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LinkedIn finds marketers gaining skills to influence corporate policy and climb to C-Suite


By Gordon Young, Editor-in-Chief

June 21, 2024 | 7 min read

Research by LinkedIn indicates that marketers are enhancing their skill sets to better influence corporate policy and secure roles in the C-suite. We talk to Tom Pepper, who is driving the platform’s advertising business in EMEA and LATAM, to find out more.

Tom Pepper

Tom Pepper

According to the 2024 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report from LinkedIn, marketers are aware that upping the ante to improve financial fluency leads to more substantial engagements with senior executives, particularly CFOs.

The report coincides with the launch of an initiative by The Drum, the Word Federation of Advertising and the ANA to help raise the status of the CMO to ensure its role in business success gets the recognition it deserves.

Tom Pepper, LinkedIn’s senior director for EMEA and LATAM, said the research findings also show that “nine out of 10 marketers express real optimism about the year ahead.” This optimism is reflected in the report, where 72% expect increased budgets this year, a significant shift from previous years.

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He argues a major factor contributing to this confidence is enhanced financial literacy among marketers. “There’s a much greater focus on return on investment and the importance of influencing the C-suite, especially the CFO, to unlock budgets,” he noted. This trend is evident in the rising presence of CFOs on panels at Cannes Lions itself, discussing the strategic role of marketing in driving business growth.

Creative approaches in B2B marketing

LinkedIn’s research also highlights a shift towards creativity in B2B marketing. “There’s a greater courage and boldness in brand work and creative work in B2B,” said Pepper. The introduction of categories such as humor in B2B marketing underscores the importance of storytelling and engagement in successful campaigns.

This emphasis on creativity is about effectiveness. “We’ve been championing the importance of telling stories and entertaining audiences in B2B because it really works.”

Complex buying committees

Another key insight from LinkedIn’s research is the increasing complexity of buying committees in B2B marketing. The average buying committee now consists of six to 10 individuals, requiring marketers to engage with multiple stakeholders across numerous touchpoints. “You need to build collective confidence across these stakeholders,” explained Pepper.

To address this challenge, LinkedIn has introduced the Wire Program. This initiative involves partnering with premium business publishers like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Business Insider to offer in-stream video opportunities directly on LinkedIn. These videos appear in users’ feeds, seamlessly integrating with the platform’s content.

The goal of the Wire Program is to reach decision-makers within the buying committees by providing high-quality, relevant content where they are already engaged. By collaborating with publishers, LinkedIn ensures that the content is credible and engaging, thereby enhancing the likelihood of influencing these key stakeholders. This strategy helps marketers build trust and align with the diverse needs of the buying committee more effectively.

Generative AI: a new frontier

On other fronts, LinkedIn insights show generative AI is rapidly being adopted in B2B marketing, with two out of three already using these technologies to enhance productivity, efficiency and ROI. Pepper highlighted LinkedIn’s Accelerate product, which automates campaign building, significantly reducing the required time and improving cost efficiency. “It takes the work of building a campaign on LinkedIn from 15 hours to five hours.”

The adoption of generative AI skills is rising on LinkedIn, with a significant increase in professionals listing these skills in their profiles. “Marketing is leading the charge in adopting generative AI,” said Pepper.

The Drum’s Great Marketing Makeover initiative

LinkedIn’s findings resonate with The Drum’s Great Marketing Makeover initiative, also launched at the Cannes Lions. This initiative focuses on the evolution and undervaluation of the CMO role. Challenges identified include a lack of respect, difficulty in demonstrating clear ROI from marketing activities, and a lack of clarity and focus within the industry. Only 20% of marketers believe the CMO is viewed as equally influential as other C-suite executives, according to research by The Drum. Only 2% of B2B markets join main boards, according to research by Transmission

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Top 5 trends from Cannes, according to LinkedIn

  1. Optimism and increased budgets: With nine out of 10 marketers expressing optimism and 72% anticipating budget increases, there is a clear sense of confidence in the industry.

  2. Creative confidence: There is a growing boldness in B2B marketing, with more brands embracing creative storytelling and entertainment to engage their audiences effectively.

  3. Complex buying committees: Marketers need to navigate increasingly complex buying committees, requiring sophisticated strategies to build consensus and drive decisions.

  4. Generative AI adoption: The rapid adoption of generative AI is transforming productivity and efficiency in marketing, with tools like LinkedIn’s Accelerate leading the way.

  5. Financial fluency: Improving financial fluency is crucial for marketers aiming to influence corporate policy and secure a seat in the C-suite, with a growing emphasis on demonstrating ROI and business impact.

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