It’s a new year and everything is changing, including PR. This is not an oversimplification. After speaking to hundreds of marketing executives over the past two years, analyzing macro and micro trends, economic concepts and shifts, technology advancements and so much more – it’s become clear to me that 2023 is poised to be an inflection of change. Advanced technologies that were under development before the pandemic are increasingly in demand to bridge key industries to greater efficiency, profitability, and reliability.
For too many reasons to explain and analyze here, there is a salty mix of disillusionment, a post-pandemic renewal, a surge of creativity, and a focus toward the future. People have recentered from the tumult of the pandemic, and Americans are craving objective realism and solutions more than ever before. There have been far too many bombshells, shake-ups, squeezes, shortages, and surprises. In 2023, business leaders and marketers are refocused on solving the challenges in their markets through advanced technology.
How does this manifest into PR trends and strategies for 2023? I’ve identified three overarching concepts.
1. Business, Technology and Vertical Trade Media Rise in Importance
Inflation, labor shortages, and new forms of regulation and compliance make advanced technology essential, not nice to have. Artificial intelligence and forms of automation are offering new levels of efficiency. Processes that streamline workflows offer relief. Productivity gains have to be made across industries to enable profitability. Decision-makers are turning to their industry experts to understand opportunities.
Yes, Gallup keeps finding that Americans’ trust in mass media continues to slide downhill, but that is not reflected in business, technology, and vertical-specific media. Business and technology decision-makers need to constantly learn and research the innovation in their markets to stay at the forefront. Decision-makers are connecting through specific types of media to understand advancements in their fields to find mission-critical solutions. As advancements and transformation quicken, so too does dependence on business, technology, and vertical media—and forms of credible content that help leaders understand the challenges and the opportunities.
2. Objective Analysis and Data Rule
Business leaders and decision-makers have critical and outsized decisions to make in 2023 as the economy shifts—and complex technologies are offering meaningful solutions. Innovation companies have the opportunity to leverage new generations of data derived from their platforms to help their market decision-makers understand and solve pain points, including increasing profitability, stretching workforces, and advancing outcomes of all kinds.
This isn’t the SaaS revolution or the cloud – it’s the revolution of powerful and insightful data. Innovation company marketers need to lean into that data to provide game-changing insights to their markets. Marketing language needs to be further tamped down, and data narratives need to be brought to the forefront. How will the platform objectively increase efficiency? What is the equation and when will performance take hold?
The PR needs to be credible and informative. There are too many headwinds, and too many uncertainties. People have endured too much hyperbole elsewhere to invest in more of it. Construct concepts and narratives out of the cold data and provide meaningful use cases to show the ROI. Avoid wasteful communication in 2023 – everyone is racing against the clock.
3. PR Mixes with Social and Owned Content
Marketers should leverage their PR content to fuel their social and owned content channels—and they should work at the next level to ensure whatever their organization produces is on par with leading vertical media in their market.
More content that is subpar content is not good enough for the stressors decision-makers in technology markets now face. It’s not good enough to have a novice write some blogs; in 2023 it’s got to be well constructed, logical and leverage data. The stakes are high. Buyers need to make decisions to position their organizations to manage the challenges of the current economic factors. Innovation companies should take a fresh, customer-centric look at their current content across all channels of communication. Knowing if competitors are doing a better job laying out their differentiation with supporting data is important. It’s also important to compete from a logic-based narrative in terms of its construction and reach across the earned, social, and owned media.
Where a company goes on social media channels has already been decided. Markets and persona types are already on LinkedIn or Twitter and Reddit. There are powerful specialized groups all over these platforms – let the PR campaign find these groups and replicate the thought leadership narratives in the appropriate tenor for the specific platform. Create a flywheel of information and insight – so that no one important misses the message.
The business of innovation gets real in 2023 with organizations and companies adopting and scaling transformational technologies as they bridge into a new era of more and more advanced technology.
After hundreds of meetings with marketers and enormous amounts of media consumption, my highest recommendation is to move with 2023 and get in sync with customers and their concerns. Then, present the logic and data that matters. Higher ed, healthcare organizations, industrial companies, consumer packaged goods, e-commerce, manufacturing, financial and energy, and more markets are facing challenges in 2023. Focusing on the customer’s most important priorities in their terms as they research solutions and make decisions is paramount. No single analyst or media outlet can cover it—so go wide and deep in your communications strategy.
I am highly optimistic that the year of realism and objectivity will pay off for innovative companies whose solutions offer value just for the moment when companies need to transform. I am optimistic that, collectively, technology innovators and organization decision-makers can help one another to uplevel business and create efficiency, while managing any further storms that emerge.
PR is only increasing in value because of its ability to heighten credibility, drive amplification, and be a bridge. In 2023, these are the priorities we will recommend to our executive data marketers. It’s going to require deeper thinking and a purposeful approach by all.
Let’s be frank, we’re collectively ready to move on from the past couple of years. It’s time to look ahead, make meaningful cases to markets, and help organizations recalibrate. There’s a lot of innovation that needs to be adopted and scaled—and there are more reasons in 2023 than ever before to do so.