What B2B Marketers Can Expect in 2022

What B2B marketers Can Expect in 2022

The last two years have been a balancing act of flexibility and change for B2B marketers. It felt as though the goalposts were always moving – because they were. But change can invigorate old ideas and pave the way for new ones. As we close out 2021 and look to the new year, we’ll take the best innovations with us and let go of the strategies that no longer work.

As someone who gets to learn from the successes (and failures) of 50+ SaaS PR programs, I have some ideas about what’s in store for B2B marketing in 2022.

Hearing from Line-of-Business Thought Leaders

In 2022, less thought leadership will come from CEOs and more will come from people who are in the trenches every day doing the work. Yes, CEOs and founders can provide meaningful insights, but more and more we’re seeing demand for insights from line-of-business thought leaders.

Whether it’s a blog post, a podcast, a video interview or part of an email marketing campaign, offer potential customers perspective from the line-of-business leaders whose roles are most in line with the product or service you offer. Give them someone who’s been where they are, solving the problems they’ve faced. For example, if you’re in governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC), consider offering perspective from the director of information security and IT. There’s still a place for the voice of CEOs and founders to offer big-picture views and entrepreneurial wisdom but look to line-of-business leaders to connect with the day-to-day needs of your prospects.

Share of Category

B2B companies will evangelize for the category more than competing for share of voice.

In the past, I’ve predicted share of voice – the percentage of all online conversations about your brand, compared to those about your competitors – would recede as a standalone metric for PR success, and I think the time has finally come.

Historically, brand mentions with a competitor were often seen as a wash, negatively impacting the overall share of voice. However, more and more brands are recognizing the value of coverage alongside a competitor as a way to build thought leadership, further category conversation and gain a prospect’s attention.

Shared coverage provides a benefit, and as a result, more companies will search out opportunities to be part of larger industry stories — not just stories about their brand. Vendors may even join forces with perceived competitors. Consider, for example, how competitors like ChrunZero and Gainsight work together to build the customer success category, appearing side-by-side in articles about the industry.

When it comes to marketing content, educating your audience about your category rather than focusing on the specific features of your solution has the potential to position your brand as an expert voice in the space.

Step Up Audio and Video Content

Audio and video consumption will continue to drive new earned media opportunities.

The impact of COVID-19 on the media landscape can’t be ignored. We all spent more time watching and listening to online content over the last two years, and that shows no signs of slowing down. With more eyes and ears focused on digital spaces, B2B marketers have to seize the opportunity to step up their audio and video.

Consider the growth of the podcast industry. More than 115 million people in the U.S. listen to podcasts, and podcast audiences are more diverse than ever. And the podcast audience is expected to grow to 140 million by 2025, with podcast advertising spending reaching $2.7 billion. By 2028, it’s projected to be a $95 billion market. With that kind of growth, look for opportunities to offer your company’s experts as guests on industry podcasts as a way to expand their role in thought leadership.

Media outlets like Insider and The New York Times are taking the hint, expanding video and audio offerings. B2B marketing has the chance to grow into those spaces as well in the coming year, by making audio and video opportunities part of their PR strategy. Consider ways to incorporate video and audio as part of major announcements or as a way to garner reactive coverage.

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t know exactly what the future will bring. B2B marketing and media relations will still focus on rich storytelling and customer needs, but it will include new voices, prioritize new mediums and approach thought leadership in new ways.

Author

  • Grace Williams is VP of PR at BLASTmedia, the only PR agency dedicated to B2B SaaS. Grace oversees account services, and leads the agency in developing media relations strategies to secure coverage for brands like ChannelAdvisor, Moz and Terminus.

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