Like everything else, B2B marketing trends in 2022 reflect how the world has changed over the last few years. Even the familiar strategies on this list have been shaped by the explosion of new possibilities and priorities. Going forward, B2B marketers will want to invest in the channels and well-crafted content best suited for today’s audiences.
The latest B2B marketing tactics also require integration. Blend these trends into a holistic approach to sales, marketing, and customer experience for the most fruitful returns.
The Top B2B Marketing Trends of 2022 For Business Growth
From events to creating various types of content for your potential customers, there are several emerging trends for marketers to utilize. Incorporate these growing digital marketing trends into your strategy to help your business grow.
1. Digital-First Approach
The COVID-19 crisis only accelerated the shift toward digital types of B2B marketing. B2B decision-makers have increasingly interacted with suppliers through digital channels at every stage of the sales funnel, and 70-80% of these customers prefer the new way of doing business. While we all hope personal-safety considerations will be less of a factor in the future, B2B customers have gotten used to the greater efficiency and lower costs of a digital-first approach.
Tailor your customer service and marketing approaches to this new world order. Invest in digital tools such as inbound-marketing aids and social media tools. Your digital campaigns are the most likely to reach new prospects, give them ample material they can use to evaluate your offerings, and enable your team to successfully follow up.
2. Digital Self-Service
There’s a reason that B2C marketing required a digital-first approach before B2B marketing. Personal purchases often come with lower price tags and commitments than business purchases do.
But B2B buyers have now made the transition. They’re not just open to remote interactions but also to digital self-service for increasingly larger transactions. 70% are willing to spend more than $50K on something new, and 15% will go over $1M with only digital connections.
3. AI Personalization
“Digital” doesn’t mean “general.” Use AI marketing to personalize content and guide consumers from their initial touchpoint through the purchase and all the way to successive reorders.
AI tools such as chatbots allow customers to quickly and easily find the material they need. You can also use AI software to track customer behavior and respond to it with relevant and well-timed messages.
While personal relationship-building remains a vital part of account management, business customers have little patience when they want information. Let AI handle routine queries and gentle nudges. Save your time for longer conversations and creative problem-solving.
4. Sales and Marketing Alignment
How strong is the alignment between your sales and digital marketing departments? Highly aligned companies grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable than those that are misaligned.
Despite the intuitive connection between sales and marketing, many businesses lose sales due to failures of communication and coordination. For example, departments taking advantage of digital marketing B2B trends may get frustrated when leads go nowhere. Sales teams may chafe when too many leads are unqualified or poorly qualified.
Make sure that your sales and marketing teams share goals, tools, and information. Create content that converts, and include sales members in strategy sessions. Discuss metrics that demonstrate content marketing ROI, and track them. Some statistics may seem promising without leading to actual sales.
5. Content Variety
Create various content to address the different needs of your B2B buyer. You should have material that suits prospects at each point of the sales funnel. B2B marketing examples of high-performing content include:
Remember to court earned media as well as produce original content. Press coverage helps spread the word about your business, and user-generated content such as social mentions provides valuable social proof to support your claims.
Review websites aren’t just another one of the many B2B marketing strategies. They’re an established part of the customer journey. Most people research purchases before committing, and reviews are a form of user-generated content you can’t afford to overlook.
In addition to on-site and Google testimonials, encourage happy clients to leave reviews on sites such as the B2B services review platforms that prospects often investigate.
7. YouTube Influencer Marketing
Another important form of user-generated content? Videos by YouTube influencers. These how-to videos and reviews establish credibility and direct highly qualified prospects your way.
Search out the best influencers for your industry and offer them opportunities to give your products a try. These relationships can be vital resources — particularly if you provide SaaS or other high-tech tools.
8. Thought Leadership
As for the content you create for yourself, use thought-leadership pieces to stand out from your competition. Discuss upcoming technologies, evolving trends, and your own ideas about the state or purpose of your industry.
While you can — and should — share some of this material on your corporate social accounts and owned media, find opportunities to write bylined articles for reputable outlets. Many publications are readier than ever to outsource their content to respected sources.
9. LinkedIn Audience-Targeting
LinkedIn and thought leadership often go hand-in-hand. The platform is one of the best for B2b social media marketing, and it's a great source of digital marketing strategies. It’s also one of the best places to communicate your value proposition and connect with your target audience. What is it that makes your business the best option?
In addition to posting on LinkedIn, invest a good percentage of your social marketing budget there. LinkedIn audience-targeting fits B2B needs well, allowing you to target for job experience and company. It’s also a site where users expect to engage with business services and so are more receptive to your message.
10. Digital Marketplaces
The next generation of B2B purchasing will be performed by millennials, who use digital marketplaces in record numbers, making them a vital platform for lead generation and nurturing. Increase your presence on marketplaces such as:
- Amazon Business
- Global Sources
- Fashion United
Wholesalers in all sectors should expect to do more business through digital marketplaces in the coming years.
11. Omnichannel Marketing
As you collect B2B marketing trends, combine them into a holistic approach and develop content that’s appropriate for each of your major channels. B2B marketing channels you can explore include:
- Email Marketing
- Video content
- Social media
- In-person/virtual events
Omnichannel marketing is about more than reformatting a piece of content to look good across channels. Ask yourself where your target customers are likely to look at different places in their journey and develop material that responds to their immediate needs.
For example, a prospect in the early stages may want to collect a list of options. Paid advertisements, succinct LinkedIn articles, and even round-up blog pieces that include your competitors can all serve you well. As they move closer to the sale, they’ll engage more with your website directly. Provide detailed information, and make touchpoints more interactive to respond to their questions.
12. Intent Monitoring
Intent monitoring is about tracking businesses’ online activities that indicate their intention to purchase a product like the one that you offer. By monitoring their interactions with your owned media and sales departments, you can improve your omnichannel strategy.
You can also track trends across users. What topics and keywords produce the most engagement? Use this data to shape your content strategy.
13. Privacy-First Marketing
Even as you track user data, you need to adapt your content strategy to new data privacy laws. Privacy-first marketing requires you to rethink how you collect data.
Try some of these Google-approved strategies to make the adjustment:
- Use global site tags or Google Tag Manager to optimize marketing campaigns.
- Create B2B partnerships with related companies to share first-person data.
- Let machine-learning tools supplement data on customer journeys.
In other words, while privacy-first marketing excludes third-party data that may have informed prior strategies, there are both low and high-tech ways to fill the gap — while still respecting customer privacy.
Stories are memorable and help build connections between people. No matter how technical your product is, don’t overlook the power of sharing the story behind both it and your business. While statistics and other numbers may help you nail down the final sale, the story will keep your business in the buyer’s mind long enough to get to that point.
Share customer stories, too. Case studies and personal anecdotes anchor your claims and make it easier for the buyer to imagine working with you.
15. Brand Personalization
Along the same lines, brand personalization and consistency make it easier for prospects to remember you. They also unify types of B2B marketing across channels and content, pulling them all into a coherent impression of your business.
Create — and adhere to — brand guidelines that cover:
- Design elements (colors, typography, imagery)
- Voice (writing style and brand persona)
Distribute your guide broadly so that anyone creating content or otherwise speaking on behalf of your business can refer to it.
Pro tip: Use a brand profile template to fill out brand identity and organize your guidelines.
Expert Content Creators
If you have a pro team of in-house writers and designers, use them to put these B2B marketing trends into practice. If not, outsource to a reputable content-creation team to keep costs low and quality high.
Either way, your digital marketing success relies on a consistent stream of top-notch content. That isn’t a trend. It’s become a given of the industry and shows no sign of changing anytime soon.