B2B Marketers Must Step Up Efforts to Succeed: ANA

 New Study Offers Key Steps for Increasing Influence and Success

CHICAGO (June 3, 2016) — Business-to-business marketing executives must combine strong leadership skills with deep marketing experience to clearly establish their companies’ competitive advantage, which will allow them to increase their influence and play key roles in driving sales, boosting brand awareness, and increasing customer loyalty.

Those were the key conclusions of a new study conducted by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), that was released today at the ANA/BMA16: Masters of B2B Marketing Conference.

“Our study shows that B2B marketers have much to offer, but that message is not getting through to the right people within their own organizations,” said ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice. “These marketers need to implement growth leadership initiatives, put forth a clear vision of their brands, and develop strategies to remove barriers.”

The study showed that 39 percent of B2B marketers surveyed believe their roles are to ensure that the voice of the customer shapes the business strategy and to bring expert marketing competencies to the table. However, they also indicated that they are struggling to be viewed as vital, strategic assets, and they fear that their efforts are viewed as little more than an extension of their companies’ sales divisions.

For example, only 42 percent said they even have a seat at the top management table, and only 37 percent said they enjoy strong endorsement from senior management. In addition, 35 percent of respondents said senior management is still focused on the product and price and not on insights into the customer.

To help B2B marketers achieve their goals and overcome obstacles, the ANA study offered the following recommendations:

  • Partner with sales to drive business growth. Business marketers’ key objectives should be to drive sales and/or leads, boost brand awareness, and increase customer loyalty and/or retention.
  • Inspire the entire organization to build business growth. Marketing managers in companies with higher revenue relative to their competition are more likely to agree that researchers, sales teams, and IT are receptive to their marketing efforts.
  • Shift the focus of strategy from product to consumer. B2B companies that achieve higher revenue relative to their competition focus marketing efforts on driving a consistent brand identity across buyer touchpoints, strengthening strategic brand imagery, and boosting brand awareness.
  • Prove ROI to ensure marketing is perceived as a competitive advantage. Measuring campaign results elevates marketing’s contribution to business growth and enables it to be perceived as a competitive advantage.
  • Acquire the tools and digital skill sets needed to compete today. When asked where B2B marketing will be in the next three to five years, 71 percent of respondents said that digital marketing and technological skill sets will be required of them. However, only 7 percent reported having effective processes in place for capturing data on buyer behavior, attitudes, and engagement.

The report covers the key findings from an online survey conducted by the ANA and research partner GfK in March 2016. In total, 237 B2B marketers were represented in the survey. Participants included BMA members (Board and Chapters), ANA members in B2B companies, and research partners Stein ASI, Advertising Age, and gyro. Of those who responded, 79 percent primarily work in B2B companies and 21 percent work in companies that are both B2B and B2C.


The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) makes a difference for individuals, brands, and the industry by advancing the interests of marketers and promoting and protecting the well-being of the marketing community. Founded in 1910, the ANA provides leadership that advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the industry. The ANA’s membership includes nearly 1,000 companies with 15,000 brands that collectively spend or support more than $300 billion in marketing and advertising annually. The membership is comprised of more than 700 client-side marketers and nearly 300 Associate Members, which include leading agencies, law firms, suppliers, consultants, and vendors. In driving the marketplace forward, Associate Members help brands grow, thrive, and shape the future of marketing. Further enriching the ecosystem is the work of the nonprofit Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF), an ANA subsidiary, which has the mission of enhancing the understanding of advertising and marketing within the academic and marketing communities.

GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.


John Wolfe
Director of Communications
Office: 212.455.8011
Cell: 914.659.8663
Email: jwolfe@ana.net