In the ever changing world of B2B marketing, it’s becoming more widely reported that organisations are prioritising the importance of overcoming the significant challenge known as the B2B Marketing Gap. This gap largely exists somewhere between the directors and senior to mid level marketers, hindering strategic decision-making and impeding sustainable long-term growth.
Understanding the B2B Marketing Gap
The B2B marketing gap refers to the lack of alignment and communication between top-level decision-makers and senior/mid-level marketers. It not only results in misinterpretation of goals and inconsistent decision-making but also restricts the ability of marketers to be strategic due to the sales support tasks they are burdened with.
Let’s delve into some common causes that highlight the challenges faced by marketers currently operating within this gap.
Scenario 1: Marketing as the Sales Support Function
Many Senior to Mid level marketers often find themselves overwhelmed with sales support tasks, limiting their ability to operate strategically. Sales representatives frequently approach the marketing team with requests such as updating PDFs, preparing for events, revising proposals, posting about conference trips on social media, and updating the website. With limited resources and insanely low budgets, marketing becomes consumed with operational tasks, shifting its focus from driving business growth to serving as a support function for sales.
Scenario 2: The Whirlwind of Inconsistent Priorities
Imagine being a mid-level marketer tasked with executing marketing campaigns. Your Sales Director urgently calls for a meeting, expressing concerns about wasted resources chasing low-quality leads. In response, you swiftly reduce paid search spend and pause non-branded and higher funnel campaigns.
However, the following week, the same Director panics over declining lead volumes and requests an immediate increase. This inconsistent back-and-forth creates a whirlwind of confusion, making it challenging to implement a cohesive and strategic marketing plan.
Scenario 3: The Data Dilemma
As a marketer, you understand the value of data in optimising marketing campaigns. However, your organisation fails to capture the right data or lacks the necessary platforms to provide meaningful insights. Without access to accurate and relevant data, you struggle to make informed decisions and cannot fully leverage your strategic capabilities. That’s assuming you even have the time to be strategic – a whopping 48% of marketers report creating content by request from those within their organisation, rather than creating or following a planned strategy.
“Many marketers know exactly what they want to say, but only because they are reacting to internal content requests from other parts of the business. But they, unfortunately, don’t know what audiences want to hear, because they haven’t implemented listening strategies to truly understand their customer’s needs.”
Robert Rose | Content Marketing Institute
The Global Prevalence of the B2B Marketing Gap
The B2B marketing gap is not an isolated issue limited to a few organisations; it is a prevalent challenge faced by businesses across the globe. In various industries and sectors, the misalignment between directors and marketers is a recurring theme.
Industry Surveys and Reports: Various industry surveys and reports have shed light on the existence of the B2B marketing gap. These studies have shown that misalignment and communication issues between directors and marketers are common in organisations across different industries and sectors. The specific manifestations of the gap may vary, but the overall challenge remains consistent.
Case Studies and Success Stories: Numerous case studies and success stories have documented the impact of bridging the marketing gap. These examples often span different regions and industries, showcasing the significance of addressing this challenge. They highlight how businesses that actively acknowledge and bridge the gap achieve improved marketing performance, enhanced growth, and a competitive advantage.
Professional Networks and Communities: Within professional networks and communities, discussions around the B2B marketing gap have gained traction. Marketing professionals from various organisations and backgrounds share their experiences, challenges, and strategies for bridging the gap. These discussions reflect a global perspective, with contributions from professionals around the world, further emphasising the widespread nature of the challenge.
Industry Events and Conferences: Industry events and conferences provide platforms for professionals to exchange insights and knowledge. Sessions and presentations focused on bridging the B2B marketing gap have been a recurring theme at these events, attracting attendees from different countries and industries. The presence of such sessions indicates the global relevance of the topic and the recognition of the need to address the marketing gap.
Acknowledging the existence of the gap and actively working towards bridging it is essential for organisations that seek success in today’s competitive landscape.
Bridging the Gap and Empowering Strategic Growth
To overcome the challenges posed by the B2B marketing gap and empower senior and mid-level marketers to be strategic contributors, organisations must take proactive steps to bridge the divide.
Here are some effective methodologies:
Redefine Roles and Responsibilities
Clearly define the roles of marketing and sales, ensuring that marketing is positioned as a strategic business generation unit. Empower marketing teams to focus on creating impactful campaigns, optimising lead generation processes, and delivering high-quality leads to sales. This shift allows marketers to leverage their strategic expertise and contribute to business growth.
Establish Open Communication Channels
Encourage open dialogue and frequent communication between directors, senior executives, and senior/mid-level marketers. Regular meetings, shared insights, and feedback loops enable real-time adjustments, align goals, and foster collaboration.
Provide Training and Mentorship
Invest in comprehensive training and mentorship programs for senior/mid-level marketers. Equip them with the skills and knowledge to interpret and utilise data effectively, enabling them to make strategic decisions and drive better results. This investment enhances their capabilities and empowers them to contribute strategically.
Streamline Sales and Marketing Collaboration
Break down silos between sales and marketing teams. Encourage cross-functional collaboration, knowledge sharing, and joint initiatives. Monthly meetings that bring both teams together to share findings, propose new tests, and align strategies can foster a harmonious and productive work environment.
Hire a Chief Marketing Officer or Director of Marketing
To ensure that marketing strategies are implemented at a senior level and to bridge the marketing gap, organisations can consider hiring a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or Director of Marketing. This senior-level executive will be responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of marketing initiatives, aligning them with the overall business goals, and bridging the gap between directors and marketers. The benefits of this addition are:
Strategic Alignment: A CMO or Director of Marketing brings a strategic mindset and expertise to the organisation. They can align marketing strategies with the overall business objectives, ensuring that the marketing efforts are in sync with the company’s goals. This alignment helps bridge the marketing gap by connecting the strategic decision-makers with the execution level.
Advocacy for Marketers: With a dedicated senior-level marketing leader in place, junior and mid-level marketers gain an advocate who can champion their ideas and contributions. The CMO or Director of Marketing can communicate the value of strategic marketing and help prioritise marketing initiatives within the organisation. This advocacy elevates the role of marketers and allows them to be more strategic in their approach.
Collaboration and Communication: The presence of a CMO or Director of Marketing facilitates improved collaboration and communication between the marketing team and the senior leadership. They act as a bridge, facilitating open dialogue and shared insights. By regularly interacting with both directors and marketers, the CMO or Director of Marketing can address any misalignments, ensure a cohesive approach, and bridge the marketing gap effectively.
Leadership and Guidance: The CMO or Director of Marketing provides leadership and guidance to the marketing team, fostering a culture of strategic thinking and growth. They can mentor junior and mid-level marketers, helping them develop their strategic capabilities and empowering them to contribute effectively. This guidance and mentorship create a supportive environment where marketers can thrive and bridge the marketing gap with confidence.
Accountability and Measurement: With a senior-level marketing leader in place, there is enhanced accountability for marketing outcomes. The CMO or Director of Marketing can establish clear metrics and measurement systems to evaluate the success of marketing initiatives. This accountability drives a data-driven approach and helps bridge the marketing gap by ensuring that marketing strategies are aligned with measurable goals.
Consulting with a Marketing Strategist
Engaging the services of a marketing strategist can be a highly effective approach to addressing the B2B marketing gap. Marketing strategists are experienced professionals who specialise in developing comprehensive marketing strategies tailored to specific business objectives. Here’s why consulting with a marketing strategist can be beneficial:
Expertise and Industry Knowledge: Marketing strategists bring deep expertise and industry knowledge to the table. They have a thorough understanding of market trends, customer behaviour, and effective marketing techniques. By leveraging their expertise, organisations can gain valuable insights and guidance on how to bridge the marketing gap specific to their industry and target audience.
Objective Perspective: A marketing strategist offers an objective perspective on the organisation’s marketing efforts. They can assess the current state of marketing operations, identify gaps and inefficiencies, and propose strategic solutions. Their external viewpoint helps uncover blind spots and provides fresh ideas that may not have been considered internally.
Customised Strategies: Marketing strategists work closely with organisations to develop customised marketing strategies aligned with their goals and target market. They conduct thorough analyses of the organisation’s current marketing activities, including messaging, positioning, targeting, and channels. Based on this analysis, they recommend targeted strategies and tactics to bridge the marketing gap and optimise marketing performance.
Implementation Support: In addition to strategy development, marketing strategists often provide implementation support. They assist in executing the recommended strategies, ensuring effective implementation and monitoring the progress. This hands-on support helps organisations navigate the complexities of bridging the marketing gap, ensuring that the recommended strategies are effectively put into action.
Continuous Improvement: Marketing strategists emphasise continuous improvement. They monitor the results of implemented strategies, measure key performance indicators, and provide feedback and recommendations for refinement. By working with a marketing strategist, organisations can establish a cycle of ongoing improvement, ensuring that their marketing efforts remain aligned with their objectives and bridge the marketing gap effectively.
The B2B marketing gap not only creates a divide between directors and marketers but also restricts the strategic potential of senior to mid-level marketers due to their sales support responsibilities. By redefining roles and responsibilities, establishing open communication channels, providing training and mentorship, and promoting collaboration between sales and marketing, organisations can bridge this gap and empower their marketers to contribute strategically. This transformation enables marketers to focus on driving business growth and leverages their expertise to achieve remarkable success in the B2B landscape.