How to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy


How to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy

October 2019
How to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy

“The purpose of marketing often gets lost in a fluffy cloud of social media likes and brand measurements” so it's important to have a well-structured plan to approaching your marketing strategy.

In this podcast, Rudi and Mike explore the areas that need to be considered when creating a business to business marketing strategy and campaign plan. They talk through the entire process from beginning to end, including defining what constitutes a marketing strategy and exploring a variety of examples.

This podcast will cover:

•    What is a marketing strategy?
•    How to develop one?
•    Setting the context of your strategy and campaign plan
•    Objective setting
•    Creating campaigns to deliver.

Cover, context and competition

As Mike reminds us, “our reason for existence as marketers is to support the delivery of an organisation’s strategy and objectives.” Thus, a marketing strategy must start with defining the business’ strategy and following that to create measurable objectives. Within this, it’s vital to set the context of your strategy, beginning with defining the product, service or solution. 

From there, you need to consider your target market, specifically who will benefit from the features of your product and therefore who should be targeted by your campaign. Your market can then be segmented further, considering location, demographic and position in the supply chain. This breakdown of your market can help with targeting several decision makers within the supply chain, who may have different requirements and therefore lead you to adjust your strategy.

Another aspect that will influence your approach to marketing is your competition, so understanding them is crucial when creating your marketing strategy. Having a complete picture of who, what and where they are allows you to highlight how you and your product, service or solution, differs from theirs in a way that specifically addresses the customer’s need.

Organisation and objectives

While it’s important to consider your competition, it is equally important to look at your own organisation, examining the resources and skills available to you and assessing your capabilities e.g. if you create greater demand for your product, will you be able to meet it? The plan you create must support your organisation, not apply pressure or stretch your resources beyond their capacity.

Once you understand your competition, market and your own organisation, you can begin setting objectives to deliver the business strategy you have established. These need to be broken down into tangible measures of success and once you have established what success looks like, you can transform these into manageable objectives that will provide your campaign with clear focus.

Objectives themselves should then be broken down further into categories such as target markets, product/service line or geography. As Mike points out in this podcast, in practice, objectives are often divided using all these subcategories, rather than just one individual grouping.

Market modelling and ‘measure, test, adapt’

To ensure these objectives are realistic and achievable, you can look at historical sales or use market modelling to predict the success of your campaign plan. Although historical sales can provide a view of potential, future sales, it is important to remember that they are not dependable as the market can go up and down. When it comes to market modelling, you can forecast patterns of sales using statistical techniques, which Mike and Rudi examine in more detail in the podcast. However, as with using historical sales as a guide for future sales, the modelling has a level of uncertainty, which increases the further into the future you attempt to model. 

Once you have your targets, broken down by criteria, you collate these, and you have created your marketing strategy. Now, you need to design campaigns that will deliver these objectives. When working specifically business to business, there are often multiple decision makers and influencers within the supply chain, including sub-contractors, tradespeople, quality control etc. The key features that you identified as specifically addressing the customer’s need, will vary in importance depending on the decision maker in question. This is discussed in greater detail in the podcast itself.

With each decision maker in mind, the campaign will need to find a channel to deliver your campaign’s message. A channel is defined as the method of delivering this message, such as emails, television adverts, or newspaper advertising. When designing each strand of your campaign, you will need to consider the channel through which you deliver it, depending on which decision maker you are targeting.

Rudi raised an important point, asking how many channels you should aim to use, and whether you should target each decision maker separately, or focus on a few. This would depend on the extent of the buying market and the need of each stake holder within the supply chain.

Finally, an element of the marketing strategy that continues throughout the campaign: Measure, Test, Adapt. This requires you to monitor the market, assess the results, and be ready to adapt your strategy. 

To hear this discussed in more detail, along with further review of the timescale of creating and delivering a marketing strategy, the analysis of success and further relevant content, listen to the Copestone Podcast: How to create a B2B marketing strategy.

Feel free to learn more with another of our podcasts, such as: Introduction to B2B PR.