December 12, 2022

B2B Marketing 2022: A Year of Accountability, Technology, and Buyer Engagement

By: Marisa Ricciardi

This article was originally posted on Fast Company.

The best B2B marketing pros are adopting accountability frameworks and embracing emerging technologies as they join their B2C counterparts in putting customer engagement front and center.

Not only did B2B marketing get its own spotlight on the global creative stage with last June’s launch of Creative B2B | Cannes Lions 2022, but the industry as a whole has had a delightfully bright year. The days of relegating B2B to the not-quite-hip and not-so-sexy side of most marketers’ portfolios seem to be over. This is due—in no small part—to the fact that the best B2B marketing pros are adopting accountability frameworks and embracing emerging technologies as they join their B2C counterparts in putting customer engagement front and center.


Embracing Accountability In B2B Campaigns

The new B2B Effectiveness Code—published by the B2B Institute at LinkedIn, in partnership with WARC and Lions—offers a much-needed accountability framework for how we build out truly effective B2B campaigns. Dubbed the B2B Effectiveness Ladder, this framework leverages the Creative Effectiveness Ladder by turning its tenets into a guide for B2B marketers to structure campaigns with incremental measurable results.

While a campaign that aligns with the B2B Effectiveness Ladder begins with a focus on measuring response triggers that generate qualified leads that convert, it doesn’t stop at the point of sale. Instead, B2B marketers are engaging in a forward-thinking approach. They are looking to long-term strategic outcomes built on marketing messaging that continuously increases brand value, something that can only occur with the most up-to-date marketing analytics.


Embracing Emerging Tech

It’s clear that the adoption of emerging technologies is fueling this surge in data-dependent decision-making. By embracing the latest developments in AI and NLP to inform the direction of B2B campaigns, marketing pros are giving their B2B clients the same advantages that they used to reserve for their edgier B2C brands.

When B2B marketers leverage AI-captured data to power cool consumer insights, they are able to understand the B2B buyer’s journey from a more qualitative perspective. That’s a real game changer when it comes to driving new ways to engage while expanding creativity beyond the norm.


Establishing B2B Brand Voice Through Social Media

Recognizing that B2B brands can propel consumer activation through social media—just as their B2C counterparts do—is a 2022 game-changer for many business brands. From Pinterest to Reddit to Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and beyond, more companies—emboldened with their newly-adopted frameworks and fueled by cutting-edge insights—are embracing social media storytelling as a way to convey their brand’s core values as they appeal to the business services buyer’s emotional side.

Social media is proving its B2B marketing mettle beyond providing a vehicle for storytelling. Direct social media selling also contributes to customer-brand engagement and enhances the customer-firm relationship and anecdotal evidence that social media reaps B2B ROI abounds.

In a recent survey, 75% of B2B marketers reported that they use social media and social media advertising as part of their overall strategy, with 33% of respondents saying social media marketing was a top source of leads, beating out trade shows and inbound content marketing. While these figures represent last year’s insights, I am sure we will see service companies dive even deeper into social media as it continues to grow as a top vehicle for storytelling and lead generation.


Creating Partnerships to Scale

With the movement toward personalization and engagement, it was only a matter of time before B2B conversations started focusing on developing and nurturing partnerships as a way to achieve scale. As a growth strategy, the partnership paradigm is particularly appealing as the economy tightens and we have to justify spending.

Companies in the Fintech/enterprise SaaS space are already doing this well. They get that partnerships are the smart way to shorten the sales cycle and get to conversion quicker. This is definitely the preferred pathway to growth because if you’re relying on internal sales teams to achieve external goals, you’ll not go as far as if you go with a good partner at your side.

Having other people sell your products is not only efficient in a downturn, but it’s a strategy that can be highly profitable in any economic landscape. Looking forward, embracing analytics, and stepping outside of the static and into a multi-faceted dynamic approach that embraces all the tools of the trade points to the conclusion that B2B marketing’s lights are definitely getting brighter.

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