The B2B marketing strategy and planning process can be both time consuming and complex for many manufacturing businesses. This post suggests a process to deliver a top level plan that addresses key issues with less time and effort.
For some medium sized businesses the time and resources are simply not available to put a formal B2B marketing strategy in place. For others the planning process produces so much data it is difficult to identify the key issues. The best approach is always to undertake a full marketing audit to ensure nothing is missed but a short cut approach can be to define:
- Precisely what does the business deliver to its customers?
- Why are those products or services needed? What needs do they satisfy.
- Which customers (groups of customers) need what the business offers and why.
- Given the offer and the need it satisfies who else satisfies that need
- As there will undoubtedly be competition why should a customer pick the business and its offer ahead of all the rest?
- How does the business make its offer know to identified customer groups?
Product or Service Definition
It is best to try to define what the business offers in terms of product or service in terms of what its benefits are to customers and what need it satisfies. It is all too easy to get hung up on products or services and fail to understand what the business really delivers to its customers.
Why Is The Product Or Service Needed
To be successful whatever a business delivers must satisfy some sort of basic customer need. It is too easy to be superficial in the analysis and fail to understand what really drives customer purchasing activity.
Which Customers Need The Product Or Service
Follows on from the above as different customer groups (segments) may have different needs that are satisfied by different products or services. Some of those customer groups may be a perfect match with whatever the business offers, some may be less so. This analysis allows a business to focus its resources on the best customer groups. New customer groups to attack often also fall out from this analysis.
Who Are The Competitors
With the offer and target customer groups selected competitors may be identified. Competitors may be different for each customer group, new competitors may emerge and / or existing competitors may be less of a threat than expected.
Why Should Customers Pick Me
The previous analysis leads to this crucial step. If this cannot be articulated, written down and become the focus of future marketing activity then the business could be in a ‘me too’ position which is a dangerous place for any business.
How do I Raise the Profile Of the Business
The key issue here is focus. Promotional activity should be focussed on delivering the message on what makes the business different to the target customer groups by the most efficient means possible.
The above cannot be considered a replacement for a full B2B marketing strategy and planning process but it can be an interim step that delivers some useful insights.