Majority of marketers say marketing goals and business objectives are misaligned

Majority of marketers say marketing goals and business objectives are misaligned Duncan is an award-winning researcher, with 20 years experience of analysing the technology industry, specialising in cloud computing, edge computing, blockchain, cybersecurity and marketing technology.


Almost 90% of marketing leaders are more focused on business objectives today than five years ago.

However, only about a quarter start the planning process by identifying their desired business outcomes. This disconnect is at the core of the findings in a report from Walker Sands, a full-service B2B marketing agency.

Surveying more than 150 marketing leaders and 50 non-marketing C-suite executives, the Outcome-based Marketing: The Case for a Perspective-Shift in B2B Marketing report unveiled the top challenges B2B marketers are facing to achieve results that contribute to business outcomes, especially as the B2B marketing landscape continues to evolve.

As companies navigated multiple transitions in the last few years, including remote work and the Great Resignation, and now grapple with rising inflation and economic uncertainty, conventional B2B buying processes have been disrupted, intensifying the challenges faced by B2B executives. According to the report, 98% of senior business decision-makers said that compared to 2019, they and their executive teams more heavily evaluate marketing’s success based on its contributions to key business outcomes – and 79% of marketing decision-makers feel more pressure from their C-suite/executive teams to measure marketing success based on key business outcomes.

Additional highlights from the Outcome-based Marketing: The Case for a Perspective-Shift in B2B Marketing report include:

  • 74% of C-suite executives reported feeling that marketing teams struggle to understand the business outcomes that they expect to see from their marketing activities, and 58% of marketers agreed they struggle to understand those expectations from the C-suite.
  • 86% of C-suite executives feel their marketing teams struggle to demonstrate the impact marketing activities have on business success.
  • While 87% of marketers prioritize overarching business objectives over channel-based KPIs, only 27% begin by focusing on outcomes before recommending specific channel activations. The majority (73%) first focus on activating specific marketing channels and achieving KPIs, and then connect metrics back to the outcomes.

“Despite claiming to understand the importance of business outcomes, B2B marketers still take a channel-first approach to strategy,” said Dave Parro, Co-CEO of Walker Sands. “This leaves them working backward to connect the dots between channel-based KPIs and business performance — and struggling to meet executive expectations. It’s time to flip the script and lead with outcomes.”

Walker Sands recently launched its new agency approach: Outcome-based Marketing (OBM), a new way to design B2B marketing programs, leading with outcomes instead of channels. OBM proposes a simple, more efficient way to craft B2B marketing strategy: first, name the outcome (Why), then craft a strategy (How) to get there as quickly and efficiently as possible, considering both the message (What) and the media (Where) with an audience-obsessed mindset. Walker Sands now approaches every engagement with an OBM mindset, moving businesses and marketing initiatives forward.

Ann Hagner, SVP of Integrated, said: ”By researching, defining, and introducing OBM, we’re shedding light on a shift that marketing leaders have felt for a while but struggled to put a finger on.

“We hope to redirect the conversation towards an outcome-first mentality so CMOs, their teams, and fellow C-suiters can get on the same page and maximize their marketing investments.”

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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