B2B Priorities for 2016

Eden Ames
American Marketing Association
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Key Takeaways

What? A look at B2B marketing's top priorities for 2016.

So what? B2B managers should invest in talent, technology and data to ensure effectiveness as the digital shift progresses.

Now what?  In order to make the most of new technology and data, marketers must develop new and specific skillsets.

​A look at where B2B marketers and managers should be investing in 2016

Talent, technology and data are top of mind for B-to-B marketers as we roll into 2016—or at least they should be, according to Forbes. As the marketing world wades deeper still into digital, it is crucial for marketing teams to be well-versed with fundamental marketing technology.

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This shift to digital has also led to the creation of 25% new marketing roles in the last 10 years, Forbes reports. That said, hiring the right people is crucial to the effectiveness of B-to-B marketing. The priority is further underscored by a surprising study of about 100 technology firms that is mentioned by Forbes, wherein IDC found that less than 2% of the marketing force holds positions specifically tied to technology.

As marketing technology becomes a bigger part of marketing operations, some roles become “blurred” or “mixed.” In advanced organizations, the use of technology may be greater than strictly found in dedicated roles. IDC believes that the greater part of the growth in marketing technology and corresponding support roles is still in the future – compounding the need for these skills. (Forbes)

B-to-B managers are also adjusting budgets for the shift from direct sales to digital. The costs of digital over in-person sales efforts provide opportunities for managers to cut costs.

This trend toward virtual sales is seen as model that blends 75% digital (web properties, digital assets, cognitive computing, analytics, and other automation support), and 25% person vs. what might have been a 100% human-based role 10 years ago.

According to experts in the industry, budgeting shifts should make room for the cost of data. For Maggie Chan Jones, CMO at SAP, becoming a data-driven organization is top priority, Forbes reports. She says: “The great thing about Big Data is, it allows marketers to make smarter decisions in real time.” But data must be analyzed before its insights can be implemented, bringing the B-to-B 2016 outlook back to the importance of competent personnel.  

Author Bio:

Eden Ames
Eden Ames is a digital content producer for the American Marketing Association. She may be reached at eames@ama.org.
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