A good marketing plan can help you reach your target audience, boost your customer base, and ultimately, increase your bottom line.1 Companies that plan, grow 30% faster than those that don’t.2 Building a strategic marketing plan and then putting it into action is something every B2B company needs to learn how to do. So far, relatively few have mastered it. And for those who have created a plan, very few stick to it in order to benefit from the investment. Many companies implement ad-hoc marketing tactics and then discount the value of marketing because they don’t see any results.
Marketing is a science
You need to follow your marketing plan the way you would follow a recipe. You can’t just take the ingredients out of the fridge and expect that when you put them on the counter they will be cookies. You need to mix them in the right order, bake them at the right temperature for the right amount of time before you can enjoy the delicious dessert. Marketing is no different. You can’t just launch a website and expect that leads will flow in. You need to set goals, identify the tactics you need implement, execute them in the right order for the right amount of time and to see the results. Ordering branded hats, making a PowerPoint presentation and submitting an ad to a trade publication is not strategic marketing. To be truly successful you need to be setting goals, understanding your audience, building campaigns to target them strategically, using the right mix of tactics to reach your audience and evaluating the success of each campaign.
Success takes time
Let’s assume you are among the minority who have taken the time to build a strategic plan. Now what? Many companies don’t implement it at all, and for those that do execute the plan they often don’t stick with it because they don’t see immediate results. Marketing is a process and takes time but if you stick to the plan you will see the results. Make sure you give each tactic the time it needs to generate results. You can’t build a PPC campaign and run it for a month and then decide it’s not working. You need to give it three months to see what results you can achieve. You need time to develop trends and understand how your audience reacts to different types of content. Don’t just produce an amazing infographic, post it on your website and then decide it didn’t perform. You researched the content, designed a great piece and now you need to invest the time to get it out to your audience. You also need to remember that people won’t just hear about your brand once and then will immediately buy from you. Repeated touchpoints are required for a buyer to decide to purchase and that also takes time. But if you stick to the plan and continue to hit your audience with great content at a great cadence you will see the impact of your efforts.
Analyze and Optimize
The best part about a strategic plan is that you have metrics to track. By holding yourself accountable to the goals you set out you can evaluate your results and identify ways to optimize your campaigns to ensure that you are getting the most out of your investment. Maybe you need to sponsor a post or place an ad on social media to take your results to the next level. Perhaps you need to adjust the placement of an asset on your website. Minor tweaks can deliver big results but if you don’t stick to the plan and you abandon ship every time you do something and don’t get an immediate spike you will never have the opportunity to optimize. Just be sure you don’t change everything at once. It’s critical to make one adjustment at a time so you can assess the impact. Remember, marketing is a science. You have your controlled experiment and then each sample only gets one thing adjusted so you can confidently draw conclusions at the end as to which factors drove the desired results.
Don’t be the one who approved the purchase order for 1,000 branded pens and then feel disappointed that you aren’t seeing an increase in revenue as a result. Be strategic with your planning but most importantly stick to the plan! Want to learn more about getting the most out of your marketing? Download our newest whitepaper: Executive Guide to Strategic B2B Marketing