Why are Marketers, the most creative, most digitally connected and best storytellers in the room never invited to the important conversations? For example, a 2016 study revealed that only 2.6% of S&P 1500 board members had executive-level marketing experience. The reason for this is simple: too often in business, especially B2B, Marketing is perceived as 1) not a strategic function 2) not a direct enabler of revenue 3) not a representative of the voice of the customer.
Here’s the great news: the conditions are ripe for change. Sure, the usual obstacles exist (too busy, not enough resources, focus on hitting the Q, the CEO doesn’t value Marketing). But, those variables are in our capacity to influence. Most of the CMOs in our network are hungry to transform Marketing into a function that helps the organization imagine the future of the customer experience.
The Case for Change
Marketing in B2B organizations has long been due for role change. The customer experience is rapidly evolving and—according to recent data—only about 23% of companies have a fully implemented plan for CX. Customer personas are shifting as organizations digitally transform and new entrants in the client environment are creeping into the sales process. And, all the vast pools of data being created — much of it through Marketing—have created significant decision paralysis.
Marketing can make an impact here by championing customer intimacy, staying on top of trends (new forms of engagement, technology, tools), helping shape the customer experience, and defining the data set that actually influences purchasing behavior.
How to Get There
Unfortunately, most B2B Marketing organizations today resemble Function A below and are too busy managing executive fire drills, wasting time on internal client pet projects and churning out one-off content:
This hamster wheel is difficult to get off, but the consequences of status quo are high: brief CMO tenures, employee attrition and significant marketing resources wasted. Strategic, value-added B2B Marketing organizations do exist. Their allocation of resources looks much more like this:
The path to shifting marketing’s role in the organization is simple in theory: get really smart about how time is spent, be clear about what Marketing’s role should be, and redirect resources allocated to low-value activities. The reality is that this level of marketing transformation requires a clear roadmap, a completely new set of behaviors, and an execution plan that maintains adequate productivity as the organization transforms.
Despite the uphill climb, CMOs face a significant opportunity at a time where their organizations most need them to succeed. By reorienting the function around the customer and imagining the bridge to the future, Marketing becomes a must-have in the room when key decisions are made. The windfall of this is budget protection, better talent and easier maneuverability in the organization.