B2B Marketing Guide: 5 Simple and Effective Business Marketing Strategy.
Since the day I started my professional career, I have been developing and helping Small and Medium Businesses in their Marketing & Communications and Sales Strategies. The organization I worked with were mostly Business to Business (B2B) companies providing IT services and solutions to other business. With my core Industry being Information Technology, I was provided with the opportunity of working with OEM’s, IT Advisor or Consultant Organizations and Information Technology Service Provider. Although the tips or suggestions covered in this article do not only cater to IT Industry, in particular, it’s a brief beginner’s guide for Marketers of different industry domains looking forward to a solid marketing strategy for their businesses.
Now, as we move forward understand the fact that B2B Marketing involves selling of organizations product or solution or service to another company. B2B Marketing does follow the same principles of Consumer Marketing but in a unique way. The decision for Consumer Marketing depends upon the Product, Price, Popularity, Status and the consumer’s emotional factors towards the product or service, while in Business to Business decisions are based on the price and profit potential of the product or service to the business.
Evolution of Marketing
Long gone are those days when a newspaper Ad or Banner Hoarding was enough to catch the eye of a buyer. Marketing has evolved from Print Media to Digital India. But before a Marketer dives headfirst into the complex digital world of SEO, SMO, SMM, Blogging, Mobile Marketing – there is always a need to start with a defined, plan-based marketing strategy that will lay out the foundation of building one’s marketing activities.
5 Tips to build a Solid Marketing Strategy:
Purpose of Marketing
Around 70% of the company resources doesn’t understand a company’s vision or goal and its strategy to attain it. Company leaders are often wondering whether their people truly understand their vision. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, “When CEOs Talk Strategy, Is Anyone Listening?” only a fraction of the company workforce is really clued in. Most marketers fail to understand this purpose. Now this is a very difficult situation to diagnose and address. A Marketer with no clarity of the organization’s vision is blind.
What are you? Who are you? Why are you? What is your unique selling proposition? Are the key elements of your business being appropriately communicated with your Company Logo, Website, Email template, Social Profile, etc?
These are some of the questions a marketer needs to address first and foremost. A misaligned marketing strategy will unknowingly misalign your company’s vision and strategic goals. The purpose of a Marketer is to understand the organization and its business and then market it to its prospects or business community. Your role as a pacesetter is to form a vision and strategy that is clear enough for employees to take actions, every day, to succeed in these goals. A little brainstorming on these and other brand-related topics will help you build a solid base for your strategy alignment which will go a long way towards creating visibility and increasing the volume of your potential customer pipeline.
Market Research is one of the critical aspect of any business. All successful businesses worldwide, periodically conduct market research in order to keep up with changing market trends and to maintain a competitive edge. Business marketing research is the process of collecting information to work out whether or not a particular product/service can satisfy the requirements of its customers. With effective marketing research, a company gains priceless information regarding competitors, economic shifts, demographics, the present market trends and therefore, the spending traits of its customers. Effectively selling or marketing of service/product is impossible without a research on its competitors and their offerings. A Marketer needs to know what are its competitors offering, guaranteeing, pricing structure, in order to make his offering the most engaging to potential clients. As said by The Marketing GUY Liam Atkins “The key is to find out what you’re really up against and THEN BEAT IT by adding massive value”.
Factors to consider for Business Market Research:
- Market Information which includes market size, market segmentation, sales revenue for existing products, demand and supply scenario.
- Deep Insight into existing customer base which includes factors such as why do customers buy your product/service? What value do they perceive? What is the key decision factor? What factors influence their buying behavior?
- Identifying potential Customers by understanding current market trends, untapped or underserviced business markets and identifying Business Problems and behavior patterns.
- Evaluating and understanding Customer and developing product/service according is the most important factor in market research. Even with your existing product/service modification is based on the results obtained from such market research.
Create, Influence and Leverage Network
In this competitive market, it’s very essential to have a strong network. Building a relationship with your potential clientele, your buyer audience as well as non-buyer audience is very much essential. It is not always necessary that a connection is a value add to your business. This said Networking doesn’t mean you keep adding people to your social profile. Networking is a very critical aspect to consider while defining your business marketing strategy. The two most important component of having a well-rounded network: Quantity and Quality. (Though I have always believed Size doesn’t matter). The concept is that the size of your network is not what matters. It’s the influence of the people within your network that counts.
Let me explain this with an example:
Say your Network has 100 People But they lack motivation and influence, now this will eventually have a commercial value close to zero.
On the other hand, Your Competitor has just 10 People but they are highly motivated and have real influence, it will add a massive commercial value to your competitor.
If a company has a very strong and influenced network, it has the ability to generate good amount of brand awareness and produce great sales results without spending anything of any form of advertising activity.
Things to consider
- Networking is not always about you or your business
- Always Be There and Be Aware of the market
- Be interesting by showing interest and Always assume a positive intent
- Never Sell, Let Them Win
Channel of Investment
Once a Marketer has a strategy in place, execution of that Strategy is vital. The need to know and understand where is His target audience is a must. With different platforms to execute a marketing activity there is always a need to identify the right platform. One must understand which marketing platform or activity is best suited for his industry or business. When I say platform for marketing – it includes online as well as offline platforms. With the world moving the Digital Way, there are numerous way to execute an online marketing campaign. Whereas Offline Advertising/Marketing of any brand has slightly diminished. According to The CMO Survey, Many organization are investing heavily in their Digital Marketing Campaigns.
Allocation of Marketing Budget across channels – Online and Offline still remains a challenge. I have been frequently asked Questions about Company’s Marketing Budget and in what channels are we going to further invest. My answer to it is plain and simple: The channel which is providing me with the best returns. Although, these are percentages. How a company spends a marketing budget ultimately depends upon the nature of business, the highly competitive marketplace, and how their target customers react and behave throughout the buying funnel.
Results and Analysis
No matter how strongly built a Marketing Plan is, the question still remains the same, what is the ROI?
Is the company’s marketing plan generating a good return on investment? Like every other Marketer, I may also lack an easy way to answer this question. But because the investment in marketing has been significantly higher, it’s always important to measure and see the results of your marketing campaigns. A Marketer needs to measure the web traffic, incoming inquiries or calls, form submissions, inbound emails, leads, prospects and even customers derived from the campaigns. It is also necessary to determine the channel sources of getting the best results. I understand this needs lots of reports, web analytics, and other defined metrics to show the success of marketing campaigns and most importantly how well are you able to define those numbers into clear ROI. Many marketing automation tools like lead tracking and conversion software helps you to not only see the results of your campaign but also ROI of your marketing channels and helps you track the source of these channels. Constantly analyzing the results of your campaign by knowing what channel is driving more leads or awareness, which channel were able to convert lead into customers and improvising on the low performing channel is an on-going process. If a Marketer fails to do so – he’ll never be able to justify the investment done towards the marketing campaigns.
Marketing is like happiness which is never fulfilled. There is always a need to re-work your doings even if it is providing you with the right results. A Marketer always needs to remember: Implement, Analyze, and Revise.