Marketing helps businesses spread the word about their operations, products, and services, but where do you start? At TECH B2B, marketing plans start with four easy steps.  

OEM? Integrator? Who are you and who are your customers? Are you a startup or a mature organization? An OEM, integrator, distributor, or service provider? Answering these questions tells us where a client operates in the supply chain and gives us a starting point for marketing discussions. OEMs, for example, typically focus on product and large-scale lead generation through mass marketing, but they also need to be top-of-mind for their channel partners. Integrators need use cases that display their design expertise, speed, and budget focus, among other things. Distributors often leverage catalog/product data while minimizing transactional friction and mining digital channels for customers ready to purchase. 

There’s marketing gold in those hard drives! A project proposal that didn’t go through can be a marketing asset. You probably have marketing gold lying around the office but just don’t know it. 

Key questions in this step include: What systems are in place for customer resource management? And what is the quality and quantity of the data therein? Similarly, what volume, type, and quality of business, marketing, and training collateral are on hand? Evaluating a company’s personnel and financial assets will also shape the marketing strategy. Our job is to find the gaps and fill the holes.  

Perhaps the most important asset to assess is the company website. In addition to being the most immediately visible representation of a client in the global marketplace, the website is where we convert most prospects to leads. We can also analyze your website’s performance against the websites of competitors to develop marketing goals and prioritize projects based on traffic projections. 

Marketing progress, not disruption: Ground zero may be our starting point for a startup, but it is often unnecessary to completely reinvent the wheel. The purpose of the previous two steps is to identify who your company is and decide where to begin building the marketing program. Typically, we want to leverage existing internal procedures and processes as much as possible. This provides the fastest, most efficient returns with minimal disruption to current operations. 

For example, a business proposal can be sanitized into a use case for a specific industry or customer segment. The use case can be shared with customers and media at trade shows, creating leads and visibility. Pushing those stories through the media, email, and social platforms further amplifies visibility. But it also provides fodder to create corresponding keyword-rich technotes to organically bring new customers to the website. All this collateral can also be incorporated into training materials later to get more out of channel partners. 

Measure, optimize, repeat: Strategic marketing sometimes requires entirely new approaches and updates to keep a familiar brand fresh and top-of-mind. But in practice, the role of marketing is to support sales. The most efficient way to increase returns on your investment is always to monitor what tactics are generating revenue, to optimize or expand those tactics, and to repeat in creative and productive ways.

Now, go make some money! ☺