An Uncertain 2023 Makes Fractional Marketing the Way to Go for B2B Companies

by Debra Andrews | December 7, 2022

As we’re all busily preparing plans and budgets for next year, the lack of clarity on what 2023 will bring is weighing on a lot of minds. No matter how seasoned we are, it’s fair to say none of us has lived through a time quite like these post-pandemic years. There’s just no playbook for the environment we find ourselves in.

Yet, your business has revenue targets to meet and growth goals to achieve. Despite the uncertainty, you need to put a stake in the ground and harness your marketing resources to hit those numbers.

For middle market B2B companies, a fractional marketing approach will be the best way to drive predictable revenue growth in 2023.

Fractional Marketing Mitigates Volatility

When the world is volatile, companies naturally hesitate to staff up for fear they might have to downsize later. In the past, that’s led middle market companies to outsource some of the marketing function, so they have the flexibility to scale up or down.

But historically, outsourcing meant hiring individual freelancers—each lending their unique disciplines, but all operating independently, using different approaches, and reporting results in their own ways. Managing all those suppliers and attempting to engage them in a seamless marketing program takes more time and energy than you can devote and distracts you from more fruitful work.

It’s a fractured approach—and not the best way to get the best results.

Then along came fractional marketing: a way to achieve the flexibility of outsourcing, without inefficiency and waste, with better and more predictable results. Fractional marketing provides the exact skills and level of resources you need, without tying up precious budget dollars on a big in-house team that’s likely to sit idle at times because their skills and capacity don’t always match up with your needs.

The more uncertain you are about 2023, the more sense fractional marketing makes. But it’s not just the current unknowns that have this model gaining traction. B2B companies are facing greater complexity on two fronts, and that’s driving them to adopt fractional marketing.

The Buying Journey is More Complex

Did you know that B2B buyers only spend 17% of their journey engaging with sales? That’s the total time they spend with EVERY provider they’re evaluating, not just you.

Most of the buying journey happens online now, in a non-linear path, with buyers in full control. They decide when it’s time for a sales call, not you, and they’re typically very far down the revenue funnel before they’re willing to engage with sales.

Not only does your revenue funnel need to attract these ideal buyers; it needs to keep them moving further along the funnel until they’re ready for a sales touch. It needs to meet them exactly where they are, at every point in the journey. And it needs to ensure these leads don’t leak out of your funnel before sales gets an opportunity to engage and close the deal.

The Marketing Function is More Complex, Too

A complex digital buying journey also makes effective marketing more complicated—and that complicates how you staff this function. While there will always be a need for strong marketing generalists who know how to develop comprehensive marketing plans and manage their execution, more marketers are specializing in one of the many disciplines it takes to get marketing right in a digital world.

Google searches are a great example.

Modern marketers know organic search drives new business at a higher ROI than many other tactics, but it’s never been trickier. Ranking high on a buyer’s search results means keeping up with Google algorithms. Yet, with Google reportedly changing its algorithms 500-600 times a year (including two major updates in 2022), it’s no small task! You need a search engine optimization (SEO) expert to guide how to adapt your content strategy and website to consistently rank well and keep organic traffic high. But you don’t need a full-time SEO expert on staff.

Data analytics is another example.

Big Data gives you the power to scale, measure, and optimize your marketing, so you can do more of what’s working, adjust what needs improving, and maximize ROI. It also allows you to report on the key performance indicators (KPIs) most important to your business. But it takes the right marketing tech stack and an expert who knows how to configure it to deliver the precise insights you need. Yet, you don’t need a full-time marketing analytics expert on staff.

And let’s not forget strategy!

Effective marketing is always grounded in strategy. Getting it right starts with doing the essential groundwork—conducting due diligence, researching the market, assessing the competition, and creating an ideal customer profile. That’s the only way to engage in marketing that gets results, vs random acts of marketing that are just busywork. You need an experienced marketing strategist as your guide; but you don’t need that expert full time, all the time.

From content to creative, from strategy to technology and more, marketing is a field of specialists who each play an important role in developing and executing marketing plans that drive revenue growth. Hiring an in-house team that covers all these disciplines isn’t feasible for middle market companies—especially with marketing salaries skyrocketing in recent years. (The average Chief Marketing Officer salary is nearing $200k according to Glassdoor, and digital marketing salaries are up about 25% over the last three years according to MarTech.)

Instead, fractional marketing allows you to tap the expertise and capabilities of all the specialists it takes to power up your marketing and drive great results, more cost-effectively than staffing up an in-house team. It’s the optimal way to structure your marketing function to match the digital buying journey.

How a Fractional Marketing Firm Fits In

The complexity of the buying journey and the marketing function makes fractional marketing the way to go for B2B companies that want to outperform the competition. Experienced fractional marketing firms have the optimal process down to a science, with templates and best practices that enable them to achieve results faster and more efficiently than most in-house teams.

Not sure about engaging a fully remote marketing team? As the post-pandemic world has shown, when remote professionals are equipped with the right processes and best practices they can be as efficient and effective as an on-site team (if not more so).

Even if your buyers aren’t ready to commit to purchasing just yet, my gut says they’re still doing the due diligence so they’re ready to move when their budgets allow. That means you need to stay visible and be a valued part of the conversation, with a strong revenue funnel that walks them through their journey on their terms.

Sometimes change brings opportunity, and this is one of those times. B2B companies that take advantage of the changing dynamics of marketing and the evolution of the buying journey can leverage fractional marketing to stand apart and achieve better revenue growth in 2023.

Marketri partners with middle market B2B companies on a fractional basis to drive greater, more predicable revenue growth. Schedule an introductory call to learn how our approach can power up your marketing in 2023.