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New insights from our CMO study: What worked in 2020, how to apply it

Jennifer Ross

B2B CMOs Chart New Paths To Growth Post-Covid

Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey included a subtrack of more than 500 senior B2B marketing leaders in various industries across North America, Europe, and the APAC region. Fielded between December 2020 and March 2021, our survey reveals how B2B marketing leaders are adapting their marketing strategy to support their organizations’ growth objectives in a period that has challenged organizations like never before.  

For B2B CMOs, 2021 is about charting new paths to customer-obsessed growth. Events of the past year have accelerated a shift that was already in motion. Dramatic changes in buyers’ behavior, evolving business models, and fast-paced technological advances have transformed the role of the CMO. As B2B marketing leaders spearhead their organizations’ recovery and growth efforts, they should take the positive marketing practices learned in 2020 and insights from our survey and understand that: 

  • Customer experience will continue to take center stage. During the pandemic, organizations recognized that focus and commitment to customer relationships was integral to weathering the economic challenges of the past year. CEOs will continue to look to CMOs to provide data on complex customer needs, insights, and opportunities. B2B CMOs will also need to effectively connect and empathize with the emotional decision-makers B2B buyers have become. 
  • Cross-functional alignment and collaboration are essential to growth. B2B CMOs are uniquely positioned to unite the business ecosystem. The customer, partner, employee, investor, and influencer relationships are just some of the relationships marketing helps manage by creating strategies, processes, KPIs, and behaviors that are rooted in customer obsession. In our survey, senior B2B marketing leaders said improving marketing alignment and collaboration with other departments was the most important factor in supporting their marketing priorities. 
  • Not everyone is recovering at the same pace. Some organizations have been able to tap into new business opportunities or adapt in response to disruptions. However, others are still in an economic slump compared to where they were in the beginning of the pandemic. More North American marketing leaders, for instance, reported that their organizations experienced significant (50% or more) revenue contractions than did their European and APAC counterparts. 

Read more insights from our global survey of senior B2B marketing leaders by downloading our e-book and watching my recent conversation with Forrester CMO Shirley Macbeth. I also invite you to continue the conversation with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.