaluate your web content. Like customers, search engine algorithms have grown more sophisticated and better at measuring content quality.
Another 83% of marketers see quality content as a competitive differentiator: more than originality, distribution, or promotion.2
There is no magical word count that will help your content gain traction. Instead, it’s important that content accurately and succinctly answers the question at hand, meeting the customer at the right point of the buyer journey with the information they need. According to a study from SEMRush, the best-performing informational blog posts are 1000 - 1500 words, while pillar pages and informational guides perform best when they are twice as long.3
Understand your audience, and use your empathy. Conducting a Google search is a purposeful action: regardless of what you’re searching for, there is something that led that person to conduct that search at that moment. Once you pinpoint why a person is seeking information, you can more accurately answer their questions.
Why is this piece of content being created? Is it intended to educate the audience, advise on a course of action, or entertain? Once you know what a visitor is looking for and what tactic you intend to use to present information, it becomes much easier to write high-quality, intentional, compelling content.
88% of marketers say that first-party data is a priority.4
First-party data - collected directly from the customer and owned by the company - is critical to an effective marketing strategy. In the past, marketing leaders have relied on alternate data sources purchased from providers a step or two removed from the customer themselves. But customer data platforms are becoming more sophisticated, gathering and assimilating first-party data from a variety of sources: websites, email, social, etc. This allows marketers to build a comprehensive profile of individual customers and use that information to glean valuable, actionable insights.
In the past, it was challenging to match customer behaviors across channels to create a single 360-degree profile. However, marketers are taking advantage of better technology to consolidate first-party data across channels. Marketing leaders are prioritizing first-party data gathering and using a variety of cross-channel strategies, including:5
All organizations that collect, store, and use customer data must have a data security plan in place now - not just to comply with changing regulations but to communicate to customers that the business understands and prioritizes their privacy.
Data privacy is a complex issue. While 63% of consumers expect personalization from businesses, 83% are concerned about sharing personal information online (Adweek). It is up to marketers to build trust with customers so that they can get the data required to provide superior service while alleviating privacy concerns.
Optimizing your customer data platform to gather and standardize data from different channels is key to making first-party data more usable and valuable. A complete customer profile tracks behaviors before making a sale throughout the B2B marketing funnel.
But adding information from the CRM, contact center, and ongoing digital interactions with a website and social media, even after a sale, all contribute to that 360-degree profile. Marketers can apply this insight to ongoing personalization, upselling, and retention efforts to make marketing efforts more efficient and effective.
Read more: Post-Conversion Analysis: Digital Engagement Tactics for B2B Companies
Marketing should never be a one-and-done, set-it-and-forget-it activity. Instead, continuous testing and refinement can be applied to improve the accuracy of customer data and the effectiveness of marketing strategies. Keep A/B testing and refining messaging to see what resonates with customers for more meaningful interactions throughout the B2B marketing funnel.
72% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase from companies aligned with their social and political views. 75% will pay more to do business with a company that operates responsibly.6
Consumers regularly look for socially responsible companies to make individual purchase decisions - displaying more loyalty and paying more for products when offered by a company they respect. However, this trend does not just affect the B2C market - it is also relevant in the B2B world.
B2B purchasing decisions are increasingly made with corporate social responsibility (CSR) in mind, making it even more important for companies to communicate their CSR efforts in marketing and messaging.
B2B buying decisions are made by sophisticated, knowledgeable professionals. Businesses that treat CSR as a public relations stunt or a short-term solution to boost numbers will increasingly be weeded out by buyers. An authentic, consistent CSR strategy tied directly to brand identity will resonate better with buyers and ultimately be more effective.
CSR activities can take a number of different forms: from supporting volunteer efforts and matching donations to making plans to reduce the business's environmental impact and carbon footprint. How can a business cut through the noise and answer the right questions?
B2B buyers have specific ideas about what issues companies should address, and they reflect the priorities that consumers increasingly use to make B2C buying decisions. These include:6
Don’t hesitate to communicate company CSR strategies (and wins!) across a variety of different channels. Use your website to outline strategies, and consider a regular CSR annual report to review the effectiveness of responsibility efforts across the company. Publish activities (like employee volunteering) on social media, and include them in newsletters and emails.
B2B buyers can’t be expected to know what good a business is doing in the world if that information isn’t easily available. Make CSR a core part of messaging, and use it consistently across different channels for maximum effectiveness.
Incorporating B2B trends into your strategies for 2023 and beyond can help improve marketing efforts' ROI, making them scalable, efficient, and effective. Producing quality content, improving data insights, and communicating CSR with authenticity reinforce brand messaging and strengthen brand relationships.
A scalable, results-focused partner can help you build a better B2B strategy. If this interests you, check out Ironpaper’s content methodology - or connect with us any time.
1Hubspot, State of Inbound Marketing Trends, 2022
2CMI, 2023 B2B Content Marketing Report: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, 2022
3SEMRush, How Long Should a Blog Post Be? A Data-Driven Guide for 2023, September 28, 2022
4MarketingDive, 88% of marketers say collecting first-party data is a 2021 priority, study says, January 12, 2021
5Statista Research Department, Leading ways to grow or enhance first-party data among advertisers in the United States as of September 2021, September 2021
6AMA-NY, The New B2B: Omnichannel, Tech-friendly, and Woke, 2021
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