January 9, 2015 Robert Woodford

Misunderstanding or lack of respect towards marketers in recruitment?

Young confident caucasian businessman screaming on his employee

Survey of B2B marketers reflective of recruitment industry marketing.

I was reading the results of a survey conducted over a year ago by Econsultancy and Sparks Grov.  It stated that only a mere 8 percent of B2B marketers said that they were employed by an organisation in which marketing is the driver behind the greater percentage of revenue and strategies for leads growth and lead generation. In contrast, 34 percent said they worked for sales-led organisations, in which they play a supporting role to sales, having less of a say in product direction and growth strategy. Such marketers posit they receive less respect for their efforts from other departments.

The study from Econsultancy divided responders to the survey into four categories:

  • Those from “marketing-led” organisations (8 percent)
  • Those from “sales-led” organisations (34 percent)
  • Those from “false partnerships” (marketing has a small role) (30 percent)
  • Those from “true partnerships” (marketing has a significant role) (28  percent)

In most cases, the greater the role that marketing has, the more likely the B2B marketers are to feel they are respected. To quote the researchers: “this confirms that a shift in marketing has tangible effects that are noticed throughout the enterprise.”

As many as 90 percent of survey responders believe they could contribute more to their organisations if given the chance, while almost as many feel they need to. Blockers to B2B marketers achieving more include complex lead nurturing processes and the belief that outreach and awareness marketing is becoming ineffective.

When it comes to their organisations, many B2B marketers feel that the evolution of marketing lies in new understandings towards the customer experience and value proposition, with new types of leaderships and competitor activities.

B2B marketers in the four groups differ, unsurprisingly, in their responsibilities. Most own areas such as brand merchandising, promotions, communications and strategy, but those marketers lucky enough to have a larger role with their companies are much more likely than B2B marketers in sales-led companies to own customer research or insights gathering, new product or service innovations, and customer experience and purchasing journey management.

When asked to pick the three most frequent aspects for a broader role for marketing, the most popular choice was a positive impact towards growth (70 percent), while a more dynamic adoption of products and services to meet consumer requirements (45 percent), and more effective budget allocation towards media, event and awareness (40 percent) were though less significant.

In total, only around 10 percent of responders were of the opinion that their organisations understand the need to expand the role of marketing, with most saying that their leadership in particular is lacking in insight. It’s no surprise then that the opinion of most B2B marketers was that the biggest barrier to change within their organisation remains the issue of bringing board-level executives on board to make the necessary changes.

This got me thinking about marketing within recruitment. I see these different types of responders within recruitment.  I am fortunate that I get to meet all types of people in the marketing recruitment industry.  Some have real influence at board level and their work is leading the business, and these businesses are never doing badly.  In others I meet (often very fed up and exasperated) talented marketers who feel they are glorified administrators and tend to be working in failing businesses.

In fact when I go out to meet clients it can be very interesting to speak to them about what marketing can do for them.  The truth is that sometimes they just don’t know; they have their own ideas about marketing and enforce this on the business – sometimes to the detriment.  The joy of being an external marketer is that I get to educate and advise these companies without having to worry about the politics! But for me this research sums up exactly the state of play within the recruitment marketing fraternity and would be a good read for any business head with a marketing function.