The COVID pandemic significantly changed how the business world operated and the way consumers wanted to interact to buy goods and services. Following the slow recovery, as the economy started rebounding in 2021, unprecedented emerging trends changed the sales and marketing realm. While core marketing concepts haven’t really changed since the discipline emerged from the blending of economics and psychology, every year external conditions require business planners adapt if they way to excel. Today, we share the top marketing trends for 2023 along with a few that impact the sales function. Specifically, the introduction of artificial intelligence, automation of sales processes, the impact of videos, voice search, and more changed how sales and marketing departments operated.
If your business missed these top marketing trends in 2022, you have limited time to revamp your sales and marketing strategies to achieve your 2022 business goals. Below are a few top marketing trends you should consider for today and to set you up for a successful 2023.
Top marketing trends for 2023
First, let’s take a step back to distinguish between sales and marketing.
If you Google the difference between sales and marketing you’ll find all kinds of blather about the existence of clear, meaningful differences between the two and conflict between sales and marketing departments but the reality is very different. Any marketing textbook or academic will agree with the distinction shown below, which shows the two aren’t really all that different.
Sales is often considered a subset of marketing (it fits into one of the 4Ps of marketing also called the marketing mix, promotion). Sales is the culmination of your marketing efforts when you actually get customers to make your cash register ring, according to Forbes. However, rather than involving hands-off transitions like those in e-commerce, sales commonly involve people, even if they’re just order takers like sales clerks. The prototypical salesperson is usually thought of as the business-to-business salesperson who calls on industrial customers or those selling high-end products such as homes and cars.
Marketing, on the other hand, involves all the processes leading up to the involvement of a salesperson. We commonly discuss marketing as the 4 elements of the marketing mix, although more modern constructions of marketing include additional elements. Below, we see one such example.
For this reason, I discuss top marketing trends for implementation today and success in the future, even though you might think some of these trends refer to sales rather than marketing
Top marketing trends
1. Artificial intelligence is here to stay
Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay and the uses of AI expand into new areas as technology and imagination grow more robust. In fact, below you see a visualization of how AI uses in marketing grow over just the last few years, pointing to a bright future for business use of AI (and its corollary, ML or machine learning) in marketing.
Marketers and salespeople use AI to accomplish lots of tasks formerly done without the benefit of processing vast sums of data into meaningful strategies. Here are just a few tasks where AI works to help your marketing performance or assists humans to benefit performance.
- Assist in PPC (pay per click) ad buying
- Using AI along with AR (augmented reality) to create 3D visualizations and add products to build a finished product such as showing products on virtual models, adding paint color to an image of your room, or doing virtual landscaping on your yard.
- Content creation is a burden on any business concerned with creating valuable content on a consistent basis. Using AI/ ML to create marketing copy may not eliminate the need for human copywriters but it’s great for creating drafts that are polished by humans. BTW, Google and other search engines penalize websites containing machine-written copy.
- Better recommendations by using predictive analytics implemented by AI.
- Identify consumer trends before your competition.
- Chatbots to handle consumer queries and complaints 24/7
- Enhanced personalization for email and SMS messaging
In sales, you can’t ignore the importance of artificial intelligence in forecasting and analyzing various sales processes. Currently, AI is considered the spine of sales processes. Among the best innovations is the introduction of sales rep management software, which allows sales departments to conduct an extensive analysis of sales metrics to evaluate their current performance and identify effective strategies.
In 2022 and beyond, artificial intelligence-powered sales analysis will likely become more accurate, convenient, and less time-consuming. Artificial intelligence has slowly taken over most business processes, and sales analytics isn’t an exception. Sales forecasts made using AI-powered software have unmatched precision and accuracy, maintaining your business demand.
AI-powered sales insights can inform your business on the marketing activities to focus on and those to be ignored. The following sales tasks can be improved through AI:
- Target customer buying trends
- Data collection and interpretation
- Product suggestions to your clients based on their recent purchases
- Buying and selling trends
2. Creativity in sales
Creativity is one of the top marketing trends in 2022. While it doesn’t sound actionable, your business needs to use creative and innovative marketing strategies. The aftermath of the pandemic drastically changed the business environment. Unlike before, your target market can expand and saturate rapidly.
With a lot of unpredictability, sales departments should double their efforts to meet due quotas and ensure the company stays afloat in the market. Businesses shouldn’t rely on risky sales practices in the currently volatile market. Competition is the main driver of innovation. Competitors will soon come up with new concepts that will drive you out of the market.
The only way to remain in business is to crack the building blocks of market success in the diverse market by working smarter, not harder. Marketing teams should identify unique things that differentiate their business from others. You can either opt for the opposite of what other businesses are doing or modify their strategies slightly to make your business outstanding.
3. Adapt value-based selling
While this may sound counter-intuitive, the best strategy to boost your business sales in 2022 and beyond is not to be too salesy. In 2022, customers, especially B2B customers, don’t like being viewed as a source of revenue but want you to help them solve their problems. By finding solutions, you earn their trust and business.
Various marketing strategies, such as offering real discounts or lowering prices, are no longer practical in the current tough business environment where reliance on price is a disaster unless you have the deep pockets to sustain a loss of revenue. Implementing a price-only marketing strategy soon leads to a race to the bottom, which ultimately leads to poor products as firms try to sustain operations by cutting corners and eroding sales. Before changing product prices, you should change your prospect’s perception by implementing a value-based marketing strategy.
In most cases, prospects can shut down offers without giving sales teams a chance to explain their products because they think it is expensive. The only way to counter this challenge is by adapting value-based selling. You should identify your customer’s pain points and needs before tailoring your offers toward solving their problems.
Allow your entry-level representatives to market the product features and advanced reps to handle the outcomes or benefits of the product to your target market. Highlighting the benefits of your products to your leads before making your offer makes it appealing, even for those who were not initially interested.
Bring your departments together
The customer journey evolved digitally during the pandemic and predictions suggests this trend will continue, as you can see below.
Thus, all departments should contribute toward the conversion path rather than form independent strategies for sales and marketing. The customer support department should answer customer queries, the IT department should manage the website to keep it up-to-date, the sales team should handle customer relationships and the sales pipeline, and the marketing department should handle branding, messaging, new product development, and conversion.
Bringing different departments together can magically improve your results. It provides value to customers and boosts conversion rates. Prospects are also more likely to convert, especially with the involvement of the marketing teams. The marketing team better understands the customer’s needs and desires. They also monitor the latest trends, making them valuable for sales teams.
5. Messaging apps are the new social media
Surprisingly, messaging applications have surpassed social media platform usage. According to Business Insider Intelligence, the leading messaging platforms, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and WeChat have a large user base when compared to the top social networks, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
In 2022 and beyond, these messaging apps will resonate more with your market to connect them with brands and businesses. Brands such as IKEA, KLM, and Taco Bell successfully proved the market potential of these relatively new communication channels as they create more immediacy and engagement than email or social media. Your businesses should similarly catch up with this top marketing trend for better chances.
6. Micro-influencers are becoming powerful
More than 90% of customers trust opinions and recommendations from family, friends, and online experts. Initially, working with influencers was better than word-of-mouth marketing and the key to reaching a wide audience. However, following controversies between top brands and high-profile influencers, customers have turned to micro-influencers instead of celebrities and big names. This trend will likely continue picking up in 2022.
There’s already a change in how a business runs its operations, thanks to advancing technology and the pandemic. To remain relevant and stand out in the competitive market, your business should be at the forefront of adopting these trends. Choose those top marketing trends that align with your business operations for assured success.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.