In our experience, the first question we get asked when it comes to crafting B2B digital marketing strategies is: How do we start?
The answer, interestingly enough, lies in 3 very important questions that you, as a marketer, should ask yourself and your team.
Why. Who. How. They might not look like much, but these 3 fundamental questions will set the foundation of your business’s entire digital marketing strategy for the long term. With the answers, you will be able to plan and execute your future marketing campaigns more quickly and with better results.
1.Why – Why does your business exist?
What do you want to achieve as a business? Your business objectives should drive every other strategy and their implementation in the company; in your case, your marketing strategy.
While this might seem fairly obvious, a surprising (or rather shocking) number of businesses have run campaigns and pushed money into marketing efforts without mapping it back to how it will help to achieve the company’s business goals in the long run. Running a campaign without first figuring out why it is necessary and how the results will translate into achieving business objectives and goals is not only a waste of time, money and energy; it could also be detrimental to your business.
So, what is a business objective?
A business objective is usually something that is broad, encompassing a business’s vision and mission – it is usually a target or a specific milestone for all departments in the company to work towards with their own respective efforts, within a specified time.
Your objectives ideally should follow the SMART framework:
An example of a business objective would be: Increase market share by 10% over 4 years.
Your marketing, finance and sales departments’ efforts will all culminate towards achieving this business objective.
Once you have successfully determined your business objectives, you can then evaluate your marketing efforts and proceed to set corresponding goals and objectives.
Applying the SMART objective framework, a typical marketing objective can look something like: Increase conversion rate of Marketing Qualified leads to Sales Qualified Leads by 20% by the end of 2019.
Defining your business and marketing objectives will give you and your team a sense of direction and purpose to focus your marketing efforts on.
2. Who – Who are your ideal customers?
Identifying your ideal customer is key to any marketing strategy. This will help you to develop effective marketing communication that appeals specifically to them.
As a B2B company, your target customers are less likely to be internet-savvy teenagers and more likely to be middle-aged professionals representing their businesses. Hence, even though it might be tempting, or easier to convey your message through an obscure meme, your target audience might not appreciate or even understand it.
Identify and qualify your target customers for your marketing strategy by asking yourself, “Whose problem is my product/service solving? Who is most likely to buy my product/service?”. Through secondary research done in your target markets and on your existing online assets, you can then find out more about the way they behave online: the online platforms that they are more likely to use, how they interact with the content on those platforms, etc.
Detailed customer personas crafted based on primary and secondary research will serve as a handy reference for all marketing communication – be it marketing campaigns, website copy, blog content etc. It is important to keep your ideal customer in mind and ask yourself at every step, “Would they respond well to this message? Are we communicating our business values to them in a way that is catered to their level of understanding?”. This will help keep your marketing efforts laser-focused, making them more effective and yielding better results.
3. How – How are you going to reach your target customers?
Your customer persona research would have identified the typical consumption patterns of your ideal customer – from the channels that they frequent to the way they engage with content on those channels. Using this information, you can then map an ideal brand journey that you would want your target customer to be on, with the destination being the purchase of your product/service.