More than two decades ago, Sergio Ziman, Coca-Cola’s chief marketing officer, wrote, “The sole purpose of marketing is to get more people to buy more of your product, often, for more money..yes., you need To advertising and creating images that you hope will be liked and remembered in the store or at the register, but the only reason to spend money on them is to help you sell more things.” (The end of marketing as we know it, 1999)
In the B2C world, marketing has always played a starring role in driving revenue growth. In contrast, marketing has not been seen as the primary driver of revenue growth in most B2B companies. Sales typically owned the revenue line of the income statement, and the primary role of marketing was to support the sales team.
The role of marketing began to change in the early 2000s, largely due to three factors.
First, the volume of information online is steadily growing. The abundance of easily accessible information online has enabled business buyers to research potential purchases themselves, significantly reducing their reliance on vendor salespeople. Essentially, business buyers are starting to learn about products and services through content resources rather than interacting with a salesperson.
Second, B2B marketing automation solutions emerged in the early 2000s. These technologies enabled B2B marketers to automate lead generation, lead sponsorship programs, and implement sophisticated key scoring systems. The adoption of B2B marketing automation applications means that marketers can take responsibility for a greater part of the buying process.
Third, and most recently, e-commerce has been a hit with B2B buying, and it’s growing rapidly. By one estimate, B2B e-commerce sales will be $7.72 trillion In 2021, they are expected to arrive More than 25 trillion dollars In 2028. In fact, B2B e-commerce revenue around the world now six times bigger of B2C e-commerce revenue.
Revenue growth becomes the primary mandate of marketing
By the second decade of the twenty-first century, driving revenue growth has become one of the primary tasks of the marketing function, as evidenced by two research surveys conducted in 2016.
The CMO Council study also found that nine out of ten marketers are expected to generate an increase in revenue this year, and 63% of survey respondents said they and their marketing team are under very high or extreme Pressure to achieve revenue targets.
Are marketers facing the challenge of revenue growth?
So, how well do marketers meet the revenue growth challenge? On this point, recent data paint a mixed picture. For example, in the CMO Council study just discussed, more than half (53%) of respondents said that their CEO is only moderately Satisfied with the marketing performance.
- Brand (90.0% of respondents)
- Digital Marketing (86.0%)
- Advertising (86.0%)
- Social media (80.7%)
On the other hand, only 32.7% of respondents indicated that marketing is primarily responsible for revenue growth, and fewer respondents said that marketing bears primary responsibility for market entry strategies (31.3%), new products (22.7%) and market selection. (18.0%).
There is no single “magic bullet” solution that will enable marketers to fulfill their revenue growth responsibilities immediately. But they can take steps to improve their ability to influence revenue growth. I will discuss one of these steps in my next post.