As we find ourselves thigh-deep in the last quarter of the year, it’s wise to look ahead and consider what comes next in our industry. Where will the organizations we serve find themselves in 2023? What will change? What will stay the same? We crowdsourced some insights from our team at Shift Paradigm, to give you predictions that cover a wide breadth and depth. Here’s what some of our experts had to say.
Overall Takeaway = Value Reigns in 2023
“This next year will be all about value. What value are you providing to your clients and how are they thinking about what you provide, come budget time? Unless CEOs can draw a straight line between their solution and ROI for their clients, their ships will sink.” – Justin Gray, Chief Commercial Officer.
What’s Next for Go-To-Market & Growth Strategies
When it comes to go-to-market (GTM), there’s a consensus that product-led growth (PLG) will get a lot of the buzz next year. But, Justin warned: “PLG will be the flame that B2B organizations fly toward, but many of them will end up getting burned – just as we saw with ABM. PLG is a representation of a larger and incredibly powerful buyer trend, but to accomplish it successfully, organizations will need to completely redefine how they structure their teams, the proximity they keep to their clients and, in many cases, their product.”
Jamie Kirmess, Managing Director, had this to say about the burgeoning trend: “PLG will be all the rage within B2B SaaS, even though companies have been using this strategy for years.”
Landon Calabello, Associate Principal, weighed in on growth strategies, saying he’s “seeing an increasing trend of clients doubling down and focusing on mergers and acquisitions as a critical part to the growth of their organizations. Some have experienced slowdowns in growth organically through sales and marketing efforts and are looking to M&As as part of their larger growth strategy.”
What’s Next for Data & Tech
Data and technology are the two key areas that often change the most drastically year-to-year. Here’s a look at what our team members feel we can expect next year on these fronts.
Liz Ross, Chief Executive Officer, said, “The power of first-party data will enter the boardroom in big ways as companies look for key points of differentiation and insights fueled by their owned data. Furthermore, companies that invest in customer data platforms (CDP) and activate their data will have higher multiples and drive more EBITDA than companies who continue to rely on half-implemented or broken tech stacks.”
JT Bricker, Chief Strategy Officer, looked at CDP through an economic lens, saying that “2023 will be a big year for adoption of the CDP platform and centralization of customer data. Many organizations are going to be forced to take a hard look at their tech stacks as they will need to be able to do more with less.”
Josh Wagner, Enterprise Account Executive, explained that he believes “technology curation is going to become much more intentional” in the coming year. “As the marketing technology landscape has grown, so have bloated tech stacks. Companies will be looking at their stack through the lens of how they can best serve the customer. Data, integrations, connectors and ETL are going to become real sexy real quick.”
What’s Next for Buyers & Buying Trends
Buyers are the backbone of any organization, whether B2B or B2C. How are they evolving, and how do our team members see this evolution impacting the organizations serving them?
Justin Gray commented on the importance of value here, once again, saying that, “COVID buying trends will simply normalize as ‘buying trends’ in the year ahead. The value-forward sales & marketing motions many organizations adopted are indicative of market expectations that will persist and expand. Solution providers must continue to provide mission critical value to their clients, even before they sign on the dotted line.”
Isaac Ferreira, Sr. Director, Cloud Architecture and Design, added that “customers are moving away from direct from vendor purchase of technology and moving toward third party vendors and value added resellers. Increases in the volume of solutions available in market combined with tool complexity and system of systems operations are driving businesses to find value add service providers.”
What’s Next for Organizational Structure
Are titles and hierarchies within organizations going to change in the coming year? Here’s our experts’ takes.
“The CMO will be replaced by marketing minded, customer centric CROs. Marketing, sales & customer success will all fall under this revenue and performance focused regime change. The KPIs for this consolidated role will be the KPIs of their Clients and successful orgs in 2023 will measure themselves by the performance of the clients they serve.” -Justin Gray
“More CMOs will change their titles to chief growth officer as marketing is reinvented to include functions that were typically handled by COOs.” – Liz Ross
What’s Next for Marketing
As noted above in the predictions about the role of CMO, marketing is constantly being revisited and reworked to better cater to changing buyers and advancing technology. Here are some more predictions about what to expect in marketing in 2023:
- “Intelligent and interactive content will become increasingly important for consumer experience.” – Nicole Schnell, Director, Marketing
- “The industry conference circuit will include more panels on deep funnel marketing than big brand work (e.g. Super Bowls).” – Liz Ross
- “The channel mix in the B2B and B2B2C market is going to start to catch up to that of the consumer market, driven by more personalized and 1:1 nature of buyer needs and coming to a realization that the decentralized (virtual) work structure changed the marketing game.” – JT Bricker
- “Program and channel governance will become more and more important as enterprise organizations communicate more with their customers/members. As more data becomes available and usable by organizations, they will need to implement top-down governance strategies to ensure that customers don’t receive a fully disjointed experience.” – Olivia Fraustino, Senior Principal, Client Advisory
- “Marketers will begin to shift away from attribution and more towards incrementality.” – Jamie Kirmess
What’s Next for the Economy
Unfortunately, after making it through the economic instability that COVID-19 brought with it, organizations are forced to prepare for a continuation – and likely worsening – of dismal economic conditions. Here’s what our team members had to say on the topic.
“DEI and ESG will face headwinds as the economy slows down and tough choices have to be made for what to invest in. Companies that push past meaningless tributes and invest in real access will outperform companies focused on platitudes.” – Liz Ross
“We will see a squeeze in budgets so new technology purchases will decline and marketers will be asked to make do. There will be opportunities for optimization work to maximize the tech in place.” – Michael Davis
“Fundamentals will be cool again. As marketing budgets contract, people get laid off and uncertainty swirls around the economy companies will look inward at the most fundamental areas of marketing. Ideal customer profiles, segmentation and very targeted campaigns toward them.” – Josh Wagner
“Organizations who focus on their culture, over numbers, will outperform those who manage with fear by 10X in the next five years. In a world of remote work and economic uncertainty, many leaders will find them in the position of doubting themselves and therefore blaming their teams. In this chaos, many organizations (like Facebook) will decide to purely look at the metrics and manage their teams with fear versus building a culture of trust and focusing on a high-performance culture that is built on a sense of belonging and aspirations for the team and not fear.” – Daniel Gaugler, VP Senior Principal
If the last couple years have taught us anything, it’s that the future can surprise us all. The organizations who look ahead and make plans based on informed foresight, but remain agile enough to change as circumstances do, are the ones that will succeed in 2023.