Here’s Where B-to-B Marketers Should Invest In 2016

Jon Russo | Forbes | Dec 7, 2015

At a recent New York City gathering of 40 senior business-to-business marketing executives of the Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance (MOCCA), the hottest 2016 marketing-planning topics were one, people, and two, investing an incremental dollar in—you guessed it—data.

First, consider the talent issue. Kathleen Schaub, VP of IDC’s Chief Marketing Officer Advisory practice, illustrated new industry research indicating that 59% of technology firms have CMOs with tenure of two or fewer years; in addition, 25% of marketing roles today did not exist 10 years ago. With this amount of change among people, it becomes very challenging to find the right skill sets—thus the war for talent persists.

Yet given the critical importance of marketing tech and the sheer amount of hype that is in the market, IDC found it surprising in its research of nearly 100 technology firms that fewer than 2% of marketing staffs are in dedicated technology roles.  IDC also found that companies’ information technology teams still provide marketing with very little support. As marketing technology becomes a bigger part of marketing operations, some roles become “blurred” or “mixed.” In advanced organizations, the use of technology may be greater than strictly found in dedicated roles. IDC believes that the greater part of the growth in marketing technology and corresponding support roles is still in the future – compounding the need for these skills.

As customers move their buying process away from direct and inside-sales representatives and toward digital buying patterns, organizations are also making that same shift to cut costs. This trend toward virtual sales is seen as model that blends 75% digital (web properties, digital assets, cognitive computing, analytics, and other automation support), and 25% person vs. what might have been a 100% human-based role 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, regarding data,  Schaub and Maggie Chan Jones, CMO at SAP, agreed that data is the number-one area where a marketer should be making incremental discretionary investment.  Jones said that becoming a data-driven organization is one of her top priorities for her team:  “The great thing about big data is, it allows marketers to make smarter decisions in real time. Look at our events strategy. After a multi-year journey to elevate the strategy of our events with analytics and insight, our work was recognized by the ANA.” SAP won the Genius Award in the “Excellence in Analytics Driven Strategy” category, awarded to the brand “applying the most advanced approach to allocating investments across marketing.”

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