B2B marketing is about meeting the needs of other businesses. How can your product or service help another business succeed? What solutions can you offer?
You don’t know unless you have a plan. A marketing plan will help you determine the strategies and tactics to help another business, and yours, accomplish marketing and business goals. Without a strategy, a nation won’t win the war, a team won’t win the game, and your business won’t win customers.
“Business strategy is the battle plan for a better future.” – Patrick Dixon, Global Change Ltd.
No matter the size of your company (Fortune 500 companies or mom and pop stores) or the type of business (software solutions or soft serve ice cream), a marketing strategy is essential.
Marketing Strategy Defined
A marketing strategy is your battle plan to generate business. It should be based on in-depth market research and analysis, which will help you identify market size, sales potential, target market, etc. This knowledge will help companies determine the strategic tools (i.e. tactics) that will be most effective. These tools boil down to the best methods for communicating and collaborating with a business customer. And those methods can, in general, be broken down into two categories: the old and the new.
1) Old, meaning those tactics that are proven and time-tested. These include trade shows and conferences, publicity in trade publications, sales prospecting, and direct mail. These tactics helped B2B marketing emerge as a stand-alone discipline in the 1960s and 1970s. And they remain valuable tools for many businesses.
But B2B marketing has evolved, and businesses are replacing the old with the new or integrating the new with the old.
2) New, referring largely to digital marketing. It makes sense to go where your audience is, and it seems most are online in some capacity. Digital marketing offers businesses a multitude of online vehicles to help them build awareness and supports sales efforts in meeting customers’ needs.
Lead generation is often the goal of many businesses. And more and more businesses are finding success by taking a digital marketing approach.
Specifically, content marketing is trending as the new “direct mail,” offering a softer, more educational approach while producing results and driving down costs per lead.
More buyers are taking control of their purchasing power. They feel more empowered, requiring businesses to sell more value to them. Content marketing strategy helps businesses make important buying decisions. Content marketing is carried out in many forms – web experiences, social media, infographics, etc. Again, which specific tactics you employ depends on many variables based on your content marketing strategy. You might also consider b2b email marketing and b2b marketing automation to meet your goals here.
What works for one B2B company may not work for another.