In 2023, consumer spending on devices is predicted to fall as recession fears intensify. Yet, for the B2B technology sector overall, spending on digital technologies will continue to increase in 2023. Furthermore, as the amount of data in both B2C and B2B markets continues to explode, businesses are focusing new spending on cloud data storage over on-premises options. Plus, to prepare for a possible economic downturn, companies in all industries are looking for ways to foster cost reductions and drive increased efficiency. Those efforts include the digital transformation of departments outside of IT.
For savvy marketers in the technology sector, the change in focus from hardware to digital technologies, particularly software drives opportunities to provide value and market to organizations who in previous years weren’t looking to invest in new digital technologies. But how do B2B technology marketers rise to the challenges that include targeting other IT companies, internal IT departments and firms who are new to more advanced digital technologies like the cloud?
Enterprise IT spending is shifting
Technology analyst firm, Gartner forecasts a 5.1% growth in global IT spending in 2023. Moreover, according to John-David Lovelock, Gartner’s Research Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, “enterprise IT is recession proof as CEOs and CFOs, rather than cutting budgets, are increasing spending on digital business initiatives.” Another recent Gartner survey of more than 2,000 CIOs reveals that IT leaders are tasked with “the need to accelerate time to value from digital investments” in ways that drive higher than ever returns.
Elevation Marketing President, Scott Miraglia agrees. He says that because of the atypical recession companies are facing, businesses across all industries, including those in the technology sector must face a unique set of challenges. Increases in costs due to rising inflation, including labor, supplies, hardware, etc. are occurring at the same time as higher interest rates and an overall slowdown in the economy. These economic forces will continue to accelerate the demand for technology that can help operations increase overall value, including in departments outside of IT.
Know every member of your target audience
Enterprise IT purchasing priorities are changing at faster rates than ever. Plus, new buyers who might not understand the complexities of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, data storage and security will be focusing new spending on the cloud, SaaS and other modern technologies. Marketing professionals in technology companies must be prepared to go the extra mile to craft ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and buyer personas. It is the foundation for all marketing and sales. If you don’t understand who your customers are and what their challenges are, how can you position your firm’s technology as the best solution?
How to learn more about enterprise IT buyers
- Research the market trends within your own industry to discover additional target markets.
- Use qualitative and quantitative research to gather insights into every person who influences or makes modern technology purchasing decisions.
- Leverage your research data to create buyer personas that include information on specific goals, needs and challenges.
Craft content that connects with B2B technology customers
In 2023, crafting content, including brand messaging that speaks to your enterprise IT prospects is more critical than ever. It might be tempting to inform buyers of how great your technology company and its solutions are down to the minutest detail. Flooding your prospects with too much technical information could backfire, especially with B2B purchasers who aren’t software developers, engineers, or other IT professionals. Not all decision makers on a buying committee will be a CIO. As more non-traditional departments outside of IT begin to search out digital solutions that help drive value and increase efficiency, how should business to business marketers fashion messaging that sells?
How to develop brand messaging
- Use data from market research and your ICPs and buyer personas to create brand messaging.
- Ensure your messaging– from brand positioning to value propositions and taglines– appeals to all industries and target personas, regardless of their level of technical expertise.
- Utilize your buyer personas to build out highly targeted marketing and sales campaigns tailored to their unique pain points and business goals.
Engage B2B technology buyers wherever they are
Digital marketing is no longer new. Furthermore, it’s become even more imperative since early 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns forced business operations online. By 2023 most firms will be back in the office, at least part-time. That means engaging your B2B technology buyers wherever they are, including across the internet and on all their devices is crucial. And in 2023 omnichannel marketing will continue to grow in importance as newer digital channels, such as connected (CTV) and streaming television gain prominence (e.g., video on demand (VOD) and “over the top” or OTT). To reach B2B IT customers, technology marketing professionals can no longer afford to cherry-pick which channels to deploy messaging. To avoid any missed opportunities, you must understand every marketing channel to serve the right type of creative content in front of your prospects at the right stage of their buyer’s journey. Plus, those stories must also be tailored to each individual channel.
How to leverage omnichannel marketing for B2B technology
- Create a consistent branded experience across all marketing channels.
- Use your buyer personas, research data and content strategy to customize campaign messaging and creative visuals.
- Retarget technology prospects across platforms from social media to streaming TV after they visit a landing page or your website.
- Use marketing automation to optimize your omnichannel marketing strategy.
Return to in-person trade shows
This year saw the return of in-person trade shows and other events. In 2023, we predict the trend will grow. Yes, the virtual event is here to stay. However, not as a replacement for face-to-face networking with target technology buyers. For technology and IT companies, particularly those in the cloud computing and AI sectors, a presence at the events target companies attend is critical. In 2023, B2B technology marketers must also leverage in-person events in target industries outside of the IT industry.
More companies are pivoting to the cloud and digital technologies to squeeze as much value as possible out of their businesses. As such, they’ll be looking to connect with IT solution providers who can provide value, reduce costs and increase revenue. Their search doesn’t stop at trade shows. Technology marketers who go all-in on digital only marketing tactics will miss out on the valuable opportunity for instant meetings with enterprise technology buyers that hosting or attending a trade show brings. To win the game, you must take a hybrid approach that includes traditional channels like events and conferences. Otherwise, you will lose to competitors who do.
How to use in-person events to reach technology audiences in 2023
- Craft a compelling branded trade show experience that drives attendance to the event and to your booth.
- Promote your trade show in advance by leveraging relevant digital omnichannel and multichannel marketing.
- Continue the conversation with IT buyers after the event is over with targeted campaigns and clear, concise messaging that compels conversions, i.e., sales.
Put B2B Technology Marketing Strategies into Action
Now that you’ve gained an understanding of the market forces at play moving into 2023 and the B2B marketing trends to succeed in the competitive technology market, you can use what you have learned. Bring in more technology that leads into your existing sales pipeline by arming yourself with research, buyer personas, brand messaging and a hybrid performance marketing strategy that combines omnichannel marketing and traditional marketing strategies. Also, you can push your content strategy to the next level. Your technology marketing team will have the tools to create the stories that drive today’s enterprise technology buyers across multiple industries. And you will have a crucial edge over your competition for years to come, including cohesive messaging that can pivot to meet future technology evolutions. More than anything else, you will now have the tools and tactics you need to succeed in 2023 and beyond.