How to Create a Next-Level B2B Marketing Plan
So, the question naturally arises: How you can create a B2B marketing plan that takes your efforts to the next level? Let’s discuss 3 basic elements that need to be aligned for best results.
1) Define Goals
Ancient philosopher says, “When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” The point is, you need to define specific goals to give your marketing plan clear focus — e.g., marketing goals, sales goals, target audience.
To illustrate, let’s take that last point a step further. To define your target audience, you might want to engage in market research and develop a buyer persona that matches the profile of your “ideal customer.” As you develop a buyer persona, you’ll need to be on the lookout for shifts in buyer behavior, and drill down into the buyer’s concerns, goals, and motivations. At the end of the day, you’ll understand who your audience is, and have a clearly defined goal of selling to them, in particular.
2) Make a Plan
Once your goals are in order, it’s time to develop a workable plan that can help you achieve them. A winning plan contains 3 basic phases:
a) Create — When creating your marketing plan, keep these key elements in mind:
• What is your product or service (i.e., what are you selling)?
• Which buyers would be especially interested in this product, and why?
• What makes this product different from the competition?
• What do you want your marketing to achieve?
• What should the product’s price point be? Why?
• When and how will you reach your target audience?
• What’s your budget?
• How will you measure your success?
You’ll need to answer these and other essential questions before finalizing your marketing plan. Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time for step #2.
b) Execute — Create a realistic timeline for the implementation of your marketing plan — one that integrates well with your business objectives and your sales cycles. Of course, you should also allow for external variables and unforeseen circumstances to influence the direction of your plan, in ways big and small. (The COVID-19 pandemic provides a powerful example of how quickly marketing plans can become obsolete.) Be sure to review your plan quarterly and make any adjustments as needed.
At the same time, you may gain the best results from working with experienced marketing partners who can seamlessly transform the theoretical parts of your plan into actionable tactics. They can also help you to determine how effective your strategy using data tracking and analytics.
c) Persevere — Now that your plan is in motion, there’s one final step: persevere. In other words, stick to the plan (unless there’s a very compelling reason not to). It’s a simple fact of life that you can’t be good at everything — it’s true of individuals, and it’s true of businesses as well. So, while it may be tempting to invest in flashy sales tactics and innovative marketing tools at the last minute, the best way to stay on target—and within budget—is to follow the plan.
3) Develop Content
At this point, you’ve clearly defined specific business goals you want to reach. You’ve developed a workable plan to meet those objectives, and you’ve established a timeline to guide your progress. Now that the framework is there, it’s time to invest in the third key element of an effective marketing plan: exceptional content.
Content marketing is, by definition, a marketing technique that’s driven by value. That is, you want to deliver content that’s valuable to your target buyer in some way, so that the buyer will respond by taking positive action — e.g., subscribing to your newsletter, requesting a quote, making a purchase, etc.
There are two basic steps to effective, value-based content marketing: creating your content, and then promoting your content.
• Create written, visual, or audio content for your target buyers, depending on their needs and preferences. Your content may include blog posts, white papers, E-books, vlogs, videos, and podcasts. Keep in mind that long-form content may be more engaging for technical buyers, while interactive content is attractive for just about any demographic.
• Promote your content through several marketing channels. For instance, promote a new article from your blog on your social media accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube), offer a free E-book download in exchange for the prospect’s contact information, or generate buzz around a new video series in your email newsletter.
Again, the main thing to keep in mind is value. You want your content to be engaging, informative, practical, and maybe even entertaining for your target audience. When you publish high-value content on a consistent basis, your brand’s reputation will grow by leaps and bounds.
We Do Next Level Planning
Those are the 3 key elements needed to take your marketing plan to the next level. But if that all seems like too much to take on yourself, or you’d simply like help from someone who’s well-versed in creating and executing marketing plans across a number of market sectors, Nichols Brand Stories can help! We’d love to help develop, execute, and optimize a winning marketing plan for your business. Contact us today to learn how you can elevate your marketing plan, and raise the bar for success.