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Marketing B2B Marketing Trends

Top 2023 predictions for B2B marketing: data wins, work culture holds sway, CDPs shine

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By Camela Thompson | Vice-president of marketing

December 22, 2022 | 8 min read

CaliberMind’s Camela Thompson shares four key predictions for how B2B marketing will shape up in the new year.

Hands reaching out with B2B concept

/ Adobe Stock

As we head into the third year of navigating Covid, perhaps we can accept that pandemic has irreversibly impacted some things.

A whopping 65% of people prefer to work remotely (while the tech industry is higher than average with 77% preferring remote work), per data from McKinsey. Another 11% can’t wait to get back to the office.

Meanwhile, organizations are increasingly making mental health a priority, which requires them to combat ugly stigmas and encourage workers to take advantage of mental health coverage – available in over 73% of workers’ health plans, according to data from trade association America’s Health Insurance Plans.

If 2022 has shown us anything, it’s that our workforce is diverse in its preferences and companies need to learn to adapt.

There are still people fighting against the tide of change that has washed over us – 84% of executives still prefer in-person meetings – and those folks won’t be excited to hear that we’re on the cusp of even more change. Here are a few major trends charging at us in 2023 and how we can get ahead of them.

1. A paradigm shift is on the horizon for go-to-market teams

In B2C, marketing is a must-have. In 2017, Gartner reported that 75% of B2C chief marketers owned or share responsibility for their business’s profit and loss. In contrast, the B2B startups I’ve encountered prioritize building out their sales teams to hit their goals over investing in marketing. Marketing may be seen as ‘nice to have’ because cold prospecting was historically effective. B2B leaders knew that once you sold that one key decision maker, everything else fell into place.

Millennials are flipping this paradigm and businesses aren’t reacting fast enough. Millennials now make up 73% of the buyer committee, per Forrester data, and – in huge contrast to baby boomers and gen Xers – millennials prefer groupthink, are highly collaborative and demand a multichannel buying experience. To hammer this point home, 43% of decision-makers would prefer never to deal with a salesperson, according to the Harvard Business REview.

B2B businesses must prioritize hiring marketing leaders as early as possible with a proven track record of building multichannel digital presences catered to the researching buyer. This also means that marketing leaders must communicate changes in the market and be a louder voice representing the consumer.

In the past, businesses could use internal friction between marketing and sales to drive more efficiencies at the point of handoff between the two teams. Today, there isn’t a point of handoff. Marketing must provide content to resonate at every step – not just at the top of the funnel – and remember that misalignment negatively impacts sales.

2. Data-driven CMOs will win (this time I mean it)

Both sales and marketing are a blend of art and science, but in B2B, sales leaders are known for being more data literate. Marketers, on the other hand, only use data in their decision-making a little over half of the time, according to Forrester. This is due to the sheer volume of data that marketers produce across dozens of platforms. Stitching it together is complicated.

Businesses need to stop talking about data-driven marketing as a priority and invest in the proper infrastructure and talent to get it done. Marketing leaders will need coaching before they can speak intelligently about the gaps and shortcomings in their data. This skill will increase trust when they attempt to use the data they have at their disposal.

Business leaders have accepted the gut element in sales forecasting. They’ll have to do the same regarding marketing’s dark funnel. We may even see a standardization of marketing metrics across verticals and a better understanding of where to draw the line when pressuring marketing to provide precise measurement.

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3. The most in-demand people won’t tolerate bad work environments

The so-called ‘great resignation’ or ‘great reshuffle’ evidence demand for better work environments – even over better pay. Salary only highly motivates 11% of the workforce, according to surveys by employment agency Michael Page. It only takes one bad work environment for people to understand just how precious a healthy environment can be.

Businesses must prioritize branding – and that includes employer branding. Online reviews, branded social media and other digital resources must be curated, in addition to providing a healthy culture that attracts and retains people.

4. B2B will realize why B2C uses customer data platforms

Customer data platforms (CDPs) connect a business’s core systems and unifies data against the end user or person interacting with the brand. No matter where an interaction or activity is recorded, it appears on a unified timeline for that person. These platforms connect systems and translate data, which means rather than using internal resources to connect and transform data – and then rinse and repeat each time a new tool is added to the tech stack – the CDP does it for you.

B2B businesses must be able to rely more heavily on their marketing teams, which means business leaders must invest in the right people, and marketers must get a grip on their data so they can spot and communicate trends faster.

This also means investors and founders can’t ‘wing it’ when it comes to their digital presence. They should prioritize finding the right marketing talent much sooner than they’re accustomed to. The businesses that learn to prioritize their digital customer experience and arm their marketers with good data first will claim more market share in the long run.

Camela Thompson is vice-president of marketing at CaliberMind.

Marketing B2B Marketing Trends

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