What were B2B marketers researching earlier this year?
It’s no secret that the world of marketing is evolving quickly: 78% of marketing professionals agree that the industry has changed more in the past three years than in the previous 50 combined. Now more than ever, it’s essential for marketing experts to stay informed of current and emerging best practices.
To help marketers stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we launched our Bombora Market Pulse report. The Bombora Marketing Pulse offers data snapshots and analysis of Bombora Intent data to provide a unique perspective on the marketing landscape, with insights generated by actual digital behaviors rather than self-reported surveys.
By examining the research habits of companies across various industries, the report provides a tailored look into the most significant trends and developments in the field. To keep marketers aligned with the most current trends, these reports will be updated quarterly and feature insights into the top topics marketers are currently researching, industry snapshots, and data broken down by industry and company size.
For Q1 2023, our research reveals how marketers are responding to resource restrictions due to economic uncertainty, reinvesting in their existing customer base, and leaning into new mediums for improved reach. The report covers a broad range of topics and provides a deep dive into the strategies, tools, and techniques that other marketing professionals are using to stay competitive.
The following is a sneak peek into some of the key trends identified in Q1.
Marketers are trying to do more with less
Over the past three years, marketers have had to operate with a high level of agility to adapt to changing market conditions. At the start of 2023, marketers once again need to adapt as economic uncertainty puts pressure on companies.
In response to this downward pressure, marketers are researching new tools and technologies to help streamline their initiatives and squeeze maximum impact from their limited budgets.
Roughly 61% of executives anticipate layoffs in 2023, and 70% are likely to institute a hiring freeze, while 43% of companies report cutting marketing budgets due to inflation.
Bombora’s Intent data for Q1 2023 shows a significant increase in research focused on Marketing Tools, with 114,500 companies spiking. This increase represents a 20% increase over Q4 2022 across all industries and indicates that a large portion of the profession is relying on software to streamline operations and stretch their reduced budgets.
Our Intent data clearly shows that marketing professionals are responding to economic uncertainty and resource constraints by researching new tools and technologies, exploring ways to manage their resources more efficiently, and maintaining operational flexibility to respond quickly to changing market conditions.
Marketers are reinvesting in customer relationships
As organizations continue to navigate the challenges of an uncertain economic climate and face a pullback in resources, many marketers are shifting their focus from market expansion to improving existing customer relationships. This approach is proving to be a valuable strategy as face-to-face channels recover from the pandemic, with a 12.7% quarter-over-quarter increase in Trade Show/Event research.
One of the top trending topics in this quarter’s Marketing Pulse is loyalty programs, with nearly 80,000 companies registering a spike in research for Loyalty Liability every week. Other loyalty topics also rank highly, with almost half a million research spikes related to new customer re-engagement programs in the first two months of the year.
Marketers are seeking new ways to reach audiences
In addition to a renewed focus on their existing customers, marketers are exploring new ways to expand their reach as consumer behaviors evolve away from traditionally performative media to new, emerging platforms.
Our Q1 2023 Intent data indicates continued growth in short-form video. Platforms like TikTok show accelerating gains, with 56% of companies planning to increase investment in 2023, a 10% quarter-on-quarter rise. Influencer marketing is on a similar trajectory, with 89% of survey respondents reporting that they will maintain or increase their budget for influencers in 2023.
Beyond social media, the way marketers are delivering video is changing across other platforms. As ad spending on linear TV decreases, marketers are looking to AVOD, OTT, and CTV platforms to tell their stories. Bombora’s Intent data shows spikes in research for Live Streaming and YouTube Advertising, up 46% and 27%, respectively, in Q1 2023 compared to 2022 averages.
While marketers are exploring new channels to reach customers, many are revisiting past performers to help drive awareness. Research for Out of Home increased by 32%, showing a strong resurgence after a significant pandemic-driven decline.
Marketers get curious about AI tools
It’s impossible to discuss marketing trends without acknowledging the major conversations emerging around AI tools, particularly generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and Midjourney. As marketers push for improved efficiency, many are exploring AI as a possible solution.
With the emergence of large language models, marketers can quickly create new, unique content and personalize customer interactions at scale. Our Q1 Intent data also reflects the growing interest in these tools, with a 13% quarter-over-quarter increase in research.
While generative AI in marketing is still in its early stages, it’s clear that the technology has the potential to transform the way that marketers create content and engage with customers. As the technology continues to evolve, we anticipate more companies will adopt generative AI to drive better results for their marketing.
Download the full trends report to learn more
The start of 2023 has been largely shaped by economic uncertainty. As marketers are pushed to drive continued growth with fewer resources, they are exploring ways to leverage new tools and technologies that will drive greater efficiencies and build strong relationships with customers.
We’re also seeing marketers adapt to changing customer behaviors, exploring new (and old) channels to drive awareness and connect with prospects. Additionally, we’re seeing marketers explore new ways to augment their work with AI to drive greater efficiency and personalization at scale.
While ongoing economic uncertainty poses a significant challenge for marketers, it’s also unlocking unprecedented innovation and opportunities for marketers savvy enough to capitalize. Still, complexity is increasing with seemingly unlimited technology options, data sources, and choices.
Bombora’s Intent data reduces those complexities and gives marketers real-time insights into market trends that can help direct smarter strategies, performative plans, and elevated execution. It’s the actionable insights that matter the most to marketers today.
For more insights into current trends in the marketing profession, download the full Q1 2023 Marketing Pulse report here.