Recently, Alisha Lyndon, CEO and founder of Momentum, hosted me, Rob Leavitt, and Julie Schwartz on the Account-based Marketing Podcast to discuss how B2B marketing is transforming, how executive engagement is changing, and how ABM is evolving.
During my conversation with Alisha, we discussed the key areas in which marketing has been building new muscle and where marketing leaders need to focus if they want to build a growth-oriented marketing organization.
At ITSMA, we see four levers that enable marketers to drive strategic growth (as highlighted in our whitepaper Marketing’s Four Paths to Drive Strategic Growth):
- Driving revenue and pipeline
- Customer experience
- Market and customer insight
Marketing’s prowess with brand has been steadily expanding, and over the past ten years, as pipeline quotas have increased, marketers have been more directly involved in driving revenue. More recently, marketing has been tasked with understanding and influencing how the customer experience is orchestrated. And now, as the first wave of our 2021 How Executives Engage study shows, marketers should focus more on providing deep customer insight to sales and account teams about customer priorities, preferences, and behavior.
But do we have the right marketing organization with the right capabilities to do all this?
Marketing departments that were built to focus on brand worked like an internal agency building overall brand awareness and serving and supporting sales with collateral, content, and campaigns. They’ve had to evolve to become demand generators, relationship builders, and now strategic growth drivers. The challenge is, the skills that help build and strengthen a brand may be dramatically different from what’s needed to glean specific customer insight and advise sales as an equal partner on how to use that insight to drive greater revenue with their most important accounts.
Thus, as businesses have expanded the solutions they’re bringing to customers, marketing organizations themselves have had to transform, develop new skills, deepen relationships, and strategically strengthen their growth-oriented muscles. CMOs and marketing leaders need organizations with a full breadth of capabilities that will allow marketing to act strategically across all four levers of brand, revenue, customer experience, and market insight.
This new marketing organization must be comprised of people who are proactive, data-driven, tech-savvy, agile, and flexible in the way they work and who can excel in uncertain markets like we are experiencing today. It needs to be the voice of the customer to the rest of the company and work with cross-functional teams to advance multiple agendas. It has to quickly develop, launch, and go to market with new offerings – and at the same time be ready to pivot and handle any change the marketplace throws at it.
To reflect this new marketing organization, we see new roles emerging, such as:
- Chief Growth Officer
- Chief Insight Officer
- Head of Martech
- Head of Data & Analytics
- Head of Executive Engagement Programs
We also see the head of ABM broadening their responsibilities to include executive engagement or audience marketing roles, to make sure key clients are engaged on a consistent basis.
Thus, marketing leaders are becoming organization builders and change agents. They are adding new skills and roles to help raise marketing’s profile and building the muscles that can help them move away from merely serving the business with tactics and activities and toward influencing and driving business growth.
To hear more of my conversation with Alisha on marketing transformation, listen to Account-based Marketing, episode 32, at 20:50. The full 32-minute episode includes Alisha’s interviews with Julie Schwartz and Rob Leavitt.