For the past several years, Stein IAS has teamed up with Joel Harrison and B2B Marketing to explore and share the perspectives of CMOs and senior marketers in the U.S. and UK on the evolution of martech.

Our exploration started with marketers’ early challenge to realize martech’s full value (a challenge that has somewhat abated but by no means been overcome). We later probed progressive marketers’ push from tactical martech to strategic digital marketing transformation, introducing Stein IAS’s own Digital Marketing Transformation Framework.

This year’s report, Martech Connection Means Human Connection: The Impact of Coronavirus on B2B Marketers, represents another progression, but with a major influence. The Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with the world – and certainly the world of B2B marketing. It is extremely noteworthy, as you’ll read in this report, that far from being blunted, martech’s ascendance continues.

In recent days and weeks, I've had numerous conversations with such noteworthy B2B marketers as Dave Silke, CMO of Mitel, Tracey Schroeder, Senior Global Marketing Director of Ingredion, Kathy Seegebrecht, SVP and CMO of UL, Toni Clayton-Hine, CMO of EY Americas, Linda Brunner, SVP and Head of IT Digital Customer Experience, Siemens Healthineers, and Jason Angrisani, Global Head of Marketing Management and Strategy for Bloomberg,

What is abundantly clear is that, while most marketers had moved to one extent or another to full-blown digital marketing transformation, Covid-19 has created an inflection point. Digital marketing transformation to enable deeper (and all or mostly digital) engagement with customers has become of urgent and paramount importance.

With the pandemic and its necessitated shifts to more customer-supportive and empathetic communications, to higher-quality content at all funnel stages, and to enlivened digital experiences reflective of people’s yearning for human connection, marketers are stepping up to meet this need.

In the interviews with the marketers you’ll find in the above report – and also in my own ongoing conversations with CMOs all over the world – there is change afoot.

Over the past decade or more, marketers have built real muscle. They have developed the skills around data and technology, insights and analytics, real-time intelligence and relevant messaging, agile ways of working and adaptability.

And, they have risen to the occasion. They have addressed the crisis from the front lines, pivoted to all-digital engagement solutions to support their sales colleagues, overcome the loss of the physical event channel, and on and on.

This is a time of great uncertainty. How the near and longer-term future plays out can only be a matter of conjecture right now. But there is a something of which I am certain: B2B marketers have led from the front lines. And now at the fore, we won’t look back.

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