Three keynotes from the HubSpot 2023 State of Marketing Report – a deep dive, so you don’t have to!

Yes, it may have only felt a hot minute since we delved into marketing predictions for 2023 , but the year’s halfway point is in sight and we’re keen to see what trends have come to fruition and what factors are still at play for PR and Marketing teams.

This week, we take a look at the HubSpot 2023 State of Marketing Report to see what’s on the minds of B2B marketers (1,200 to be exact) across the globe right now. From economic factors to fresh media formats and new technologies, HubSpot admits that 2023 is shaping up to be quite the “transformational” year – and we have to agree!

So, buckle up as we whistle through three standout trends from the report. First up, it’s the much-talked about topic of AI and Automation.

1. The growing AI/automation alliance with PR and marketers

AI and automation are far from the new kids on the digital block but these powerful tools have secured the top spot in this year’s HubSpot report. AI has had marketing tongues wagging like never before – 2023 has already given us the latest version of ChatGPT, (we’re on version four, but it might even be version five by the time this blog is published). Practically everyone has an opinion – good and bad – on this generative AI innovation and its long-term impact on PR and Marketing strategies. IBA’s CEO, Judith Ingleton-Beer, has already shared her thoughts on this topic, which you can check out on AiThority.

The report highlights that the average marketer currently spends approximately six hours a day on manual, administrative, or operational tasks, despite working on five campaigns at a time and seven per quarter.  So it’s no wonder that marketers are favoring time-saving tools such as AI to ease some of the pressure of dealing with mundane and repetitive tasks – particularly at the back-end of operations. For AI and automation tools, their place in the marketing stack is well and truly secured, but how much they will impact the front end of PR and marketing campaigns remains to be seen.

2. Video content reigns supreme – are marketers making best use of it?

Short-form video content has significantly grown in popularity in recent years – it’s not necessarily a new concept (anyone remember the days of Vine?) but with the prolific growth of TikTok and Instagram reels, it’s made video content an integral component of PR and Marketing strategies. Check out our recent throwback blog to see how the clock is tik-toking down for B2B Marketing.

Why short-form? Well, here’s some HubSpot stats to jog a complacent mindset: the number of digital video viewers worldwide is expected to reach 3.5 billion and in 2023, people are watching, on average, 17 hours of online videos per week. But that’s not all – according to the report, people are 52% more likely to share video content than any other type of content.

Short-form video content creation has the biggest ROI of any Marketing activity trend – closely followed by influencer marketing – and it’s also the most popular, for a fourth year running.

The good news is that marketers are taking note! In fact, 50% of marketers are creating and sharing video content, with another 24% planning to increase investment in video content more than any other media format. The potential is clear to see, but that’s not to say PR and Marketing teams should forget about other tried and tested media formats – images (47%), blog posts and articles (33%), infographics (30%), and podcasts (28%) remain extremely popular among marketers in 2023.

Short-form video content is a method we know well here at IBA! Our sponsored equestrian client, Team Jones, secured just shy of 50k views on TikTok in May alone for their participation at Badminton Horse Trials, with over 4,500 likes! Content can vary, in fact, including a variety of themes across TikTok can be highly beneficial. For Team Jones’ TikTok, themes this month have included horse jumping, grooming, dressage, and our personal favorite, Alfie (the horse!) having a well-deserve roll and rest in the grass!

3. It’s time to think outside the box as economic concerns take a toll on marketing budgets

It’s no secret that inflation and the cost-of-living have spiked to an all-time high this year – and it’s this economic instability that may cause many companies to reconsider their budgets for the remainder of the year.

The report found that 24% of marketers expect to have to reduce their marketing budget, 20% say they’ll have to adjust their marketing goals, 20% believe they’d have to reduce their scope, and 19% report they’d have to pivot their tactics completely. As the purse strings get tighter, it’s down to PR and Marketing teams to get creative!

The HubSpot report identified five areas that marketers will look to reduce spend: paid social media content, print ads, in-person events, email marketing, and physical ads.

So perhaps it’s time PR and Marketing teams looked to make better use of their budget, rather than on efforts to simply cut down.

Take paid content/earned media as an example. At IBA, we are firm believers in not needing to pay for good quality coverage in top-tier publications – it just takes a few tips and tricks. The IBA team has experience of steering marketing campaigns through economic uncertainty – see our primary research on adjusting to changing budgets during Covid-19, the takeaways still ring true. We’re watching to see how this budgetary trend and strategy shift will play out, so stay tuned for future blog material!

The outlook for B2B marketing is positive – for 2023 and beyond

Even with an uncertain economic landscape, the outlook remains positive – and so do PR and marketing teams. With AI and automation in their toolkit, and some new tactics up their sleeves PR and marketing pros have the potential to keep a momentous year in full swing…

Georgia Harris is a PR Executive at IBA International.

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