According to the professional network LinkedIn, B2B marketers may want to look at humanizing brands and stimulating emotions as part of their strategy this year.
In the five trends that LinkedIn identified that will help B2B marketers elevate their brands in 2023, the trust and tested emotion-led marketing and thought leadership may help companies get ahead of others.
“As we kickstart the new year, forward-thinking marketers should be looking at how they shift their priorities this year and focus on how they can humanize their brand with emotion-led campaigns and thought leadership activity,” said Prue Cox, director Enterprise SEA, KR & ANZ Marketing Solutions.
LinkedIn commissioned YouGov to conduct 346 online interviews with senior B2B marketing decision-makers in Asia Pacific (APAC) to understand the effect of the current economic uncertainty on their role between Sept. 13-30, 2022.
Here are the five B2B marketing trends LinkedIn identified:
1. CMOs will need to speak the language of the CFO
In 2023, maintaining existing budgets and strengthening future ones will depend on a marketer’s ability to speak the language of the chief financial officer (CFO) and demonstrate impact. A recent LinkedIn study of more than 300 B2B marketing leaders in Asia Pacific (APAC) has highlighted an overwhelming majority (98%) say improving CFO’s understanding of marketing ROI is key to strengthening future budgets.
“In the coming year, economic uncertainty will force (chief marketing officer) CMOs to do more with less, meaning it will be critical for marketing leaders to go beyond proxy metrics and instead measure the impact of their work on sales metrics like revenue influenced or return on ad spend,” LinkedIn said.
Learning to speak the language of the CFO will be a crucial element of any smart senior marketer’s playbook in 2023.
2. Purpose-built B2B measurement metrics will emerge
LinkedIn’s global research of more than 2,900 C-level executives from across the globe found that most (77%) CMOs globally are under pressure to demonstrate business impact months before the average B2B buying cycle is complete.
“Sadly, many B2B marketers have had to force-fit results into B2C measurement frameworks that fail to capture true business impact,” LinkedIn said.
In the coming year, it is predicted that the B2B marketing industry will see the emergence of purpose-built measurement tools that define new industry standards and help B2B marketers better showcase the value of their investments. As pressure builds during economic uncertainty, there is a push to demonstrate true business impact, not just check-the-box results.
3. B2B marketers will take more steps to humanize their brands
In 2023, marketers will need to be extremely mindful of going to market at a time when price is likely to be more front-of-mind for buyers than it has been over the past few years. Rather than focusing on feature-benefit marketing, marketers are encouraged to lean more into emotional messaging that will humanize their brands and improve memorability.
To stay top of mind, B2B marketers in the APAC are keen to continue focusing on brand building, with more than half (58%) planning to maintain or increase spending in this area over the next six months.
As per research by LinkedIn’s B2B Institute, in partnership with Les Binet, Peter Field, and the IPA, in B2B, emotional messaging is more effective in the long term, and rational messaging is more effective in the short term. Just as in B2C, emotional priming is also much more effective for B2B brand building, as it does not require people to be actively interested in buying the product, the brand, or the category now. If it’s well branded, engaging, evokes appropriate feelings, and creates the right associations, this kind of advertising can increase demand for the brand when the buying situation arises.
4. Brands will go on the front foot with privacy investment
The brands that most successfully navigate the emerging privacy landscape this year will be the ones that balance a forward-looking approach to privacy and the ability to pivot quickly in the short term. In 2023, brands should be making choices to implement strategies that will allow them to reach their target audiences in ways that do not compromise user privacy. These brands will see the benefit of investing in many solutions to get ahead of current regulations and prepare for more shifts in the digital privacy landscape.
5. Thought leadership will be one of the most effective tools in a B2B marketer’s strategy
According to LinkedIn and Edelman’s latest “Thought Leadership Impact Study,” quality thought leadership will be one of the most effective tools an organization can use to differentiate itself and prove its value to current and potential clients. During economic uncertainty, the B2B sales cycle can become even more complex and lengthy, requiring marketers to think of different ways to reach and engage key audiences.
Knowing that some potential buyers are not ready to buy today, but will be in the future, will help marketers focus on brand strategies that create a long-lasting impression. High-quality thought leadership is the best way to build a relationship with audiences and is the most effective yet currently underrated tool in B2B marketing.