How B2B CMOs Can Navigate the Economic Downturn in 2024

As we continue into 2024, the global economy remains unsteady. The uncertainties and challenges of the past few years have made it even more critical for B2B CMOs to stay on top of their game. In times of economic hardship, B2B CMOs need to sharpen their skills and strategic thinking. 

According to Forrester’s latest report, there are several key strategies that you can use to not only survive but thrive in the midst of an economic downturn. 

Embracing the Convergence of CX, EX, and BX

B2B CMOs who prioritize the integration of customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), and brand experience (BX) can create a consistent and holistic brand experience that drives buyer loyalty and employee satisfaction. To achieve this, B2B CMOs should align brand values with employee values and buyer needs, invest in employee training and development, and use buyer feedback to inform employee engagement strategies.

The alignment of customer experience and employee experience with brand promise is crucial. The leaders at customer-obsessed companies unanimously agree that their customer experience and employee experience align with their brand promise, compared to 18% at only customer-aware enterprises.

For example, Digital Realty implemented a B2B CX program that reduced its cost by 20% and helped the organization improve customer experience and meet buyer expectations by keeping costs down, achieving that “customer obsession” Forrester is talking about.

Plus, using buyer feedback to inform employee engagement strategies helps brands deliver the best buyer experience by leveraging insights gained through first-party data. B2B CMOs can then use those insights to build programs that connect a brand to demand and tie the employee experience to the buyer experience. 

Research shows that companies with a strong employee experience outperform those without. It’s common sense: engaged and happy employees are more likely to deliver positive buyer experiences, leading to increased revenue and customer loyalty. Yet, many companies are still struggling with EX. 

B2B CMOs can drive buyer engagement by embracing the convergence of CX, EX, and BX to create a consistent and productive relationship between the company and the consumer. B2B companies can deliver the best customer experience by prioritizing CX. The B2B buyer experience is critical for fostering trust, long-term loyalty, and brand equity, making it crucial for B2B CMOs to prioritize the integration of CX, EX, and BX. Not only does it improve the customer experience, but it also empowers employees to be their best, creating a strong brand reputation and driving growth.

Seizing Growth with Specialized Talent

In an economic downturn, it’s essential to have a team that can adapt and pivot quickly. B2B CMOs need to build a team of specialized talent that can help their organizations stay ahead of the competition. 

Forrester’s research shows that 25% of B2B marketing decision-makers at high-growth companies have plans to increase their personnel budget by 10% or more. And that’s good news because they can put those dollars to good use by retraining and upskilling specialized talent. This may involve hiring employees with expertise in specific areas such as data analytics, digital marketing, or customer engagement. B2B CMOs can also consider partnering with external agencies or consultants to provide specialized support when needed.

Retaining and upskilling specialized talent can be a challenging task for any organization, but if B2B CMOs focus on three key areas, their organizations will be able to keep up with the changing market dynamics and customer preferences:

  1. Addressing changing buyer behavior

By digging into the data and keeping your finger on the pulse of market trends, you can develop killer strategies that cater to your buyers’ ever-changing needs. And that’s not all—when you show specialized talent that you’re on top of the market’s dynamics and willing to adapt, they’ll stick with you through thick and thin.

  1. Implementing a purpose-driven brand

A purpose-driven brand is more than just a money-making machine—it’s got heart and soul! And to make sure everyone knows it, you must communicate your mission—to employees, customers, and stakeholders. You name it. Why? Well, because purpose-driven brands attract top-notch talent that shares the same values and goals. Plus, you’ll also win over customers who dig your brand’s vibe and mission.

  1. Focusing on post-sale customer engagement 

Think of the post-sale buyer experience as taking care of your significant other after getting married. You gotta keep the spark alive, right? Similarly, engaging with your customers after the sale is like nurturing a long-term relationship. This not only leads to repeat business and brand loyalty but also earns you brownie points for positive word-of-mouth.

Shattering Silos

Let’s talk about silos. No, not the ones you use for grain storage—the ones that separate your departments and make communication a total nightmare. It’s time to break those bad boys down and promote some good old-fashioned cross-functional collaboration! 

Companies with sales and marketing alignment can make a whopping 208% more marketing revenue. That’s like hitting the jackpot in Vegas, baby! No wonder we’re all about that sales-enabled PR and marketing strategy with our clients.

But let’s face it, breaking down silos and fostering collaboration is no easy feat. It’s like trying to get your cat to take a bath. Sure, it sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice, it can be a real struggle. However, if you’re a B2B CMO, you gotta step up and create a culture of innovation.

To shatter those pesky silos, start by establishing a culture of transparency and communication. It’s time to bring down those walls and encourage open dialogue from top to bottom. When team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and collaborating, magic happens. Suddenly, your organization is a well-oiled machine, ready to take on any challenge.

By creating teams that work together on specific projects and encouraging knowledge sharing, you’ll be able to navigate the economic downturn like a boss. Plus, your team will be happier, your customers will be happier, and your specialized talent will stick around for the long haul. Win-win, right?

Another trick to shattering silos is leveraging data. Give everyone in the organization access to the same data, and suddenly you’ve created a common language everyone can speak. This means better decision-making and a sense of shared ownership that’s essential for team building, collaboration, and problem-solving. It’s like having a superhero squad made up of different departments, all working together to save the day.

Any economic downturn is full of challenges, but let’s face it, challenges are just opportunities to show off your innovation skills and drive growth. But if you really want to crush it this year, you must be forward-thinking and adaptable—be willing to take risks and embrace change. By doing so, B2B CMOs can unlock their organization’s full potential and create a winning team that drives growth and maximizes ROI.


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