What is a Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy is a coherent and agreed upon process formed with the aim of increased revenue and market share. Broadly speaking, marketing strategies refer to the set of actions designed to meet your business goals.
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Marketing strategies should contain three important elements:
- Who your target customers are
- How to reach your target customers
- How to retain your customers
Your marketing strategy is effectively your company’s roadmap to success.
There are also a number of other items to consider as you form your strategy.
- Your unique selling point (USP): Your USP is vital as it will help to differentiate you from your competitors and highlight to customers where the value of your product lies. How you articulate and define your USP will be one of the most important tasks in your marketing strategy.
- Pricing: Pricing is a critical element of your marketing strategy. Deciding on a suitable price for your product will have an effect on your positioning, promotion, and even the features you offer. Before you decide on a price, you must consider the price of rival product offerings, your target customer’s willingness to pay, your own company’s objectives, and how you plan to position your product e.g. if you plan to promote your product as the best in its class then a low price might harm your product.
- Positioning: Positioning is related to pricing but is an important consideration in its own right. You must consider whether to make a play for a segment of an established market, going head to head with established rivals in the process or whether you want to try and carve out a niche market for a new product.
- Offers: Offers are the type of deals you put together to win new customers. An example might be the free trial offer many b2b software companies offer today. Products with limited features available at a lower price is another popular offer. Perform a cost benefit analysis on which offers suit your company’s product best before roll out.
- Content: As buyers grow more independent and self directed, companies have turned to content to power their marketing strategies. Look to create high quality content that can bring potential customers to your website.
- Promotion: How you promote your product is another key consideration. Does it make sense for your product to go down the route of paid advertising, or should you handle the promotion in-house with a series of blog posts and social media activities?
- PR: Good PR can bring enormous benefits to your company. For early stage companies PR can be especially valuable helping to put their product on the map.
- Referral Strategy: One of the best ways to win new business can be a referral by an existing customer. Look at ways you can stimulate referrals. You should take the time to draw a list of existing clients who may be willing to, or have already referred clients to your company. From here, you should look to develop a referral follow up and conversion strategy. Don’t leave this important area to chance.
- Conversion Strategy: What tactics do you use to convert website visitors into leads. Regularly test the various calls to action (CTAs) on your website to see how they are performing. Continue to tweak the visuals and language until you land on a winning formula.
- Financial Projections: Put together a plan to forecasts the contribution of marketing to overall pipeline. What are the financial aims of your marketing strategy? Document your targets and reassess at the end of each quarter.
Why is a Marketing Strategy Important?
Your b2b marketing strategy sets out a clear vision for your company’s future. A cohesive and clearly laid out strategy helps to clarify your business’s goals, aims, and activities. Strategic marketing can also help to prioritize each of your tasks as they arrive.
Marketing strategies can help you to maximize the resources at your disposal. For example, an early stage company might focus on a predominantly digital or online marketing strategy to make the most out of their limited resources, while a firmly established and larger rival might incorporate more expensive trade show and conference speaking engagements into their strategy.
Today’s b2b landscape can be a noisy place making it difficult to get your message across. Content is being produced at a rapid rate as companies switch their focus to inbound marketing. Your content marketing plan makes up an increasingly large part of your company’s strategy. You should look to create an editorial calendar for your blog and regularly publish unique and high quality pieces of content. Remember, the competition is fierce so you can’t compromise on quality when it comes to content marketing.
Marketing Strategy Best Practices
As you develop your marketing strategy there are a number of best practices to follow.
Search Engine Optimization(SEO): The modern buyer completes up to 57% of the buying process before the sales rep is engaged. Buyers spend their time educating themselves online taking advantage of the plethora of free information online via blog posts, whitepapers, and case studies. Before the buyer engages your rep he will know all about your product as well as your competitors. To get the buyer’s attention you will need an effective SEO strategy. This strategy might mean creating content that focuses on keyword terms around your product offering or consistently creating high quality content to improve the authority of your site.
Put a stop to the “Where did I leave that file” routine: Even the most well thought out marketing strategy can suffer if inefficiencies run rife in your organization. One of the most common issues in business today is the time spent searching for and recreating lost files. Research has shown that knowledge workers spend 6.5 to 8.8 hours per week searching for information. Look towards sales enablement solutions that provide your marketing team with instant access to content regardless of where it is stored.
Map your content to each stage in the buying process: Content lies at the heart of your sales and marketing strategy. As you set about creating content to power your inbound marketing machine, look to eliminate gaps in your content strategy. Blog posts, for example, will generally focus on top of the funnel. High quality, bottom of the funnel content that can help your sales team close deals is also an integral part of your strategy.
Written by Cóbhan Phillipson