B2B Marketing Blog

Why B2B Companies Need to Focus on Marketing Strategy Before Tactics – Amanda Steeves

Jul 13, 2012 4:00:51 AM / by The Mezzanine Group

Over the years, we’ve written a number of blogs and articles that included a framework for marketing strategy development, making the linkage clear between marketing strategy and corporate strategy.

In this blog post, I'd like to emphasize 4 reasons why B2B companies need to address their marketing strategy before executing even one marketing tactic. When SMBs approach us to help with their marketing, it’s often because they’ve spent a lot of time and effort on marketing tactics without any real business result. The reason? They don’t have a strategy.

And for the companies we work with who are seeking to take their growth to the next level, having a solid marketing strategy in place is absolutely essential to success.

Reason #1 – Get clear on your target market(s) and their buying behaviour.

In B2B, the buying process can be complicated, in some cases long, and often involves a number of stakeholders. Understanding who you are selling to, who needs to be influenced, and how they are making their purchase decisions is critical to knowing how to reach them, what messages they need to receive, and what tactics will help with converting them to a sale.

Reason #2 – Clarify and/or develop competitive advantage.

Recently, I wrote two blogs on competitive advantage – How to Improve Marketing Messages with Competitive Advantage and 5 Tips for Defining Competitive Advantage. Many companies don’t understand how they differentiate and need to differentiate in the market. The very foundation for effective marketing is the creation of an ownable competitive advantage and the support of marketing messages. Without the right message, you can’t develop and implement tactics.

Reason #3 – Review and confirm opportunities.

Part of any strategy process is discussing the opportunities that exist for the business. The discussion will often include a new product or service that needs to be launched, changes in a regulation, enhancements to existing products or services, new vertical opportunities, new certifications, etc. For each opportunity, you need to identify:

  • Timing - When will a new product be ready? When is a new regulation coming into effect?
  • Feasibility - Is the business’ infrastructure already set-up to pursue the opportunity?
  • Market potential - How lucrative is each opportunity? Is this for existing customers, new customers, or both?
  • Ramifications - Will the pursuit of that opportunity lead to customer confusion, potential cannibalization, or reaction from competitors?
  • Quick wins - Which opportunities are low-hanging fruit and can lead to quick sales (versus those that require a longer-term approach)?

Reason #4 – Gain consensus on priorities.

Developing a marketing strategy helps a company prioritize. In B2B, there are often a number of target markets, vertical markets, and geographical markets, which can cause a company to stretch too thin when compounded with a number of different opportunities. And for SMBs especially, they often don’t have the budget to pursue every market and every opportunity. A good marketing strategy should prioritize marketing efforts so that short-term goals are met while longer-term objectives are taken into account.

Focused and integrated marketing tactics that are effectively tailored for specific targets, verticals, and geographical markets are far more effective than attempting to be all things to all people. Think of marketing as a stack of paper. You lay a few sheets down to form the foundation, and then over time add more and more to the stack. Marketing isn’t a one-time event; it’s an evolving set of activities. The more strategic the approach to marketing, the more successful the activities and ultimately, the more impact on the bottom line.

Does your company lack a marketing strategy? Are you entering a new phase in the evolution of your growth and need to have a strategy in place? Do you know you need a strategy but don’t know how to get started? We get it.

Learn more about our marketing strategy services, or give us a call at 416-598-4684 to discuss marketing strategy for your business.

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Topics: Marketing Strategy and Planning