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Is now a good time to be a B2B marketer?

By Rob Hurst

According to our annual ‘What Works Where’ survey of senior B2B digital marketers in the UK, our marketing colleagues are having to do more than ever before. They have more audiences to target, more geographies to reach out to, more channels than ever before. The list continues. So that begs the question – with all of this considered, is now a good time to be a B2B marketer?

First, let’s set the scene. One of the survey’s key findings shows that 73% – almost three quarters of those surveyed – feel that marketing has become more challenging and almost the same amount (70%) claim that their priorities have changed over the past 3 years. Some would argue that channel proliferation is largely to blame for this.

“Our attention has been getting thinner and thinner for years now in trying to ensure all touchpoints are catered for, but now that our touchpoints have touchpoints (social media, anyone?), how can we focus attention on everything at once?”

How can we be sure what channel mix is the most effective in achieving our goals? Where does our remit end as a marketer? That last point is an interesting one – it used to be that ‘marketing’ was the sole role of the marketer. Nowadays our attention is required elsewhere – from recruitment campaigns to customer service marketing and much more. 58% of our respondent agree, claiming that they have been expected to achieve objectives outside the traditional province of marketing and on top of that many marketers are focusing their efforts on new territories as our digital world continues to shrink.

So marketing is harder than it used to be? Yes, but perhaps the truth is that marketers are trying to do too much. As a result they are spreading their budgets more thinly and aiming to achieve all objectives equally rather than focusing on a few. But is this loss of focus the fault of the marketer, or the fault of the organisation that hands over the additional remit without the additional budgets, training or resource?

“So whilst we can (almost) all agree that marketing is harder than it used to be, does that mean that it’s a bad time to be a B2B marketer? Hopefully not – I’d suggest that now is a great time for marketers.”

Hopefully not – I’d suggest that now is a great time for marketers. Increasingly organisations are realising that the talents of marketing, traditionally used for attracting and retaining customers, are as important to attracting and retaining staff, or communicating with the decision makers and influencers whose view will shape the financial future of the company. Maybe marketers are being given a wider remit because they uniquely have the types of brains which can cope with the ever changing, multivariate nature of the world we now live in. It’s a unique time to be a marketer. Arguably a time with more opportunities to make a difference does not exist in recent memory. The scope of opportunity for innovation, new tools, techniques and technology make our jobs more interesting and the ‘scary’ statistics above, for me, are more inspirational than scary.

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