A new Forrester report predicts that 2022 will mark a seismic shift in the way B2B marketing is done, with everything from metrics to functions evolving.

B2B marketing predictions for 2022 and beyond

B2B marketers have long been in the vanguard of the discipline, according to Forrester. And that trend looks likely to continue, as their new report looks into what’s coming in B2B marketing for 2022 and beyond.  

Forrester says B2B marketers have always been among the first to leverage tech solutions and embrace change to win, serve and retain customers. And, with what Forrester describes as an array of accelerating trends to take into account, it seems clear that they will have to remain similarly courageous if they are to produce a successful strategy. 

The B2B marketing dynamic is changing  

According to the report, marketing has historically been regarded as a support function, widely dismissed as less critical than the ‘hero’ functions of brands among B2B organisations. Marketing has, it appears, been there merely as an enabler of firms’ core functions.  

CMOs have struggled to impress the value of marketing as a whole on the leadership of their brands, with just 32% reporting directly to CEOs. Furthermore, only 54% of CMOs are even in a position where they’re invited to contribute a marketing perspective to corporate strategy. 

Five predictions for 2022 and beyond

The report outlines five key areas where B2B marketing is going to undergo significant and rapid change from next year: 

  • A rebalance of marketing from a 70/30 ratio in favour of new over existing customers, moving toward 50/50 in 2022, with a likely ultimate end of reversing the balance to 30/70. Account-based marketing will rise to half of all B2B marketing, say Forrester, with CMOs adopting a much more strategic approach. 
  • Partner experience is expected to rise in importance as a strategy for growth. In 2022 Forrester predicts that 50% of B2B marketers will establish a PX function. This new focus is in line with new consumer expectations for channel and partner marketing, where storytelling and content is replacing the hard sell. 
  • Persistent digital engagement will become the norm, with 70% of B2B marketers adopting that model. However, Forrester expects 75% of campaigns not to meet ROI goals for two reasons. Firstly, because buyers still rate competence above other considerations in the customer journey: 17% say it’s the most important factor in their buying decision. Secondly, because of inadequate customer insight. Forrester suggests that B2B marketing must focus on customer-centricity if it’s to succeed. 
  • A complete change in marketing metrics. Forrester claims that it’s increasingly clear that marketing-sourced metrics don’t align with how B2B marketing organisations are expected to create value. As a result, they expect that by 2025 only one in seven B2B organisations will count sourcing among marketing’s performance indicators. B2B marketers have to embrace lift-based performance indicators if they’re to clarify marketing’s impact on revenue.
  • Post-pandemic upheaval and large-scale resignations from full-time, office-based roles is expected to have an impact on fractional marketing – outsourcing certain elements of the marketing activity to specialists. Forrester predicts this to expand to anywhere up to 35% of marketing expertise across digital, creative and execution. 

Disruption and Opportunity

B2B marketing has always been among the early adopters of new techniques and technology in the increasingly inundated and competitive marketing landscape.  

According to Forrester, B2B marketing leading the landscape will be one of the few things not to change in 2022, which means B2B marketers are presented with great opportunity, as well as considerable challenges. 

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