When asked what area of their organization was primarily responsible for customer experience, close to 4 in 10 (37% of) senior B2B marketing decision-makers from across the globe put it in the hands of marketing as opposed to any other. As such, improving customer experience is set to be a key area of focus for marketers over the next couple of years, per Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey [download page].
Indeed, improving the experience of their customers is one of the top areas of focus to support B2B organizations’ business strategy in the next 2 years — cited by 56% of the more than 500 senior marketers surveyed. The emphasis B2B marketers are putting on customer experience can be seen in other research, as well. Pre-pandemic research from MarketingProfs found that 6 in 10 US marketers had made customer experience and loyalty a focus of their marketing strategy. And, a more recent report from Wpromote and Ascend2 shows that B2B marketers are making customer engagement and experience primary objectives for their digital marketing strategy this year.
Beyond customer experience, in the next 2 years, B2Bs will be focusing on other areas to support business strategy. These include the introduction of new go-to-market strategies or significantly changing the way their organization reaches target customers and achieves customer advantage (48%) and improving the experience of their business ecosystem partners (48%). Some organizations will introduce new business models or shifts in the way the organization generates revenue (43%) and implement new technologies or systems (41%).
Growth Strategies and Marketing Priorities
Over the next couple of years, B2B organizations will look to employ various growth strategies. About one-quarter (24%) believe that productivity will be the most important growth strategy. Some 22% of respondents ranked new markets as the most important growth strategy for their organization. A survey from Gartner shows similar results with 18% of CMOs citing entering new markets using existing products as their primary strategy to fuel growth this year.
Respondents to the Forrester survey also ranked new buyers (19%), enrichment (i.e. cross-sell and upsell; 15%), new offerings (15%) and acquisition as the most important growth strategies over the next 2 years.
In terms of priorities that are important to B2B organizations’ marketing strategies in the coming years, improving the ROI and effectiveness of marketing (43%) tops the list, followed by understanding the needs of buyers in the buying process (41%). Some 4 in 10 are prioritizing customer experience (40%) and addressing changes in buyer behaviors (40%), with another 38% prioritizing focusing on post-sale customer engagement.
Supporting Marketing Priorities
Although there seems to be some improvement on the sales and marketing alignment front, improving marketing’s alignment and collaboration with other departments is still an element that 35% of respondents feel they most need to do in order to support their marketing priorities. One-third also feel that in order to support their marketing priorities, they will need to improve lead or opportunity quality, while an equal portion believes they need to enhance partner or channel marketing capabilities, improve their use of data and analytics for decision-making and improve the way they measure marketing’s contribution to key business objectives (32% each).
For the majority of respondents, budget will be less of a problem. Nearly 6 in 10 (57%) say their organization’s marketing budget will increase this year, with only 17% seeing a decrease.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 507 global B2B senior marketing decision-makers who sit in the marketing department in selected industries.