Revenue Growth Is “Job 1” for B2B Marketers

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.

Today, the pressures on marketers to achieve consistent revenue growth are becoming more acute. The Board of Marketing’s 2021 Global Survey of Marketing Leaders found that marketers are now responsible for an average of 44% of revenue. That’s a rise of just over 10% of revenue in the early 2000s. It is clear that this study was not limited to B2B marketers, so it is not possible to determine the percentage of revenue that B2B marketers bear from this research.

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.

Other research by the CMO Council confirms the mixed picture. In the 2021 poll Senior Executives17% of respondents said they are until far away Confident that their marketing function could lead to a growth rebound in 2021. However, 52% of survey respondents said that they were only somewhat confident In marketing’s ability to drive growth this year, another 29% reported that only somewhat confident.
results from CMO . Scan It indicates that marketers have not yet taken a leadership role in many businesses that have a significant impact on revenue growth. In the February 2020 edition of the survey, senior marketing leaders in US companies were asked which activities are primarily responsible for in their organization. The four activities most frequently identified by survey respondents are:
  1. Brand (90.0% of respondents)
  2. Digital Marketing (86.0%)
  3. Advertising (86.0%)
  4. 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.

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