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.
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 to Focus On
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Omni-Channel Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Podcast Marketing
- Word-of-Mouth Marketing
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.