2023 Marketing Trend Predictions Based on 2022 Consumer Behavior

2023 Marketing Trend Predictions Based on 2022 Consumer Behavior

It’s February, 2023 now and I have some new marketing trends and consumer behavior insights to share so you can focus your 2023 marketing on the most strategic, current methods. Here’s what’s “in” in marketing, followed by what’s old news or no longer as effective in marketing.

What 2023 marketing needs most

2023 Marketing needs personality and approachability.

We’re working from home offices, sporting athleisure around town and every other podcast advertisement is for mental health and vulnerability. In 2023, we’re being “us”. That means your marketing needs to be unrefined, honest, vulnerable, a continuous story and human. We’re not over-polishing or robotic in presentation anymore. Instagram stories and TikTok videos are silly and candid, grids are branded but not pristine, influencers are on the rise and restaurants and retail are cozy, inviting spaces where you can stay a while. This is what the 2023 consumer wants from its go-to brands. Be inviting. Be genuine. Be relatable.

2023 Marketing needs a mission-based or charitable emphasis.

In line with approachability, brands that give back are only going to increase. The ability to tell would-be buyers your product helps the less fortunate, a particular charity or helps them make some sort of positive impact is strong and growing in strength. Sustainable brands supporting environmental improvement, fair wage brands advocating for workers’ rights and community organizations offering family-focused programs are all more likely to win over like-minded consumers. If your brand doesn’t have an element of this, consider adding a charitable side to your business, an easy example is “we give X% of our monthly profits to [insert cause you love]. Even a small amount can make a customer feel a little more proud about picking your brand over the competition.

2023 Marketing needs Google.

You need Google on your side. You have to work with Google. You have to know what makes Google like your website. Yes, I’m talking about SEO but more than that I’m talking about recognizing the power that Google has for everything online. Your website, your products, your leads, your reputation, your ranking, your conversions. Google is your digital marketing fortune teller. Understand what Google is doing, shaping, influencing and focusing on and you’ll make your best present-day marketing decisions yet.

2023 Marketing needs research.

There are a lot of digital marketing and also offline marketing platforms to choose from but unless your company (and honestly, even IF your company) has a sizable team of niche marketers, you really cannot get the best results trying to do it all. But before you pick your personal favorite marketing methods, you need to be doing some market research. Where are your ideal customers most likely to show up consistently? What are they looking for? What kind of marketing do they engage with most? What makes them want to follow a brand? Using tools like SEMRush, Google Search Console, AnswerThePublic and even reading census reports and consumer reports are all ways to make more informed marketing decisions for 2023. Additionally, keeping track of your own marketing data is a non-negotiable as you adjust any marketing throughout the year.

What is no longer as effective in marketing

Using social media as attractional marketing. What I mean by attractional marketing is that type of in-your-face, “here I am” marketing expecting people to respond simply because what you put out there is so attractive. Billboards, NY Times Square digital signs, Superbowl Ads, banners, direct mailers are all kind of in this vein. Early years social media marketing was much like this as well. Brands would use social posting to show off their products, as they should, but that was the big focus. As social has evolved, its algorithms, features and users have paved a clear path toward social selling that includes more subtle, organic approaches. It’s more important now to emphasize engaging content, active engagement with other users and connecting directly with ideal customers. Gone are the days when posting and seeing who reponds is an effective way to use social for marketing.

Emailing or texting large audiences. I’m a big fan of email marketing and SMS marketing but I’m a bigger fan of strategically segmenting audiences within those platforms so you’re sending the right message to the right people. Now that platforms are equipped to do this, the most effective way to email and text is to send specific types of emails to curated groups.

_______________ Original post in November, 2023

The first step to creating a highly strategic, data-based marketing plan for 2023 is to research current consumer behavior, but what entrepreneur actually has time for that? At this time of year, I’m digging into 2022 consumer behavior so I can help my agency clients determine which marketing trends and/or business pivots will be effective in 2023. The entrepreneurs who work with me get the constant benefit of my own research and finger on the pulse of marketing trends and consumer behavior.

Now that we’re at the end of 2022 and in the midst of peak holiday shopping, we can see more obvious signs of consumer spending habits in an increasingly tough economy and use that as a basis to prepare for 2023 marketing.

I’ll start with what I’m finding among economist reports about how shoppers are spending and predicted to spend into 2023. I’ll follow that up with what 2022 marketing trends I have seen be effective and how to combine both of these insights to create a smart, data-driven marketing plan for 2023.

2022 consumer behavior and what it means for your 2023 marketing strategy

Leading up to the end of 2022, consumers have shifted from a relatively prosperous few years of strong income and steady prices (don’t forget those pandemic government deposits) to a concerning increase in pricing, particularly at gas stations and grocery stores. Call it inflation, call it a recession, call it whatever you want but the reality of higher pricing is obvious.

The economists and consumer spending reports I’ve read are in agreement that higher prices for everyday essentials means people are likely to hold back on discretionary spending. What they’re NOT saying and what brands do well to avoid freaking out about is that people everywhere are not and never will spend money on a not-so-necessary or frivolous purchase. This will not be the case.

Additionally, the holiday season is a time when extra spending is expected and will happen, although this probably won’t be a banner holiday sales year for most companies. The predictions for this 2022 holiday are that retailers will see a 4-6% increase in sales through the season. Now, what’s included in that prediction is increased pricing, so if you’re a retailer or e-commerce and you’ve bumped your prices up, sales growth may not mean the number of items sold is necessarily that much higher.

What consumers are willing to spend money on when money is tight

High quality and custom-made items. No matter what the spending landscape looks like, buyers are often more easily convinced that high quality and custom-made are worthwhile. In many cases, people have saved for a splurge like this and won’t back off that decision – even if it takes longer for them to act on it. Keep in mind, however, that high quality means different things to different people. If you emphasize high quality in your messaging, you need to explain what that means and why your offer is higher quality than the next business. Huge companies (I’m going to go out on a limb and target Apple with this side note) do really flashy marketing to make you think their product is the top quality when tech nerds would tell you that’s laughable. Sorry, I’m a Mac user but still had to go there. To most, high quality just means it doesn’t look cheap and won’t break within 12 months – not necessarily that it’s a lifetime guaranteed product.

Memories and experiences. Attractions, events, travel will be slow to wane, especially when consumers still clearly remember quarantine life and the near inability to get out and socialize and explore.

Health and wellness. With a rise in focus on wellbeing, from mental health apps to fitness groups to organic foods, the argument that health and wellness investments prevent spending on medications and doctors visits will continue to encourage spending in this industry.

Home improvement and DIY. Not to beat the dead horse of quarantine life, but it did make many more aware of the importance of creating a comfortable, quality at-home experience. When the choice (for whatever reason) is to simply stay home, consumers want home to be an attractive option. From cozy spaces to well-resourced kitchens to highly functional family areas, home can easily remain a high priority regardless of the spending trends.

2023 marketing predictions based on 2022 consumer behavior

How will 2022 consumer spending trends play out in 2023 and how should your business approach marketing? I have a few of my own marketing predictions for you to consider.

Spending will happen for those that earn it. 2023 is likely to continue to be a year of less spending for the average consumer, but they will spend. The job of brands is to be there when they do make that decision to spend, and be there with a compelling message on why they’ve earned and deserve to be the spender’s choice.

Marketing will take longer to get conversions. Prepare to be patient. That list above of what consumers are willing to spend money on? They’ll spend on it, but it may take longer for those purchases to happen. And the repeat purchasing may be more spread out.

What does this mean for your 2023 marketing? It means sticking to your touchpoints (8+ over a two week period) and dialing in compelling messaging. Then, repetition, repetition, repetition.

Experience will sell. This is not new to experienced copywriters because it’s one of the tenets of great messaging, but it may be more critical in 2023 to enhance what you can say about doing business with you.

Businesses that promote a heightened experience will win the deal. Pickier consumers will choose the item that clearly uplevels their life, the store that is most enjoyable to shop in, the service that goes above and beyond and the cool little extra that comes in every shipment.

For your 2023 marketing: If you can find a way to add a memory, extras or atmosphere to your customer’s experience, it will go a long way. Think about how to get more interaction out of your products or how to turn it into a project for the family. Help buyers use your product in a creative or interesting way with step-by-step instructions. Many top brands do this really well so maybe it’s time to do some research and find what applies to your products best.

Less will be more. If there’s a perk to slower spending, it may be in the amount of inventory a business has to manage. If inventory is a pain point for your overall business expenses, you may want to do some math on selling fewer products at higher price points and decreasing your inventory. If this would help your business through 2023, the pivot is to focus on high quality, customized items at higher price points.

In 2023, marketing fewer items means you can more accurately use the tried-and-true urgency and exclusivity messaging of “limited quantity” and “first 5 buyers only” which are almost always effective in turning interest into action.

Older generations will still have tremendous buying power in 2023. The older, wealthier generations are less likely to pinch pennies when it comes to trusted brands. If you’ve been trying to sell to a younger crowd without a lot of payback and think your products would work well for an older buyer demographic, this is a great time to consider targeting an older crowd. With that in mind, you may have to expand your 2023 marketing to include more traditional marketing methods, because:

Traditional marketing is not dead. What’s amazing right now is the effectiveness of long-time, older-era marketing like print and cold calling. Mad Men-style marketing is still alive and well because even the youngest spenders still remember when mailers and billboards and calling were big time and they know how it works. More importantly, the oldest spenders (Boomers/GenX) with the most wealth and spending power are familiar with these methods and less likely to be on digital platforms, which means traditional works for them. If your audience is strongly older generation, or you want more of these buyers in your audience, you should seriously consider mixing more traditional methods of marketing with a digital plan.

If you still want to be in business in 2024, don’t give up too soon.

Recessions come and go so if you are willing to ride out a tough few months or year, it’s important to plan ahead and stay on buyers’ radar. Don’t stop marketing and don’t stop taking risks. There are ways to adjust for a financial hit while still being right there as the trends swing back to higher spending. The last thing you want is to become irrelevant to your audiences. Hang in there, we’re all in this together, friend.

Bookmark this page and check back as I’ll be adding more 2023 marketing predictions and trends as I notice them. Let me know what you’ve seen work for your business too. I’d love your thoughts in the comments below!

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