The Article: The Ultimate Guide to
B2B Marketing in 2022
Effective marketing is difficult to get right. Between creative demands, budget limits, and channel decisions, marketers have a lot to juggle when developing their marketing strategy.
The biggest determinant of effective marketing, however, is your audience.
If you’re not properly targeting your buyer persona, your promotions and advertisements will likely fall on deaf ears. You might as well not be marketing at all.
Where target audiences vary the most, though, is between individual consumers and businesses. Some companies serve individual shoppers, while others cater to companies and organisations.
Marketing to businesses is very different from marketing to individual consumers. That’s why an entirely different marketing method — B2B marketing — exists, and that’s why we built this guide.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of B2B marketing, the most effective B2B marketing strategies, and how you can tap into and convert your business audience. Plus, the trends you can expect in the B2B space in 2022, according to new research plus expert tips.
B2B Marketing Trends to Watch in 2022 [New Data]
HubSpot’s Blog team conducted research to determine the challenges, opportunities, and initiatives that most B2B marketers are focusing on in 2022.
Let’s dive in.
1. Marketers report ‘measuring the ROI of marketing activities’ will be their number one challenge in 2022.
30% of marketers marked “measuring the ROI of your marketing activities” as the number one challenge they believe they’ll face in 2022.
Measuring ROI can be easier for some activities compared to others. For instance, it’s easy enough to track a social media advertising campaign’s ROI if you’re tracking sales made from an ad placed on Facebook. Sales is a tangible outcome, and Facebook’s Ad Manager enables you to easily track ROI from your efforts.
However, other activities can be more difficult to track. Analysing which pieces of social or blog content resulted in sales, for instance, can be a more arduous and convoluted process.
To combat this challenge, take a look at How to Calculate ROI in Marketing [Free Excel Templates].
Additionally, consider A/B testing various marketing activities and tracking ROI to determine which platforms traditionally have the biggest ROI for your business. For instance, most marketers find the highest ROI from Facebook — but this could vary for your brand or business needs.
2. The majority of B2B marketers plan to increase their investments in influencer marketing in 2022.
As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen an immense shift in how consumers’ shop, with the majority now shopping online — and, in particular, purchasing products directly on social media.
It makes sense, then, that B2B marketers want to ensure their products or services are showing up on social channels with influencer partnerships.
Most B2B marketers — 71% — plan on investing more in influencer marketing in 2022, and that’s likely a wise choice.
However, you’ll want to ensure you choose partnerships wisely. While it can be tempting to find influencers with massive audiences, many businesses have seen more success with micro-influencers, so be sure to do your research to determine which influencers have the most authentic connections with your desired audience.
3. Roughly half of B2B marketers plan to create more case studies in 2022.
42% of B2B marketers plan to increase their investments in case studies in 2022, surpassing interviews, eBooks, and images.
Businesses want to learn from other businesses. Case studies are exceptional opportunities to inspire or educate your audience with real-life examples of other companies’ stories.
If you’re unsure about this media format, consider testing case studies on your blog and monitor how they perform. Alternatively, try creating case studies in alternative formats — such as a YouTube video — to provide additional value to your audience.
4. The number one goal for B2B marketers in 2022 is ‘increasing brand awareness’.
Understanding your big-picture goals is imperative for creating an effective marketing strategy for 2022 — so it’s likely helpful to know what other B2B marketers’ plan to focus on in 2022.
Roughly half of B2B marketers report that ‘increasing brand awareness’ is their number one goal in 2022. This goal surpasses increasing engagement, advertising products, lead generation, and even closing deals.
Brand awareness is critical for fostering trust, long-term loyalty, and brand equity. It makes sense, then, that so many marketers feel it’s critical for long-term success.
5. Some marketers plan to stop leveraging podcasts and audio content in 2022, while others will stop implementing VR and AR.
As important as it is to learn what marketers plan to do in 2022, it’s equally vital to learn what they plan not to do. This can help you identify your own guardrails and ensure you’re sticking to the most efficient marketing strategies, rather than wasting time and resources on all of them.
HubSpot’s Blog Research found 25% of marketers plan to stop leveraging podcasts and audio content; followed closely by 23% who plan to stop leveraging VR and AR.
This doesn’t mean these activities are inefficient, but it does suggest that some survey respondents found the time, effort, and resources required for each of these efforts wasn’t worth it. Ultimately, it depends on your audiences’ preferences.
If your audience doesn’t enjoy consuming business content on podcast or audio formats, then re-consider investing in these initiatives.
However, audio content isn’t going anywhere — so if you haven’t already, you might consider testing various audio formats in 2022 to see how they perform with your audience. If you’re unsure how to get started, take a look at Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Podcast in 2021 or Clubhouse vs. Podcasts: Which Should Marketers Use? [Data + Expert Tips].
6. Over half of B2B marketers say ‘optimizing load speed’ is going to be their most effective SEO strategy in 2022.
There are numerous various tactics you can implement to boost your SEO rankings in 2022. However, it can be challenging to know where to begin.
56% of B2B marketers marked ‘optimizing load speed’ as the most effective SEO strategy, followed by creating search insights reports.
Load speed directly correlates with how well your pages rank on Google since slow pages negatively impact a user’s experience. If you’re not sure how to reduce load speed, take a look at these 9 ways to improve page load speed.
7. LinkedIn will be the most popular video channel for B2B marketers in 2022, followed by TikTok.
Finally, we asked: Which social media platforms do B2B marketers’ companies post video content on?
Video content is the most popular format for most people when it comes to consuming content, so it’s vital your marketing team use video as a primary format. However, it can be tricky to determine which platform(s) you should post that content for optimal results.
As shown below, roughly half (49%) of marketers say LinkedIn is the best platform for posting their video content — followed by 28% who marked TikTok as the optimal platform.
If you’re considering posting video content on LinkedIn in 2022, take a look at LinkedIn Video Specs and Best Practices: a Comprehensive Overview.
Along with research, I spoke with a few B2B experts to get their take on the trends we can expect to see in 2022.
Carla Andre-Brown, a Content Marketer at Mailbird, told me she believes we’ll see more B2B brands aligning with charities in 2022.
Andre-Brown says, “Brands get a lot of brownie points and even referrals when they show how they serve the community. Instead of only seeing charity efforts around the holidays, you can expect philanthropy year-round.”
“Brand-building activities will look to work with social and environmental causes in a format that is ongoing and builds recognition for both parties. Marketers will need to be especially mindful of the way they present their company, to avoid being accused of having poor intentions.”
“For instance,” Andre-Brown continues, “a company using the Pride theme each summer without having policies that protect LGBTQ2IA+ employees is called ‘Rainbow washing’. To ensure this work is well-received and has an impact, marketers should listen to their communities’ suggestions and look for sustainable changes that everyone can benefit from.”
Additionally, Chief Evangelist at Terminus Sangram Vajre says he predicts that data collection will become a major priority for brands in 2022.
As he puts it, “The quality of our campaigns and initiatives will increasingly rely on our CRM, CDP, and 3rd-party sources to help create stylized, targeted, and convertible marketing initiatives. And since CMOs are increasingly held to ROI numbers, we have to up our game.”
To consider how you might manage your data in a more efficient, sustainable way, take a look at Everything You Need to Know About Data Management.
Additionally, if you’re unsure how you can continue tracking your audience without using third-party cookies, read 7 Marketing Alternatives to Tracking Cookies.
B2B Marketing Examples
A B2B marketing approach that works for one business may not work for another, but that’s not to say we can’t learn something from the pros. Here are eight B2B marketing examples of businesses who did it right.
1. Social Media Marketing: Adobe
TikTok can seem like a difficult platform to stand out as a B2B brand, but some companies have managed to attract thousands — if not millions — of viewers to their videos through high-quality content and an understanding of the app.
Take software company Adobe, which has 262.3K followers and 2 million likes on its TikTok account.
When Adobe first joined the app, the company’s second video got over 2 million views. The video asked its audience, Who is a creative TikToker we should know about? which encouraged high audience engagement.
Adobe succeeds on the app because it creates engaging content specifically catered for TikTok’s audience. All Adobe’s videos are short, entertaining, and easily digestible.
Take the following example, which has over 370K views and highlights how user @emilesam used Adobe’s After Effects edit to create a fighting sequence against himself.
The brand does a good job highlighting its products in a fun, non-promotional way. Both consumers and businesses can see a clear connection between using Adobe’s products and finding success on TikTok — which makes this a great example of B2B marketing.
2. Content Marketing: Shopify
Ecommerce company Shopify produces many different types of content resources, such as a blog, business courses, and community events. But one content avenue that helps the brand stand out is its podcast, aptly titled Shopify Masters: The ecommerce business and marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs.
The podcast focuses on inspiration stories from entrepreneurs, and offers practical tips for starting an online business on Shopify. Episode topics range from “Disrupting the Soda Industry with a Healthy Spin” to “How Masks for Dogs Landed a Deal on Shark Tank”.
Offering so much valuable, interesting content for free is a fantastic example of effective B2B marketing, which should always provide value before it tries to extract it.
3. Digital Marketing: Mailchimp
Mailchimp’s homepage is easy to navigate, clean, and focuses entirely on its customers’ pain points.
Consider, for instance, the first large text you see when you click on the page: “Get down to business and grow sales”. The smaller text below it reads, “Engage your customers and boost your business with Mailchimp’s advanced, yet easy-to-use marketing platform.”
The language focuses on the customer, and how Mailchimp can help the customer reach their goal: To grow their businesses.
Additionally, the website offers a banner at the top of the page that enables customers to choose in which language they’d prefer to view the website. Even the company’s Products navigation menu includes how the product can “Get Your Business Online” and “Market Your Business”.
Ultimately, the company demonstrates how much they value each of their customers by tailoring each piece of content towards its customers’ unique challenges.
4. Client Testimonials: Venngage
Venngage took its positive client testimonials and sprinkled them throughout its website. This social proof lets prospects know that you have a track record of reliability, and have delighted previous customers beyond expectation. Not only that, but sharing testimonials can have a big impact on potential consumers in the Consideration and Decision stages.
After all, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020, which is up from 81% in 2019, so using client feedback is a great tool to attract new ones.
5. B2B SEO: TravelPerk, Google
A B2B buyer spends 27% of the time in the purchase journey independently researching online, potentially using at least one search engine during the online research. It’s worth the time and money to invest in making sure other businesses can find you with ease.
TravelPerk displays a diverse range of paid search and SEO. An impressive SEO strategy is its use of topic clusters and sub-topics for reaching its target audience. TravelPerk ensures that search engine pages like “business travel expenses” have a paid ad leading to its website, or high-ranking blog content providing information travellers are looking for.
6. Inside Influence Marketing: IBM, Influencer and Employee Advocacy Program
IBM Systems business group has seen the growing importance of employee voice and the rise of employee influencers as a strategy in B2B marketing.
In the words of Ryan Bares, Global Social Programs Lead, he states, “In the B2B marketing world, we’ve all come to understand that buyers trust individual voices more than formal marketing and advertising messages, so finding ways to optimize influence internally is becoming a key area of focus.”
Leveraging employees in your company that have an affinity for the industry, vast knowledge of trending topics and your brand, could be key in building new relationships in the industry.
7. B2B Referral Program: Blackbaud, Blackbaud Champions
Blackbaud offers an incredible B2B referral program that incentivizes current customers to become product advocates — Blackbaud Champions. Champions are encouraged to share their insight into how the implementation process works, what it’s like to work with the team, and how Blackbaud solutions have helped you advance their mission.
“When you share your experiences and expertise and help us spread the word about our products and services, we’ll reward you with benefits only available to Champions. By providing your feedback, participating in activities like reference calls and case studies, and sharing educational content and events on social media, you’ll earn Reward Points in the Blackbaud Champions Hub which you can redeem from the Champions Rewards”
These points are what Champions strive to redeem, as they include incentives like discounts, complimentary passes, gift cards and VIP experiences, and more.
Referral programs are a great way to kindle customer loyalty and have advocates spread the word about your business through the network.
Invest in B2B Marketing and Reach Your Business Customers
Marketing isn’t effective unless you keep your audience in mind, and no other audience is as fickle and critical as business customers. Your marketing should communicate how your business can help theirs, and if it doesn’t, you can redirect your B2B marketing strategies to reach them.
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