Digital channels, online social activity, and mobile technology give business buyers unprecedented purchasing power. Just look around your next sales or customer meeting, count the number of smartphones and tablets, and see if you disagree.
To capture the attention of the perpetually-connected business buyer, we see B2B CMOs taking on significantly broader, and often unfamiliar, responsibilities. To learn exactly how top marketers respond to these new world challenges, Forrester teamed with the BMA to conduct a joint study about the pace of change, skills required, and degree of collaboration needed to deliver the always-on experiences business buyers now expect.
"Hello, I'm Laura Ramos, and I write for chief marketing officers."
That's the standard line around here. It'll take a little gettting used to saying it. Heck, I still find myself saying "Xerox" instead of "Forrester" from time to time, but I hope to get out of that habit soon.
Luckily, I won't have to break my habit of thinking and writing about the issues that face large companies that sell highly-considered products and services to other businesses through a direct sales force or channel partners. I've always been a business-to-business (B2B) girl, and I'll stick to that focus here at Forrester.
Forrester’s CMO Group fielded a survey in December in partnership with Advertising Age, to get a handle on what CMOs and marketing leaders are making a strategic priority in 2011. The article appears in Advertising Age’s CMO Strategy column.
The results? Fifty-two percent of respondents said that effectively maximizing the marketing budget and developing a culture that fosters and supports marketing innovation rank at or near the top of their priority list. Thirty-eight percent said that optimizing the structure of the marketing organization to be adaptable will be important in 2011. These survey results reflect the fact that CMOs are scrambling to stay ahead of rapidly-changing consumer behavior, media, and technology but are also striving to achieve the accountability demanded in lean times. Consumers’ rapidly changing reality commands agility and speed, but business realities command investments that are grounded in data.
Why is innovation job No. 1 in 2011? Most CMOs realize the importance of being proactive in how they incorporate new ideas into their plans. Since marketing innovation is about identifying and capitalizing on new business opportunities, CMOs cannot just foster creativity — they must push for evolution across all four marketing P’s, especially distribution and pricing, where opportunities for innovation are often overlooked. Flagging innovation as a priority in this survey signals to us that CMOs are saying they want to know what new approaches they can take to satisfy their growth imperatives. Forrester’s research on this topic will focus on demonstrating exactly how CMOs successfully target new consumer groups and build new offerings for existing customers that are grounded in customer intelligence.