The Marketing Strategist:

The State of Our Profession is Good…But Divided

January 26, 2017

At the risk of a political analogy, the state of the services marketing profession is generally good as we settle into 2017, but divisions are clear.

Like everything we do at ITSMA, our annual “State of the Profession Address” is grounded in research with marketing leaders at top B2B technology, telecom, and professional services companies. In this case, we lean heavily on our annual Services Marketing Budget Allocations and Trends survey, which digs deep into marketing strategy and investment priorities for the year ahead.

On first glance, the signs are all positive. Data from our 2017 study show that services marketing budgets are on the rise and, as a percentage of services revenue, may go higher than we have seen for more than a decade. Marketing staffs are growing as well, and leaders are expanding marketing’s scope of operations in such essential areas as business strategy, customer experience, and executive engagement.

Digging a bit deeper, though, we see a “great divide” with significant differences between marketing leaders and teams at high-growth companies and those in lower growth organizations. Most important, marketers in high-growth companies are much more likely to:

  • Participate in business strategy and innovation
  • Prioritize account-based marketing and customer success
  • Invest in people development and new marketing tools and technology

In this context, ITSMA recommendations depend heavily on which side of the divide one lives. For the laggards, key initiatives should include using market insight to help inform business direction, investing in marketing operations and agility to accelerate performance, and improving measurement to demonstrate impact.

For the high-growth leaders, our prescriptions focus on generating even more strategic contribution to the business in areas such as leading customer success, elevating the art of marketing with new tools such as virtual and augmented reality, and exploring the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Interested in learning more? Listen to the webcast and download the slides: Accelerating Marketing’s Transformation: ITSMA’s 2017 State of the Profession Address.

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