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Improving marketing impact: Misaligned marketing goals and business objectives reveals the need for a new approach

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

Unlike in the siloed days of marketing yore, success today calls for a holistic approach that integrates the needs of other business segments and aligns with the larger goals of the company. And while almost 9 in 10 B2B marketing leaders are more focused on business objectives today than five years ago, only about a quarter start the planning process by identifying those desired business outcomes, finds new research from B2B marketing agency Walker Sands—and this disconnect is at the core of the issues the research reveals..

Surveying more than 150 marketing leaders and 50 non-marketing C-suite executives, the firm’s new Outcome-based Marketing: The Case for a Perspective-Shift in B2B Marketing report unveils the top challenges B2B marketers are facing to achieve results that contribute to business outcomes, especially as the landscape continues to evolve.

marketing impact

As companies navigated multiple transitions in the last few years, including remote work and the Great Resignation, and now battle rising inflation and economic uncertainty, conventional B2B buying processes have been disrupted. This is compounding the challenges faced by B2B execs, almost all (98 percent) of whom said that compared to 2019, they and their teams more heavily evaluate marketing’s success based on its contributions to key business outcomes—and 79 percent of marketing decision-makers are feeling more pressure from C-suite execs to measure marketing success based on key business outcomes.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • 74 percent of C-suite executives reported feeling that marketing teams struggle to understand the business outcomes that they expect to see from their marketing activities, and 58 percent of marketers agreed they struggle to understand those expectations from the C-suite.
  • 86 percent of C-suite executives feel their marketing teams struggle to demonstrate the impact marketing activities have on business success.
  • While 87 percent of marketers prioritize overarching business objectives over channel-based KPIs, only 27 percent begin by focusing on outcomes before recommending specific channel activations. The majority (73 percent) first focus on activating specific marketing channels and achieving KPIs, and then connect metrics back to the outcomes.

“Despite claiming to understand the importance of business outcomes, B2B marketers still take a channel-first approach to strategy,” said Dave Parro, co-CEO of Walker Sands, in a news release. “This leaves them working backward to connect the dots between channel-based KPIs and business performance—and struggling to meet executive expectations. It’s time to flip the script and lead with outcomes.”

marketing impact

Walker Sands recently launched its own new agency approach

Outcome-based Marketing (OBM) is a new way to design B2B marketing programs, leading with outcomes instead of channels. OBM proposes a simple, more efficient way to craft B2B marketing strategy: first, name the outcome (Why), then craft a strategy (How) to get there as quickly and efficiently as possible, considering both the message (What) and the media (Where) with an audience-obsessed mindset. The firm now approaches every engagement with an OBM mindset, moving businesses and marketing initiatives forward.

”By researching, defining, and introducing OBM, we’re shedding light on a shift that marketing leaders have felt for a while but struggled to put a finger on,” said Ann Hagner, SVP of Integrated at the firm, in the release. “We hope to redirect the conversation towards an outcome-first mentality so CMOs, their teams, and fellow C-suiters can get on the same page and maximize their marketing investments.”

Download the full report here.

Learn more about Walker Sands’ OBM approach here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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