The latest B2B Leaders report published by B2B Marketing makes for interesting reading as it provides a great deal of insight into the thoughts of senior marketers and their views on brand, performance, team and personal reputation management.
An online survey of 100 marketing leaders, the B2B Leaders report involved marketing directors, heads of marketing and marketing with an average 15 years experience, reporting into board or leadership teams and controlling a total of £188m. Here, René explores the findings in more detail.
Responding to questions around how they rate their brand relative to the competition and how well they thought they were managing their brand:
- 80% thought their organisational brand is clearly defined and 72% thought it was clearly differentiated from competitors
- 55% thought the brand was not well understood outside the business
- 69% thought marketing is high on the board’s agenda
- But less than 50% thought marketing gets the resource it needs
- IBM, Salesforce, Cisco and Accenture stood out as B2B brands most admired for marketing
It seems brand is recognised as critical to long term business success from this survey. There are concerns about the support required to implement meaningful marketing though with more than half querying the resource and budget commitment.
Getting an uplift in budget means income delivering a tangible return. Turning attention to how they demonstrate value and return on investment in what they deliver (performance):
- 6% said they could judge ROI all of the time
- 29% said most of the time
- 23% half the time
- 25% some of the time
- 17% said rarely
Grouping the numbers, it must be alarming that over half of marketing provides less than 50% of a tangible return. To be better respected, B2B marketers need to become more adept and more proficient in setting goal based objectives for every single activity and in evaluating achievement with appropriate tools.
Commenting on how they ensure their team was comprised with the right set of skills:
- 79% of respondents said their team had skills gaps
- 68% said work/time commitments to schedule training were the biggest obstacle
- Only 26% said all the team had a structured development training programme in place
If marketers are not making time for training in the latest advances in marketing best practice, creativity and technology it is perhaps no surprise that teams are ill-equipped to master modern marketing. This then has an obvious knock-on effect to performance and marketing ROI.
Assessing their own personal reputation, what makes a good leader and where they felt a skills gap:
- 93% admitted they saw room for personal improvement
- 87% say they need no more than three years to make an impact
- The majority cited creating team cohesiveness a priority
Good B2B marketing leaders acknowledge areas for development of their teams and themselves, and recognise the importance of spending time on maximising harmony within teams towards the achievement of common goals. Reading between the lines, it’s undeniable that the skills and attributes of a modern B2B marketing leader are evolving, with facilitation, influencing and collaboration becoming ever more important.
As B2B Marketing editor-in-chief Joel Harrison comments, a perfect storm of the “post credit crunch economic strife of the last five years” coupled with a rising tide of technological advances and a need to return to true customer centric positioning has driven significant organisational change. This arguably affects the marketing function as much as any other area.
Understanding your operating environment, your customers and your ability to service them efficiently, profitably and knowledgably remain the underlying and enduring marketing challenge most businesses face.
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