Strategic Marketing Insights From the Trenches Part 2: How Your Value Proposition and Choice of Channels Drive Marketing ROI

by Jen Marino | October 25, 2023

Before you commit a budget to marketing, you want assurance those dollars will drive the results you’re looking for. And for most B2B companies, that means more leads and more revenue. 

As our clients will attest, strategic marketing can drive revenue growth and generate a high ROI. But it takes a rigorous process, grounded in business goals and strategy, to engage in marketing that achieves your business goals. That’s where it helps to have insights from veteran B2B marketers.  

Part 1 of this series reviewed the importance of segmenting your markets and understanding your ideal target buyer before you develop a marketing strategy and plan. In Part 2, we provide insights on two equally vital steps that drive higher marketing ROI.

Insight #1: Develop a Clear, Compelling Value Proposition

Unless you’re the only company that offers a particular solution, your customers have multiple options to choose from. Why should they buy from you instead of a competitor?

It sounds like the most basic of questions. But in reality, many companies don’t go through the rigorous process of answering it. In other words, they don’t create a clear, compelling value proposition.

Your value proposition articulates how your company will deliver value for your ideal buyers by solving their problems. And it demonstrates why you’re the best choice for this solution, clearly differentiating you from your competitors.

Some businesses never go through the disciplined process of defining their value proposition before jumping right to marketing execution. Others fall victim to common mistakes like these:

  • Only viewing value proposition through an internal lens. Since it’s all about defining how you solve customer challenges better than your competitors, you can’t develop an effective value proposition unless you understand the competitive landscape. Brainstorming ideas in a vacuum simply won’t work. 
  • Trying to be all things to all people. If your value proposition implies that you’re the best at everything, for everyone, it’s not believable. For your value proposition to be compelling and credible, it needs to speak to the specific buyer you’re targeting, in the market segments you’ve chosen to focus on.
  • Overpromising. Value propositions that are mostly aspirational—not grounded in what you can do today—will only frustrate buyers once they realize you can’t deliver on your promise.
  • Making it too complex. The most effective value propositions are simple and straightforward. You should be able to state it in 30 seconds, in a way that customers, prospects, and employees can understand and relate to.       

Creating a strong value proposition sets the foundation for developing the messaging you’ll use to reach buyers across various channels. Taking the time to get your messaging right, before you invest time and money executing your marketing, will pay off through better results and a higher ROI. 

Insight #2:  Choose the Optimal Mix of Marketing Channels

Once you’ve chosen which market segments to focus on, identified your ideal buyer, and developed your value proposition, a critical next step is to decide which marketing channels you’ll use to reach buyers.   

It’s more complicated than it looks at first glance, for a few reasons:

  • There are many more marketing channels to choose from today, thanks to the explosion of digital. Think: social media, email, paid search, trade shows, influencers, blogs, and many more.  
  • Buyers have different needs at different points in their buying journey, as they move through the top, middle, and bottom of your revenue funnel (also called TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU). Touching them once or twice, at random intervals, won’t do the trick.
  • Your marketing channels have to ladder back to your marketing strategy, your chosen market segments, and your ideal buyer. If you choose those channels in a vacuum, you’ll waste your finite budget and fall short of your revenue growth goals. 

Given these complexities, how can you arrive at the right mix of marketing channels to achieve your unique goals? In our experience providing strategic outsourced marketing for B2B companies, we’ve found the following best practices help to optimize your marketing channels for the best ROI.

  • Find out where buyers spend their time and get their information. Simply put, you need to be where they are, at every stage in their buying process. So be sure to identify which channels they use most, when, and for what purpose.    
  • Think beyond demographics. Knowing your target buyer’s age range, gender, and geographic area is helpful, but that’s just scratching the surface. To choose the best marketing channels for your audience, you also need to factor in psychographics (such as their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors), as well as their job role, function, and industry. These insights will equip you to develop a buyer persona that brings your ideal buyer to life as an individual. 
  • Select the right mix of channels. For most B2B sales you need to touch your buyer multiple times, at different points in their journey, before you convince them to act. Some channels (like LinkedIn) are best at the TOFU because they educate buyers before they start shopping for solutions. Others (like search engine marketing) are more effective toward the BOFU, when buyers already know there are ways to solve their pain points and they’re ready to connect with a company that offers a solution. Your plan should include a mix of channels, each aligned to a phase of your revenue funnel.
  • Think holistically. While it’s true that most marketing channels are best suited to a specific stage of the journey, they don’t work in isolation. Marketing is most effective when you think through what your buyer is likely to do at each stage, what you want them to do next, and how each channel can support that progression. That’s how you turn leads into customers (and keep them from leaking out of your funnel.) 
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin. When marketers select channels, they often talk about reach and frequency. Reach is the size of the audience that will see your marketing on that channel, while frequency is more a function of your budget. Even if you choose a channel with good reach, if it’s relatively expensive and you can’t afford to fund frequent and consistent marketing there, you won’t hit your buyers often enough to make an impact. It’s one of the biggest reasons marketing dollars get wasted.
  • Set KPIs, then measure and fine-tune. It’s tough to get the channel mix 100% right from day one. But marketing is highly measurable now, so it’s easy to spot improvement opportunities early and pivot for better results. Start by developing key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you if you’re tracking toward your goals. Then test various channels, measure the results, and adjust as needed. (Interested to learn more about marketing measurement? Check out this related blog.)    

Getting your value proposition and marketing channel selection right pays dividends up and down the line: You’ll get better results faster. You’ll direct your marketing dollars where they can make the biggest impact. You’ll boost your ROI. And best of all, you’ll drive predictable, profitable revenue growth.  

Want to learn how Marketri’s strategic marketing approach can drive better revenue growth for your B2B company?  

Schedule a call with our CEO Deb Andrews.