Factors Challenging the Evolving Role of B2B CMO

    Factors Challenging the Evolving Role of B2B CMO-01

    With all of the changes it creates for new and deeper connections with clients, the digital revolution has ushered in a golden age of marketing. Nonetheless, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), particularly those who head B2B organizations, are increasingly finding themselves in a pickle.

    For B2B CMOs, life is becoming increasingly challenging. Rapid channel expansion is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, those channels, together with the concurrent increase in consumer data and analytics, provide an ecosystem that offers limitless messaging choices and numerous ways to engage customers. On the other side, they result in the dispersal of efforts and the introduction of significant complexity. As a result, while B2B CMOs face cost pressures, they are also entrusted with investing in client analytics, lead creation, and ROI tracking tools.

    The emphasis has shifted away from marketing

    There is a fundamental difference between how B2B and B2C businesses market. B2B products are frequently technical in nature and necessitate unique expertise. As a result, historically, income growth has been dependent on cultivating client connections.   However, in a developing digital world, marketing departments are increasingly being pushed to focus on lead generation and revenue growth. This will necessitate increased interaction and collaboration with the sales function, as well as the acquisition of new skills. And yet, in the majority of organizations, the head of sales and the sales organization — not the CMO — are ultimately responsible for sales growth. In effect, CMOs are now expected to perform the functions of “chief growth officer” without the power or resources associated with that title.

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    Marketing’s reach is being eroded by turf battles

    Today, IT develops and owns the technologies that power and run marketing in huge organizations. These include the website, mobile applications, and infrastructure necessary for data collection, analytics, and lead generation. As a result, transformation initiatives — particularly those involving the adoption of marketing technology — frequently become mired in turf, budget, and credit conflicts. The position of marketers has further limited the less strategic involvement they have in user experience or content production. It is not commonplace for organizations to have what is referred to as “shadow capabilities,” with some marketing effort occurring in functions such as sales, product development, or communications.

    Marketing is still decentralized

    Marketing spending and decision-making in silos, so this duplication of effort, makes marketing strategies inconsistent. Inconsistencies and redundancy can also contribute to the further deterioration of the marketing-sales connection.

    Without a connection to strategy, marketing becomes mired in the tactical

    Because marketing is not linked to the company’s long-term strategy, it often becomes buried in tactical issues. In B2B marketing, the competitive landscapes and strategic capabilities have been hard to come by. However, putting marketing in a “tactical and generalist” role limits the ability of employees in those roles to come up with the strategic insights and direction that are needed to expand the organization.

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    The ascent to higher ground is almost certain to be difficult and, at times, grueling. However, innovative CMOs cannot avoid this voyage in the growing world. CMOs will develop critical talents and make major contributions to their organizations along the way. When CMOs accomplish this goal, they will enjoy tremendous rewards for themselves, their teams, and their organizations. They will rise to prominence as a strategic partner capable of advancing the growth goal.

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