Good businesses are always looking for ways to reach their customers and promote their brand. Developing an integrated marketing plan with clear objectives, carefully crafted messages and concrete metrics is key to generating positive perceptions of your business.
For B2B marketing, it is not so much about brand recognition, but brand recognition among the people who count. Check out these six key steps to making sure you are getting the most out of your marketing.
1. Define Your Objectives
Albert Einstein once said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal.” Working towards an objective will focus your marketing approach as your business grows.
2. Research, Research, Research
Once you define your objectives, start researching the market.
Keep these questions in mind as you begin your research.
1. Who is your target market?
2. What sets you apart from the competition?
3. What competitive advantage can you offer your client?
4. Does your marketing reflect that level of quality and performance?
If your company is at the top of its field, the company brand should reflect that image. Otherwise, the company can lose its edge to smaller, hungrier competitors.
3. Craft Your Message
Once you know what you want to accomplish and whom to reach, start crafting your message to each audience identified in your research. Check out this blog post by Public Relations Strategist Mary Hampton Nicholas to learn how to create an effective message.
4. Determine Outlets
Once you know your message and your audience, selecting the right outlets for your campaign is important to its success.
Most B2B buyers begin the purchase process with a web search, so having a strong presence online is important. However, the best way to grow your business may very well be striving to be the best business that you can be. The annual Buyersphere 2012 report, conducted by the British firm Base One (in partnership with B2B Marketing, Research Now, and McCallum Layton) showed that, despite two out of three searches beginning on the web, a significant percentage of respondents rated the information obtained from personal recommendations higher than that pulled from web searches. The 2012 Nielsen Report on Global Trust in Advertising showed that 92 percent of respondents trusted recommendations from people they knew – a rating 22 percent higher than any other form of advertising.
Positive word of mouth recommendations are not gained as simply as buying an ad or sending out a press release. People talk positively about businesses that go above and beyond what’s expected of them. Integrating your marketing approach and choosing the appropriate outlets for your message will help stimulate those conversations and recommendations that are so valuable to your business.
5. Gauge the Value
When you are planning your campaign, consider ways to judge the ultimate return on investment. Base your metrics on the goals you set before you began the campaign. Some common metrics include:
Overall Brand Awareness
- Sales Increase
- Engagement/Business Connections Increase
- Earned Media Value
These points will help determine if your approach is worth the investment and identify ways to improve.
6. Refine Your Strategy
Finally, you have to fine-tune the plan. Solicit feedback from your audience and act on it. As your business changes, the marketing strategy should also change. Staying ahead of industry trends sharpens the brand and establishes your business as a leader in the market.
Posted by: Phillip Waller – Brand Strategy Intern with The Cirlot Agency