18 March 2021

New Horizons: B2B CMO Guide to Navigating Complexity

Delve into the experiences of B2B specialists during the pandemic, and how prepared they are to navigate the future. This report examines the views of 908 B2B CMOs, covering 12 countries and a wide array of business sizes and sectors, to share a fresh perspective on B2B strategy.



The past year has forced all of us to adapt to a new way of life, both personally and professionally. In 2020, the dentsu CMO survey explored how CMOs have reacted to the impact of the pandemic, and importantly, how they are helping their business to navigate the future.

Our sister agency, Merkle (a dentsu company) has recently published a report offering a new perspective, the experience of B2B CMOs. We wanted to share the highlights of that report for our B2B clients, present and future. 

Let’s jump right in. 




The key takeaways from the B2B report

  • Listen

Listen to customers, use insights from data, understand their current and future needs to ensure the business is adapting. Keep using and gathering customer data and insights to understand every touchpoint across marketing, sales, commerce, and service.

  • Collaborate

The most impactful B2B CMOs are building bridges with colleagues in other departments.


Collaborate with the wider business – use your deeper understanding of the customer to drive the business’s focus on all elements of differentiation – from product innovation to brand positioning to the customer experience

as a whole.

  • Start

The future is now; many Frontier B2B CMOs are investing in their customer experience, have already shifted to e-commerce, and are accelerating digital transformation.


Many B2B companies have yet to embark upon this path, meaning there is opportunity for those companies that get started, and get it right, to differentiate from the pack. Importantly, make sure the approach is tailored to customer needs.




Future marketing strategies and the capabilities needed to achieve them

There are five key strategies that B2B CMOs are beginning to implement (or already have), and they feel their businesses are fairly capable at implementing them:

B2B organisations that are not focusing on these strategies are at risk of falling behind the pack, as other organisations strengthen their positions.


Many B2B CMOs are trying, but struggling, to place more of a focus on top-of-funnel strategies – this suggests there is untapped opportunity in B2B markets for the companies that can take a lead in brand-building activity to build their fame and are able to stand out from the crowd.


  • Investing in improving customer experience
  • Shifting more marketing spend toward digital media
  • Focusing more on innovation (e.g. new product or service development, etc.)
  • Focusing more on creative marketing campaigns
  • Increasing the pace of digital transformation


How can we help?

We specialise in digital transformation at Isobar UK. Our certified experts and specialists work to deliver global integrated platforms and solutions for our clients.


We have alliances with world leading technology partners including Salesforce, Adobe, Magento, SAP and Sitecore. 

Click here to see our full range of capabilities.





Leading strategies to drive your future growth

The strategies that have been most effectively employed by many B2B CMOs over the years relate to understanding the customer and adapting different strategic marketing levers to meet changes in the market. This customer focus is the number-one leading strategy for future growth.


The three other leading strategies for future growth relate to CMOs adapting their businesses to market changes, each one relating, coincidentally or not, to a different “P” of the four “marketing Ps”:


  • Development / improvement of e-commerce capabilities
  • Price optimisation
  • New product development

Whether it is tweaking (or overhauling) pricing strategy, adapting (or transforming) the route-to-market for a digital age, or bringing  new products and services to market, it is clear that B2B CMOs have been applying a broad strategic marketing lens to facing the pandemic – and to guiding their businesses into the future.




Concluding the key takeaways for B2B CMOs

  • Understand the customer

The B2B CMOs who listen to customers, use insights from data, and understand their current and future needs are better able to adapt to change. Continue to gather and use customer data and insights, and build them into all decisions.


Tailored insights based on your customers are the ones that will allow for the most differentiation.

  • The future is now

There is a big opportunity for B2B companies to get ahead of the pack, but not for long. Many companies are already looking to implement a range of strategies.


Many Frontier B2B CMOs are investing in their customer experience and have already shifted to e-commerce. And the digital transformation is accelerating.It is crucial to make sure the approach is tailored to customer needs. But most importantly, get started!

  • Don’t forget to listen, collaborate and start

B2B CMOs have been pulling all the levers of the traditional 4Ps – not just relying on “promotion” as has often been suggested over recent months. There is a more complete and strategic view of marketing, and B2B CMOs have been employing a range of marketing strategies.


Businesses have adapted and deployed a range of marketing strategies to combat the impact of the pandemic – with many of these having been seen as active strategies of future growth. There are some key learnings from this research for B2B CMOs to focus on.