At the end of 2020, The Predictive Index — a company that specializes in talent optimization software, workshops, and consulting — interviewed CEOs about how the pandemic had changed their priorities. Since these priorities tend to flow downhill from the executive suite, marketing leaders are likely to be asked how they are supporting them, if they haven’t been already.
The following article summarizes the executive findings into three overarching questions you want to be ready to field. You can use the summary and the associated advice to prepare yourself.
Being proactive, creative, and prescriptive in each of these three areas will put you and your marketing team in a position to succeed — and could ultimately elevate Marketing’s status and role in your organization.
Question 1: Is Your Post-COVID Strategy In Need of a Refresh?
The Predictive Index reports that 96% of CEO’s surveyed had shifted strategic direction since COVID-19 emerged. Not every one of these strategic shifts are working out well.
Frankly, even those strategies that might be categorized as successful aren’t perfect. Virtually all strategies will need a re-look when the world opens back up.
For example, the pandemic has led some creative B2Bs that served the food industry to change their traditional business models. One company that helped restaurants procure liquor licenses had a great talent for interpreting complex statutes for their clients.
As a result of the pandemic, they shifted their focus to providing subscription-based information and advisory services to restaurant clients, helping them understand and comply with evolving COVID-19 laws. It worked well for them, but others tried similar things that haven’t panned out.
Even the successful company in the example above should be asking themself “is this new business model permanent?” and “what parts of our old model still work as the world opens back up?”
Some of these new strategies might even cannibalize your own traditional business model. How should your company proceed? Many answers can be found in the marketer’s toolkit.
Customer insight projects can reveal what about the new business models is/isn’t working from a customer standpoint. Trend analysis can help you predict what is/isn’t permanent in the “new normal.”
Segmentation and targeting can sort out which of two internally-competing offers should be in the lead with different types of customers.
As the conduit between customers and your company’s capabilities, can you see why Marketing is the corporate function most perfectly positioned to lead the next phase of your company’s strategy optimization?
Question 2: Do You Have the Right Personnel To Be Effective In the “New Normal”?
Unless you are in the 4% of companies that didn’t shift strategies as a result of COVID, your organization is now engaging with new client stakeholders and/or new delivery and communication channels, via new business models. The difficulty with this is that many on your team — and many throughout your organization — are steeped in the old ways of doing business.
Your CEO wants to know what you’ve done personnel-wise to facilitate the company’s strategic shift. This doesn’t mean that you were/are expected to “clean house.”
A couple of good, strategic hires to add expertise in key marketing areas — for example, adding people from financial industries who understand the increasingly-important B2B economic buyer — will really lessen the time it takes to be successful with new strategies.
Combining the industry expertise and experience of your existing team with a new hire’s domain knowledge will create the optimal mix. It also signals to your executive team that you are leading change instead of resisting it.
Question 3: How Is Marketing Contributing to The Organization’s Evolution?
While the question above may not be asked of you explicitly, it is one that is on the mind of your CEO. The proof is in another key Predictive Index finding.
In addition to the 96% who signaled they had already led a COVID-induced strategic shift, a whopping 53% of CEO’s said strategy development was their top priority moving forward. This means that more than half of the surveyed corporate leaders foresee even more major strategic shifts in the near-term future.
This is good news for marketing organizations that are already viewed as the strategy orchestrators in their firm. As mentioned above, you are best-positioned to lead this ongoing corporate evolution.
But for those marketing functions not thought of as corporate strategy leaders, this presents a huge opportunity. If you want to elevate marketing’s role in your organization, now is the time. But how?
Volunteer to have your marketing team take ownership of an important strategic analysis. Can you help your organization be more focused on getting in front of trends? Can you find the customer insights that inform your company’s choice of business models? Can you lead a segmentation project that sorts out currently-cannibalistic offers so they can co-exist successfully?
There has got to be something that your organization can do better when it comes to strategic planning. If you aren’t sure what project to take on, get in touch with us. One of our assessments — or a good old-fashioned phone conversation — will enable us to point you in the right direction.
It’s what we do — elevate the role of Marketing in B2B organizations. Now is the time to show your CEO that you and your team are up for the challenge of answering their three questions incisively.