It’s that time of year again. You know, when you’re thinking about your marketing efforts of the past year, and wondering if some outside help is the best way to get your marketing function working the way it should. We know - we hear from a lot of executives of B2B companies starting at this time of year.
Before you get in touch with a marketing consultant, there are a few things that we at Mezzanine think you should consider. After all, when you make that phone call or write that email, you want to be able to tell the consultant what it is you need!
So you want to improve the results of your marketing. B2B companies who want to grow often begin by thinking about how to attract new customers and grow their brand awareness. Often, that's a good place to start with marketing. But it isn't always the best pace to start. Based on our experience, we find a lot of companies should think about a couple of other areas when it comes to developing a marketing strategy and pursuing growth through marketing. Here are a few tips:
Testing the Waters
Before working with a marketing consultant to build a plan for pursuing new customers, think about these two important areas:
1. Existing customers
- Are your relationships with your customers as fruitful and profitable as they could be?
- Do customers know about the full breadth of services that you offer? Could your customers be buying more products and services from you?
- Have you offered subscription services (like preventative maintenance programs) to your customer base?
- Are you doing anything to enable customers to help you promote your business?
2. ExpectationsYou've reviewed your efforts with your existing customer base and have decided that you're doing a reasonable job with them, and it's time to pursue new customers. If you're going to work with a marketing consultant to build your marketing plan (and potentially execute it), make sure the expectations are clearly established. Here are a few areas to consider:
- The best way to measure success is to have a benchmark. Be clear on what your starting point is.
- If there is no benchmark, set some as soon as possible – the important thing is to have a point of reference.
- The only truly effective measure of success for your company's marketing is to compare it to past efforts. Apply external benchmarks with caution. If you've done no marketing in the past, your first year (or quarter) of efforts will be your starting point.
Then Jump In
Once you’ve considered these points, you’ll be in a much better position to talk with a marketing consultant about where your priorities lies and what your expectations are. That will save you time in assessing which consultant is best for you to work with, and for the consultant to align with yoru objectives. Which means you can get to work on your marketing plan faster.
For details on finding your target market, value proposition and positioning, click here.