Internet, search marketing, digital advertising, sales enablement, social media, video, online communities, mobile, predictive analytics, content curation . . . Is it even possible for the pace of change in marketing activity to continue to accelerate? According to top marketing leaders in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, absolutely. So get ready, folks, the rocket ride isn't over.

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure to join Kathy Button Bell, CMO at Emerson and incoming chair of the BMA, on stage to present research study findings describing global marketing executive views on the changing nature of B2B marketing at the 2013 International BMA Conference, Blaze.2013 BMA conference May 29-31

During the month of May, Forrester and the BMA collaborated to entice and persuade 117 CMOs and senior VPs at firms roughly split between companies with fewer than 5,000 employees and those with 5,000 or more — to respond to attitudinal questions about the pace of change, the role of marketing, evolving skill sets, and the degree of collaboration between marketing and peer functions.

Among the topline findings, which you can find in the BMA press release and the BtoB Magazine coverage of the first day of the conference, is a positive view that marketing's role has become more strategic to the business. More than just wishful self-promotion, these top marketers see solid evidence that marketing's role is rising. Compared with where they were two years ago:

  • 87% said peer departments seek out marketing's input and data much more.
  • 78% say the marketing organization's influence on corporate strategy is much greater.
  • 77% claim the stature of marketing's seat at the executive round table has increased.
  • 56% spend more time in front of the company's board of directors.

So while marketing feels it's doing more, apparently more of what it does matters. 

During the month of June, I plan to take a closer look at the findings and answer the questions, "So what does it take to thrive in the rapidly changing role of marketing?" and "Where should CMOs focus first?" As a preview, I think the "so what" questions will focus on setting expectations with executive peers about a more specific role for marketing, finding new sources for skills (and temporary resources), and shifting the conversation from traditional brand/awareness issues to the role of marketing in customer insight. 

To show appreciation to the BMA for its partnership on this survey, Forrester will make the final report available to conference attendees and members. BMA folks should look for information inthe BMA Buzz newsletter over the summer sharing a link to where those interested can get a hold of a copy of it.

UPDATE:  You can  now access the report from this location:  Please download today!