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Top B2B Marketing Trends of 2023: examples of successful strategies, and why they worked.

In 2023, B2B marketing continued to see a rapid shift towards innovation, data and automation/AI to provide a more personalised customer experience.  Five key trends emerged as pivotal for businesses aiming to gain a strategic edge. Those who mastered those trends had one thing in common – a great understanding of their customers and market, as well as the right insights to create customer-centric strategies.

Well thought-out market research and strategically targeted surveys provide invaluable industry knowledge that is crucial for informed decision-making, strategy development and brand awareness. 

In this article, we dive into some of last year’s most significant B2B marketing trends, how they’re set to evolve and why it’s important to pay attention to them.

1. Personalisation at scale

Trend Overview:

B2B marketers overwhelmingly agree that buyers expect an experience personalised to their needs and preferences across sales and marketing.

Organisations across the globe have access to multiple personalisation tools and personalise a variety of components, however they often struggle to adopt a customer-centric view of the role of personalisation that extends throughout the customer lifecycle.

Market research and audience understanding play a crucial role in highlighting the dynamics of buyer and customer groups at any point in time.

In addition to the above, it can be used as a tool to gather additional insights into customer behaviour, emotions and preferences (which also impact decision-making in B2B sectors). This knowledge is invaluable for B2B marketers to deliver relevant and accurate personalisation at every touch point. 

For more inspiration on B2B personalisation and why it works, please read our, 4 examples of great B2B marketing campaigns and why they work.

Especially how Salesforce personalised their offering through their Trailblazer’s community.

2. Sophisticated Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

  • Trend Overview: ABM became more nuanced in 2023, focusing on creating bespoke experiences for high-value accounts. This strategy involved a coordinated approach across various channels and touchpoints, aiming to build strong, personalised relationships with key accounts.

Effective ABM requires in-depth understanding of each target account, including their business needs, industry trends, challenges, and decision-making processes. Targeted audience research plays a critical role in this, providing the insights necessary to craft bespoke ABM campaigns that are highly efficient. Through detailed analysis of each account’s characteristics and preferences, businesses were increasingly able to develop tailored messages and solutions that significantly improved engagement and conversion rates.

  • Broader Application: In 2023, ABM strategies extended to include not just marketing and sales but also customer service and product development. Market research and audience insights here played a multifaceted role, informing not only the marketing messages but also guiding product development and customer service strategies. An increasing number of brands are also launching and cultivating online communities, enabling them to build in-depth audience understanding. This integrated approach is becoming key to gathering the right insights to provide a consistently personalised experience at every point of interaction with the customer.

3. Content Marketing with a Focus on Thought Leadership

  • Trend Overview: Content marketing has become much more than producing content for SEO purposes. It’s about thought leadership, and offering real value to an audience.  This means creating insightful, research-backed content that addresses industry challenges and trends, helping to position a brand as a knowledgeable and authoritative voice in its field.

Market research (more specifically content research) is essential in identifying emerging trends, topics of interest, and industry challenges. By understanding what is top-of-mind for their target audience, businesses can produce valuable content, and build credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of potential customers.

  • Expanding Reach: Last year, content and thought leadership marketing went a step further, with brands and businesses becoming more consistent and proactive in their approach. 2023 saw an increase in the number of repeat surveys used to craft yearly follow-up reports. This allows organisations to revisit their previous publications and compare results or assumptions. That way, they can build a narrative over several months or years, establishing a loyal fan base or community around their brand (providing that those insights bring a real value to their audience).

This foresight allowed companies to position themselves as not just participants in the current dialogue, but as visionaries shaping the future of their industries. 

For more inspiration, check out how HubSpot uses Content Research to create more engaging reports – “4 examples of great B2B marketing campaigns and why they work

4. Data-Driven Customer Experience (CX) Enhancement

  • Trend Overview: Improving customer experience became a top priority for B2B companies in 2023. This involved using data to understand customer needs, offering proactive solutions and ensuring seamless interactions at every touchpoint. Market research provides an in-depth understanding of the customer journey, revealing opportunities to enhance customers’ experience at multiple touch points. By analysing and interpreting customer feedback, behavioural data, and interaction patterns, businesses have been able to proactively identify pain points and areas for improvement, resulting in a more satisfying and engaging customer experience.
  • Holistic Approach: Data is now also being used to understand the emotional responses and decision making process around the customer experience. As a result, businesses are able to better anticipate customer needs and tailor their interactions effectively, offering a far better customer experience.

Example: Spotify’s Wrapped for Advertisers, achieved through data-driven insights.

For more inspiration on how you can leverage customer insights, please read our “4 examples of great B2B marketing campaigns and why they work

Conclusion: Mastering B2B Marketing Trends of 2023 with Market Research

In summary, 2023 was a year of significant change in B2B marketing, marked by rapid evolution and innovation. Five key trends emerged as essential for businesses seeking a competitive advantage, all of which relied heavily on the right type of audience insights and market research for success.

A more customer-centric approach or higher level of personalisation, sophisticated account-based marketing (ABM), thought leadership in content marketing and data-driven customer experience enhancement were the driving forces behind successful B2B marketing strategies. Market research played a vital role in understanding customer dynamics and gathering the relevant insights to tailor B2B interactions and initiatives effectively.

As B2B marketing continues to evolve, the lessons learned from 2023 emphasise the increasing importance for organisations to leverage market and audience insights effectively. By doing so, businesses can stay ahead of the curve, adapt to changing market dynamics, improve the success of their strategies and continue to innovate in their industries.

We get it, mastering all the trends can be quite overwhelming. But that’s why we’re here.

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