Fundamentals of a successful B2B marketing strategy
Beth Comstock once said “Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.”
Delivering an efficient and effective B2B demand generation strategy is no easy feat and now there are an incredible number of factors to take into consideration.
Objectives, audience type, culture, message, structure of sales, making content relevance, conversion being considerably difficult through digital channels, and the desired result to name a few.
Our experience in designing and implementing B2B demand generation programs has helped us build a unique methodology that we apply to each of our client’s individual needs. What we’ve learnt is that one size does not fit all, and innovation and flexibility is crucial. To demonstrate our method, we’ve used the image of an ancient temple.
Read on to find out how to make the most of your demand generation strategy.
Nothing works without a solid foundation
Without a strong foundation, the ancient temples in Greece would not have stood the test of time. When you start planning any marketing strategy you need to consider the foundation needed to support your campaign; without it your strategy will fall short very quickly.
Keeping in mind your company objectives, your strategy needs to include three elements: a performance marketing approach, clear targeting and segmentation, and messages in line with your audience buyer’s personas. Let’s look at them in detail.
1. Performance Marketing
We all know about SMART objectives, so what is different today?
The difference is today’s technology and systems can track your target audience in real time. We can report to management at a click of a button, and adjust and amend campaigns where needed to ensure it’s more effective.
It’s also important that objectives and measurements are shared among all players in the ecosystem; external players such as media owners, marketing agencies, sales channels, and internal players such as marketing and sales teams.
Sharing the same objectives also means shared remuneration/success as it’s linked to their achievement.
So many programs fail due to the misalignment among all key players or when adjustments are not implemented quickly enough.
2. Targeting and Data Segmentation
The second building block is precise market segmentation, targeting and the availability of the right data to address them.
Thanks to the power of technology, it’s possible to collect and analyse huge amounts of information from prospect companies down to single decision makers, their interests and their position in the buying process.
Artificial Intelligence will further push our ability to use data and will become one of the most disruptive factors in the coming years. If you run your campaigns without a clear target in mind and no understanding of their behaviour the results will only disappoint you.
3. Content Development
The third part of your foundation is content. It needs to be fresh, original, personalised and most importantly, relevant to each buyer’s persona. As data on potential buyers continues to grow exponentially, we can now change the content accordingly to suit the media channel it’s delivered through and the time sent.
Frequently producing fresh, relevant, and engaging content is no easy task, and as digital’s reach continues to increase so has its importance. Unfortunately, many companies follow old procedures and approaches, and continue to release large volumes of content with no relevance to the user and the added risk of oversaturating the market.
So now that your foundation is set, your objectives, your customer’s persona and your messages are clearly defined you can move into the design of the communication strategy.
No single communication channel fits all
Every marketer would agree the importance of using an omnichannel approach in the design and delivery of an effective campaign as customers interact with companies through a number of ways and via a number of different mediums. You need to ensure that the experience is smooth, seamless, and effective.
Such an approach would mean achieving more efficient results by optimising the marketing costs. High touch media (i.e. outbound calls or events) can be used on a minor scale and mainly once the lower costs media (i.e. social and programmatic advertising) has already “initiated” and “nurtured” the relationship with prospects.
Companies should, however, watch out for internal silos which can create real obstacles in the effectiveness of your approach by breaking up the multiple customer touch points and the related interactions (you can read further on this topic here).
Putting it all together
Another obstacle companies need to overcome is technology integration.
To execute a successful omnichannel strategy marketing automation tools, company CRM, Lead Management System, Social Listening tools and Outbound Call systems should be fully integrated in order to provide a holistic view of the customers and prospects, and maximise the chance of conversion.
It’s not just about using the correct technology, but dedicating time and effort in researching all the latest trends. Technology is constantly evolving and ensuring you’re up-to-date is crucial in remaining relevant in today’s competitive marketplace.
Artificial Intelligence is expected to play a huge role in data segmentation in the years to come and will not doubt become a disruptive figure for marketers. Technology affects everything and its importance cannot be downplayed, and neither can your reliance on it.
Not many companies today are at this stage of technology integration and they need to watch out as technology can quickly move from being an enabler to an obstacle to success.
Alliances and Partners
If your company like many others In the IT, telco, insurance, and automotive industries heavily rely on alliances and channel partners to serve their clients then you need to consider their role in your strategy.
Demand generation engines only provide results if the entire process from start to finish works in synchronisation.
Today a considerable number of programs fail to deliver their expected results because the last step of the process is not fully integrated. When opportunities are passed onto partners; 80% of leads are lost, ignored, or discarded by sales.
The alliances and partners need to be informed about your demand generation programmes, their own value proposition integrated, trained on how to make an effective follow-up, and motivated and rewarded for the achievement of the targeted results.
Extending far beyond the marketing department, account-based marketing forms the foundations of a company’s sales strategy. It helps departments across the business work together with the common aim of engaging and retaining customers and prospects while also growing revenue.
In the digital world, where it sometimes feels the only winning strategy is to make them come to you, the key to success is the ability to spread relevant content, through the relevant channels to your target audience at the right time.
The right ABM strategy brings together a number of benefits. It starts with understanding clients in enough depth to create propositions that help them achieve their specific objectives and build relationships with them. Through integrated sales and marketing activities that resonate with them you will sell more. Bottom line, ABM will increase your revenue (you can read more in this article).
Delivering an efficient and effective demand generation strategy in B2B while considering all these factors is no easy task. You need to keep up to date with the constant changes in the ecosystem while making sure you build a strong and solid strategy that will deliver the expected results. This is our recipe.
Download the PDF: Fundamentals of a successful B2B marketing strategy – Expandi Group