“We’ve tried a lot of marketing tactics but nothing seems to work.” 

“We start out the year in one direction and then completely move in a different direction when senior leadership gets an idea.”

These are very common quotes that I hear from prospects of Marketri as well as new clients.  Most of these companies have a reactive marketing program, which means they don’t have a comprehensive marketing plan to guide their marketing spend.  It’s the equivalent of starting out on a cross country journey without a GPS.  It’s likely to take you a very long time to arrive at your destination, if you don’t run out of gas and funds first!

Marketing plans certainly can be complex and when our team develops them on behalf of clients, they often are very detailed.  There are, however, five simple best practice rules that all marketing plans should have. If you include the following, you will be well on your way to proactive marketing:

  • Roles & Responsibilities:  While some of the marketing activities will be championed by the marketing department, the fun is usually spread a little wider throughout the firm.  Typically, in B2B service firms, client service professionals will often contribute content and their expertise in speaking with the media.  In B2B product firms, product managers will need to partner with the marketing team in developing the value proposition and messaging for new product launches.  It’s critical to clearly specify the roles and responsibilities for overseeing, executing and measuring the marketing plan.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):  KPIs or marketing metrics used to be dirty words before the digital marketing storm moved in.  The success of many marketing efforts, such as drip e-mail campaigns, social media marketing and search engine marketing, are very measureable.  By establishing KPIs and monitoring them, B2B companies know what’s working and what’s not and can make adjustments throughout the year.  Remember the days of signing a 12 month, big budget advertising contract and wondering at the end of the year if it did any good?  While not all aspects of marketing can be quantified, many can. Identify the KPIs that will help your firm to know that “It’s working!”
  • Marketing Infrastructure:  When we talk about marketing infrastructure, we are referring to the “stuff” that needs to (or should) be in place in order to execute marketing programs and campaigns.  Some of the items that marketers should include in this section of the plan are:  website; contact management system (CRM); social media pages / profiles; blog; online brochure.  Many of our clients have some of these things in place already but they almost always need updating.  Take an inventory of the marketing infrastructure that your B2B firm has and what needs to be built prior to your first external communication.
  • Target Markets:  The days of “one size fits all” are long gone.  The success of any B2B marketing effort rests on how well a company can identify and “solve the pain” of specific marketing segments.  Many firms take segmentation to the next level – P2P (person-to-person) – by creating buyer personas and tailoring their marketing messages to similar groups of people within a target market.  But, to keep our best practices simple, be sure to define your B2B company’s target markets in your marketing plan.
  • Marketing Programs / Campaigns:  Many times, marketing communications, including programs and campaigns, are where B2B companies start their plans, if they have one at all. I purposely saved it for last.  Before any marketing campaign or program is executed, your firm should know who is doing what (roles & responsibilities); understand what it is trying to gain (KPIs); have the collateral, platforms and programs in place (marketing infrastructure); and craft a message that will resonate with the audience (target markets).  There are many cost-effective marketing techniques in the B2B space.  Marketri includes Inbound Marketing in almost every marketing plan we create because it enables companies to build online assets (“content”) that has no expiration date and can be repurposed time and time again.

Marketing is not an expense – it’s an investment!  When you’re able to craft and execute a proactive marketing plan, you will be well on your way towards getting a return.  Try our five simple marketing plan best practice rules to get started today!