Most marketing managers forced to execute strategies they had no say in

Most marketing managers forced to execute strategies they had no say in Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

More than half of marketing (53%), sales (55%), and customer experience (57%) managers report being sidelined during strategic discussions, yet are still expected to execute plans.

This is according to research from HubSpot’s Behind the scenes: A Marketing, Sale and Customer Success pulse check survey, which indicates a disconnection between business decision-makers and those tasked with delivering customer success in a revitalised post-pandemic UK market. 

Conversely, in the study encompassing 900 cross-industry managers, almost three-quarters of these professionals have a solid understanding of their organisations’ goals across marketing (78%), sales (76%), and customer experience (68%) and over 70% of these professionals strongly believe their teams are pivotal to reaching the desired goals.

Artificial Intelligence: a double-edged sword

In the current business landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) tools have been widely adopted; over three-quarters of managers across marketing (80%), sales (79%), and customer experience (82%) have used AI in their roles in the past year. The majority of managers (88% in marketing, 87% in sales, 92% in customer experience) endorse its effectiveness and its usage is projected to increase. Sales professionals, in particular, anticipate the largest growth, with an almost ten per cent surge.

However, despite the enthusiasm for AI, there are significant reservations.  Whilst 59% of marketing managers feel the push from leadership for AI-enabled efficiency, half (50%) of them worry about AI potentially making parts of their roles obsolete. Similarly in sales, where, despite 85% planning to incorporate AI tools in the coming year, nearly half (49%) feel under-equipped. In customer experience, while 92% appreciate AI’s efficiency, concerns around accuracy (56%) and potential redundancy (53%) persist. 

Skills and training

More than half of managers in marketing (54%), sales (53%), and customer experience (61%) are seriously considering changing roles in pursuit of superior technology tools and training. In fact, the allure of enhanced learning and career growth opportunities, coupled with a healthier work-life balance, is tempting over 60% of managers – 60% in marketing and sales, and 64% in customer experience – to explore alternative options. 

Budget crunch and performance focus shift

Budgetary limitations are a pressing issue across departments. Around half of all marketing (49%), sales (52%), and customer experience (52%) managers reported stagnant budgets, whilst a substantial number have endured budget cuts (25%, 27%, and 32%, respectively). The financial crunch has instigated strategic recalibrations: sales managers are exploring cost-effective strategies like social selling (39%), customer experience managers are cutting down on staffing and training costs (41%), and marketing managers are amplifying focus on customer acquisition and creativity (40%).

Flavia Colombo, country manager, UK and Ireland at HubSpot said: “There’s a dichotomy at the very heart of our operations – our managers, who we entrust to implement important strategies in this age of artificial intelligence where the customer journey is more important than ever, feel alarmingly sidelined in critical decision-making. 

“The antidote to this discontent is surprisingly simple – inclusivity. Let’s pull these professionals into the boardroom, equip them with the skills and tools they need, and listen to what they have to say.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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