Sailors approach the end of summer with relief and caution. As the days grow shorter, peak season draws to a close, leaving time to make overdue repairs and upgrades, but also signaling the approach of hurricane season.
As companies prepare for 2023, the forecast is unusually uncertain. Global conflict and supply-side inflation threaten recession, even as many sectors prosper and employment remains high. While the economy captures the immediate attention of businesses, their ultimate success will depend more on their ability to respond to post-pandemic shifts in purchasing behaviors. Addressing changing buying behaviors was the number one priority of B2B marketing decision makers in the Forrester Marketing Survey, 2022.
In the face of uncertainty, portfolio marketers must return to their most essential role: providing the company with information about markets and buyers. Facing uncertain seas, portfolio marketers cannot afford to seek shelter. Instead, they need to scale the overlook and lead their companies out into open water where there is room to maneuver around obstacles and encounter tailwinds.
In 2023, we recommend portfolio marketing leaders invest in audience-centric approaches to help their organizations respond to economic uncertainty and build the efficiencies and effectiveness that will guide their organizations to respond to changing shopper behaviors. . Portfolio marketers should:
- Monitor markets to spot erroneous assumptions and course correct. In times of crisis, we have a bias to take action when what our organizations often need is to gain a better understanding. Don’t take for granted the conventional wisdom that in a recession, companies focus on cost or delay hiring. Instead, treat them as hypotheses and poll your customers to validate how they’re responding. Help the CMO fulfill his mission of driving business strategy. Examine campaign, product launch, and go-to-market plans to see if they address the right audience priorities given changing markets, and recalibrate messaging to address changing buyer needs.
- Staff dedicated “solution” roles to create a more efficient go-to-market strategy. It may seem counterintuitive to add new roles in times of change, but taking a more audience-centric approach can help portfolio marketers streamline a company’s go-to-market strategy and manage change more effectively. Assign offers to “solutions” based on the needs of an audience segment, typically an industry, company size, department, function, or use case. Defining audience-centric solutions will more effectively capture buyer interest around their specific emerging needs.
- Lead initiatives to generate value in the shopping experience. Buyers are quickly coming to expect your B2B shopping experience to be just as responsive as your consumption experience. Unfortunately, our organizations are often divided by functional silos, with each marketing and sales channel struggling to consume and respond to a wave of new signals. With its unique insight into shopper needs, behaviors and preferences, portfolio marketing is positioned to drive alignment on how to meet these new shopper expectations. Coordinate efforts to collect information scattered throughout the organization and start creating a more effective and valuable shopping experience.
- Stop trying to make everyone happy. As a highly cross-functional role, portfolio marketing has the ongoing task of driving alignment across the organization. Teams often create bylaws and checklists to create predictable deadlocks and manage expectations from other roles. In times of change, portfolio marketers will see a greater demand for tactical execution just as the need to step up strategically increases. To be successful in leading the company through change, portfolio marketers must renegotiate their role and resign themselves to leaving a few co-workers unsatisfied. Decline requests to create materials, and instead make sure to invest the necessary time to enable partners in campaign, content, demand, sales, and customer success so they can create effective, aligned tactics independently .
Explore Forrester’s 2023 planning guide for data-driven insights on where to invest, where to retire, and where to stay the course. here.
This post was written by Principal Analyst John Buten and originally appeared here.