Major shifts in the global market are impacting how B2B companies approach marketing. After 18 chaotic months, innovation is accelerating at a rapid pace. The digital transformation of the economy and the rise of e-commerce are likely to spark significant change in 2022.
Current data suggests these trends are likely to define B2B marketing in the coming year, so businesses would be wise to embrace them.
1. Spending Shifts to Mobile-First Strategy
In 2022, mobile and digital advertising will continue to become central to B2B marketing efforts. At the same time, marketers are also adjusting to a work-from-home reality. Around 70% of B2B buyers and decision-makers prefer remote or digital interactions with vendors.
Gartner predicts this number will tick up by an additional 10 percentage points by 2025. These buyers will likely respond better to more digital marketing strategies, as well.
Many marketers will likely shift to a digital-first marketing approach that prioritizes mobile advertising and content over offline and more traditional strategies. This will probably come with growing ad spend — though growth is on track to be slower next year than it has been in the past, partly due to the lingering effects of COVID-19.
As the amount of millennials in decision-making roles has grown, so has the number of buyers who want a seller-free experience. Less personal and direct approaches to marketing may become more popular among B2B marketers as a result.
2. Changing Lead Generation Channels
Generating quality leads remains a top goal of B2B marketers. How they are developed is likely to change significantly in 2022 and through the rest of the decade.
COVID-19 impacted how events are hosted. While some businesses pivoted to online events and others chose to delay or cancel, all marketers had to adapt quickly to the reality that in-person events were no longer always available to generate leads.
Jurgen Desmedt, head of marketing at Europe-based CDP vendor NGDATA, told CMSWire that social media is emerging as a major lead-generation channel.
B2B marketers are more often taking to social advertisements to generate leads that previously came from events. Uncertainty in B2B marketing may also be driving the pivot to social media. Marketers unwilling to commit fully to in-person interactions may instead look toward other methods requiring less commitment.
The most popular style of social media marketing is also changing. Many marketers are now more interested in highly targeted and personalized strategies. Many platforms offer targeting tools with extremely fine levels of detail so they can deliver niche content to specific audiences.
Scheduling apps may help smaller businesses and solo entrepreneurs manage an increasingly complex strategy that delivers niche content to various audiences.
3. Growing Focus on Customer Psychology
The “neuromarketing” strategy allows B2B marketers to spend more time than ever focused on the individual psychology of key buyers and decision-makers. In practice, this may look like a shift from topic-driven to persona-driven marketing in B2B. Marketers will focus on honing in on their target audience’s particular needs, desires, and interests to generate more effective ads, content, and events.
Client personas will become a more important marketing consideration as a result. There’s also likely to be a greater focus on matching searcher intent and developing deeper content calendars.
4. Innovation to Engage B2B Customers
Cutting-edge technology will help marketers create campaigns that more effectively engage potential buyers in 2022. Optimizing for new types of search — like image and audio — may be essential to capture traffic. AI and marketing chatbots could help marketers reach more customers and reduce the amount of time potential buyers spend waiting.
In some cases, new technology and the focus on psychology may also mean the growing use of high-tech advertisements that generate interest and secure potential buyers’ attention.
Interactivity in emails can increase conversions and improve ROI — helping businesses get more out of their email campaigns. AMP emails, which enable marketers to provide app-like functionality inside a message, are one common method for delivering this interactivity.
Similar uses of personalization and interactivity in other forms of marketing may also provide results like these.
5. Original Research and Top-Quality Content
Online resource centers, blogs, content hubs and more have become a valuable tool for B2B marketers. In 2022, original research is likely to become even more important for marketing efforts.
According to data from the 2020 Demand Gen Report, B2B buyers increasingly look to a business’s original content when making purchasing decisions. This has become a significant trust marker, signaling to buyers that the company puts stock in its organizational knowledge and experience. Research also provides some early value to a potential buyer,
Because content has become a trust marker, simply writing posts to generate traffic and leads will no longer be enough. Information needs to be top-quality to encourage buyers to investigate the brand further or get in touch with the business’s sales team.
Various content strategies will likely be necessary to deliver high-quality information relevant to B2B buyers’ interests.
Customer psychology will likely be important to content teams. Effective use and reuse of posts will allow marketers to take full advantage of what they develop. Breaking things up to enable the tracking of micro-conversions could provide marketers with additional insights into reader behavior and interests.
Certain content types will also probably be more valuable than others. A business’s niche, original research, white papers and other forms of highly valuable and in-depth content may provide the most value to readers — building trust and generating interest.
Video content remains one of the top content types, overtaking blog posts and infographics in popularity. However, the high cost of producing video content may be a barrier to its use by some businesses.
How B2B Marketing Is Likely to Change in 2022
Uncertainty and digital transformation will likely have a significant impact on B2B marketing next year. Marketers are beginning to leverage mobile-first approaches, invest more in social media and adopt cutting-edge technology, like chatbots and interactive emails. This will be vital to effectively reach people and boost sales moving forward.
These new strategies and tools may help companies adapt to a market where buyers are more interested in digital channels and personalized content. Marketers must be prepared to embrace the upcoming changes to effectively reach their target audiences in 2022.