Dare to Lead: The Transformation of Marketing

By Julie Schwartz, ITSMA, jschwartz@itsma.com

Marketing has finally come of age, leaving the data sheets, parties, and swag behind and stepping up to lead the business. But like many young adults today, marketing still has a lot of growing up to do. Despite its improved standing in the organization, the transformation of marketing is not complete. Senior managers still don’t view marketing as contributing where it counts most.

The internal perception of marketing is on the upswing. 8 out of 10 B2B marketers report that their C-level executives’ perception of marketing have improved over the last year. Specifically, marketing is being viewed as more strategic, better aligned with sales, and increasingly insightful, bringing innovation to the business. Marketing’s role in the organization is being expanded. Marketers are taking on additional responsibility for geographic expansion, client engagement initiatives, offering development, and account development.


Still, senior executives—the C-suite and BU leaders—want more. Marketing still isn’t viewed as contributing to strategy development, revenue growth, and shareholder value. Marketing does not do enough to:

  • Provide valuable input the guide business strategy
  • Connect marketing activity to revenue growth
  • Demonstrate and communicate how marketing impacts profitability and shareholder value


What these findings point to is a lack of leadership and business acumen among senior marketing ranks. Most marketers don’t know which metrics and outcomes its key stakeholders care about. They are still measuring and reporting marketing activity metrics rather than business outcomes. And they are not providing the insights and data needed to chart strategy.

Marketers need to tap the power of data and analytics to lead the business. ITSMA’s research reveals that marketers currently use data and analytics to measure and report marketing activity, justify and allocate the total marketing budget, and target campaigns to segments most likely to respond,

Here’s what most marketers aren’t doing, but had better start if they want to take a leadership position and be viewed as contributing to business strategy, revenue growth, and profitability:

  • Identify new or emerging customer segments or markets
  • Drive innovation by developing new offerings/solutions
  • Predict customer buying behavior
  • Analyze purchase patterns to prioritize offers made/timing of offers (propensity to buy models)

Marketers have made great strides in the last few years, but there is still work to do to become more relevant to the business. Beware of the middle ground—the place where marketing’s activities are invisible. If you aren’t throwing parties and distributing logo-printed chotskies, you had better be delivering business results.


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