For many marketing leaders, the COVID-19 pandemic was a reckoning. Contending with uncertainty and planning for the unknown tested our agility — and it prompted us to take a hard look at our marketing practices and approaches. Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey reveals what B2B marketing leaders are doing and what they’re planning to weather the ongoing uncertainty. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jennifer Ross, VP and senior research director, about the findings.

In the video below, Jennifer discusses the uneven pace of recovery across industries and geographies as well as a few of the factors separating organizations that were able to pivot quickly in response to COVID-19 from those that struggled. Having a solid, long-term marketing strategy in place, for instance, gave marketing organizations the direction and purpose that helped them to move forward, even with so many unknowns.

The discussion struck a chord for me personally. I stepped into my role at Forrester just as the pandemic was unfolding in the US, and our work to align our marketing, sales, and product functions and pivot from product-centric to audience-centric approaches gave us a strong foundation for navigating the disruption. This approach also helped us fine-tune our products to give our clients what they needed during the pandemic and in this new world.

My conversation with Jennifer ended on a hopeful note. Now more than ever, companies are looking to marketing to show the way forward. Marketing leaders have a vital opportunity to bring forth customer insights, develop strategies, and orchestrate alignment across functions to drive growth. Seizing the moment will enable companies to emerge stronger on the other side.