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BMA board prepares to address changing industry

Kathy Button Bell
Al Maag
Michael Brenner
Carla Johnson

The Business Marketing Association formally introduced its 2013-2014 board of directors last week, coupling the news with an announcement regarding the release of a joint BMA-Forrester Research report.

The juxtaposition of the two news items was no coincidence. The report looks at the changing role of the CMO, and it spells out the industry challenges that will shape the work of the association and its 29-member board.

“The report reflects the reality for most people in marketing right now,” said Kathy Button Bell, BMA chairwoman and VP-CMO at global technology and manufacturing company Emerson. “Especially for those in B2B and industrial marketing. The transformation is less about social media and more about a social transformation.”

Marketers are under pressure to deliver digital customer experiences, she said. The shift requires new resources.   

“BMA is making senior level people accessible to local chapters, to help with conferences, in creating content, in taking things online and just offering advice,” Bell said. “We are all hungry for best practices.” 

Forrester and the BMA partnered to survey 117 top marketers about their experiences. Bell joined Forrester analyst Laura Ramos to present early insights at the 2013 Global BMA Conference in Chicago.

The formal report, “B2B CMOs Must Evolve or Move On,” provides a succinct look at the changing business marketing landscape and the practices that help marketers navigate the terrain.

“The findings will serve as a North Star for the board,” Carla Johnson wrote in an email. The principal at marketing consultancy Type A Communications is one of five new directors to join the current roster.

“Changing buyer behavior has forced changes in how we need to think and function as marketers,” she wrote. “To be successful, we need to be willing to drive change at all levels in an increasingly complex and unpredictable business environment—not just a marketing environment.”

The report captures the shift in buyer behavior that is driving business marketers and their corporate peers to re-evaluate the role of the CMO, wrote Michael Brenner. He also joined the board, bringing to the table his experience as VP-marketing and content strategy at SAP.

“This report covers many of the changes we’re seeing,” he wrote. “A seat at the executive table comes with the expectation to speak strategically about how marketing is contributing to business results. And to define clearly for the organization how what we are trying to sell is benefiting our customers.”

Marketers have their plates full, Al Maag said. The past BMA chairman recently launched the consultancy MaagComm+ and also has been named the BMA’s executive director.

The report encourages executives to choose key areas of focus and delegate other tasks—a practice that Maag said underscores the value of an extended BMA network.

“The leaders, these CMOs need to look at this study and say, ‘Why worry about all of this by myself?’” he said. “Send staff to BMA events so they can learn from others. Everybody has got to be involved in the process.”

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