If the last few years taught us anything, the real test of a marketer’s skill is how well they adapt to change.
In fact, in our most recent research, nearly 80% of marketers say their industry changed more in the past three years than in the last 50.
That also means consumer attitudes and preferences are changing just as quickly. And, it’s up to brands to keep up.
So, how can you succeed in a world where the unprecedented has become common?
To help you answer that and other burning questions, we surveyed 1,200+ global B2B and B2C marketers on their goals, challenges, and strategies.
Before we dive into the sections of our survey, let’s quickly discuss the biggest theme we found across the results.
Our Biggest Finding: Agile, Data-Driven Marketers Will Win 2023
Overall, the survey results pointed to two tactics that will be vital in keeping up the pace in the coming year:
1. Use deeper data to know the ins and outs of your audience.
Go beyond basic demographic information – it’s crucial to know their interests and hobbies, how they like to shop, where they consume media, the online communities they are part of, the challenges they face, and the social causes they care about.
2. Always plan to pivot.
From pandemics to political turmoil – and now a looming recession – the last few years have been a roller coaster for brands and consumers alike. Not only did over half of marketers pivot in 2021, 83% of those who pivoted changed course two to four times in one year.
We also found that 20% of marketers have already pivoted due to the potential recession. Chances are 2023 will continue to see shifts around this.
Ultimately, you need a plan for when things go off course. Will you increase your marketing budget? Will you cut down on marketing channels? How will you adapt your messaging to resonate with consumers’ evolving experiences? Most importantly, do you have the data you need to guide your decisions?
While the two tactics above reflect the broad findings in this report, let’s dive more specifically into the biggest strategic changes marketers expect to see in 2023 and how that’s changed from our last 2022 survey.
While we discussed some of these strategies an trends in our 2022 Report,
it’s worth noting that we’re seeing more emphasis on data-based decision-making, agile marketing, as well as social media brand-building (which often majorly contributes to the fast-paced tactics and pivots needed in the marketing industry each day). All in all, more marketers are speeding up processes and tactics to meet the digital, hyper-connected world we’re existing in today.
Below, we’ll discuss a few of these items in more depth. But, we’ll also continue to release more deep-dive data content to help you meet all of these changing strategies with success.
The top trends marketers are currently leveraging are short-form video, mobile-friendly web design, creating content that reflects their brand’s values, and using social media DMs for customer service. Not far behind are SEO, mobile messaging, influencer marketing, and selling products directly in social apps.
1. Short-form video will see the most growth in 2023
Not only is short-form video the most popular trend among marketers, with one-third using it, but it’s also the most effective and has the highest ROI.
On top of all that, short-form video will see the most growth of any trend in 2023, with marketers planning to invest more in it than any other trend.
90% of marketers using short-form video will increase or maintain their investment next year, and 21% of marketers plan to leverage short-form video for the first time in 2023, also the highest of any trend.
2. Influencer marketing will continue to grow its high ROI.
Over 1 in 4 marketers currently leverage influencer marketing and it offers the 2nd highest ROI of any trend. Luckily it can be leveraged with short-form video to take advantage of both of the highest ROI trends at the same time!
Influencer marketing will also see significant growth in 2023 with 17% of marketers planning to invest in it for the first time, the 2nd highest of any trend.
Influencer marketing also comes in second for the trend marketers plan to invest in more than any other in 2023 and 89% of marketers using it will increase or maintain their investment next year.
On top of all that, our consumer trends survey shows that 33% of Gen Zers have bought a product based on an influencer’s recommendation in the past three months. And when they’re making purchase decisions, Gen Z says influencer recommendations are more important than recs from their friends and family.
3. Branded social media DM tactics are growing.
Using social media DMs for customer service is relatively new, but already used by 29% of marketers. It has the 3rd highest ROI of any marketing trend and use will grow in 2023, with 15% of marketers planning to try it for the first time.
On top of that, 87% of marketers using social media DMs for customer service will increase or maintain their investment in 2023.
As social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook continue developing their e-commerce capabilities, providing customer service through DMs will only become more crucial.
Our Consumer Trends survey also found that over 1 in 5 Gen Zers and nearly 25% of Millennials have contacted a brand on social media for customer service in the past three months.
Using social media shopping tools is another growing, high ROI marketing trend that goes hand in hand with providing support through DMs, with almost 30% of Gen Z and Millennials having bought a product on social media in the past three months.
4. Website SEO continues to shine.
While not new, leveraging a blog with an effective SEO strategy continues to be a powerful tool, with 29% of marketers using a website to attract and convert leads.
Leveraging SEO ranks #4 in terms of ROI and effectiveness and 88% of those who use it will increase or maintain their investment in 2023.
When it comes to the trend marketers will invest the most money in for 2023, SEO ranks third behind short-form video and influencer marketing.
5. Marketers will continue to humanize their brands.
30% of marketers are currently creating content that reflects their brand’s values, making it the third most popular trend right now.
It has the 5th biggest ROI of any trend and will see growth in 2023. 16% of marketers plan to leverage content that reflects their brand’s values for the first time in 2023, and 89% of those already investing in it plan to increase or maintain their investment.
6. Marketers will benefit from data in 2023.
As we discussed above, we believe that data-driven marketers will win in 2023. After all, some of the biggest advantages marketers get from using data to inform their marketing strategy are that data helps them reach their target audience more effectively, create more effective marketing content, understand which marketing strategies are most effective, increase the ROI of their marketing efforts, and prove the value of their marketing and activities.
Which Marketing Trends Will Grow in 2023?
Short-form video, selling products directly in social apps, and influencer marketing will see the most first-time use by marketers in 2023.
Which Trends Could Marketers Leave Behind?
Now let’s take a look at the trends marketers are going to stop leveraging in 2023.
One in three marketers plan to stop using NFTs and 29% plan to cut out marketing in the metaverse and audio chat rooms in 2023. Voice search optimization and VR/AR are also at the top of the list of trends marketers plan to stop using next year.
While that may seem bleak, there are plenty of marketers who plan on exploring these same trends for the first time in 2023:
For a breakdown of everything brands need to know about consumers and the metaverse, check out this report from our recent consumer trends survey.
Next, let’s look into the top marketing channels for this year and 2023.
The Top 3 Marketing Channels of 2023
Marketers leverage an average of four different marketing channels in their role. Social media is used by over 42% of marketers, making it the #1 channel marketers are currently leveraging. It also has the highest ROI of any channel and will grow significantly in 2023. Additionally, one in four marketers say they use social media shopping tools.
One in three marketers are leveraging their own blog or website, as well as SEO, to land on SERPs. Meanwhile, 32% use email marketing.
Blogs, social media shopping tools, and influencer marketing are neck and neck for the highest ROI of any marketing channel.
Since social media is far and above the top marketing channel, let’s dive into which social media platform is the most effective.
Marketers leverage an average of four social media platforms in their roles. Facebook is the most used social media platform, leveraged by 64% of marketers, followed by Instagram (58%), YouTube (57%), Twitter (43%), TikTok (42%), and LinkedIn (33%).
Now that we’ve looked at what both general and B2B marketers use most often, let’s take a look at each platform more in-depth (in order of their general-marketer popularity) and see how they stack up against one another.
1. Facebook leads in ROI, though other apps will see more growth
Facebook is not only the most used social media platform among marketers but also offers the highest ROI. Facebook is the channel marketers plan to invest the most in for 2023, higher than any other channel.
While nearly 25% of marketers plan to invest in Facebook for the first time in 2023, this growth is slower than other apps like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter will see next year.
2. YouTube will see the most growth of any platform in 2023
YouTube’s currently used by 57% of marketers and ties for 2nd in ROI with YouTube and TikTok.
YouTube will see the most growth of any platform in 2023, with 91% of those using it planning to increase or maintain their investment. At the same time, 29% of marketers plan to try YouTube for the first time, the highest of any social app.
3. Instagram is #2 for ROI and will see high first-time use in 2023
Instagram is used by 58% of all marketers, the 2nd highest of any platform. It also ties in 2nd for ROI with YouTube and TikTok and will see significant growth in 2023.
14% of marketers will invest more in Instagram than any other platform in 2023, and 29% of marketers plan to try Instagram for the first time next year.
4. Over half of marketers eye TikTok for future investments.
TikTok has quickly become much more than just a trendy social app which was once primarily used by Gen Z, and marketers are taking heavy notice.
TikTok is used by 42% of marketers and ties for 2nd with YouTube and Instagram as a top ROI-generating platform.
TikTok will only continue to see growing brand interest in 2023, with 56% of those using it planning to increase their investment next year, the highest increase of any social media app, while 34% plan to maintain their current investment.
On top of the points above, 26% of marketers plan to use TikTok for the first time in 2023, while 16% of marketers will invest more in the app than any other next year.
With TikTok, a solid B2C platform, seeing such high marketing growth, you might wonder how the top platforms compare when analyzing B2B and B2C markers. Let’s take a quick look.
B2B vs. B2C Social Media Marketing Data
In terms of which platforms they use, both B2B and B2C marketers look very similar, with the biggest difference being that B2B marketers are more likely to use LinkedIn:
That might not be surprising, but does LinkedIn actually offer B2B marketers a better ROI than other platforms?
Just 14% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn say it gives them the highest ROI of any platform. That’s a lower percentage than Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
How Marketers Share Content on Social Media
Since marketers are using so many social media apps at once, you may be wondering if they are tailoring their content to each one, or just sharing the same content across the board.
It turns out that almost half of marketers re-post the same exact content across various social media platforms, while 35% tailor it to fit each app and 19% do a bit of both.
The Biggest Social Media Marketing Challenges
The top challenges social media marketers face are creating engaging content, gaining and keeping followers, reaching their target audience, finding ideas for new content, generating leads, keeping up with trends, and measuring ROI.
Now that we’ve talked all about the top trends, channels, and social platforms, we can take a look at which media formats marketers are most effective.
In the coming month, we’ll be diving deeper into these themes by surveying more global social media marketers about all the specifics related to their roles. Stay tuned as we’ll continue to publish findings from our additional research.
Which Media Formats are Marketers Leveraging?
Half of marketers are using videos, with 47% leveraging images, followed by 33% posting blogs articles, infographics (30%) and podcasts or other audio content (28%).
Video has the highest ROI of any media format by far, followed by images, blog posts, and podcasts or other audio content.
Use of video will grow significantly in 2023, with 24% of marketers planning to invest more in video than any other media format. Podcasts will see the 2nd highest investment, with 10% of marketers investing more in audio content than any other media format.
Video will also grow the most among first-time users in 2023, with 1 in 3 planning to try leveraging video next year. Images (29%), blog posts (26%), interview (25%), and podcasts (24%) will also see high first-time use among marketers in 2023.
You might also be wondering how often marketers publish content across these formats.
One-third of marketers publish content a few times a week, while another third publish daily. Just 13% of marketers put out content multiple times a day.
We also asked content marketers about the biggest challenges they face with their content strategy. Content marketers are currently struggling most with creating content that gets high levels of engagement, reaching their target audience, finding ideas for new content, creating content that generates leads, and creating content that attracts traffic to their website.
What are the Top Challenges Marketers Face?
The top challenges marketers are facing are generating traffic and leads, hiring top talent, pivoting their marketing strategy, training their team, keeping up with the latest trends, and increasing competition with other brands.
While we ran this survey in late 2022, these challenges are fairly consistent with what marketers cited in the research we did for our State of Marketing Report, which you can download for free here.
Of the challenges marketers face, those they struggle with most right now are:
- Updates to data privacy regulations,
- Growing a global audience,
- Using their CRM to its fullest potential
- Sales/marketing alignment
- A lack of high-quality data
When it comes to the biggest challenges marketers anticipate in 2023, keeping up with the latest trend tops the list, followed by increased competition, leveraging their CRM to its fullest potential, and having to pivot their marketing strategy.
Key Theme: Marketers Still Struggle to Understand Target Audiences
What’s stopping marketers from having the data they need on their target audience?
The biggest challenges involve data privacy regulations, consumers being less trusting with their personal data, how fast their audiences evolve,, a lack of information on their shopping habits, and the technological issues and learning curves that come with collecting data.
If marketers are able to collect data with the tools and technology they have, data privacy regulations and consumer distrust in sharing personal data can cause marketers to miss critical information. On top of that, poor data quality caused by these and other impacts noted above, can make it harder to keep up with the rapid changes happening in your targets’ lives.
While we surveyed general marketers for this portion of the report, we also did a follow up survey to learn about the key challenges and pain points executive and director+ marketing leaders are expecting to face. Check out this post, from our Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader blog series (fully launching Nov. 1), which includes tips from marketing execs and experts at companies like Microsoft, HubSpot, Help Scout, ZoomInfo, Sprout Social, and more.
Let’s dive more into how they performed in 2022 and how it compares to the data we collected earlier for our State of Marketing Report. If you want to dive deeper into the challenges we’ve discussed above, check out this post.
In 2022, marketing goals revolved around increasing revenue/sales (27%), improving the customer experience (22%), boosting brand awareness/reaching new audiences (20%), as well as increasing engagement, and strengthening brand loyalty through customer relationships (18%).
Marketers also focused their 2022 strategy on better understanding their customers, growing their social media following or community, and improving sales-marketing alignment.
But in 2023, half of marketers say these goals will change.
For those marketers making a pivot, increasing revenue/sales still tops the list, but the focus will shift to improving sales/marketing alignment, fostering relationships with customers to increase brand loyalty, revving up advertising, improving customer understanding of their products/services, and understanding audience targets better.Setting goals is one thing, but meeting them can be challenging. Let’s get into the biggest challenges marketers are facing right now and the blockers they expect in 2023.
How are Marketers Performing in 2022?
With the year nearly over, we asked marketers to reflect on their 2022 marketing strategy, and 91% say what they’re doing has been effective.
Just 2% called their strategies ineffective while 7% say their marketing efforts made no major negative or positive impacts.
Most marketers see their strategy as effective, so let’s dive into the marketing metrics or KPIs they use to measure their success.
The Most Important Marketing Metrics and KPIs
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of their content marketing strategy, marketers say sales, web traffic, and social engagement are the most important metrics, followed by conversion rate, follower/subscriber growth, and lead generation.
When planning out the next year’s goals, strategies and KPIs, especially without knowing if we are or aren’t going into a recession, you might ask yourself, “How we’ll I pay for these things? And what are other marketing teams doing.
Next, let’s take a look at how marketing budgets have recently changed and will continue to change in the coming months.
How are Marketing Budgets Changing?
54% of marketers saw their budgets stay the same from 2021 to 2022, while 39% saw an increase and just 8% report a reduction in budget.
For 2023, 47% of marketers expect their budget to increase, while 45% expect it to stay the same, and 7% think it will decrease.
When it comes to how that budget is invested, most (58%) marketers are somewhat confident when deciding how to invest their budget to maximize ROI, while just 28% feel very confident. About 14% do not feel confident in how they invest their marketing budget.
To round out the Marketing Trends 2023 report, we’ll dive into some work trends to understand how and where marketers are working this year.
Marketing Workplace Trends
In our State of Marketing Report published earlier this year, we revealed how marketers were thinking about their goals and what work they planned to do to get there. With this most recent survey, we dove into what that work and their work environment looks like.
Where Marketers Work
Whether by force or by choice, marketers are shifting back to the office in 2022. 80% of marketers are back in the office at least part-time, while just 20% are fully remote.
- 38% of marketers work in-office in 2022, a 73% YoY increase
- 42% of marketers work in a hybrid model in 2022, a 16% YoY decrease
- 20% of marketers work from home or remotely in 2022, a 29% YoY decrease
How Marketers Feel About There Workloads
When it comes to their workload, 70% of marketers describe their workload as high, while 26% say it is neither high nor low, and only 5% describe it as low. On top of that high workload, 46% of marketers say their workload increased from 2021 to 2022.
The average marketer works on five campaigns at a time and a total of seven campaigns per quarter. Additionally, 42% of marketers say the number of campaigns they work on each quarter increased from 2021 to 2022. Marketers think their workload will increase again in 2023, when they expect to be working on nine campaigns per quarter.
The Biggest Timesuck for Marketers
Needless to say, marketers are strapped for time and they only expect their workload to keep getting heavier. To make matters more difficult, marketers spend an average of six hours per day on manual, administrative, or operational tasks, leaving them less time to do more impactful work.
Luckily, automation is here to help – our data shows that marketers who report an effective marketing strategy this year are more likely to use automation in their role than ineffective marketers.
Biggest Marketing Takeaways for 2023
While you might think so much change has happened that the industry could eventually slow down – think again. In the most recent months, 20% of marketers have already had to pivot their plans due to the potential recession.
Ultimately, our data shows that marketers who invest in understanding their target audience, the latest trends, and how their audience is changing will be most prepared to pivot their strategy and beat out their competition in 2023.
To wrap up, here are some highlights from each section that you should take away with you when planning a new year of marketing strategies:
- Short-form video, influencer marketing, and social shopping/using DMs for customer service were the top trends marketers used in 2022 and could continue to gain steam in 2023.
- Facebook takes the throne as the highest-ROI social media platform, but YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok will see more growth than Facebook in 2023.
- Marketing budgets aren’t shrinking. Despite the pandemic, recession, data-privacy changes, and whatever else 2023 will throw at us, it seems marketers are actually being given funding needed to step up in unexpected or difficult times.
- Marketing roles are shifting back to in-person. A whopping 80% of marketers are at least partially back in the office in 2022, while only 20% are fully remote.
- Marketers have a high workload with no relief in sight. They reported workload increases from 2021 to 2022, and expect to see more pile up in 2023. Leveling up your automation tools can help you and your team spend more time on high-impact tasks.
Like what you’ve read and want more? Keep following the blog for even more coverage of this report, and check out our 2022 State of Marketing Report below to compare the 2022 data with the 2023 predictions above.