Embracing Courage: The Four Essential Shifts for B2B CMOs in 2024

Cos Mingides, one of the world’s leading experts on marketing effectiveness, believes that too many B2B marketers chase short-term results and overlook the value of long-term brand building. Here are his hot tips for B2B marketers.

As the business landscape evolves relentlessly, B2B Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are at a crossroads. The traditional tug-of-war between short-term sales targets and the long-term endeavour of brand building is becoming increasingly pronounced. But what if the key to thriving in 2024 and beyond lies in a bold reimagining of the marketing approach?

 

The Short-Termism Pitfall

In today’s fast-paced market, focusing on immediate results is tempting. Quick wins are appealing, and the pressure from finance departments to deliver quarterly returns can be intense. However, this short-termism comes at a cost to brand equity and long-term business health.

Cos mingides b2b marketingThe insights from Cos Mingides, Head of Effectiveness at BBN’s Partner agency True, shed light on this conundrum. True, renowned for its “IPA Effectiveness Accreditation,” champions the cause of long-term marketing efficacy. Mingides notes the alarming trend: an overemphasis on short-term leads and a worrying neglect of the brand-building process.

 

The Brand Building Imperative in Unstable Times

It’s a startling statistic: only 26% of B2B CFOs prioritise brand building, even during economic uncertainty. This oversight can be a grave misstep. Investment in brand equity during downturns isn’t just about maintaining visibility; it’s a strategic move that can yield significant business value.

Mingides underscores the resilience of well-branded companies during economic downturns. Brands that dare to invest in these times often emerge stronger, reaping higher profits in subsequent years. However, the challenge lies in convincing stakeholders to maintain or increase marketing budgets when the business instinct might be to cut costs across the board.

It’s a matter of perspective and understanding the long game. Mingides cites examples of companies that have historically capitalized on less cluttered advertising spaces and cheaper media costs during recessions to build brand equity. He argues that when competitors cut back, a brand that maintains visibility gains a disproportionate share of voice, significantly improving brand recall and customer acquisition.

To support this, Mingides refers to research indicating that companies that maintain or increase their advertising spend during a downturn improve their market share and return on investment at a lower cost than during economic booms.

Moreover, he emphasizes the importance of messaging during these periods. It’s not just about spending; it’s about conveying the right message. Brands that understand and empathise with their customers’ challenges can strengthen customer relationships. Mingides suggests that messaging should focus on helping customers navigate their economic challenges, offering cost-effective, efficient solutions, and demonstrating a clear return on investment.

Mingides advises companies to invest in market research during economic downturns in alignment with this strategic approach. Understanding how consumer behaviours shift during these times can help a business pivot quickly, offering products and services that align with current demands.

Lastly, Mingides touches upon the tactical aspect of marketing in difficult times. He encourages brands to experiment with different marketing tactics, such as content marketing, digital events, or webinars, which can offer valuable touchpoints with customers when traditional channels might be less effective.

In summary, Mingides’ insights provide a robust framework for B2B marketers. By balancing short-term sales activation with long-term brand building, utilizing new measurement parameters that align with financial goals, diversifying across high-attention channels, and leveraging AI and machine learning, marketers can position their brands for success—even in the face of economic adversity.

 

Embracing Long-Term Brand Building in B2B Marketing

In the intricate dance of B2B sales, where the courtship is long and involves many a suitor (read: decision-makers), a memorable brand can make all the difference. Being front of mind is akin to having a VIP pass to the decision-makers’ table. Mingides reveals that 90 per cent of purchase decisions favour the top three brands that pop into buyers’ minds first. So, if your brand isn’t playing in this premier league, you might just miss the sale.

 

Balancing Act: ABM and Brand Building

A study shows that 80% of marketers plan to increase investments in ABM campaigns. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has virtues, but Mingides warns against putting all your eggs in one basket. He advocates a balanced approach where ABM is paired with strategic brand-building activities. This duality is not just about making a sale today but forming those crucial ‘memory structures’ for those not yet looking to buy.  He notes that as much as 95% of potential future buyers are not actively looking for a new supplier, service, or solution in the market. When they do enter the market, your brand should be among the elite trio they recall.

 

Diversify to Multiply: The Multi-Channel Imperative

In a fragmented media world, being visible across various channels is not just good advice; it’s a survival tactic. Mingides, drawing from an extensive analysis of B2B case studies, underscores the effectiveness of multi-channel campaigns. However, he notes the self-sabotage that B2B companies commit by skimping on budgets, leading to reliance on less effective channels. The irony? The evolution of programmatic advertising is making high-attention channels more accessible than ever.

 

AI: The New Frontier in Marketing Analytics and Measurement

In the vanishing world of third-party cookies, AI and machine learning emerge as the ‘knights in shining armour’ for marketers. Mingides is bullish on AI’s capability to make sense of the fragmented media landscape. By unifying performance insights, AI enables better campaign optimization and engagement across various platforms, empowering marketers to craft highly targeted and personalized campaigns.

 

The Four Pillars of Future-Proof Marketing

Mingides lays out a quad-tiered strategy for marketers aiming to thrive in the challenging ecosystem:

  1. Strike a balance between sparking immediate sales and nurturing a long-lasting brand.
  2. Embrace new metrics that resonate with the financial narratives of a CFO.
  3. Spread your presence across multiple channels, focusing on those with higher engagement.
  4. Utilize AI and machine learning to navigate and lead in a future without cookies.

As Mingides posits, adhering to these tenets will not just prepare marketing departments for the future; it will position them as architects of it.

 

Are You Ready to Measure Your Market Communication’s Impact?

If you’re looking to delve deeper into these insights and quantify the impact of your marketing endeavours, let’s start a conversation. Reach out, and let’s explore how your brand can be remembered and revered.

About the Author

This article has been adapted from the original article in Norwegian written by Mattis Wennemo from Norwegian-based BBN partner Iteo. Digital services and content marketing are at the heart of what Iteo do. Having been in Norway for over 15 years, they know the media landscape and how it’s changed over the last few years. Their consultants have the experience and knowledge to quickly understand, solve and deliver a return on investment. For two consecutive years, Iteo has been recognised as the ‘Best Communications Agency in Norway’ by Norway’s leading business newspaper.

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