Marketing is one of the business disciplines where everyone has a view. From which social media platform will work best to which exhibitions or events to attend, colleagues will fight their corner without marketing training or experience to draw on. A random list of marketing tactics is unlikely to bring the best results, so it is worthwhile spending the time to develop a clear B2B marketing strategy upfront, utilising some of the well-known tools and approaches.
Market Driven Management
Many companies are driven by the views of top management and the organisation’s internal capabilities. A market-driven approach to B2B marketing strategy starts with the external world of customers and competitors and works back into your company, operating across all business functions. It focuses on understanding the needs of customers, the capabilities of competitors and the gaps in the market place, with the overall aim of serving customers profitably.
An ‘outside-in’ process allows a deep understanding of different market segments, using the 6 Cs:
Customers, Competitors, Capabilities, Cost-Profits, Continual Improvement, Cross-functional Teams.
The needs of segments, their size and attractiveness, and the match with the company’s capabilities helps prioritisation of targets. Five Forces Analysis, developed in the mid-1970s by Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, provides a rigorous structure for analysing the forces that affect profitability in any industry in which a company competes.
Your value proposition is a key part of your B2B marketing strategy and allows you to succinctly communicate to customers and prospects:
– Why you exist.
– What you do.
– How you do it uniquely well.
How you bring value needs to be communicated in the customer’s language, so they understand how you are differentiated.
Customer segments will have different needs, and so your value proposition should be tailored to these individually.
Messaging and Brand Building
Having identified your target markets and how you will win versus competitors, you will want to get the word out so that your target prospects know what you offer, the value you bring and how this will provide benefits. All the ways that you communicate should portray consistent, compelling messages, and this applies as much to communication from your employees as it does to your website, social media and sales materials. When most people talk about brand they are referring to the logo or visual identity, but this is only one part, and the messages you communicate are at least as important.
With the B2B marketing strategy in place, it is now the time to identify the marketing tactics you will employ to deliver results. This will be driven by the target segments and audience, and the types of communication that will interest them. PR, social media, website, email marketing and events may all play a part, with a cohesive communications approach across them. Metrics are vital to track success.
B2B marketing strategy and tactics can be compared with house building. If you don’t have detailed plans in place before you start taking actions, the foundations, the house and its cost may be somewhat different to you envisaged!
Birch Marketing provides part-time marketing services to help businesses grow. To discuss how we can help you develop your B2B marketing strategy and communications plan, please contact us.