January 12, 2021

8 CMO Tips for B2B Marketers in 2021

by Melissa Caffrey

It’s no secret that 2020 was the year of disruption. Not only has there been an accelerated digital transformation like no other, but responding to the year’s challenges with agility has become a way of life for B2B marketers across industries. 

We would know. Having developed and launched CMO Huddles in response to 2020’s challenges, B2B CMOs have gathered together to share the quick pivots they’ve made, the messaging they’ve changed, and the solutions they’ve found—troubleshooting together while promoting the true value of both leadership and community. 

Looking forward, Drew, our CEO, asked some of the Huddlers to share how they’re planning for 2021 and beyond. Below, you’ll find great marketing advice to prepare for the upcoming quarters and to propel business forward.

1. Be Optimistic, Stay Agile

Lynne Capozzi (CMO, Acquia) is optimistic for 2021, but cautions marketers to remain flexible—now is not the time to nail down a full-year plan. Instead, find a healthy balance of near-term and long-term initiatives. 

2. Focus on Team Morale and Quick Wins 

Katie Risch (CMO, Centro) says B2B marketers should be mindful of team burnout—employee wellness should be a priority for any B2B leader. And when it comes to marketing strategy, stick to short, iterative planning to get quick wins (which, coming full circle, can boost morale). 

3. Have Backup Plans

Recognizing a certain level of optimism, Gabi Zijderveld (CMO, Affectiva) reminds marketers that unexpected surprises are to be expected. It’s crucial that brands consider What if? scenarios and develop potential backup plans should Plan A prove insufficient or irrelevant.  

4. Think Through Resource Planning

As vaccine rollout accelerates, Eric Eden (CMO, Postclick) recommends that marketers think through resource planning in the next 3-6 months. Drew adds that, while physical experiences may still not be an option by Q4, marketers should still be thinking about how to deliver experiences to surprise and delight customers and prospects once they are. 

Watch Tips #1-4, here:


5. Produce More Informed, More Useful Content

If you don’t know already—content these days needs to be hyper-relevant to your audience. Khalid El Khatib (CMO, Stack Overflow) reminds marketers to ensure that all content is both actionable and data-rich. 

6. Get More Targeted

Isabelle Papoulias (CMO, Mediafly) says that there’s no such thing as too targeted. 2021 is time to refine the ideal customer profile even further, to truly listen to targets and customers in order to deliver exactly what they need. 

7. Humanize Work 

You need to talk to your B2B customers. Period. Grant Johnson (CMO, Emburse) highlights the vital importance of humanizing work, of reaching out to customers to ask them, directly, how they are doing, and how you can help them help their customers. 

8. Invest in Sales Enablement

Rich Smith (CMO, Jornaya) zeroes on in the Marketing team’s job to enable and continue cultivating that relationship with Sales. With the digital transformation, Sales teams are relying on Marketing to create better lead generation tools, refine strategy, and maintain a healthy feedback loop between the two teams. 

Watch Tips #5-8, here: