Six PR and Marketing Predictions for the New Year
By Cara Sloman, CEO
It’s planning time once again. What are your organization’s priorities? What PR and marketing activities will help to achieve business goals? What market forces and conditions do you need to pay attention to? These are some of the most important questions to consider as you plan your marketing strategy for the year to come. And based on our interactions with clients and observation of the B2B tech industry, we’ve got some predictions to help.
- Demonstrate return-on-investment (ROI) – With the market uncertainty we’re seeing, showing the ROI of PR in the context of business goals will be paramount in 2023. Businesses want to know how their PR efforts are actually changing perception, driving purchase decisions and increasing customer loyalty. Demonstrating the value of PR investment comes down to picking the right key performance indicators (KPIs) and having the right data and analytics to show what is moving the needle in the right direction. Measuring the ROI of public relations based on business outcomes is possible when you have the right KPIs and data-driven approach.
- Focus on value – The pandemic led to a shift in how tech leaders get their message across through creative storytelling, content marketing, messaging and branding. Content is the primary source of information for prospective customers. People want authentic insights from influencers they trust. Authenticity is going beyond “marketing speak” to being transparent and walking the talk. One of the best ways to provide value is to offer useful, relevant information to your prospects and customers to help them solve their problems. Relevant content signals to your prospects that you are a passionate expert who wants to share your expertise with them — free of charge.
- Marketing continues to converge – The trifecta of paid, earned, shared and owned will continue to become more tightly interlocked. PR will be even more effective as part of a holistic strategy with content marketing, analyst relations, social media and a paid content strategy.
- Diversify for success – PR will evolve in 2023 to include more variety in communications channels to get the right message across to the right people at the right time. In 2023, diversifying outreach strategies – including looking at new content platforms – will be key to an effective communications strategy. As more and more media outlets rely on bylined articles, thought leadership will continue to play a pivotal role in growing and sustaining visibility. A focus on curating quality media lists based on what journalists are actually covering, along with reading and appreciating their work, is a must to cut through the noise. Technology will continue to make quantifying the business impact of PR more accessible.
- Expect ongoing pressure – Many members of our network of B2B tech marketing experts and company executives have recently told us that their organizations are implementing budget cuts and hiring freezes. However, they still face intense pressure from their CFOs to maintain KPIs and growth. Gartner analysts reveal that marketing leaders are under pressure to demonstrate the ROI of every component of their budgets, which contrasts significantly with the growth mandate under the pandemic spending years.
- Keep building visibility – Investors, leadership teams and boards are looking for ways to reduce spending as a result of the growing cost of borrowing caused by inflation and rising interest rates. One funder described it as a “growing low and slow” strategy. However, if businesses entirely cut their marketing budgets, they will lag when market conditions improve. Building a company’s visibility requires effective PR and marketing tactics, because customers need solutions now, not only when the market improves.
Resilient and clever businesses prosper during economic downturns. A review of the Profit Impact of Marketing Strategies database, dating back to the last major recession in 2008, shows that businesses that up their marketing spending during recessions have higher returns and gain a larger proportion of the market as the economy improves.
In 2023, tech marketing leaders will need to “show their work” behind budget outlays. That gives executive leadership the background they need to understand how specific marketing proposals are directly tied to sales KPIs and campaigns. This also let you snip the marketing channels that are underperforming based on real data and not just guesswork.
Don’t shrink back
Based on our conversations with funding partners and clients, PR needs in 2023 will be about ROI, a focus on value and authenticity and the continued convergence of paid, earned and owned media. Whatever comes next year, and with whatever budget you have to work with, don’t stop creating visibility for your brand. May these predictions help steer your PR/marketing ship!