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Business-to-business (B2B) marketers expect their responsibilities to be very different in two years. November 2014 polling by ITSMA found that brand and positioning was the No. 1 marketing responsibility among B2B marketers worldwide, cited by 90%. Lead generation and brand communications followed, tying for second with 85% of respondents each.
However, increased focus on personalization and data are driving B2Bs to rethink how they approach their customers and manage all of the information they gather, and the picture changed greatly when looking two years ahead. B2B marketers expected understanding buyers, marketing technology tools, and competitor analysis to be the top three marketing responsibilities in two years—items not even on their current list. Brand and positioning, brand communications and demand generation fell off the list, while lead generation dropped to the No. 5 spot.
B2B marketers must make big strides when it comes to integrating data in order to understand their customers. According to September 2014 polling by LinkedIn and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, just 19% of US senior-level marketers from B2B companies said they had fully integrated customer data across their organizations—the same percentage as those who said they weren’t integrated at all. Meanwhile, 62% said they had somewhat integrated this data.
Shifting priorities and responsibilities will drive restructuring in the coming years. ITSMA found that more B2B marketers expected to shift to a hub-and-spoke organizational model, which the firm referred to as the “best of both worlds.” Fully 48% of respondents said they currently used a hub-and-spoke model, and 56% believed they would do so in two years. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents who expected to use a decentralized model—which doesn’t help form a unified understanding of buyers and integrate data—dropped below 10%.
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