4 REALLY GOOD REASONS TO REVISIT YOUR MARKETING PLANS
Strategic B2B marketing plans for small- to mid-size companies should be structured, realistic and doable. You need to begin with a clear strategy and use the right tools to translate that strategy into action. As with any plan, there are internal and external factors at work. Successful companies respond by constantly testing, refining and amending their plans. Here are four situations that should make you revisit your marketing plans:
1. CHANGES IN EXTERNAL MARKET CONDITIONS
All markets and industries change over time. It’s important to regularly monitor and evaluate external market conditions and factor them into your strategic plans. Sometimes you’re facing major economic shifts, like recessions, and other times changes occur on a customer and competitor level. Work with your management, sales and customer care teams to build a detailed picture of your market, and then validate and complete the picture by doing customer and competitor research. Gaining a 360-degree view of your market is one the most crucial business exercises. Companies that don’t take the time to do this can get blindsided by new competitors, changing customer perceptions, emerging technologies and other major market changes.
When market conditions change, it’s not only time to revisit your marketing plans but also your unique value proposition (UVP). For example, if your UVP was originally based on being first to market but your competitors are now offering a similar product, you need to decide what still makes your product unique, and then promote it. Decide whether yours is the premium brand, the value brand, the green brand, the one that offers the best customer care or the simplest installations/integrations, etc. Successful B2B companies keep tabs on shifting market conditions, ensure that their UVP is truly unique and factor it all into their marketing plans.
2. NEW COMPANY SITUATION
It’s not only external factors that affect your company’s marketing strategy. Your company’s own skills, resources and capabilities also play key roles. Like most B2B companies, you likely started out with little to no reputation in the marketplace, but within a year or two of implementing a strategic marketing plan, you’ve become known and recognized. If you’ve worked hard to build a good reputation, you should seize the opportunity to put a new marketing strategy in place to leverage that reputation and continue to build upon it. Add thought leadership marketing to your toolkit and use your expertise and experience to establish your company as the chief resource for specific knowledge in your industry. Thought leadership can come in many different forms, including white papers, articles, blogs, videos and webinars. Nearly every single B2B buyer (96%)1 is asking for more content from thought leaders in their industry. Use it to show that you understand your customers' pain points and solve their problems.
3. GROWING MARKETING CAPACITY
Once a B2B company has a marketing strategy and established processes in place, it’s usually able to take on more marketing activities. For example, once the team has done a few webinars, it develops an efficient system of production, promotion and presentation. It needs to exert less time and energy on the webinar and now has the bandwidth to spin off other content based on the webinar, like a white paper, a couple of blogs and even an infographic. When your marketing team becomes more efficient, they can add initiatives to their plans without requiring additional resources. Marketing automation can also help you do more with fewer hands. At the same time, it allows you to easily determine what’s working, what isn’t and measure the return on investment of any given campaign. Learn more about marketing automation here.
4. EVOLVING MARKETING TACTICS
Marketing is always changing. What works to drive and nurture leads one year can stop working the next, plus new ways of marketing are constantly being introduced. Who could have foretold the introduction (and almost immediate dominance) of social media in our lives? Such shifts in communication patterns and technology mean that companies can never rest on last year’s plan. You need to balance your use of proven tactics with the introduction of new tactics, retiring the old ones that show declining results and testing new ones to see what works.
Succeeding in this new world of buying, selling and marketing isn’t just about updating your website or launching a new lead campaign. To survive, you need to constantly try, test and evolve. The eight lessons you’ve learned over this blog series represent the strategic keys to success along the journey. The next step is tactical implementation. In my book, Walking On The Moon, you’ll find a practical guide to help you successfully implement the tactics of B2B marketing. Or, if you want to discuss how we can help you build or refine your strategic marketing program, let’s talk.