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The Top Marketing Channels, And How They’ll Change in 2023 [+Data]

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The Top Marketing Channels, And How They’ll Change in 2023 [+Data]

The movie Field of Dreams famously claims, “If you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, this passive approach is just not true for content marketing. The marketing channels you use to distribute content are just as important as the content itself.

Download Now: Free State of Marketing Report [Updated for 2022]

Marketing channels are the different tools or platforms you use to reach your target audience. By understanding the different values of specific marketing channels, you will be able to form a content distribution plan that fits your audience.

The Hubspot Blog surveyed more than 1,000 global marketing professionals in the B2B and B2C space to discover which marketing channels are being used by businesses today.

Read more to see how you can amplify your reach and increase revenue, while also prioritizing your current customers.

marketing channels, websites, blogs, email marketing, video marketing, and social media

Top B2B Marketing Channels

The landscape of B2B marketing is changing. If your team is using old data, you’re already falling behind.

In a 2022 HubSpot survey of over 1,200 marketers, more than 80% said that marketing has changed more in the last three years than in the last 50 years.

marketing channel data, marketing has changed more in the past three years than in the past 50, 78% agree, 17% neither agree nor disagree, 5% disagree

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In 2023, the top channels used by B2B marketers will be social media, websites, blogs, and email marketing.

Short-form videos and influencer marketing are top marketing channels that businesses plan to invest more time and resources into in 2023.

Marketing channels data, which marketing trend to marketers plan to invest the most in for 2023? Short form video, 8%. Influencer marketing, 6%. SEO, 5%.

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Social media is likely a top digital marketing channel because of LinkedIn. In the B2B landscape, LinkedIn offers a great platform for interacting with business-minded people. LinkedIn is also fifth as the most effective platform to use, with a 14% ROI.

Of the B2B marketers surveyed, 41% predict that their budgets will increase in 2023, giving more wiggle room for investing in new channels.

B2B marketers will likely focus significant effort on website and blogging channels because buyers often rely on websites before making purchasing decisions.

Websites also offer vital content sources for prospects, and SEO is how B2B marketers plan to attract their ideal customers.

Keyword strategy can be time-consuming but also relatively low-cost when creating organic content. People make nearly 97,105 searches on Google per second, meaning SEO has significant implications for advertising.

Email or newsletters are a powerful channel for B2B marketers to leverage. Email marketing helps brands share educational information with customers.

This strategy has also proven effective. In 2023, 32% of marketers reported that they will leverage email marketing to engage potential customers.

A targeted email campaign can also be automated, letting marketers focus their energy elsewhere. When sending emails, subscriber segmentation and message personalization are the most effective strategies.

In 2023, you can expect B2B marketers to continue their investments in blogs and email marketing while also increasing investments in social media platforms.

Top B2C Marketing Channels

B2C marketers invest in top channels as B2B marketers, but the order is different: social media and email marketing come first, then websites and blogs.

B2C marketing is usually focused on offering enjoyable content and quick wins, while B2B marketing focuses on long-lasting relationships with customers. 51% of B2C marketers expect their budget to grow in 2023, a jump from 44% last year.

Focusing on social media makes sense. As of 2022, there were roughly 4.74 billion social media users around the world, according to analysis from Kepios. That equates to 59.3% of the total global population.

So, B2C customers are most likely to engage on social media. For 2023, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are among the highest social media investments for B2C brands.

marketing channels data, what social media platforms are marketers leveraging? Facebook, B2C 67% and B2B 58%. Instagram, B2C 60% and B2B 53%. Youtube, B2C 58% and B2B 53%. Twitter, B2C 44% and B2B 40%. TikTok, B2C 44% and B2B 39%. LinkedIn, B2B 30% and B2C 39%.

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Email marketing may just mean newsletters, but it can also be used for B2C content such as personalized communication, time-sensitive notifications (like product launches or sales), and cart abandonment email reminders.

Email is also an owned media channel, meaning nobody is dictating when, how, and why you can contact your prospects. However, keep in mind that customers will unsubscribe from oversaturation.

Blogging and websites can be used together to generate brand awareness, drive traffic, convert leads, and, most importantly, establish your authority.

Of the B2C marketers surveyed, 36% already use websites and blogs to connect with customers, and that is likely to increase in the coming year.

When you create your blogs with SEO tactics in mind, you’re even more likely to meet your marketing needs, as you’ll surface in SERPs when customers make queries related to your business content.

SEO ranked third as the most effective marketing channel to leverage in 2023.

Omni-Channel Marketing

Leveraging a single marketing channel with one strategy no longer works. In fact, HubSpot research shows that 92% of marketers leverage more than one channel. In 2022, 81% leverage more than three.

Marketing channel data. How many marketing channels do marketers leverage on average? Five 10%, four 14%, three 34%, two 11%, one 8%

“100% of the companies we worked with that grew focused on omnichannel marketing and continually expanded,” writes Neil Patel, CMO and co-founder of NP Digital. This diversified approach helps teams stay agile and pivot when certain platforms become oversaturated.

A common omni-channel approach that B2C companies leverage is content repurposing. HubSpot found that 82% of social media marketers repurpose content across various social channels.

This creates continuity with brand messaging while also reducing the amount of work content creators will need to engage on many different marketing channels.

Video Marketing

If you’ve yet to get started in video marketing, now is the time. Video can boost conversions, improve ROI, reach new audiences, and help you build relationships with current customers. Video is the top media format marketers leverage for their strategies.

When creating video, short-form content takes the cake for both B2B and B2C marketers. In the age of TikTok, many social media brands are rewarding content creators who make short-form video content that encourages viewers to stay on the app longer.

Marketers plan to increase investments in the strategy for 2023, with 29% of marketers planning to leverage this strategy for the first time.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is when businesses partner with a relevant, popular creator in their industry to put out advertisements or specific pieces of content.

Influencers can generate brand awareness by providing a familiar face, personality, as well as social proof.

Consumers trust marketers less and less, shying away from lead-generating content.

Influencers can combat this mistrust by being personable and sharing common interests. In the tech age, influencers might even be the closest thing to word-of-mouth marketing.

One study from TopRank Marketing found that 86% of B2B brands are successful with influencer marketing. A nice bonus is a return on investment (ROI) for influencer marketing, with every dollar spent totaling $5.78 ROI in 2021.

Influencer marketing will see significant growth in 2023, HubSpot found, with 17% of marketers planning to invest in it for the first time. Of marketers already using this tactic, 89% of marketers using it will increase or maintain their investment next year.

Search Engine Optimization

Successful optimization can bring in traffic and increase conversions by positioning you as an authority.

All your web content needs search engine optimization. That includes your YouTube channels, Google business profile, and even podcast episodes should be optimized using target keywords.

To build a thriving organic presence online, consider implementing the pillar-cluster model into your blog (35% of B2B and 59% of B2C marketers report it as an effective strategy).

By doing this, you’ll create a single pillar page that provides a high-level overview of a topic and hyperlinks to cluster pages that delve into the topic’s subtopics, signaling to Google that your pillar page is an authority on the topic.

Additional SEO tactics that marketers effectively use include search insights reports, optimizing photos or videos for visual search engines, and optimizing load speed.

Podcast Marketing

As of 2020, 55% of the U.S. population aged 12 and above listens to podcasts, and 37% listened in the last month for an average of six hours per week. Audio content is in demand, so it’s worth considering as a platform to reach your audience.

Podcast Stats: 82% of marketers plan to continue investing in audio content

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Podcast hosts can also serve as your brand-specific influencer, demonstrating the human side of your business.

The passive listening of a podcast makes it an ideal platform for reaching people during their morning commute, while walking their dog, or cleaning the house.

Featured Resource: How To Start a Podcast For Your Business

Storytelling is an excellent way to capture your audience’s attention while also making your brand more personable.

The human brain is programmed to crave, seek out, and respond to a well-crafted narrative — that’ll never change. Check out this blog on how to include more storytelling in your content.

Only 1 in 3 marketers reported leveraging podcasts or other audio content in their strategies, but 53% of those that do say that it is the most effective media format they use.

In 2023, podcasts will see the 2nd highest investment, second only to video. In fact, 10% of marketers said they would invest more in audio content than any other media format.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Trusting a brand is more important than ever. As of 2020, 70% of consumers say it influences their purchase decisions. Consequently, paid content is trusted less and less as online content becomes oversaturated.

Marketers need to earn the trust of consumers by relying on customer recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing.

Actual consumers are more effective in earning trust than marketers who obviously have agendas. Customers will typically only rave about a product or service if it actually benefits them.

People trust other consumers over marketers because marketers always have their eyes on the bottom line.

Word-of-mouth marketing is more than just face-to-face conversations. For example, satisfied customers will post about your brand online, tell their roommates they like your service, and leave positive reviews on your product pages.

Only one of those examples involves an actual, in-person conversation, but they all include consumers vouching for your brand’s credibility.

Word-of-mouth marketing, at its core, requires you to create a truly magical and converting customer experience. Focus on offering top-notch customer service and going above and beyond for your customers to leverage this channel.

What Now?

Now that you know the stats behind different marketing channels, consider how you might reach your audience in a new way or perhaps even reach a new audience.

Different marketing channels bring various benefits, but most businesses can find a way to use different channels in their marketing strategies to meet business goals.

Using different channels creates multiple points of contact, nurturing your leads and increasing conversions. Remember that a customer likely came into contact with your brand at least seven times before taking action.

By contacting them on different channels, you can expedite this process and reach your 2023 marketing goals.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Dec. 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.

To:

“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.

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3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

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3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Whew! We made it to 2023! As we closed in on the end of the year in December, the finish line seemed awfully far away. Many marketers told me they were busier than ever. 

I myself was fielding calls for strategy help, working on business deals and managing the chaos all the way to the eve of Christmas Eve, something that rarely happens in my 20-plus-year career. 

Look back and celebrate, then move on

The first business for 2023 will be to step back, clear your head and take stock of all the great things you accomplished in 2022 despite the odds (i.e., coming out of COVID, going into a rebound and COVID round 2, moving into supply-chain shortages and other hiccups, facing down a potential recession) and how they affected the work you did to succeed.

And now it’s 2023. I hope you got your budget request approved and you’re ready to move ahead with a clean slate and new KPIs to hit. You’re probably wondering, “What can I do now to grow my program?

3 directional changes to grow your email program

Naturally, every marketer’s goals will be unique. We have different audiences, challenges, resources and goals. But I’m focusing on three major directional changes with my clients this year. Which of these could help you succeed this year?

1. Stop sending so many emails

Yeah, I know. That sounds strange coming from somebody who believes wholeheartedly in email and its power to build your business. But even I have my limits!

Email during this last holiday shopping season was insane. In my 20+ years in the email industry, I cannot remember a time, even during the lockdown days of COVID-19, when my inbox was so full. 

I’m not the only one who noticed. Your customers also perceived that their inboxes were getting blasted to the North Pole. And they complained about it, as the Washington Post reported (“Retailers fire off more emails than ever trying to get you to shop“).

I didn’t run any numbers to measure volume, isolate cadences or track frequency curves. But every time I turned around, I saw emails pouring into my inbox. 

My advice for everyone on frequency: If you throttled up during the holiday, now it’s time to throttle back.

This should be a regularly scheduled move. But it’s important to make sure your executives understand that higher email frequency, volume and cadence aren’t the new email norm. 

If you commit to this heavier schedule, you’ll drive yourself crazy and push your audience away, to other brands or social media.

If you did increase cadence, what did it do for you? You might have hit your numbers, but consider the long-term costs: 

  • More unsubscribes.
  • More spam complaints.
  • Deliverability problems.
  • Lower revenue per email. 

Take what you learned from your holiday cadence as an opportunity to discover whether it’s a workable strategy or only as a “break glass in case of emergency” move.

My advice? Slow down. Return to your regular volume, frequency and cadence. Think of your customers and their reactions to being inundated with emails over 60 days.

2. Stop spamming

In that Washington Post article I mentioned earlier, I was encouraged that it cited one of my email gripes — visiting websites and then getting emails without granting permission first. 

I could have given the Post a salty quote about my experiences with SafeOpt and predatory email experiences (“Business stress is no excuse to spam“) for visitors to its clients’ websites. 

Successful email marketers believe in the sanctity of permission. That permission-based practice is what you want to be involved in. Buying a list means you don’t hire a company to sell you one, whether it’s a data broker or a tech provider like SafeOpt. 

Spamming people doesn’t work in the long term. Sure, I’ve heard stories from people who say they use purchased lists or companies like SafeOpt and it makes them money. But that’s a singular view of the impact. 

Email is the only marketing channel where you can do it wrong but still make money. But does that make it right? 

The problem with the “it made us money” argument is that there’s nowhere to go after that. Are you measuring how many customers you lost because you spammed them or the hits your sender reputation took? 

You might hit a short-term goal but lose the long-term battle. When you become known as an unreliable sender, you risk losing access to your customers’ inboxes.

Aside from the permission violation, emailing visitors after they leave your site is a wasted effort for three reasons:

  • A visit is not the same as intent. You don’t know why they landed on your site. Maybe they typed your URL as a mistake or discovered immediately that your brand wasn’t what they wanted. Chasing them with emails won’t bring them back.
  • You aren’t measuring interest. Did they visit multiple pages or check out your “About” or FAQ pages? As with intent, just landing on a page doesn’t signal interest.
  • They didn’t give you their email address. If they had interest or intent, they would want to connect with your brand. No email address, no permission.

Good email practice holds that email performs best when it’s permission-based. Most ESPs and ISPs operate on that principle, as do many email laws and regulations.

But even in the U.S., where opt-out email is still legal, that doesn’t mean you should send an email without permission just because somebody landed on your website.

3. Do one new thing

Many email marketers will start the year with a list of 15 things they want to do over the next two months. I try to temper those exuberant visions by focusing on achievable goals with this question: 

“What one thing could you do this year that could make a great difference in your email program’s success?”

When I started a job as head of strategy for Acxiom, I wanted to come up with a long list of goals to impress my new boss. I showed it to my mentor, the great David Baker and he said, “Can you guarantee that you can do all of these things and not just do them but hit them out of the park?”

Hmmmm…

“That’s why you don’t put down that many goals,” he said. “Go in with just one. When that one is done, come up with the next one. Then do another. If you propose five projects, your boss will assume you will do five projects. If you don’t, it just means you didn’t get it done.”

That was some of the best advice I’ve ever received and I pass it on to you. 

Come up with one goal, project or change that will drive your program forward. Take it to your boss and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do this year.”

To find that one project, look at your martech and then review MarTech’s six most popular articles from 2022 for expert advice.

You’ll find plenty of ideas and tips to help you nail down your one big idea to drive growth and bring success. But be realistic. You don’t know what events could affect your operations. 

Drive your email program forward in 2023

The new year has barely begun, but I had a little trouble getting motivated to take on what’s shaping up to be a beast of a year. You, too?

I enjoyed my time off over the holidays. Got in some golf with my dad and his buddies, ate great food and took time to step back and appreciate the phenomenal people I work with and our amazing industry. 

What gets me going at last? Reaching out to my team, friends and you. Much of my motivation comes from fellow marketers — what you need, what you worry about and what I can do to help you succeed. 

If you’re on the struggle bus with me, borrow some motivation from your coworkers and teammates, so we can gather together 12 months from now and toast each other for making it through another year. 

It’s time to strap on your marketer helmet and hit the starter. Here’s to another great year together. Let’s get the job done!


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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Ryan Phelan

As the co-founder of RPEOrigin.com, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.

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