Watch now: Prioritisation and 2024
Discover how priority setting is reshaping the C-suite landscape as seasoned marketing leaders navigate the complexity of transforming insights into strategies and evolving customer habits.
Prioritisation has almost become a C-suite priority in itself.
The question every boardroom often asks has become more difficult of late simply because of the sheer numbers of things a leader can prioritise. The transformations of yesterday are beginning to yield insights upon which businesses should capitalise; the post-pandemic working from home experiment is yet to yield insights consistent enough to action, let alone capitalise, but is still worth pursuing; customer, client habits are evolving; geopolitical tensions are directly and indirectly affecting trade and the global technology sector; and AI may well upend all of that again anyway.
If it all seems a lot, that’s because it is. Yet the marketing function should console themselves with two truisms: one, marketers are closest to the customer, which brings insights as well as influence; two, no department is as used to change as marketing—adaptability is almost an annual phenomenon.
With those in mind, and a willing live and remote audience of B2B CMOs in attendance at The Studio, HotTopics Editor Peter Stojanovic brought together three senior marketing leaders. Together, they share their priorities for 2024 and debate the art of prioritisation in an age where everything looks like a priority.
- Mark Baker, CMO, Infront
- Preeti Saini, SVP Global Marketing, IFS
- Utkarsh Srivastav, Senior Director - Brand, Social and Digital Marketing, LTTS
Ready to discover more? If you liked these highlights, click the button below to watch the full roundtable debate.
Prioritisation for B2B marketers
IFS is enjoying double-digit growth year-on-year, reported Preeti, early on in the panel, contextualising her team’s ambition to secure scalable, sustainable growth. Alongside that, “marketing should remain relevant and provide value at each point of the trajectory,” she said.
During times of prosperity, marketing’s appetite for further brand awareness should be satiated alongside a need to maintain proximity with the customers. All too often, brands evolve and grow too quickly for their traditional bases to catch up, creating unwanted segmentation that leaves a bad taste in the market’s mouth. Preeti and the team at IFS are conscious of this, and are working hard to communicate “just how significant a company we’ve become.”
For IFS, 2024 is about stabilising its brand in new markets alongside M&A-driven growth.
Elsewhere in the technology sector, L&T Technology Services seeks a different priority.
“We will prioritise the fundamentals of marketing,” said Utkarsh. “This includes innovation.”
Innovation in marketing is another annual phenomenon. Later in the panel, the speakers considered just how innovative the marketing function has to be in order to be a true partner to the business without sacrificing its creativity. It is not an easy compromise.
The third major priority came from the panel’s third speaker, Mark. For him and for the fin-tech company Infront, customer-alignment is the priority—as it always has been, he added.
“Customers are going through as much change as we are, often more. We need to ask ourselves where the customers are and if we are still relevant to their needs; if we can no longer help our customers, our own internal priorities should be automatically de-prioritised.”
Unpicking prioritisation’s deeper priorities
It is all well and good listing priorities, of course. The speakers were asked to dig deeper into them for the audience’s sake. What does prioritising growth, for example, entail?
For IFS, there are two areas of focus: demand generation and brand awareness.
For demand generation, Preeti wants to enter into key new markets, such as the US, and dominate, whilst also retaining customers and influence in the relationship through organic means. Its rich (and growing) customer portfolio offers much opportunity to strengthen the brand in and around its regions, but without it, growth will lose its stickiness, something Preeti is keen to avoid.
For L&TTS, Utkarsh revealed that his trinity of priorities that help shape innovation are as follows: customer priorities, sales priorities and marketing priorities.
Each subsequent priority is shaped by the one before; maintaining that status quo is important. Similarly, he noted that the cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than supporting historic customers, rationalising the 60:40 ratio, historic:new, he and his team employ when considering growth.
As he later quipped, “in marketing and sales, there are always hunters and farmers.”
The art of not prioritising
Perhaps one of the most important points during the discussion was what not to prioritise.
In an era where everything looks like a priority, true leadership is about what to say no to, and how to say no to it. “It’s brutal,” agreed both Preeti and Mark during their conversation on stage. In fact, Preeti continued, “if nobody has the same set of priorities or if they’re not aligned to the execution…they will most likely fail.”
It comes back to what the industry calls the art of prioritisation—one that can be taught, trained and retained. The remainder of the panel discussion looked at each leader’s record in this, considering communication, sales-marketing alignment and even CEO-Board alignment. One thing is clear, however. Of all the things to prioritise in 2024, the art of prioritisation would not be a bad place to start.
Watch the panel discussion to learn more about ‘Prioritisation and 2024’. To learn more about The Studio Marketing Leaders, click here.
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