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B2B CMO’s Future Reliant on Doing Things They Have Never Done Before



Change is a constant in the world of business. Whether you are a finance specialist who has to watch the changing tide of the law or a technology leader who has to try to stay ahead of the ‘latest and greatest’ most business people certainly have their work cut out for them.

One area that our readers can certainly relate to is the rapidly changing landscape of marketing. One could argue that the change has been the most intense for this discipline because it has been completely redefined. Rather than keeping pace with what’s new, marketers, especially at the C-level have had to adjust to the reinvention of the position. Many who sit at the top of the marketing food chain have climbed a burning rope to the top. All that means is that what it took to get to the top no longer applies. This is especially true in the B2B space.

A new study by Forrester makes this point

B2B Marketing's Role Changing

Nearly everyone polled agreed (or strongly agreed) that doing something it has never done before is going to be critical for success in the future. This should be a true wake-up call for the B2B CMO.

Other findings make this shift feel more like doom and gloom than change and adventure. Why? Because even with the need to do something differently CMO’s must

Meet more demands with fewer resources. These marketing leaders are being asked to take on extraordinary new responsibilities, like crafting social media policy and setting new hiring standards across the organization. But the cost is high, since 89% of respondents say that they must do this without change in budget or resources.

Suffers accelerated executive scrutiny. The days of hiding behind vague metrics like influence and awareness are over, as 76% of respondents say that their leadership team now judges marketing successes and failures by using online systems and dashboards.

In other words, do it differently but with no added help. Oh and by the way, someone will be tracking your every success and failure. What I would add to this, which is not in the study, is that most of those who are tracking and judging don’t really even understand what it is they are tracking and judging. This creates quite the conundrum for the B2B CMO of today and the future.

The solution? Fight. This is not a fad. This is a sea change. Adapt or die. Sounds very Darwinistic and it is. No more “I think we really improved the brand’s image with this effort!” reports. Sure the concept (soft measurements of marketing success) still exists and it still is important but don’t dare talk that way in today’s business world. Do that and you better sharpen the pencil on the resume.

So what are you doing, or what do you see others doing, to conquer this shift in the role of marketers? What experience could you share with our readers?

  • Tiffany

    I agree totally about the shift from “soft measures” to hard data. I am putting processes in place to not only track the ROI on campaigns, but to track the time and efforts invested in each campaign – manpower, tec resources, review processes, etc. It’s the whole pie now.. not just a slice.