B2B Marketing Plan ||2015.
B2B Marketing Plan ||2015
Like most marketers, you’ve probably either already started or already finished your marketing plan for next year. I finished mine a few weeks ago, and one thing I noticed is that every year, my plan more closely integrates the marketing and sales process. And no matter how many marketing and social media tools we have at our disposal, our marketing plan really needs to get down to the basics of marketing – especially in a B2B strategy where marketers really need to understand customer mentality, market segmentation and rely heavily on market research.
Here are five considerations for B2B marketers when putting together next year’s marketing plan:
Have you positioned your company?
If your marketing plan does not have “unique selling proposition” written somewhere in it, your marketing strategy is flawed. How can you position your company’s brand?
· Perform a general company SWOT analysis and focus on the Opportunities quadrant
· Perform a brand mapping exercise to see where you are in terms of price/quality and other brand characteristics
· Analyze past customer feedback
While all positioning strategies focus on price, type of product or service, customer service and market location; in a B2B marketing strategy your positioning statement will affect your digital and social media strategies and how you convey your message to consumers.
Is your plan optimized for local vs. global strategy?
If you’re saying, “my company is local we don’t even need a marketing plan”, you’re wrong. All companies need a marketing plan to define how to best sell to their target market. Local companies need to focus highly on customer centricity to make sure their customers stay loyal, and more importantly they need to be highly in tune with market trends to know if their local little business is going to be sustainable.
If your company focuses on multiple geographic regions, your marketing plan should focus on segmentation. Break your markets down by country, or region, and define the trends and needs in each region and what strategies you can use to reach those markets. Then break your markets down by sector and/or business lines and see where the strategies overlap. This will help you know who to target in each area and how.
Separate lead generation and branding strategies.
Generally in B2B marketing, the goal of any marketing campaign is either driven by lead generation or branding. It is important to know the difference when drafting the marketing plan. Branding may mean investing financial resources in the short term for long term benefits such as website updates, mailing campaigns, networking events and perhaps even a rebranding strategy. Lead Generation means seeing results in the short term; but this also means knowing exactly which market to target to maximize return on investment in these leads.
In your marketing plan, separate your marketing activities by lead generation vs branding results. This will help you decide which digital and social media marketing tools to use as well as help you define your budget and know where to allocate financial, human and time resources.
Does your plan have a customer centricity strategy?
I’ve mentioned before that customer centricity – or creating a positive experience during pre-sales, point of sale and post-sale – is crucial for B2B marketing. B2B companies which apply a customer relationship management strategy reported 31% more revenue growth.
You can build your customer centricity strategy throughout your marketing plan by adapting your various positioning, segmentation and promotional strategies to the customer. Build customer surveys and feedback into your market research strategy; and define marketing activities through digital and social media channels that encourage customer interaction. For example, focus on how to get your audience more involved in your blog or how to send more customer centric email campaigns rather than promotional campaigns.
Know where to invest your financial and time resources.
Given the above considerations, you should now have an idea of where you need to invest your resources – both your financial budget and your time. If your strategy focuses on branding and building a reputation and following, you may need to dedicate more financial resources to attending industry events, hiring marketing and/or web design agencies to help with updating content, etc. If you are focusing on lead generation, it may mean dedicating more time to market research and lead analysis. You will be able to use your positioning and segmentation analysis to determine your marketing strategy (lead generation vs. branding) and then the tools you want to use. You’ll know whether to go for the freebie digital marketing tools, the small budget items of the true investments such as CRMs or lead generation tools.