B2B marketing strategies and the skill sets they require are seeing significant changes. Marketing leaders are confronting shrinking budgets and reduced workforce sizes even as they face mounting pressure to boost revenue growth. These dual challenges necessitate a thorough reconsideration of how marketing operates, showing the urgency for innovative approaches that align with current economic realities and technological possibilities.

Prescriptive measures for B2B marketing transformation

Prescriptive 1: Design a marketing operating model focused on desired outcomes

Modern buyers have evolved, now demanding enjoyable interactions and increased personalization throughout the buying journey. Their expectations pivot around experiencing minimal friction before even making a purchase and receiving highly tailored engagements. Responding to this shift from broad, generic marketing tactics to “micro,” highly personalized approaches requires a fundamental rethink of marketing strategies.

Marketing leaders often find their focus misaligned, concentrating more on team configuration—securing the right teams and individuals—rather than on clear strategic objectives. A focus on internal configurations detracts from the primary mission of achieving specific business outcomes. To address this, leaders must redesign their marketing strategies to engage with audiences in a manner that is not only scalable and repeatable but also directly aligned with the overarching goals of the organization.

Constructing a comprehensive framework for decision-making becomes essential in this context. Such a framework should clearly define what success looks like for the organization, establish measurable goals, and outline the investments necessary to achieve these outcomes. Through this approach, marketing leaders can maintain a clear focus on performance metrics that are directly linked to strategic business goals, thereby optimizing both team performance and resource allocation.

Prescriptive 2: Consider alternative resourcing models

Gartner’s latest CMO Spend and Strategy Survey illuminates a stark reality: 71% of Chief Marketing Officers believe their budgets are inadequate to fulfill their strategic marketing plans. Compounding this challenge, financial officers frequently demand cost reductions, placing further strain on marketing departments. These pressures often trigger drastic cuts in marketing programs and personnel, which may seem like the only viable response.

Yet, embracing alternative resourcing models presents a less drastic, more sustainable option. Outsourcing, a significant part of the global market valued at $280.64 billion in 2023 and expected to grow at a 9.4% compound annual growth rate through 2030, offers a viable pathway. With over half of executives outsourcing business functions and 76% outsourcing IT functions, and many small businesses planning to maintain or increase their outsourced services spending, outsourcing emerges as a strategic response to resource constraints.

When delegating functions like marketing operations to specialized external agencies, organizations can cut labor costs by approximately 50%, according to industry analyses. Outsourcing gives internal teams the ability to concentrate on their core competencies, leading to cost savings and improved focus on strategic tasks that drive business growth.

Prescriptive 3: Be an innovation enabler

For marketing departments to remain competitive, an environment that encourages experimentation and innovation is indispensable. With the advent of technologies like AI, the demand for integrating these advancements into go-to-market strategies is growing. Yet, the capacity for innovation is often stifled by existing high workload pressures on marketing teams.

A reevaluation of resource allocation can facilitate this necessary innovation. Outsourcing time-consuming tasks such as managing technology stacks and routine operational activities can significantly lighten the load on internal teams. External experts can handle up to 50% of the workload at 70% less cost, introducing standardized processes and best practices into the organization. Consequently, marketing teams gain the bandwidth to focus on strategic initiatives and innovation, driving growth and staying ahead in a competitive market.

Strategic visions

Confronting tightened budgets and resource constraints requires a paradigm shift in how marketing leaders view these challenges. Viewing them as opportunities for transformative growth rather than mere obstacles can lead to significant organizational benefits. By focusing on outcome-based marketing models, embracing the advantages of outsourcing, and creating an environment conducive to innovation, B2B marketers can effectively reshape their operational models, leading to better organizational savings, growth, and outcomes.

Alexander Procter

April 26, 2024

3 Min