In this rapidly changing world, will you be able to pivot your strategy to swoop up new opportunities?
From new data privacy laws to Google’s algorithm updates to an explosion of influencers, marketers need to adapt, or they’ll get left in the dust. Here are ten 2023 marketing trends you can expect to see in the marketing landscape next year.
1. Focus on Customer (or User) Experience
According to research completed by eMarketer and Statista, online retail sales will reach $6.51 trillion by 2023. This continuous rise in ecommerce means that customers have access to businesses from around the world—at just the click of a button, they can research and choose from any one of your hundreds of competitors.
But what makes a consumer choose one business over another? Marketers are finding that in a saturated market, it comes down to customer experience (CX). 73% of people say that customer experience is an important factor in their buying decisions, but only 49% of US consumers say that today’s companies provide a good experience.
A customer will also define a good experience as being pleasant—that means marketers are going to have to find ways to make the entire experience luxurious, from personalized messaging, to thoughtful client onboarding, to gifts and handwritten thank you notes. It’s quality service and personal touch that will differentiate you from your competitors!
2. Social Responsibility
Social and climate justice issues have taken the main stage like never before. So, you can expect marketing to do what it always has done: adapt and adopt. According to Hubspot’s 2023 Marketing Strategy and Trends Report, 89% of marketers plan to invest in social responsibility content. That’s more than double the year before.
This Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) content is well-received by customers. According to HubSpots consumer research, 50% of Gen Zers, 40% of millennials, and 35% of Gen Xers want companies to take a stance on social issues, particularly racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender inequality, and climate change.
(It is important to note, though, that if the majority of your customers are of the Baby Boomer generation, about half of Boomers say that companies should not take a stance on social issues.)
So what should you do? Explore which values are important to you and your company, and make them known. Does social or climate justice influence your production processes? Do you value diversity in your team? You can integrate blog posts that answer current events issues, or make social posts that are relevant to your values, or even compose emails to let customers know where you stand. Just make sure it’s authentic, relevant, and not forced!
3. Honesty, Transparency, Privacy
From the sharp rise in cyber attacks beginning in 2020, to recent controversies in data privacy, your customers are more aware than ever before. As a result, they have higher expectations of brands and organizations when it comes to protecting their sensitive data.
New data privacy rights laws are taking effect in various states starting January 1, 2023, including California, Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia, and Utah. While there’s not currently a federal data privacy law in place, legislation has been introduced and may pass in 2023, including the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, and the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act of 2022.
Many businesses see the writing on the wall and are already pivoting toward gathering data in more transparent ways. They’re also giving consumers more choice in how that data is collected. Of all the 2023 marketing trends, this one might be the most crucial to pay attention to. Don’t get left behind!
4. Down-To-Earth, Human Messaging
Have you ever read an email or social media post in which the tone of voice sounds “canned” or “artificial”? We bet you can’t delete or scroll away fast enough!
The days of the car-salesman voice are over—the new evolution of consumers is demanding that their messaging sounds like it comes from a real human being. As more Gen Zers enter the market, you can expect the emphasis on down-to-earth communication to be even stronger in 2023.
So what does that mean exactly? It means marketers are going to need to stay away from industry jargon in their messaging (unless absolutely necessary). It means using contractions (i.e., won’t) instead of formal two word phrases (i.e. will not). It means using the 2nd person “you” in their communications with prospects. It means keeping sentences short, and adding just a pinch of humor where appropriate (and maybe even a couple GIFs!).
5. Simple, Clear Communication
Speaking of Gen Z, did you know that their average attention span is only 8 seconds long? It’s not so shocking, when you think about it: This is the generation who grew up writing tiny Instagram captions, reading Twitter posts of 280 characters or less, and now scrolling through Tik Tok videos designed for max entertainment in the shortest time.
If you’re planning to reach this generation and others (because, let’s be honest—all of our attention spans have gotten a bit shorter) then your marketing messaging is going to need to be clear and concise. Ditch the complex sentences in favor of simple ones. Condense your message as much as possible. Make bold statements, and don’t hedge.
Pro-Tip: Want help parsing down your marketing communications? Enter your text into the Hemmingway Editor. It’s a free editing app that will tell you which of your sentences are too hard to read, and which words have simpler alternatives!
6. SEO Outsmarting the “Hacks”
There are many marketers out there who’ve developed SEO tactics and “hacks,” trying to outsmart the algorithm and win the featured snippet, or a spot on the first search engine results page. These folks are so focused on gaining traffic that they’ve forgotten the point of having a helpful blog or website in the first place.
In August 2022, Google addressed this issue with an algorithm update dubbed “The Helpful Content Update.” According to Google’s own blog, “The “helpful content update” [is] part of a broader effort to ensure people see more original, helpful content written by people, for people…”
While this may seem vague, marketers everywhere are reading between the lines: writing content that specifically caters to search engines, without actually being helpful to the reader, is no longer going to fly. Here are some specific writing do’s and don’ts to make more satisfying, helpful content:
DO be original when writing content.
DO draw on the expertise at your disposal.
DO come up with content ideas based on your own customers' questions/pain points.
DON’T aggregate data from sources without adding your own unique insights.
DON’T re-write the existing featured snippet & “hope” for the best.
(For a guide to the Helpful Content Update, Search Engine Journal has a great article that will help you understand what it means for your business.)
7. Employee Advocacy
Employee advocacy simply means letting your employees talk about your business and share on your business’s behalf. Do your employees talk about their work online? If so, they’re already on their way to becoming brand advocates!
If you want to leverage employee advocacy, you first need to understand that employee advocacy is made possible by creating a healthy happy work environment for your team. Without it, this marketing strategy has the potential to feel forced.
According to SproutSocial, a good employee advocacy strategy will allow employees to:
- Amplify company messages and promotions, which increases brand awareness.
- Positively share about their experiences and work life, offering an “inside look.”
- Act as an expert and recommend the company’s products and services to friends and family.
You can encourage advocacy by distributing company merchandise to your employees, such as branded sweaters, stickers, coffee mugs, etc. You can also implement internal rewards and incentives that reward employees for their great work, which will encourage them to share the positive experience with friends and family.
If they post about their work on social media, that’s yet another form of employee advocacy. You can also ask them to do a “social media takeover” for a day on the company’s social channels!
8. Sales and Marketing Alignment
When sales and marketing teams are aligned, both teams benefit. This symbiotic relationship between departments helps deliver a seamless experience for the prospect or client, increase conversion rates, and ultimately boost revenue.
Unfortunately, many marketers do not feel as though they are aligned with their sales teams. This creates a disconnect that makes all strategies less effective.
According to Hubspot’s 2023 Marketing Strategy & Trends Report, marketers will shift their focus to improving sales and marketing alignment, the benefits of which include:
- Building customer relationships to increase brand loyalty.
- Boosting advertising effectiveness.
- Improving customer understanding of their products/services.
- Understanding audience targets better.
This is more than a 2023 marketing trend—it’s a business strategy. From sharing data across teams, to understanding and solving real customer problems, sales and marketing alignment is crucial for success.
9. An Increase in Influencer Marketing
As the advertising landscape changes, so must our marketing strategies. Influencer marketing might sound intimidating, but in 2023, it’s going to be more accessible than ever. Instead of reaching out to celebrities and big names to promote their products, marketers are turning to micro-influencers whose audience aligns with their own.
A micro-influencer is someone who has a social media presence larger than a normal person’s but smaller than a celebrity’s, landing between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. These people have built trust with their followers and can provide an authentic endorsement of your product.
Research ways to integrate influencers into your marketing plan for 2023. While marketers invested the most money in influencers from Instagram last year, the fastest growing channel for influencer marketing is Tik Tok, and it’s expected to keep growing. Use tools like Tik Tok’s Creator Marketplace to find creators who align with your products and services, and hop on the influencer train!
10. Marketing Powerhouse Channels Will Hold Steady
While many things are changing in 2023, you’ll be relieved to know that the marketing powerhouses we hold dear are still very much the dominating force in the marketing landscape. That includes content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and Pay-Per-Click advertising.
Tried and true strategies that make each of these marketing channels successful are still just as, if not more, effective as they have been in the past. So while we encourage you to shake things up this year and try new avenues of marketing, it’s important that you continue to invest in the traditional pillars of digital marketing. (As they say, “If it ain’t broke…”)
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