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When B2B CMOs began planning and forecasting for 2020, they had no idea what was coming. As the same CMOs look ahead to 2021, the picture is hardly more clear.

In our just-released report, Accept No Limits: B2B Marketing in 2020, in which we analyzed survey responses of 500 B2B CMOs on their top challenges, priorities, investments, and outsourcing needs, the macro landscape of uncertainty stood out loud and clear, with resource allocation (23%), budgets (18%), and planning (12%) as the top three areas B2B CMOs identified as their biggest obstacles.

Just as marketers who used historical data for a basis for 2020 planning and forecasting have seen COVID-19 sweep away their hard work, CMOs using 2020 as a barometer for 2021 will almost certainly set themselves up for poor results. In an ahistorical time that has erased relatively stable benchmarks, marketers will need more sophisticated tools and methodologies to effectively allocate resources and build media plans.

The need for better planning and forecasting is urgent, but there is good news: first, many CMOs are in the same boat, which means there’s still plenty of opportunity to act fast and get an edge; second, more advanced planning will pay dividends that outlast COVID-19. And in a time when marketers may need more flexibility and can’t readily bring on in-house resources, agencies can step up to provide benchmarks, tech, and capabilities to meet…

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