The Rising Tide of B2B Marketing
In September the Business Marketing Association (BMA) held one in a series of its second annual Global Conference Series, B2B Rising, a conference targeted specifically to the B2B community, with a 100% B2B agenda. The focus of B2B Rising is that B2B brands today are engines of the global economy, comprising more than 50% of the U.S. GDP alone. And B2B marketers are driving innovation and spurring local, national and international growth as never before. According to Jeff Pundyk, while the theme was aspirational, the discussion was decidedly grounded by the operational challenges brought on by a role still in transition. B2B CMOs are finding that they are faced with substantial changes and challenges to their roles. In addition to demonstrating a connection between marketing activity and business results, they must also merge the art and science of marketing. Operational challenges dealing with data, technology and resources must merge with entrepreneurial approaches dealing with innovation, creativity and experimentation. B2B CMO’s Must Evolve or Move On, a joint study conducted by Forrester Research and BMA, reported that the landscape of marketing is shifting fast, and that there is a need for the business to actively try to innovate:
- 97% of CMOs think marketing must do things that it hasn’t done before to be successful.
- 85% of CMOs think marketing does things today that no one thought would be a responsibility three to four years ago.
- 80% of CMOs feel more secure about their grasp of the skills needed to be successful in marketing.
At B2B Rising, moderator Columbia University professor David Rogers started the discussion with a forward-looking list of the following “seven habits of great B2B marketers”.
- Use data to solve problems
- Create beautiful experiences
- Be ready to experiment
- Think like a media company
- Make innovation your story
- Build platforms, not products
- Think peer-to-peer, not B2B
While Roger’s entrepreneurial themes were echoed by other speaker throughout the event, operational challenges were not ignored. Laura Ramos, Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, presented a report co-sponsored by the BMA that painted a picture of increased responsibility and influence among the marketing function, but one of limited resources and increased expectations: The result being the need to rethink not just what marketers are trying to accomplish, but how. “CMOs must turn their attention to the business issues that matter”, says the report, based on the research of 117 CMOs. “They need to rethink the marketing strategy over tactics, prioritize collaborative opportunities, strengthen the marketing team, and collaborate with peers about how to put the real customer needs front and center.” (Image: ColinDunnblog.com)
- 31% of millenials say they get more work done while they’re commuting. (U2 Global 323-860-9200)
- The pay gap between working women and men in the U.S. is projected to close in the year 2058. Currently women earn 76.5% of what men earn. (Institute for Women’s Policy Research 202-785-5100)
- Entertainment activities such as gaming, video viewing, and reading e-books account for 50% of total time spent using tablets. (Gartner 203-964-0096)
- More than six in 10 business travelers (61%) consider in-flight time a personal break and prefer not to be connected to Wi-Fi while on an airplane. (American Express Global Business Travel 212-640-2265)
- Nearly eight in 10 U.S. office workers (79%) believe they are more productive at work when they have a view of the outdoors. (SAGE Electrochromics 507-331-4848)