When we create a B2B marketing plan, we always do a deep-dive into a client’s competition. And often, we find companies are playing their marketing too safe—and in turn, they’re blending into the competitive landscape. In such cases, we help our client break free from its me-too approach to marketing. But let’s say you’re not sure how to move things toward different. If your company feels stuck, what can you do to forge the way to new ground? What can you do to avoid competitive sameness? Well, you can take some calculated risks.
1. Center your B2B marketing plan on people, not your corporate ego.Companies in niche markets have a way of building up their marketing from the inside out. The walls go up around the company’s vantage point. The marketing program isn’t based on approachability, but rather protection of a competitive position. Elements and tactics tend to be added in response to what they can gauge about the competition. Their mentality is more in lines with an arms race than approachability. Instead of digging a company moat, focus on rolling out a red carpet. Consider your company’s marketing from the outside in. Ask questions like:
- What are we doing that speaks directly to our ideal prospects?
- How can we appeal to their needs and pains?
- How do we solve their problems?
- What do our customers say is our best attribute, and how can we emphasize it?
2. Include more than one department in your B2B marketing plan.Many companies that don’t know how to modernize their marketing use an interesting tactic: They hire a young marketing coordinator. The underlying idea is that youth equates to digital fluency. By hiring youth, those companies think they can cover their digital marketing needs. However, those companies lack strategies that allow those marketers to thrive. They instead prescribe a series of scattershot tactics while expecting focused returns. Marketing for any business has evolved well beyond a one-person show, and the traditional marketing department. To be competitive today, companies need to align all the resources at their disposal. They need to focus on building processes between departments. They need to communicate across their operations to ensure seamless customer experiences. Good marketing isn’t about creating a façade. It’s about creating a culture and environment that speaks to customers and engages them throughout their relationship with your company. As such, B2B marketing plans should risk breaking outside of the marketing department, and expanding the company’s understanding of operations.
3. Commit to the notion of long-term growth.When we’re gauging opportunities to work as a strategic marketing consultant, we shy away from companies fixated on short-term marketing gains. We’ve learned those companies have a tendency never to meet long-term goals. An isolated email campaign won’t generate revenue. A one-off blog post won’t turn into a white-whale sale. The key is committing to growth and allowing that to set a longer-term context for your work. That context is what ensures that any email campaign is anchored in the values of your business. It turns every blog into a conversation with your target audience. It separates you from the competitive pack. If your company is fixated on immediate marketing returns, then you’ll always shy away from the efforts that take time to blossom. And those are the efforts that set your company up for long-term relevance. And if we’re honest about it, at this stage in the evolution of marketing, thinking about growth isn’t even a risk. It’s a necessity.
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