There was a time business-to-business marketing stood distinctly apart from consumer marketing. These days, however, the two are becoming increasingly similar as B2B marketers deploy many of the same tactics as their consumer counterparts.
New research from Forrester underscores the point. The most important priority for B2B marketers over the next 12 months, according to the survey, is “addressing changing buying behaviors.” Of the B2B marketing leaders surveyed, 83% say brand purpose is important to their new buyers.
Both these statistics signal shifts in B2B marketing that are blurring the lines between the two traditional camps of marketing.
Why buyer behavior is evolving
Buyers’ behavior is changing due a host of macroeconomic factors and shifts in the nature of work. Flexible work arrangements and remote workforces are reshaping how people work, and technology is redefining job roles and reshaping the ways that people collaborate and connect.
If your biggest marketing push was at an industry trade show before conferencing shifted to hybrid and virtual formats, then it may be time to diversify that strategy and consider how else to reach target audiences.
At the same time, brand purpose is becoming increasingly important, not just to consumers but to the same people when they are making buying decisions for their companies. People are bringing their whole selves to work, and they want brands to reflect that.
To learn more about brand purpose and how to nurture it, check out our previous posts on the importance of brand values and why brand enthusiasts back beliefs, not products.
Marketers’ role in strategic planning
It’s clear given both these trends that B2B marketers play an important strategic role in helping their companies grow. However, they don’t always have input on that front. In its January Global CMO Strategy Survey, Forrester found that only about one-third of chief marketing officers are involved in corporate strategy development.
As the nature of B2B marketing continues to shift, it’s important for that to change, says Sharyn Leaver, chief research officer at Forrester.
“More than ever before, B2B CMOs need to play a pivotal role in driving the longer-term growth agenda of their organizations,” Leaver said. “To do this, leaders need to not only manage external realities but also navigate through their own organizational constructs.”
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