Most B2B businesses realize they need marketing.
How do they decide where to spend this marketing budget?
They are doing one of two things… relying on an internal team to spend profitably or partnering with an outsourced agency to make the most of the budget percentage.
Investing in either of these options can yield results. “Can” is the operative word there. Unfortunately, many of these businesses get caught up in a particular aspect of marketing. They want that beautiful new website, a brilliant ad campaign, or special branding collateral for the company van.
Excitement over these facets is understandable and encouraged, but they are tactics. Essentially, they are the walls, windows, and siding of your marketing efforts house.
However, as any good builder knows, you need a solid foundation before you can add anything else.
In other words, your marketing needs to have certain basic components locked in.
These foundational elements should be created, gathered, or executed by your in-house marketing team or your outsourced solution at the beginning. Whatever strategy you create or collaborate on will not succeed without them.
Here are 8 key components your B2B business needs to build out a winning marketing strategy.
1. Set goals for success
This reason ranks number one because it highlights the aim of a marketing strategy to a business.
You need goals that will guide your strategy towards success. Success is the keyword here because you will need to decide what ‘success’ in marketing looks like.
ROI on your marketing spend and overall growth for your business is an obvious goal, but does it look like building your brand in your market, establishing your expertise, nurturing your current customer base, or generating new customers?
Deciding on the goals depends on the vision you have for your company’s future but setting goals as a part of your marketing strategy can help you get there and ensures alignment with leadership.
2. Ensure your marketing goals are SMART
While setting your goals for a great strategy, it’s just the start. Your strategy needs to be SMART.
With each of these characteristics locked in, your strategy will become even more useful and valuable to your marketing efforts.
3. Create your marketing program/mix
No matter what stage of growth your company is in, you’ll need to decide on what marketing program(s) you want to pursue. The program will be based on your strategy and help direct what type of campaigns, tactics, and platforms you’ll be using. For convenience and clarification, we’ve separated types of marketing programs into three categories.
This type is essentially about name recognition. It’s an especially effective program for a brand-new company or business trying to break into the B2B sector or specific industry. Your strategy and campaigns are focused on getting your marketing to engage with your brand.
Potential customers or clients may know who you are, but you need to make them want your offerings. You’ll be engaged with strategies that provide thought leadership and educational value. Your goal is to leverage interest into intent through good positioning and differentiation.
Lead gen is about capturing as many marketing-qualified leads as possible (which you should tightly define as well). The strategy here is to take interest and intent and make them into action. Depending on your campaigns and goals, that action could look like responding to an email or filling out the contact form.
4. Conduct a competition and market analysis
Most businesses can recognize the value of analyzing their competitors and markets.
At a basic level, you identify the competitors in your market, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and find the gap your business can leverage for profit and expansion.
In marketing, there are several areas you’ll want to specifically target.
- What campaigns are they running?
- What channels or platforms do they promote their products or services on?
- What’s the content and tone of their messaging?
- What marketing materials do they use, i.e., podcasts, blogs, ads, newsletters?
- What are the keywords they build their collateral around?
Note: this list is by no means exhaustive. There are many parts to competitor and market analysis.
At the end of the day, your marketing strategy (assuming you’ve done a thorough analysis and knocked the other parts of your system out of the park) allows you to do marketing better than your competition.
5. Find your target audience
Another key component for a winning b2b marketing strategy is a specific audience you want to reach with your campaigns.
Instead of the what or how of your strategy, it’s the who.
Here are a few things to consider in your audience targeting.
1. What’s the size of your audience? Is it niche or overly broad? Are they focused on a specific geographic area?
2. Who’s making the decision here? Are you targeting a c-suite executive or a business looking to replace its ventilation system? The answer may impact what channels you target, and it’ll certainly impact your marketing content.
3. What do they want? Consider pain points and shared concerns in their industry or market. Go a level deeper. Do they want cybersecurity services, or do they want peace of mind that they are safe from cyber threats? Probably the latter.
4. How do they buy? Do they buy online? Is the sales cycle a long one with multiple consultations? Will they pick up the phone or fill out a form?
Do your industry research and craft a buyer persona development. This way, you’ll be able to nail down the view from 10,000 feet and zero in on your specific audience. Your strategy will be individualized to the people your product or service is intended for.
6. Present consistent messaging
You don’t have tone, intent, and wording nailed down without a marketing strategy. You need to know whom you’re talking to (covered above) and what they want to hear.
When you speak to direct needs with empathy, your messaging and your strategy will be much more successful.
7. Minimize wasteful spending
“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker.
This quote is perfect for this next component on our list. A good strategy should ensure you are accurately measuring your spending on marketing. Once every dollar is designated and therefore managed. You’ll stop spending money on obsolete platforms and tools that don’t align with your goals or budget. You can then maximize your spending. Put simply; you see the best ROI for your budget.
8. Automate your marketing processes and tactics
Why? Because automation improves capacity and effectiveness.
If you incorporate some key automation into your b2b marketing strategy, you’ll be able to launch more campaigns and refine tactics.
There are many software and service platforms to consider in your automation journey. Which tools you choose can depend on your marketing program and budget, but here are some of the most common and popular in marketing.
You made it! Now that you understand the foundations of a profitable marketing strategy, you can take the next step: making your own.
When you’re ready to start putting it together, we can help.
If you’re struggling to home in on the details or are feeling overwhelmed by creating a strategy, it might be good to get some expert insight.
At New North, we’re one of the top B2B marketing agencies in the US.
We’ve helped B2B firms to build user bases, drive more sales, and grow – and we’re confident we can help you, too.
Schedule a free consultation, and let’s get into the specifics, so you can craft a B2B marketing strategy that’s best for you.