Digital, individual and authentic: trends in B2B communication in 2022
One of the most important efforts in terms of integrated communication is to overcome internal silo thinking and to spread consistent messages across channels. Against this background, content marketing and owned media are gaining new relevance – and with it technologies such as marketing automation and artificial intelligence. In general, digitization is mandatory – earlier trends, such as communicating online and via social media, have long since become mandatory. Accordingly, the customer journey is becoming less and less linear.
It applies To accompany leads individually with their purchase decision with tailor-made lead marketing. It is advisable to present your own brand authentically. All of this shows that communication is becoming more multi-layered and complex. It is all the more important to stay up-to-date and to be aware of the following trends.
In the meantime, the principle “first the content, then the channels” is undisputed. Around to implement this basic content marketing maxim, it needs an integrated approach. This is solely due to the fact that there are more and more opportunities to get in touch with your own target group and to stand out in the flood of information – be it through cooperation with internal and external influencers and multipliers or through the informative processing and communicative use of existing data material. Against this background, data PR is an important trend in B2B communication.
Either way: Customers and prospects must be accompanied with consistent messages throughout the entire customer journey. The example of influencer marketing shows that it is often not (or no longer) possible to assign a measure to the area of corporate communications, PR or marketing. What is needed is a rethinking and reorganization of communication. It is important to overcome former borders and pull together in a communicative direction.
In this course, there will be agencies that either specialized in classic public relations are or offer services in the field of marketing will have difficulties in the future. As the current study “The future of PR” by aclipp shows that 71 percent of the agencies already classify themselves as communication agencies with a comprehensive range of services. The same applies to companies: More and more rely on a central organization of external communication.
Of course, it will also be important to include digital channels in the communication mix in the future. the current study “B2B Online Marketing Trends 2022” by eMinded according to more than two thirds of those surveyed (77 percent) already use online channels such as their own website, social media platforms or apps to arouse the interest of potential customers and generate leads.
The situation is almost even clearer among the PR professionals surveyed: online media are outstripping traditional print media in terms of importance. It also shows that social media are now considered to be equivalent to print media (94 percent). At the same time, social networks are fueling the increasing popularity of audio and video formats. So are about Corporate podcasts more popular than ever: More and more companies are setting up their own corporate podcast or using audio and video contributions to position experts.
The customer journey now almost always starts online. But from this point on, the journey of stakeholders and potential customers through the channels is less linear than it used to be. One of the current trends – which is also a major challenge – is to make the customer journey more and more individual. The means to an end: tailor-made and target group-oriented content that is available across channels along the individual touchpoints.
“Tailor-made” means two things at the same time: On the one hand, companies position themselves over time as a reliable partner who knows the needs of customers and prospects, addresses them in a useful way and ultimately presents the right solution. On the other hand, companies are required to accompany each individual lead as individually as possible. If a person is interested in a certain topic, they usually look online for suitable materials. She might stumble upon a whitepaper, download it, then attend a webinar, and finally fill out the callback form on the website. Another lead could continue researching on other websites after reading the white paper, which would result in a completely different customer journey.
In order to serve the large number of channels as simultaneously and in real time as possible, more and more digital tools are needed. Otherwise, it is not very efficient – if not impossible – to implement a content-centric approach and to provide stakeholders and potential customers with consistent messages and helpful information along the customer journey. In this context, the newsroom concept, which was previously known from journalistic editorial offices, is finding its way into companies: the corporate newsroom becomes the control center of companies.
Suitable, AI-based software tools are indispensable for maximum efficiency and high-quality output. According to the aclipp study, almost all PR practitioners now use intelligent software. The use of AI tools in communication work is still often a thing of the future, but the trend is clearly going in this direction. In any case, companies should now deal with this topic in order not to be left behind. Anyone who scores with the target group with technologies such as voice mining, text mining and digital assistants already has a clear advantage.
There are plenty of examples in B2C of how marketers can achieve a tailor-made approach in this way: This includes, for example, tailor-made advertising for umbrellas when bad weather is reported in a region. One thing is certain: data is the new gold. A treasure that companies should better dig up yesterday than tomorrow. The right tools for this are intelligent tools based on artificial intelligence.
It is thanks to Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2010) that values such as moral, social and ecological responsibility are also finding their way into the business world. How customers evaluate a brand or make a purchase decision is closely related to the issues of authenticity and responsible behavior of an organization. the Studie “Truth about Gen Z” der McCann Worldgroup shows that 57 percent of respondents would pay more for products from a company that shares their values.
Social commitment, diversity and environmental protection occupy the top spots. B2B companies are also well advised to become clear about their self-image – their purpose – and to communicate it in an authentic way. It is obvious that sustainable action and a corporate culture characterized by diversity are becoming increasingly important for one’s own purpose.
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