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When there are revenue headwinds and economic uncertainty, CFOs put a lot of attention on budgets and expenses. During tough times, reducing marketing headcount and media spend is a standard cost-cutting lever.

Meanwhile, B2B CMOs are given goals to generate growth for the business through more pipeline and revenue impact.

Clearly, those two approaches are in conflict with each other.

Modern CFOs, however, understand that crises sometimes present opportunities—that focusing on transformation instead of stark cost-cutting can lead to increased growth and operating efficiency.

The reality is that CFOs can recommend a lever for marketing that they've used for other disciplines: outsourcing—also with new service models, such as B2B marketing as a service (MaaS).

What is MaaS?

Marketing as a service is a new operating model designed to bring scale to revenue and marketing leaders.

MaaS brings the concept of managed services to marketing. Execution and operational tasks are outsourced offshore to extend the capacity of your workforce and enable internal staff to focus on more strategic, high-value work.

The MaaS model covers a full range of offerings, including digital marketing, account-based marketing, analytics, and creative services.

MaaS is about more than just cost savings. It's about driving sustainable efficiency, bringing in a greater level of expertise, and improving the impact of the work, thereby increasing revenue impact—and simultaneously minimizing costs.

By leaning into MaaS, organizations can reduce headcount expenses while increasing the resources they have and the experience of those resources, and which will, in turn, create more capacity for marketing impact and results.

What to Know About the MaaS Opportunity

Marketing outsourcing through MaaS is underutilized

Outsourcing is common for many corporate-level departments, but not for marketing. Only 5% of sales and marketing services are outsourced, compared with 54% of IT services and 44% of finance work, a Deloitte study found.

True, it is a relatively newer concept for marketing, compared with IT, finance, and customer service outsourcing, but it is mature enough that companies are already taking advantage of it. There is now a massive talent pool of outsourced marketers with expertise in many specialties.

Competing for increasingly expensive execution talent is unsustainable

The Great Resignation has complicated the labor pool. Companies have lost employees or they are now trying to recruit in a market where employees have the power. That has led to increased salaries across the board, and in many cases imbalances between the compensation of resources and the true value that they create for an organization.

While the rest of the industry is fighting over on-shore talent, organizations that embrace MaaS can dramatically reduce run-rate labor costs, building a competitive advantage in their cost basis with first-mover status.

Organizations need to train and upskill talent while maintaining organizational scalability

Today's omnichannel and hyper-personalized marketing environment requires employees to maintain constantly evolving talent and skills. They need to know all the best-practices to reach increasingly overwhelmed customers wherever they consume information.

Even as companies attempt to keep pace with costly upskilling and training, the MaaS market solves the skills gap with certified marketers equipped with new-age marketing capabilities.

MaaS builds organizational flexibility into your future

Smaller organizations that needed to lay off employees these past few years have not been alone: Many of the largest global companies have had to trim headcount recently.

Layoffs incur financial costs from severance, overtax the remaining employees, and result in having to answer difficult questions from the media about the organization's financial health.

Using such a moment to change the operating model and shift toward a more vendor-delivered labor force will limit the chance that you have to do it again. MaaS enables organizations to scale up and down personnel without creating negative news and incurring additional expenses.

Maximizing ROI on martech investments is possible with MaaS

US companies spent over $22 billion on marketing technology in 2022. But marketers utilized only 42% of the martech stack, down from 58% in 2020, a 2023 Gartner study found.

Why? There isn't enough certified talent in the market, and seldom is it a priority for any company to train and develop marketing technologists.

As a result, many expensive tools are unused or underused, while employees either request new tools or use native or free apps that lack the robustness that advanced users can coax from the expensive tools the organization has purchased.

But MaaS enables companies to easily match human resources to technology, and it only becomes more important if you change your technology provider and immediately need an expert in a new technology to run it. It's possible that your team doesn't have the relevant competency in that tool to maximize its value.

MaaS: Value Creator

Ultimately, the key thing to remember is that, as in other departments, outsourcing through MaaS is a value creator that maximizes the value of your technology, provides on-demand employees with the latest skills, and keeps your workforce flexible for any challenges or opportunities.

If you struggle with resource allocation while moving forward with your organization's goals, now is the time to embrace MaaS. CFOs looking to manage their resource allocation while increasing the value of their marketing function should look to B2B MaaS as a unique lever.

CFOs can tackle both revenue and cost headwinds at the same time while increasing the marketing function's ability to drive growth.

More Resources on Outsourcing Marketing

Five Clear Signs You Need to Outsource Your Digital Marketing

Outsourced Marketing: Does It Make Sense for You?

Four Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Marketing

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image of Domenic Colasante

Domenic Colasante is CEO at B2B-focused 2X, the marketing-as-a-service category creator and fastest-growing MaaS firm. Previously, he was CMO at Wgroup, and he has held demand creation, marketing ops, analytics, and ABM roles at Siemens and SAP.

LinkedIn: Domenic Colasante