Three Paths to Marketing Transformation

Generally B2B marketing organizations are taking one of three paths to marketing transformation: random acts, methodical and steady, or big bang.

Three Paths to Marketing Transformation

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To win in the connected economy, B2B marketers are expanding marketing’s role, investing in new tools and analysis, and sharpening marketing content and thought leadership while driving a more fundamental reshaping of the entire organization.

ITSMA’s study, Transforming Marketing for the Digital Future, is based on interviews with CMOs and senior B2B marketing executives at technology, communications, and business services companies globally to find out where they are on their digital transformation journeys.

The research revealed a series of identifiable maturity stages across six critical areas of change that make up our Marketing Maturity Model:

  • The role of marketing
  • Thought leadership and content
  • Sales relationships
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Data, analytics, and insight
  • Organization and culture

Charting a course

We discovered that while many B2B marketing organizations feel a sense of urgency, they are still struggling to develop a comprehensive plan that encompasses all six areas. Moving forward in just one or two of these six areas is challenging enough. Managing progress on all fronts while keeping the marketing engine humming along, ensuring customer and stakeholder satisfaction, and meeting quarterly numbers is even tougher.

Generally they are taking one of three paths to transformation: random acts, methodical and steady, or big bang. In some instances, all three are being followed at the same time.

  1. Random acts of transformation. This path is organic and fragmented, but can encourage swift actions. Those who employ it focus on near-term opportunities for improvement, mobilize the team to generate and act quickly on new ideas, and shift course quickly in response to feedback and results. However, this approach can suffer from a lack of coherence and visibility, budgetary problems, and no clear end goal.
  1. Methodical and steady. This is the most common approach. According to those who follow it, it can take five years or more. This does offer time to plan, design, and test, while objectives can be clearly defined and course altered when necessary. However, the big question is whether companies can afford the luxury of taking their time in such a fast-paced environment.
  1. Big bang. Some leaders opt for a ‘do it all at once’ approach. Get it done, and get it done quickly. Only two of the organizations in our research group have followed this path because they had such a sense of urgency. For the majority, it is simply too risky.

Not if, but when

Organizations look dramatically different than they did two decades ago. For B2B marketers, the last 20 years have been all about developing digital capabilities, practices, and tools: shifting from print and events to email, social media, online interaction, and gathering and using data to create increasingly personalized connections.

But this could be merely a foretaste of what is to come and how marketing’s role will have to evolve, acting as a catalyst for change. The ITSMA Transformation Maturity Model enables you to map out the direction you should take to reach the digital future successfully.

For the complete study, including case studies, see Accelerating Marketing Transformation with ITSMA’s Maturity Model. This document is available at no charge to ITSMA members (password required) and for sale to everyone else.