What comes to your mind when you think of a B2B marketing strategy? You probably think of marketing channels like email and content. Or, you may think in terms of marketing goals, such as demand generation or brand awareness.
Either way, you will be thinking in the right direction. Ultimately, a B2B marketing strategy is a combination of these elements. But, it isn’t an assortment of random marketing channels and methods.
Instead, a B2B marketing strategy process involves several steps of planning, which we will discuss in this article.
Table of Contents
- Why do you need a marketing strategy for your B2B brand?
- Marketing strategy vs marketing tactics
- Four Steps to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy For Your Brand
- The bottom line
But First, Why Do You Need A Marketing Strategy For Your B2B Brand?
B2B marketing is vastly different from B2C marketing. The average B2B buying decision, on average, involves seven decision makers. As a result, sales cycles are much longer. B2B buyers also use as many as ten marketing channels to interact with brands.
Due to the complex nature of B2B marketing and sales, it is challenging to build a pipeline, generate leads, drive growth, and win and retain customers. The missing piece in the puzzle? A B2B marketing mix strategy that aligns with your marketing goals.
B2B Marketing Strategy Vs Marketing Tactics
Often, marketers think that ‘marketing strategy’ is just another term for tactics. But it is not. Simply put, a tactic is a tool. A strategy is a plan which involves using these tactics to achieve a goal.
Let us understand this difference through an example. Suppose your B2B marketing strategy is aimed towards the following goals:
- Achieve 50,000 newsletter subscriptions over the next 6 months.
- Target people who are interested in your product and are aged between 30 and 50 years old.
- Use email campaigns, SEO, paid search engine ads, and LinkedIn targeting.
In this example, your B2B marketing strategy includes the following marketing tactics:
- Email marketing
- SEO and content
- Search engine advertising
- LinkedIn (organic and paid ads)
Further, your strategy should delve into how these tactics are to be used, and what are the goals for each tactic.
Four Steps to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy For Your Brand
#1 Understand The Market You’re Operating In
Understanding the market you’re operating in includes having a thorough assessment of your competitors, their positioning in your market, and knowing their strengths and weaknesses. Then, you must outline your unique value proposition, i.e., how your business stands out.
Finally, you should understand where your company stands, and what are the opportunities you are yet to explore.
#2 Define Your Ideal Customer Profile
Once you understand your market, it is time to analyze who the people you want to sell to are. Who is your target audience? You can ask the following questions to create an ideal customer profile:
- Who are you marketing to? What are their demographics? Where are they located?
- What are their pain points? How does your product or service solve them?
- Are all your prospects the same, or do they have important distinctions and fall into separate personas?
- Are they different from your competitors’ targets?
- Where can you connect with them? Which channels do they prefer?
Remember that starting out with a comprehensive customer profile is the fulcrum of a B2B marketing strategy. If you do not understand your customers, you may be unable to figure out how to sell to them.
#3 Set Your B2B Marketing Goals
Once you have nailed down step 1 and step 2, you can start setting your marketing goals. They have to align with your overall business goals and are entirely up to you, your industry, your business growth, and other factors. No matter the case, here are four things you should keep in mind.
- Sales-marketing alignment: Make sure that your marketing and sales team are on the same page and work towards a common goal.
- Set a concrete timeline: You can set goals for the next month, quarter, or year.
- Make sure your goals are easy to measure: When you can measure your goals, you are in a much better position to understand what works and what doesn’t!
- Define high level goals first: Your overall marketing strategy should have high-level goals, focusing on the big picture stuff. Later, as you list out your tactics, you can define goal metrics for each tactic. Which is the next step!
#4 List Down The Tactics You’ll Need to Use
How exactly will you reach your goals? At this point, there is no room for guesswork or trial and error. Use your goals as the guide to select your tactics and develop your marketing mix strategy.
For example, if you want to create brand awareness among the Gen Z demographic, you should probably focus more on channels that appeal to them. Social media, SEO, and short videos like Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and TikTok. You can avoid channels like print ads in newspapers.
Once you have selected your distribution channels, define your channel-specific marketing metrics and goals. For example, you can aim for 1 million views over the next month. And since you will need to create content, it is best to have a targeted plan in place for your short-video campaign.
Finally, understand how each tactic will work in conjunction with where your customers are in their buyers’ journey. Short videos are engaging, educational, and fun. So, it is best to use this tactic to educate customers about the usefulness of your product rather than promote your brand.
The Bottom Line
B2B marketing relies on careful planning, consideration, and precise targeting. Every marketing tactic and distribution channel you use should focus on finding prospects who are interested in your product and have the intent to make a purchase. To build a clear and engaging narrative out of your B2B marketing program, you need a well-designed marketing strategy.