Marketing Strategy and Objectives

Business Marketing Strategy Statement

Once the analysis part of your business marketing strategy planning is complete, the key requirement is to articulate your overall marketing strategy. In other words, what is the overall marketing direction that will be taken in order to reach your business goals? Most importantly, the strategy statement will take into account what you have recognised as your sustainable competitive advantage and the value proposition that you will offer to the market.

Typically, a B2B marketing strategy statement will define the positioning of the business by addressing things such as whether the aim is to be a high quality / high value player; lowest cost, high volume; full service provider; specialist niche or other factors.

Business Marketing Objectives

In order to implement an effective marketing plan, you need to define exactly what you are trying to achieve. The reason that a lot of SMEs waste money is that their marketing efforts are a collection of ad hoc initiatives with no plan or structure behind what they are trying to achieve. Once you have defined what it is that you wish to achieve, it is relatively straightforward to determine whether or not an activity or initiative will take you towards your goal.

Your objectives should include an indication of the quantum of sales revenue that the marketing effort needs to support. You can construct a marketing plan that will increase sales by $1 million or $10 million, the difference will be the resource level required to implement it. The other aspect of having a quantified goal is that it will tell you whether or not you need to enter new markets.

In our role as business consultants, we often find businesses turning over $10 million that want to grow to $12.5 million over three years in a very large (say $500 million plus) market. They are considering introducing new products, setting up interstate or attacking the export market. While all of these things are laudable, the reality in many cases is that the desired growth can be achieved by better farming of the home paddock, which is known territory and will be the lowest cost option.

In B2B markets that have a large number of potential customers, the strategic objectives will usually include a statement about creating an awareness level amongst a community of potential buyers who will find you when they are ready to buy. This is what will drive your social media strategy, which these days is an essential part of how you communicate with your customers.

Some typical B2B marketing objectives:

  • Build revenue to $12 million per annum within 3 years.
  • Position the business as the industry specialist that meets all Australian Standards requirements and has compliant HSEQ systems.
  • Increase awareness amongst potential customers of the one stop shop offer.
  • Position the business as the clear choice, number two supplier to the market leader in Queensland.
  • Diversify the customer base such that no single client represents more than 20% of revenue.
  • Generate sufficient business to support a separate Service and Maintenance Department.
  • Position the business as the low risk supplier of choice in the target market.

Once you have articulated your business marketing strategy statement and defined well researched, specific and achievable marketing objectives (perhaps with the assistance of an experienced business consultant?), your B2B marketing strategy is well on its way to being successfully implemented to achieve your business objectives.


Market Segmentation: B2B Marketing

Why is Segmenting Your Market Useful?

In most cases, it is useful to analyse your market to see if it divides into groups or segments that have like needs. You may find that the requirements one segment has for your product or service are different to those of another. Then, based on the market segmentation and the needs of various market segments, you can plan your Business to Business (B2B) marketing strategy and tailor your offers and communication messages in a far more targeted and meaningful way.

In regard to B2B marketing, segmentation of your market may also go beyond the level of an overall business customer and down to a division or department level of individual business customers.

For instance, if you are selling components to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that also has a service division, you may find the lead times required are quite different for the two divisions. A short lead time may be a key requirement of the service department but may not be a priority for the production department. Therefore, you will need to adapt your offer and the presentation of your value proposition to suit the specific department and/or market segment. You may even need to use different distribution channels.

You could find that your market does segment neatly by industry or customer type, size or geography. In most B2B markets, this is generally the way customers are divided into groups, however, unless the segmentation provides you with a group with similar needs and buying behaviours, the grouping is unlikely to be very useful. For instance, if you are selling a product to dry food warehouses and cold stores, but their needs are the same, segmenting by industry is not particularly useful.

The key things to look for when segmenting your market are that the segments are:

  • Meaningful – grouped on parameters that will determine how you approach them,
  • Identifiable – actually recognisable and reachable in real life – not just a conceptual grouping,
  • Substantial – a group that is large enough to warrant having resources specifically applied to it, and
  • Accessible – you can reach them in a practical and cost effective way.

The aim of segmenting your B2B market is to ensure you are specifically aiming your offer at a group of business customers who have like needs and are not just taking a shotgun approach to the market as a whole.


Situation Analysis to kick off your Business Marketing Strategy

How To Develop Your Business Marketing Strategy: Situation analysis

Business Marketing Strategies are developed from a straightforward analysis. It begins with a situation analysis.

Situation analysis

What is the current condition of your business and the market that you are in? Or what is your starting point? And what does your business need to do to achieve its vision?

A situation analysis establishes the current condition of your business and the market and is the starting point for establishing what your business needs to do to achieve its vision.

SWOT Analysis

This simple technique is used to identify and evaluate possible strategies to guide the future direction of your business.

It looks at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses tend to be internal issues; opportunities and threats tend to be external.

SWOT-AnalysisYou can best determine your SWOT factors in a brain storming session with your key staff. The most important part of the analysis is to decide what you intend to do about each factor.

Ideally, aim to apply your strengths to opportunities. Alternatively, look at how to address a weakness that may be stopping you from taking advantage of an opportunity, or decide what action to take to block a threat.

Strengths (internal, positive factors)

Strengths describe the positive attributes, tangible and intangible, internal to your organization.

Weaknesses (internal, negative factors)

Weaknesses are aspects of your business that detract from the value you offer or place you at a competitive disadvantage. You need to select strategies that do not depend on these attributes. Alternatively, if the best opportunities available to you are dependent on these weaker aspects, do something about them .

Opportunities (external, positive factors)

Opportunities are external attractive factors that your business could take advantage of in order to prosper.

Threats (external, negative factors)

Threats include external factors beyond your control that could place your strategy, or the business itself, at risk. You may have no control over these, but you may benefit by having contingency plans to address them if they should occur.

Have you done a SWOT analysis on your business lately? If you want to develop a business marketing strategy for your business (or perhaps you simply haven’t done a situational analysis on your business recently) then schedule time now to make a SWOT analysis a priority.

Get your key staff members together to contribute their ideas and perspectives and encourage them to invest in the planning process for your business marketing strategy right from the start. Perhaps you could seek out a business consultant who can offer their expertise as an independent third party to help you to create a marketing strategy.

However you decide to do it, performing a situation analysis is the first step to a business marketing strategy that will enable your business to achieve the vision you have for it.


Know your Business Direction: Business Marketing Plan

You Cannot Develop a Marketing Plan if You Don’t Know Where Your Business is Going

Marketing cannot exist in isolation from the overall business strategy.

Before you can establish and implement an effective marketing plan, you must first define the overall strategic goals for the business. For example, the marketing plan for a business to grow from $5 million to $6 million will be quite different to the marketing plan to grow from $5 million to $10 million.

Any business planning process involves three elements:

  • Establish where you are now
  • Identify where you want to be or what you want to achieve
  • Determine how you are going to get there.

The critical difference that impacts the planning process for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) compared to large organisations is that, in most SMEs, the owner / managing director and his or her family are directly involved in running the business to achieve personal goals. Whereas, in large companies, the business is generally run by professional managers to achieve corporate goals.

Therefore, the starting point for a business marketing plan for an SME is to have a clear understanding of what the goals or personal mission statements are for each of the stakeholders. Only then can you develop a clear vision for the business and define the business goals. The marketing strategy can then be developed to achieve the business goals.

Creating Brand Names

Creating a brand name for a new product or service often consumes a large amount of time, perhaps more time than warranted. We try to be overly creative and clever and sometimes come up with answers that are only meaningful to the company – not the customer.

In fact, it can be very helpful to seek advice or opinions from outside the company, whether that be to utilise the expertise of a business marketing consultant, and/or request feedback from prospective customers.

The key thing is to get the strategy right and let the clever creative stuff come later. Once you can say what the brand name is and why the name was chosen, you can provide that information to a graphic designer to translate into a logo. When assessing the logo, consider whether it is consistent with the marketing strategy of your business rather than if it uses your favourite colour.

Branding needs to fit the product or service and make it stand out from your competitors, engage customers and be consistent with your business marketing strategy.

A few things to consider when creating brand names:

  • Articulate the brand promise and company positioning so that you can test your ideas back against them
  • Embody logic in the name. It should indicate or refer to the business you are in
  • Start with some words that are relevant to the brand and extend the list using a thesaurus
  • Using a name that is already famous in another context can be memorable
  • Start with a letter that is early in the alphabet – there will be times when your name is listed or ranked alphabetically
  • Make it easy to say and spell
  • Internationalise the spelling
  • Word combinations are memorable. Try different combinations from your list
  • Use of mythological figures can be useful
  • Avoid initials and acronyms
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens
  • Check that the domain name and trademark are available before making a decision.

Once you have created a list of possible brand names, rate your preferred 3 to 5 brand names on a scale of 1 to 10 against the following criteria:

  1. Is your first impression of the brand name strong?
  2. Does it sound / look good?
  3. Is it easy to read / pronounce / spell?
  4. Use it in a number of sentences. Does it feel right?
  5. Are quick associations positive?
  6. Does it relate to the brand promise / company position?
  7. Does it sound credible?
  8. Can it work internationally?
  9. Is it memorable?
  10. Is it able to be registered as a business name and is the domain name available?
  11. Does it make you feel nervous? (low score is better)

Creating a brand name and developing the overall branding of a new product or service requires more than just clever ideas. Branding needs to fit the product or service and make it stand out from your competitors, engage customers and be consistent with your business marketing strategy. If you follow the guidelines above, you are well on your way to developing a brand name and product or service branding that will strategically position your brand and your business in the marketplace.