Three common features of effective marketing strategies in the B2B sphere
There’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ B2B marketing strategy. This is because the best marketing strategies are those that are tailored to fit the specific requirements and quirks of the particular brand, product and market. In the B2B sphere, however, there are three key features that all effective marketing strategies have in common.
1. Effective marketing strategies employ pull tactics.
The most effective marketing tactics today are those that eschew outdated ‘push’ marketing tactics in favour of ‘pull’ marketing tactics. Push tactics focus on sending your marketing messages out into the world and hoping that just the right person takes notice at just the right time. No prizes for working out why it’s often nicknamed the ‘spray and pray’ approach.
The crux of the issue is that for magazine advertising, radio show sponsorship or trade show exhibitions – all classic examples of push marketing tactics – to work, they need to catch the eye of a person who already knows that they need your product.
Pull tactics, on the other hand, attract people who don’t even know that they need your product yet or are actively looking for it. They do this by taking advantage of the way that modern consumers behave. For example, when someone has a problem or challenge, they usually start researching potential solutions online. The kind of information that they find will have a huge effect on the product or service they end up purchasing. By creating useful content around the challenges that your product or service satisfies, pull tactics attract – and influence – the right consumers.
2. Effective marketing strategies target multiple decision makers.
In the B2B realm, decisions are hardly ever made by just one person. Invariably, B2B sales cycles are lengthy processes that require authorisation from multiple people in different echelons of the company. The most effective marketing strategies are those that design programmes that target each person likely to be involved in the decision making process, from the secretary, to the operations manager, to the CEO. Each one of these people has different requirements and responds to different messaging via different channels.
Similarly, there are multiple administrative functions that need to be targeted within a business. For example, if the operations manager signs off on your product but the finance manager thinks it’s overpriced, you aren’t going to make a sale. For a marketing strategy to get results, it needs to make sure that all the right administrative functions are addressed.
3. Effective marketing strategies align budget spikes to customer planning periods.
It may be tempting to pump extra budget into a marketing programme when a new product is launched, your new fiscal period starts or your sales are down and you need to stimulate activity. In reality, however, the most effective marketing strategies map budget spikes against customer planning and buying patterns.
Most B2B companies run planning cycles from January to December. This means that the months of October and November are usually spent researching potential solutions and vendors for the next year. It follows that you should kick your marketing efforts up a gear during these months in order to increase your chances of making it onto their vendor shortlists.
Keep in mind that it’s only during February and March that companies actually start implementing the new systems and products they settled on the previous November. It’s a good idea to up your game during this period too, to make sure that any last minute decisions are swayed in your favour.
Lastly, many B2B companies review their strategies, systems and vendors half way through the year, as some products will inevitably turn out to be a bad fit. It’s worth increasing your marketing spend around this time of year too, so that you’re easily found when disappointed companies need to find a better alternative to their original choices.
Author: Daryn Smith
Image credit: Cloud library