How to Create a B2B Marketing Plan? A Guide for Businesses12 min read

There are many ways to market your business.

But what if you are into B2B (business-to-business)?

Are the strategies going to be the same? Or, would you require a B2B marketing strategy?

It’s the latter one.

Even though most business owners realize that it is time to bet on B2B marketing, they do the same thing, again and again. And as a result, they don’t see any favorable results.

Simply put, they don’t know where to begin or how to make a plan that will ensure success.

If you have been under the same circumstances, don’t fret.

In this article, we will walk you through some of the key aspects of building a successful B2B marketing plan.

What is B2B Marketing?

B2B marketing is a process that a business employs to market its products and services to other businesses.

Now, the B2B industry is a little complicated compared to B2C because of the demographics.

Unlike customers or individual buyers, companies only purchase a product if it solves a particular set of needs or a business problem.

Meaning, if you don’t have a promising product or service, even marketing will only get you so far.

What is the Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?

There are various key differences between B2B and B2C. However, I am covering the significant ones.

Target Audience

As the definition suggests, business-to-business marketing is about building a relationship with another business and selling them something that they need or want.

On the other hand, B2C marketing is about targeting and selling products and services that have been designed specifically for consumers or individual buyers.

Content

The content that B2B marketers use is rational. The primary focus of B2B content is to educate the target audience (other businesses in this case). It is mostly about hard facts, efficacy, return on investment, a solution to a certain problem, etc.

But when it comes to B2C, the content is more on the emotional end. The reason behind this is that B2C buyers are emotionally driven, spontaneous, and make a buying decision without actually needing it.

Conversion Time

It takes time to convert a lead in B2B marketing as they have to take the potential buyer through a detailed and strategic journey.

In B2C marketing, the results are almost instant.

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The Messaging or tone

If you try to use a pop culture tone in your business-to-business marketing campaigns, you might not be able to get desired results.

But the same will work seamlessly for B2C marketing.

Now, that you have learned about the differences, it is time to address the elephant in the room.

How to Develop an Outstanding B2B Marketing Strategy?

Before I go on and tell you about all the tricks up my sleeve to develop a B2B marketing strategy, I want you to you grab a pen and a paper to keep a note of things, just in case.

Also, if you google “B2B Marketing Strategy” the results are sure to overwhelm you. That too, to a great extent.

To help you understand better, we have tried to keep all the points as simple as possible. So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into it.

1. Determine your marketing campaign goal

What’s the purpose of your marketing?

If you can answer this, you’re going to go a long way.

SMART marketing goals give you the safest road towards acing the game.

But it isn’t a cakewalk. Because over-ambitious goals will make you look unrealistic, and small goals will make you seem like someone who lacks vision or direction.

So, you have to set goals that are measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound,

Here are some of the examples of effective goals:

  • Increase brand recognition
  • Generate leads and conversions
  • Improve considerations and engagement

2. Analyse your current position

Before anything else, take some time to analyze your business and its positioning in the market at present.

Knowing where you stand in the industry in terms of product, services, customer acquisition, etc. will give you a view of all positive and negative factors inside and outside the organization that affects success.

But how to do that? SWOT analysis is the answer.

SWOT (acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis is a method of auditing the overall strategic position of a business.

The whole idea of SWOT analysis is to enable businesses to build on their strengths, fix their weakness, keep an eye on the opportunities in the market, and come up with strategies to deal with threats.

When a company is clear about all these factors, they steal a march on their competitors. Be it in terms of core business or marketing.

3. Take a look at your budget

Why are we talking about budget? This article was supposed to be on B2B marketing strategy, right?

Wait, my friend. Don’t opt out already. We are on the right track. 

A budget is one of the primary elements of a business. With a robust and precise budget in place, you can better control the income and expenditure of your business.

Meaning, you’ll be able to utilize available resources effectively to achieve overall objectives and refrain from spending anything extra.

Now, when it comes to marketing, you need to see whether you have a marketing budget slab. If so, staying abreast with it is advisable. And if not, you might want to talk to your company’s finance ninja and create a slab for it.

The idea is to keep aside a dedicated amount for your marketing activities. This helps in refraining you from going after marketing activities that burn your wallet.

If you’re creating a slab for marketing in your business budget, ensure that you aren’t being Mr. Scrooge. Marketing is crucial and it requires a fair amount of
dough.

4. Define your target audience

A target audience is a specific group of people who are more likely to purchase your products or services.

For example, if you’re into brokerage SaaS, then I am sure you don’t want your ads to shown to hospitality professionas. It has to be specifically for the folks in the brokerage space. 

So, when you as a B2B marketer acquire a comprehensive understanding of the target audience or ideal buyer, you can command your marketing campaign adroitly.

Basically, you want to target people who will buy your stuff. As simple as that.

Speaking of the target audience or ideal buyers, there’s one more factor that I would not want to skip at any cost — buyer persona.

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal customers.

Now, this is the interesting part.

How do you create one?

A buyer persona is usually based on three factors:

  • Market Research
  • Data of your past and current customers
  • Assumption

When you gather all of this data, here’s what you need to do.

  • Segment the data based on their similarities
  • Create profiles for each segmentation
  • Give each profile a name
  • If possible, give each of the personas a narrative

What’s next?

Pat yourself on the back.

This wasn’t an easy task but you pulled it off impeccably.

via Giphy

Now you can go on and try different marketing messages for each of the personas. I am sure you’ll get the right one.

5. Run a competitive analysis

When it’s all things marketing, how can we not talk about competitive or compset analysis?

Competitive analysis is basically placing a binocular on the window and looking at what your rivals are doing.

Even if it sounds wrong, it is what it is.

Irrespective of the industry, you have to start learning about your competitors; how they work, and identify the spaces where you can out-perform them.

The most important questions to consider while performing compset analysis:

  • What your competition is doing right?
  • Where your competition is falling short?

This information is critical for ensuring the quality of your products and services, determining safe areas in the marketplace, and testing out your marketing strategies they haven’t tried yet.

6. Outline the main selling points

Call it unique selling propositions (USP) or main selling points, it is the same.

You have to know the products and services that make your business better than the competition.

Simply put, USP(s) make your business stand out compared to other businesses in your segment.

Now, this goes supremely well with the target audience aspect. Combining these two elements makes your marketing messaging effective.

Because now you know that you have what your ideal buyers are actively looking for.

Here’s a brilliant example of this affair.

Have you heard of the coffee brand “Death Wish Coffee”?

If not, then you’re living under the rocks.

While every single player in the coffee industry is trying to play in spaces like gourmet coffee, authentic coffee, etc. Death Wish is playing with something that reads — Coffee That Slaps.

This coffee giant serves the world’s strongest coffee (that’s what their website states) because they know their ideal buyers are those who go heavy on caffeine.

Note: Death Wish Coffee is mostly a B2C company. Meaning, their marketing strategies aren’t the same as B2B marketing plans. This is just an example of how to use your USP in your marketing messaging. 

7. Identify the main B2B marketing channels

Before we jump right into the primary aspects of this section, let me first help you understand what are marketing channels.

Marketing channels are methods that businesses use to deliver their messaging to the right audience.

But when it comes to B2B marketing, one-size-fits-all doesn’t work. Just like strategies, even channels differ for B2B marketing.

Now to reap heavy benefits from your campaigns, it is imperative to identify the right channels.

But how do you do that?

Well, fret no more. We have done that for you.

Here are the top 6 B2B marketing channels that deliver results, any day.

  • Website
  • Email marketing
  • B2B Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing
  • B2B Video marketing

But again, you have to be very tactical about the type of approach you’re going to take for each of them. Be it the tone, messaging, creatives, or script, everyone has to be on point and aligned with the relevancy of the channels.

Here’s a complete B2B Content Marketing guide. Go through it to get an idea of the content marketing space.

Note: If you want a dedicated blog on B2B marketing channels, do let me know in the comments. If required, I will even cover each of them as a separate article.

8. Track and analyze your performance

This is the most noteworthy aspect of B2B marketing. It is so crucial that you cannot overlook it at any cost; not even for all the tea in China.

Here are some tips to analyze your marketing campaigns performance:

  • Determine your goals. Why did you run this particular marketing campaign? Is it to generate leads? Or, increase brand awareness?
  • Look for the key metrics.
    • For example, if your objective was to increase brand awareness then you must check:
      – Clicks: Number of times people clicked on your campaign.
      – Impressions: The number of times your advertisement was seen.
      – Click-through rate (CTR): Clicks divided by Impressions
      – Engagement: Actions your audience performed. Such as likes, comments, or shares.
    • If your campaign’s objective was to generate leads, then you must also look for the following matrices:
      – Number of leads generate
      – Number of conversions
      – Conversion rate
      – Cost per conversion and lead
  • Look for the demographics that engaged the most with your advertisement.
  • Look for the devices where your campaign was most viewed.
  • Analyze the amount of revenue you earned for each dollar spent on ads.
  • Perform sentiment analysis to understand the attitude and feelings people have for your ad.
  • Check for all the brand mentions on every social platform.

These are some of the mainstream and imperative matrices to look for when you’re analyzing the performance of your B2B marketing campaign.

However, do not bound yourself specifically to these. As a B2B marketer, you must have the character required. Do not hesitate to try out different matrices to up your marketing game.

FAQs

How much time should I spend on developing my B2B marketing strategy?

There’s no specific amount of time when it comes to B2B marketing. It completely depends on the company, marketers, the objective of the campaign, and strategy.

What are your top 3 B2B marketing resources?

Whenever it’s about marketing, here are the three resources that you can always rely on:
HubSpot blog
Neil Patel blog
The Hoth

The Bottom Line

Marketing is a business’s sidekick. However, unlike the scenarios from superhero movies, you have to be a little careful with your marketing.

If you use it according to Hoyle, it can take your business to sheer heights.

We have tried to cover all the nuts of bolts of B2B marketing strategy and mentioned all empirically proven points that should work positively.

If there’s any confusion regarding B2B marketing or marketing in general, do write to us.

Let’s end this article on a marketing note.

Empathy is the key to acing your B2B marketing strategy.

It doesn’t matter whether you are targeting a whole huge group of ideal buyers; at the end of the day, you are speaking to a single human at any given time.

Behind every engagement — be it a like, share, comment, or even a purchase, there is always a person. And you as a marketer or a business have to care for that person and incorporate a customer-driven marketing strategy.


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