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What kind of marketer is the most desirable in B2B tech?

Posted by Mark Debenham - July 27, 2015

If I were to ask 10 marketers ‘what are the most important marketing skills to be successful in today’s B2B tech sector?’, I’d probably receive 10 different answers.

It’s a subjective topic so that’s to be expected. But can certain skills be prioritised over others?

New research from InTech suggests that marketers with a strategic mind and a knack for storytelling have the edge in the B2B tech sector.

The ranking of skills for successful marketing

Our InTech research report, which we published in partnership with B2B Marketing, looked at the state of B2B tech marketing in 2015. We spoke to 72 leading marketers in the sector and asked them:

Which of the following elements of the marketing role do you think need to be emphasised for people to operate as successful tech marketers today?

  • Strategist/Planner
  • Technologist
  • Digital engagement specialist
  • Storyteller/content
  • Data analyst

Here are the results:

data showing skills for b2b tech marketers

The emergence of the strategic storytellers

At 66% each, storyteller/content editor and strategist/planner are viewed as the leading skills, while only 17% of respondents emphasised technology expertise.

At first glance, being both a storyteller and a strategist could be seen as an unlikely mix – the former comes from the heart, the latter from the head. At least traditionally that’s how the two are often perceived, with one being about words, emotion and delight, and the other being more about numbers, rationality and efficiency.

They don’t have to exist exclusively from each other though. The best stories often endure because they serve a focused, long-term purpose, and great strategies can be delivered in engaging ways that tap into people’s emotions.

How do these skills reveal themselves in today’s B2B marketing landscape?

InTech participants were asked:

Which of the following changes have you seen in your business/role in the last two years?

  • Increased pressure for marketing to contribute to sales, such as providing marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • An increased focus on content marketing as a discipline
  • New KPIs that mean I’m measured on different things to previously
  • Increased focus on marketing automation
  • Expansion into new customer markets
  • More internal integration requiring us to use integrated agencies

Here are the results:

data showing the changes in the role for marketers in tech

In that data we can see a strong demand for tech marketing teams to be hitting sales lead targets, while also creating and sharing content for their company’s audience.

If qualified lead generation is the overall goal for today’s marketers and content marketing is the tactic of choice to get them there, then it’s no surprise that strategy and storytelling are seen as being such vital skills for success in B2B tech marketing.

Applying a practical approach

It’s worth noting that there’s a fair bit of overlap among marketing skills.

For example, a good strategist often has a good handle on analysing data, and a digital engagement specialist is usually brilliant when it comes to telling a story and using technology.

Being highly-skilled in all those areas is a big ask for marketers. It’s hard enough to cover all of them in a team, let alone find them all in one person.

A practical approach to take instead is to prioritise the most important skills for your organisation’s goals, and ensure you have a sufficient amount of expertise in the other areas – whether within yourself or among your team – by recruiting or outsourcing to fill the skills gaps, or undertaking training and desk research to increase your knowledge.

Download our InTech reportthe InTech research report for more data-driven insight and advice on the state of B2B tech marketing

Download our InTech report

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