Creative video content, intent data, AI, and the metaverse—these are just a few key areas that B2B marketers are predicting will be hot in 2022.
For our 2022 forecast, we’ve included insights from several B2B marketers. Read on for our B2B marketing predictions for 2022.
B2B Marketing Tactics to Deploy in 2022
Creating video content
“If ‘Content is King’, video content is the crown,” says Marcus Clarke, Founder at Searchant. “Optimization of video content will be a big digital marketing trend for 2022. If you have not made this a part of your marketing yet, it is imperative that you develop an SEO strategy that includes video.”
The thought of creating video content can seem daunting to some—especially if you don’t have the budget for a full-blown production. However, today’s audience isn’t always looking for polished content. Instead, they are more interested in real, authentic, and genuine storytelling.
Consider making short, casual 30-second videos that are easily shareable on social media. If you plan on creating a podcast in 2022, think about filming while podcasts are being recorded so you have content created in multiple mediums: video, voice, and text transcription.
Creative video content is a great way to beef up your SEO, social media, and content marketing strategies. But video also has another great use in B2B marketing: creating more personalized experiences.
“Given the social distancing of the last two years, more and more marketing and sales teams are going to create customized videos to answer questions and to engage with specific individual leads and contacts,” says Boyd Norwood, VP of Marketing at Nozzle.
“People are yearning for social connection and personalized videos will stand out more because of this,” Norwood explains. “If you are searching for a product and one of the companies reaches out with a personalized video stating your name and answering your question directly, it’s obviously not a canned video—it’s specific to you. It’s going to help build trust a lot faster than the competition who are just sending out mass emails or canned responses.”
Tools like Loom or Vimeo can help you create quick, easily-shareable videos that come with helpful features, like viewing history, user reactions, commenting ability, and more.
Ramping up content marketing strategies
“I expect that content marketing will become even more customer-focused this year than ever before,” says Carrie Mok, Content Marketing Editor at EPM Digital. “Google revealed in 2021 that content marketing was its number one SEO ranking factor. Subsequently, Hubspot found that the number of marketers utilizing content marketing was 82% in 2021, increasing by 70% in just one year.”
Ramping up content marketing strategy doesn’t necessarily mean producing higher volumes of content. It may also mean elevating the content you put out into the world.
“Rather than just creating content for the sake of it, marketers in B2B will make the most use of content by putting more of a priority on the customer’s needs and illustrating how they create value,” Mok adds.
As you tackle your content strategy for the upcoming year, focus on creating customer-centric and relationship-building content—and don’t hold back on getting creative. There’s a lot of content being created out there, and it’s going to take a creative marketing approach to cut through all that noise.
Going back to the roots of marketing to jump forward
“The biggest trends will be going back to the roots of marketing: creativity,” says Sandra Kaminska-Paciorek, Marketing Manager at Nibble Video. “With cookies soon going away, B2B marketers will face limitations in reaching their prospects. The space is already saturated with endless ebooks, guides, and white-papers, and with almost every B2B brand looking the same, customers are becoming bored.”
While written educational content like ebooks, blogs, and research reports have their place, B2B marketers can take a page from the B2C book and find new ways to engage their ideal clients. This may take shape in more creative snappy messaging, personalized video messages, or captivating visuals.
“To solve the problem, savvy B2B professionals are already looking at making their brands stand out, and I believe that this trend will continue to evolve in 2022. Aside from data and the constantly-growing marketplace of MarTech solutions, creative marketing is a big trend on the rise.”
Creativity can take shape in many ways—online quizzes that help direct you to relevant service plan options or interactive calculator tools can help prospective clients stay engaged and enhance the overall customer journey.
“Businesses must make their content more interactive to boost consumer interactions and engagement,” says Daniel Carter, SEO Manager at Manhattan Tech Support. “Encourage your fans to share your posts on social media, create intriguing quizzes, or use infographics.”
“Customers’ attention spans can be lengthened with interactive content that encourages them to interact more with your content and marketing materials. Storytelling is becoming more important for corporate success, as consumers’ habits and tastes shift toward interactive content,” Carter adds.
Taking a creative approach to your marketing content can help set you apart from competitors and increase customer engagement—and it may also help create a strong foundation for marketing trends that could take shape years from now.
“If B2B marketers want to prepare for the future, including the possibility of metaverse, they have to adapt their strategies,” says Nirosha Methanada, VP of Marketing at Influ2. “Relevance, creativity, and consumer experience throughout the advertising journey will be critical. In the hybrid world of AR and VR, boring ad copy and stock photos won’t cut it.”
Utilizing direct mailers to stand out
With the pandemic, we saw business digitization grow at a rapid scale. But with how cluttered digital spaces have become, many businesses have seen success with getting physical once again—in the form of corporate gifts and direct mailers.
PostcardMania, a marketing company that specializes in direct mailers, saw a 31% increase in earnings over 2020—signaling a growing trend in direct mail.
“You can set up triggered direct mail straight from your CRM,” Joy Gendusa, Founder & CEO of PostcardMania says. “After you leave a message or have a call, you can program pre-written messages to be sent out. Or, if your CRM has an API connected to a printing or mailing company like PostcardMania, you can write a personalized note right there in your CRM that will populate to your direct mail piece and mail within 24 hours.”
Direct mail may seem old school, but it’s a great way to stand out and create a more personal connection with your prospects and leads. But remember, in order to make this strategy work, it’s critical that you start with fresh, verified, and accurate contact data—after all, you wouldn’t want mailers or gifts accidentally being sent to the wrong address.
B2B Marketing Technologies
Don’t underestimate the rise of AI
“This year, I’m expecting a big jump in the AI of chatbot software—enough that many customers will not be able to realize they aren’t speaking with a real person,” says Michael Williamson, Marketer for Hoist. “Currently, chatbots are somewhat clunky and are often off-putting to customers, particularly when those customers are other businesspeople.”
“For the most part, they’re primarily used in customer service capacities or as an avenue to direct customers to a live agent. But from what I’ve been hearing, we should expect some significant leaps in the software, enough that we may even see them more involved—not just in customer service but also in direct sales.”
Automation for better personalization
“Choreographing a positive customer experience is going to force marketers to find ways to balance the efficiency of automation with the effectiveness of personalization,” says Laura Simis, Digital Marketing Manager at Hum.
“Marketers will be required to learn how to understand what their first-party data is telling them and use tools that allow them to deliver extremely personalized communication to individuals based on those insights—all at an omnichannel scale.”
This can be a tough challenge for B2B marketers to conquer. Many times, first-party data isn’t quite enough to deliver the personalization you’re hoping for. When you’re faced with gaps in your data, using a tool like Inbound Lead Enrichment can help propel your team forward. For example, if all you have is a name and email address of a given contact, Inbound Lead Enrichment can help create a clearer picture by enriching that contact with other attributions, like job title, industry, and more.
Leaning on intent data to overcome data privacy obstacles
“Google Chrome delayed its tracking cookie ban until 2023, but marketers should not stay complacent,” says Christiaan Huyen, CEO and Founder at DesignBro. “Instead, marketers need to come up with alternatives for next year. For instance, first-party cookie data will be relied on along with insights from social networks, email marketing, and other online platforms.”
While speaking to other B2B marketers, many brought up concerns of how changes in data privacy may impact organizations’ marketing strategies in 2022 and beyond. They also touched on intent data and how companies will need to focus on how to operationalize intent data to get the greatest ROI.
“Many companies have raced to grab intent data platforms, especially with browser cookies making some marketing channels less reliable than they were,” says Caleb Rule, Marketing Manager at The Pedowitz Group. “But so many aren’t fully utilizing that platform, and it’s costing their bottom line. A true focus on leveraging that data for both sales and marketing is a must for those with the investment.”
If you plan to use intent data, learning how to operationalize it should be high on your task list. Because of all the hype surrounding intent data, many marketing teams jump in quickly without any support from data vendors on how to effectively use it. This happens so often, that we wrote this article about how to use B2B intent data to generate quality sales and marketing leads.
Create with AR, VR, and the Metaverse in mind
There’s been a lot of talk about the Metaverse over the past year, especially with the news of Facebook taking on its new name, Meta.
“I see more augmented and virtual reality in 2022,” says Carol Tompkins, Business Development Consultant at AccountsPortal. “AR and VR can let one carry out interactive marketing presentations and different project site tours—like in construction, architecture, or personnel training. Simulation of complex structures in 3D can be easily attained. This, in the long run, will save on costs in a major way.”
Although marketers have conflicting views on how quickly we can expect new changes to happen within AR/VR, hybrid environments, and the Metaverse, many agree that it’s on the horizon.
“I’m not sure if this will be in 2022—probably much farther ahead—but I think companies may eventually shift some of their focus to augmented and virtual reality,” says Audrey Truitt, Digital Marketing Manager at Virtudesk. “That’s because Facebook, who turned Meta, is refocusing their mission just for this, and they are truly a leader in how consumers have, are, and will experience the world.”
B2B Marketing Teams and New Hires
“The biggest trend for B2B marketing in 2022 isn’t so much a trend as it is a fact of life—B2B marketing agencies and in-house teams are going to need to work on talent attraction and retention like never before,” Kate Kandefer, Co-Founder and CEO at SEOWind says. “The Great Resignation has been hitting marketing agencies and marketing departments hard, and figuring out the right mix of pay, benefits, and work-life balance to keep your key talent around is going to be a major priority.”
Although talent retention and employee engagement aren’t marketing trends, it would be amiss to completely ignore the role it will play in B2B marketing in 2022. After all, you’ll need a strong marketing team to strategize, plan, and execute on all of the tactics we’ve mentioned—and savvy individuals who can optimize your MarTech stack.
Lattice Hudson, a Business Coach and Leadership Mentor, brings up the point that creating strong employee engagement means you also create a loyal team of micro-influencers for your company.
“Employee engagement enables your business to benefit most from its workers by allowing them to serve as brand ambassadors, increasing sales, and starting conversations around your product or service in a more sincere manner,” says Hudson. “They may be your most committed supporters if you recruit workers who connect with your company values and are eager to achieve development.”
Generate Quality Sales and Marketing Leads with Intent Data
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