B2b marketers today are working in a world marked by rapid changes in technology, increasingly empowered customers and heightened accountability in an always-on media environment. All of this makes it both an exhilarating and anxious time to be a marketer, and CMOs are facing the changes with new strategies, systems and talent-development practices.
“There is so much change going on right now, which makes it scary but also incredibly exciting,” said Kathy Button Bell, VP-CMO at Emerson Electric Co. and chairman of the Business Marketing Association for the 2013-14 term. At the BMA’s annual conference in Chicago in June, Button Bell presented joint research from the BMA and Forrester Inc. that found that 97% of b2b marketers are doing things they have never done before as part of marketing, and 34% of senior marketers feel “overwhelmed” by change. (The study was based on an online survey in April of 117 senior b2b marketers.)
“The transparency we are living with, which started with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act [federal legislation passed in 2002 that governs public company financial reporting] and has now become a communications issue through social media and other technologies, means companies have to be much more sophisticated in how they do things,” Button Bell said.
“Within my own company, there is a new appreciation for marketing and a desperate need for people to be more highly developed marketers. There is a heavy amount of communications that marketing people have to take on—not just with customers but with the media, investors, employees and future employees.”