Digital and B2B social media marketing don’t stand still for a moment, and 2023 is promised to amplify and accelerate what are expected to be the hottest trends for the year—and possibly beyond. Amidst a marketing landscape where rapid change is the only constant (i.e., the recession), knowing what consumers demand is even more important.
With that in mind, here’s what you need to know to play hard and win big in a digital world evolving at the speed of change.
Social media is a customer service tool.
The pandemic permanently changed how customers engaged with their favorite businesses and fellow customers. With multiple lockdowns and lengthy travel restrictions, many turned to branded social media accounts to address their customer service questions and needs. Brands eventually figured out that social platforms were the way to meet customer expectations, resulting in physical stores with little online presence continuing to struggle. However, as more people increasingly turn to social media, the transition online won’t be as difficult as many business owners think.
It’s no coincidence that this trend is emerging at a time when many social media platforms, specifically Instagram and Facebook, are expanding their e-commerce capabilities. In the future, stores will be more than just a place to do your shopping. New technology like live video streaming and providing accessible customer support channels straight from social media apps will be pivotal in providing the best customer experience possible.
Social media will allow brands to engage with customers and improve their experience. This means that in 2023 we’ll see a widespread shift from a mindset of “using” social media to a mentality of adapting and thriving in an ecosystem where a highly connected, social, empowered consumer is now the non-negotiable norm. In other words, marketers will no longer view social as a channel they can more or less successfully “surf” but as the online and offline “water” in which consumers and brands alike are inescapably swimming.
Related Reading: How To Market To Connected Consumers
Video (still) dominates.
How many marketers have heard, “Video is the #1 content format brands need to leverage”? Well, whoever said it isn’t wrong.
According to research by Cisco, video accounts for 82% of all online traffic. In 2023, this will still be the case, but luckily for businesses, customers are more interested in the authentic side of brands, not high-budget, polished videos. Brands must integrate video content like product demos, webinars, and live video events to keep their content fresh and aligned with consumers’ wants.
Short-form videos are especially effective and align well with the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences in various demographics. This is why TikTok, Instagram Reels, and once upon a time Snapchat gained such quick growth and marketing interest. Videos showing someone how to use a product are especially beneficial. Use this short time to show people you know what you’re talking about.
Overly data-driven approaches will be seen as dangerous to disruptive innovation.
Right now, data is viewed as king, but this view needs to be dethroned. The problem is that data doesn’t win the hearts and minds of consumers, and contrary to the term “data-driven,” it doesn’t drive compelling messaging or campaigns (though, of course, it plays an important role).
Data-addicted marketers can be terrified to loosen their grip on data because it gives them the illusion of insight, control, and safety—and don’t even get us started on dark social! Numbers may not lie, but they don’t speak for themselves. They require interpretation and don’t tell the truth about disruptive innovation. After all, something truly innovative is unprecedented, which means it doesn’t even exist to measure, at least until after the fact.
Disruptive innovation rests on the ability to defy existing data and dispense with the illusory safety net of data-driven certainty. It’s not data that drives disruptive innovation but creative risk.
To propel rather than impede innovation, marketers will regard data as just one part of an iterative creative process more dedicated to experimentation and testing than to certainty and safety.
Integrated Marketing will no longer be optional.
As marketers face mounting revenue pressure, a dizzying diversity of customers, markets, channels, and products, decreasing budgets, and siloed organizations, integrative marketing will no longer be just one approach among many but the very foundation of customer-centricity.
As the name suggests, integrated marketing brings coherence to the complexity and fragmentation that increasingly characterizes the marketing world. Regardless of what theories marketers may espouse, approaches they may take, or organizational models they may adopt, integrated marketing brings everything together into a high-performing whole. This is accomplished by aligning and coordinating a marketing organization to deliver a consistent, seamless experience across all channels.
As a testament to the power of integrated marketing, research conducted by Gartner has found that Integrated campaigns across 4+ channels outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300 percent. Amplifying a consistent message drives value, and according to Kantar Millward Brown, integrated campaigns are 31 percent more effective at building brands. Because integrated marketing represents the move from a cost center to a profit center, it will no longer be viewed as an optional approach but as the price of admission for competitive viability.
The New B2B2C
While B2C marketing has learned to speak to consumers in increasingly human, authentic ways, B2B has been slower to realize the value of this approach. B2B marketing still has a tendency to speak to buyers in transactional terms or “sales-talk” that can feel impersonal and fail to inspire buyers’ trust.
Consumers have become increasingly interested in the actual human beings behind the “public persona” of businesses and brands. B2C has responded by giving consumers an inside perspective on the brand by telling compelling stories about those inside it—employees and stakeholders—or those personally impacted by it. These authentically told stories leave consumers less likely to feel like they’re being “pitched” and more likely to feel like family. It’s past time B2B brands adapt to the ideas of their B2C counterparts.
This approach helps to humanize the brand, and B2B is rapidly responding in kind. B2B is now taking to heart the reality that buyers resent feeling like the target of a marketing ploy just as much as consumers. With this understanding, B2B will continue to become more human in its approach by dissolving the salesy language and relying on compellingly told stories as the most valuable currency of authentic engagement.
2023 will bring an amplification and acceleration of five emerging digital marketing trends.
- “Social” will no longer exclusively refer to entertainment among social media platforms but as the meeting ground for customers and brands to interact with one another.
- Video will continue to dominate marketing strategies and show customers what they want to know about your brand. Short-form videos will become increasingly popular as they match the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences.
- Overly data-driven approaches will give way to experiments of creative risk that drive disruptive innovation, and marketers will put a premium on seeking the meaning behind their metrics rather than merely manipulating them.
- Integrative marketing will no longer be viewed as one approach among many but as the very foundation of customer-centricity and price of admission for competitive viability.
- B2B will behave more like B2C by speaking to buyers in less transactional, more authentic terms that make the brand more human and inspire trust.
Knowing what consumers are ready to see in your digital marketing campaigns is the difference between the ability to compete and the ability to lead the charge. These five trends have far-reaching and dramatic implications for the future of marketing and what it means to be a citizen of a rapidly evolving digital world. For those up for a high-speed adventure, the journey is well worth it.