It may come as a surprise but spending money on ad hoc marketing in a short term push to make the year-end sales figures is unlikely to succeed. Following the latest and greatest marketing trend just because everyone seems to be doing it is often not the best idea. It may take longer, it may take more effort but in the end a integrated B2B marketing campaign is all that can be relied on to deliver medium to long term, consistent, results.
A structured approach requires a solid understanding of where the business is going, a plan and (crucially) the courage to abandon the short term view and allow the plan the time to produce. An integrated marketing process delivers:
- Structure and measurement
- Improved results
- At lower cost
Structure And Measurement
Reactive marketing tends to focus on the number of prospects hit rather than considering if those prospects fit the target customer profile. A more sensible approach is to build a yearly promotional plan focussed on the marketing techniques with the best chance of engaging the target prospects
Using historic data, carefully considered assumptions or reputable industry data it is then possible to relate the promotional plan to expected (quantified) results. Assuming the plan is based primarily on marketing techniques with a measurable outcome it is then possible to measure results against the plan and make solid decisions on spend based on what is working well (and what is not).
Reduced Costs And Improved Results
It has been shown many times in B2B markets that a drip, drip consistent flow of marketing messages to customers and prospects is far more effective than one off, or short term bursts, of activity. It therefore follows that the ROI on marketing spend on a consistent plan must exceed that of the Ad hoc approach.
Activities that are reactive and short term naturally tend to cost more than activities that are planned in advance allowing time to consider the best suppliers, offering most value. Following latest marketing trend simply because everyone else appears to be doing it without thinking through the outcomes has been shown time and again to be a waste of time and money.
An Integrated B2B Marketing Campaign – The Process
The first crucial step is to establish (top level) what it is the business delivers to its customers, why that product or service is needed and who needs it and why. It is also important to understand who else satisfies the same need (competition) and how they go to market.
Only with the above step in place is it possible to establish the best way to reach the target customer base. What are the best marketing techniques to deliver information to the point prospects may find it and engage with it? Once a prospect is engaged what are the best marketing tools and techniques to convert interest to enquiries and ultimately orders?
While the old outbound techniques such as telemarketing, direct mail and advertising all still have a place there is increased prospect resistance to these techniques and an ongoing shift to inbound marketing as a result.
Inbound marketing is all above producing useful information (content) and delivering it to the customer / prospect base by the appropriate medium at the right time. Inbound marketing dovetails with a variety of online marketing techniques that are often measurable and relatively cheap to implement.
An integrated B2B marketing campaign that integrates the best inbound and outbound marketing techniques to fit a given situation is far more effective than an ad hoc, inconsistent approach. However, it must be accepted that it does take time and considerable effort. It is important to focus on what will work for the business and market and ignore the general marketing best practice advice of so called experts