In the early days of the pandemic — as tumultuous as they were — there was still an underlying assumption that the disruption was temporary. Even as organizations scrambled to adapt, many of us expected a return to “normalcy” in the not-too-distant future.
Little did we know.
The past two years have taught us much about the value of building adaptability and resilience into our marketing planning. Now, on the eve of a third COVID-19 year — and with new variants fueling even more uncertainty — it can be tempting to question the value of long-range planning altogether. Yet, I would argue that planning has never been more important. The post-pandemic landscape will look very different from the landscape before it hit, and B2B leaders who are unprepared will lose out.
So, what’s needed to plan effectively given so many unknowns?
For B2B marketers, the key is understanding how the business landscape has changed and how your customers have changed. Part of this entails recognizing blind spots and committing to improvements. Before COVID-19 hit, for instance, marketers tended to focus too much on acquiring net-new opportunities and not enough on nurturing existing customer relationships. The pandemic made it clear that that needs to change, particularly given that retained business accounts for more than three-quarters of organizational revenue on average.
The past two years have also underscored the need for cross-functional alignment. While this is not new, the current climate makes it imperative for marketing, sales, and product to share a vision for future growth and work together to achieve it. Here, marketing leaders have a golden opportunity, given the deep customer insights that marketing possesses.
Forrester’s 2022 Planning Assumptions lay out the realities that B2B leaders across marketing, sales, and product functions should anticipate as they plan for the months ahead. Our research-based, role-specific reports and other content dive deep into the trends that will matter most in the coming year and offer concrete steps to capitalize on them. They provide a compass in an uncertain landscape, helping you chart a course to success as conditions continually evolve.
Explore our Planning Assumptions 2022 hub to dive into the realities that will shape B2B marketing, sales, and product in the coming months. And for a closer look at the B2B marketing landscape, check out our recent Planning Assumptions webinar.