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The changing B2B marketing landscape

A new report from Forrester entitled "B2B CMOs Must Evolve or Move On" discusses shifts in the role of B2B CMOs and how best to handle them. The findings of this report illuminate the perspectives and needs of B2B CMOs, and by extension, the new needs of B2B marketing in general. Ninety-seven percent of respondents said marketing must do things it hasn't ever done before to be successful. As a result, every professional must refine her or his marketing strategy. Ways in which this can be accomplished were also detailed by the study, and include collaboration, skill development and concerted efforts to change the role of marketing within an organization.

New skills for a new marketplace
B2B marketers must increasingly deploy new skills as the behavior and expectations of their target markets change. Customer focus is vital in the B2B space, according to Forrester's report. A large part of this concentration on the customer is multichannel marketing that includes mobile and online marketing. Therefore, CMOs need to have more technological knowledge than ever before, while maintaining their ability to cultivate relationships with prospects and manage marketing departments. This necessity may explain the increasing rate of collaboration between marketing and IT departments – 54 percent of respondents  reported the working relationship with their own IT departments had increased dramatically over the past one to two years.

Increased responsibility and oversight
CMOs reported they, along with their entire departments, are perceived as more integral to their organizations than ever before. This results in increased face-to-face time with other departments and with executives. Over half of respondents said they spend more time with the board of directors as company strategy is refined and executed. Additionally, CMOs reported their colleagues frequently consult them for input on their own activities. Crafting an optimal marketing strategy seems now to have a lot in common with devising strategies for other areas of business.

The corollary to this increased respect and collaboration is greater oversight. Seventy-six percent of respondents said their leadership teams now evaluate the success or failure of a marketing initiative by way of online analytics dashboards. This is a type of scrutiny that was simply not possible before online marketing. Met with new metrics for accountability, many marketers also reported they are now trying to do more with less in terms of knowledge, workers and resources. Those CMOs overwhelmed by the rate of technological change would do well to consult with an interactive marketing agency with experience in these matters to maintain their success.

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.