How To Get Your B2B Marketing Right? Just Ask.
You've worked really hard to develop a great product or service and you’re ready to launch it. It’s now time to think about your marketing plans. But to know what you want from marketing, you must firstly know what you need. So, getting the marketing right involves asking the right questions... and lots of them.
Let’s start with some big ones:
- What should you do to lay the foundations for some solid marketing?
- What are the best ways to target your marketing?
- How, and who is best placed to do this for you?
In this blog post and the next, I’m going to provide thoughts that will guide you towards making the right early-stage marketing decisions. And the first thing to do is to ask, ask and ask again.
Yep, it's time for marketing
Up until now, it’s possible that you've been focused on everything except marketing. You've been concentrating on perfecting your product or service, organizing financing, and getting the business up and running. But now you've got to market and sell what you do. This might be out of your comfort zone, and you know you need some expertise. After all, to many people, marketing ideas can seem like a completely different way of thinking.
You might even be wondering if you’re ready to spend time, money and resources on marketing, and whether you should go to the expense of hiring a marketer. Remember, it all costs, and the only cheap marketing is marketing that looks . . . cheap. So there’s an element of risk, and you need to get it right.
You need to work out what the best direction should be for your marketing. Here are some hints that will help.
Know where you are and define your marketing goals.
- Are you a start-up looking to acquire your first clients or create buzz around your product?
- Are you established with your core audience and want to expand into new markets or demographics?
- Are you unsure if you even need a marketer right now, but others at a similar stage have one, so it seems to be your next step?
- Has your investor ‘recommended’ you hire one?
- Who are you marketing to and why? Business to business? Business to consumer? Both?
- Or, are you still selling your concept in order to find suppliers, partners, further investors, or to gauge demand?
You’ll answer these differently depending on what stage of development your company is in. But being self-aware and realistic enough to know where you are and where you need to go next is critical to your future success. Asking and answering these questions helps you think in crystal clear terms about your start-up’s progress, and enables you to clearly define your marketing goals. Once you’ve done this, the marketing process can begin.
Observe, be inspired, and do your due diligence.
Marketing is not a formula
Not all marketing campaigns are created equal. There is no defined formula with guaranteed results. They depend very much on the answers to the questions above.
If you’ve answered these honestly, you’ll already know your company’s USPs, the markets it needs to reach, the demand it seeks to meet, what it stands for and what its look and feel should be.
With this in mind, now you have the tough part to handle: how to successfully convey this to your customers, partners, stakeholders and the like.
It can seem bewildering, but keep the process simple to begin with. Just start looking around and identify marketing tactics that excite and inspire you. After all, marketing is everywhere. Pay attention to ads that catch your eye or a customer service email that you liked. Take note of campaigns that impress you. Ask yourself some more questions:
- Who has done a striking piece of marketing?
- Why has it worked, in your opinion?
- What are your competitors doing or other industries that impress you?
- Do your competitors effectively target their audiences, and could they effectively reach your target markets? Why, or why not?
- What has been less effective, in your opinion? What could be done better? What pitfalls should you avoid, how and why?
Remember, what works for some won’t work for others. But, keep your goals in mind at all times. Doing this will help you discover what you like, remind you what you need and give you a stronger sense of the direction, style and tone of the marketing you want to employ.
For instance, a funny one-minute company intro video on YouTube may be memorable and entice you into wanting one of your very own, but your current priority might be to develop the content of your website to speak to your target audience and get customers.
Don’t be easily distracted. Marketing is very, very important so it’s critical to pick the best way to do it right for you and your company.
As you can see, there’s certainly a lot to think about, but these tough considerations will be worthwhile because they help you to get your marketing strategy right. While it may seem daunting at first, asking the right questions can put you on the path to success.
So how do you start?
The best way would be to call your core team together and ask each member the questions above. You may be surprised either how similar different people’s answers are, or how different. If they are similar you can progress with developing your marketing plans. If they differ considerably, this offers a great opportunity to focus your core team on what the company’s strategy should be, and reach agreement on how the company should move forward. It’s the start of a thorough process, but one that is definitely worthwhile.