Trends for 2023. Around the end of the year, you again see trend lists for the next year popping up everywhere. So again. To save you the trouble of looking at all the lists, I’ve created a relevant overview with all the trends I’ve read, especially focusing on B2B.
Before I go into the details you can assume that overall the following 3 trends will percolate throughout the year.
Unpredictability Is The New Normal
You do know the saying “the only thing certain about the future is that nothing will be the same” or something similar. That will be more normal than ever in 2023.
Through globalization and digitalization, the world has become one big network. Everything and everyone is interconnected. The corona pandemic and the war in Ukraine show this interdependence well and turn the world upside down. Strong polarization between left and right is increasing everywhere. What one government builds up, the next one breaks down just as quickly. Local disasters lead to global problems in markets, production systems and supply chains. Financial markets have become domino games in which central banks, venture capitalists and speculators dominate.
It all has major implications for our prosperity, political stability, economic growth, security of existence as well as the security of supply and affordability of products and services. This applies to both businesses and consumers. It all sounds threatening, but turbulence and change also present opportunities. Consider the leaders in circular agriculture or green energy. What opportunities does the turmoil in the world offer your organization?
Meaningful entrepreneurship continues
Sustainability, sustainability, transparency, all container terms that will remain important in the coming year, but which may also have different meanings for everyone. Whatever you do, add value to the product or service you are selling. And communicate that openly and honestly. Three-quarters of consumers think it is important for companies to play a social role by contributing to society, the environment and people’s well-being.
Meaningful brands know how to touch both head and heart. It was the same 20 years ago. Back then it was called “lovebrands.” Strong brands therefore appeal to heart (emotion), head (reason) and unconscious (routine).
So being agile in this new reality is valuable.
In this regard, agility consists of two elements that reinforce each other. On the one hand, the agility of the organization to exploit offensively opportunities presented by changes in the market. On the other hand, the resilience of the organization to deal with the consequences of often large and unforeseen changes.
With that in mind, I enumerate the following trends for 2023
- Storytelling trends
- Content trends
- Keyword trends
- Event Trends
- PR Trends
As indicated above, meaningful communication is key. So your stories must be able to influence beliefs, intentions and behaviors.
By communicating your company’s core values as a matter of course, you give readers a moral anchor in these troubled times. Also, be honest in your stories. Don’t sugarcoat it. Tell the whole story, including what is disappointing. What before was called “thoughleadership” we now call directing provided you are an authority. Don’t use your mission on as a convenient marketing coat rack to hang everything on. That comes at the expense of your credibility. It will be perceived as a trick. Are there less beautiful sides to the business, your past? Don’t rub it under the nose, but do show it.
Also an old familiar…listen to your customers. Saying you are customer centric, but then only transmitting, doesn’t work. Use real numbers and real examples (with people) to reinforce your story. Peer experiences also work very authentically. Not just as a story, also for recruitment. And finally, also not new, surprising again. The recipient wants an intense experience that stimulates all the senses, whether it is a restaurant, an event or a virtual reality experience.
- Recession threat. It may be that the current situation such as rising prices for energy and personnel, as well as a possible recession among your customers, are playing or will play a role. Or, on the contrary, provide opportunities. If so, try to respond to it with the content you write.
- Workings of social media marketing are increasingly being questioned. Consumers still sometimes switch social media. First it was Facebook, which is now more for older people. Then again snapchat or now TikTok. What will happen to Twitter? Or Mastodont? Telegram? In short reach per medium decreases, advertising costs increase and effectiveness is no longer a given. The platforms themselves aren’t making things better by constantly changing their algorithms, either. In B2B, it’s all a bit more constant with a platform like LinkedIn. But even that no longer naturally delivers the results LinkedIn delivered in the past. Recently with a client in the German market, I got better results for less cost per conversion with the local alternative Xing. So it is important before you start social media to carefully weigh your expectations and investments. And better do one medium well than 3 a little.
- Content without links. Social media would rather not have their users of clicking on your post or ad click away from their medium. So platforms favor posts without links over those with links. So the posts you post should tell a complete story on the one hand, but still generate interest to go to your site for more information. Difficult then is to measure the effect of the posts; after all, you don’t see interaction. However, you can see in Google Analytics that your website traffic is increasing. Optionally, you can put a link in the comments of your own post.
- Convenience serves man. In addition to, or instead of, text with an image, you can also do a lot in a short video message. It is a bite-sized chunk and easy to post on multiple platforms.
- Podcasts. The number of podcast listeners continues to grow. This, of course, allows you to explain your story with more detail. But how do you get them to your podcast? Why would they listen to them? There is already so much interesting content that you do need to make a real difference. You can, of course, post these on your website so people can hear them off at a later time. By the way, you can also use podcasts for internal use.
- Third-party content. What works better than letting people know something about your brand themselves? Another person who brings attention to your brand. This can be done not only with influencers, who have been in a bad light lately anyway, but also through content contributions from customers. You can’t have a better reference. This can be done directly, or by using customer surveys where you share the data and/or comments. (Provided with permission or anonymously, of course). Another option is to use polls and video responses.
- Broad keywords. Google asks you to use broad keywords. You then let Google associate on the search term you entered. So if a common keyword is “running shoes,” that’s going to be a broad keyword search for search terms related to your keyword, so for example, what are the best hiking shoes. The danger with this, however, is that it can become too wide and thus give a lot of loss. You can then curb it by creating modified keywords such as Running shoes man.
- Multisearch. In addition to the use of keyword adding images. You can do that with Google Lens. With Google Lens, you frame a photo and it searches for similar products for you. You can refine the search after that. To do that, make sure your images on your website also have sufficient extensions.
- Video and audio plays a larger role. Google now also offers more opportunities to advertise with video. Because a (moving) picture says more than 1000 words….
- Especially in B2B, use long-tail keywords as well. These are sentences of more than 4 words. “What is the best…..”
- Relevance. After the Corona period when everything had to be virtual, live events can now be organized again. The consequence, however, is that agendas are once again filled with appointments, presentations, events and trade shows. So it’s important to ask yourself the question, what can I tell at this trade show, or this event, that I can’t tell another way, such as with a webinar? This will save you a lot of time and effort, especially if your leads are not yielding anything, or worse, you have no leads. So provide relevance or don’t.
- Personalization. At the same Corona time, visitors to a virtual event could also pick out those things they found interesting. That’s what they want now. So try to offer more personalized experiences with breakouts or side events. Or match making with one-on-one conversations.
- Technology. Whereas an event app used to be seen as a fun “gimmick,” today much technology is seen as a “must. There are countless tools that make both an event organizer’s and a visitor’s life much finer. Still, half of organizers struggle with using technology properly at an event. Technology should be an integral part of an event. Make sure it really works, but also that the privacy of the data is guaranteed, hackers don’t have access, what can you offer individually. Hybrid meetings are also becoming more the rule than the exception. Customers can thus decide for themselves whether they want/can attend or follow the event (partially) virtually.
- Resting moments. Don’t cram a program too full, plan rest moments as well. For networking, updating emails or just doing nothing.
- Sustainability is a must. Large amounts of waste repel. So provide alternatives such as a reusable drinking cup, electronic documents instead of flyers, biodegradable disposable products, no unnecessary plastic and so on. Companies in the Netherlands with more than 100 employees must have insight into their CO2 emissions on business trips and cars by mid-2023. So visits to trade shows that must be made by plane or other means of transportation will be considered more emphatically. If necessary, offer to calculate or even offset the CO2.
- Really add value and not try to create a quick hype. Journalists look closely at their readers and ask themselves what the added value of your post is. So focus on delivering value in your press releases.
- Not really a trend, but always has been a given that you should look for a newsworthy “hook.” If you only have an announcement, the message will not always be posted again. Depends on the media, of course. Can you connect it to something going on right now?
- Now. Do you see something going on NOW? Hook directly on it. Customers also increasingly live in the here and now, and sending a press release a week later is often way too late. If it’s fresh off the press, your customers will also respond faster.
- Another golden oldie is thought leadership. Try to place not (only) your company as a thoughleader but different people within your organization. Advance experts within the company as spokes person in that particular area.
- B2B podcasts. In a podcast, you can go into a little more depth than in a 15-second video. You don’t have to create a podcast yourself (you can), but you can also try to get experts within your company to join you as discussion partners within an existing podcast. The podcast already has a bevy of listeners and you fall right into the middle of your target audience.
I would be happy to help you further with the creation of a plan, its elaboration or marketing in the German market.