marketing strategy whiteboard

A good marketing strategy is key to the success of your company’s marketing efforts – from the messaging on your brochure to your website’s user experience. Unfortunately, many small- and medium-sized businesses approach marketing projects from a tactical standpoint, taking a responsive approach rather than a proactive one, and tackling projects as they come.

B2B marketers must focus their marketing strategy on what they’re trying to accomplish, who they’re trying to reach, when they’re to reach their audience and how they will achieve their desired results. Follow these five tips to help ensure your marketing strategy is set up for success across all of your marketing efforts:

Identify your target audience

Your business most likely exists because there was a void in customer needs that wasn’t being met by other solutions in the market. You know your product or service better than anyone – but do you know your ideal customer better than anyone? Taking time to evaluate who is buying your product or service, who is most successful in using it, and what their overall profile looks like – their age, job title, business size, and so on – can help you further understand where to look for new customers.

Set the kind of goals you need to achieve ROI

One of the greatest benefits of marketing in the digital age is the various options available – social media, email campaigns, online ads, webinars, events – but knowing your capability to execute on these endeavors is equally important. Remember, when considering your marketing goals it is important to make sure they are SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

Failure to set up goals can cause a loss of focus in your marketing efforts and can have you and your marketing team feeling unorganized. For example, if you decide start a company blog but can’t regularly create posts, you may lose credibility – and if your prospective customers aren’t looking to your blog as a source of information and aren’t influenced to purchase, it may not be a wise use of your time and resources.

Setting goals that are in line with achieving the maximum amount of ROI is critical to a successful marketing strategy.

Establish a plan to achieve those goals

It may sound basic, but having a clear marketing timeline with key milestones, deadlines and associated tasks is the foundation of your marketing strategy. Sometimes it’s easy to identify ideas and goals, but if no one is owning it, or deliverable dates keep being pushed back for other “fires to put out” you won’t achieve much. Having a clear plan that identifies your goals, deadlines, owners and successes helps prevent things being lost in the shuffle.

Set your plan into action

Once you’ve created a marketing plan with clear dates and milestones, it’s time to get started. Holding a kickoff meeting with stakeholders can be a fun way to get everyone engaged and excited. Schedule weekly standing meetings with your team to check in on the progress of ongoing marketing campaigns and ensure the activities being working on and completed are aligned with your marketing plan.

If everyone understands what a successful marketing strategy looks like, you’ll keep everyone on the same page.

Monitor activity – successes AND failures

If you’re sending email campaigns and no one is opening them, but have attended an event that yielded more qualified leads than you ever dreamed of, you probably have a good idea of what is or isn’t working with your customers. It may also be an indication of needing to outsource some pieces of your marketing strategy – maybe your emails would be well received but the message just isn’t there yet.

Make sure you have the appropriate reporting systems in place to track and monitor the results of your various marketing campaigns and use the data you collect to make data-driven recommendations and improvements for your campaigns. Continuing to use marketing channels that aren’t working for you is a waste of time and resources, and can sometimes also damage your brand.

Establishing a marketing strategy is a fun, and sometimes different, way to look at your company and the customers you serve. By following these five tips, you can ensure marketing success for your business while maximizing your efforts and achieving the highest ROI.

This post originally appeared in Launch Marketing’s B2B Marketing Blog and was co-written by Meredith Oakes and Carlos Gil.

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