To avoid that navel-gazing perception of marketing strategy, I focus on a few core elements. They address the most important aspects of B2B marketing and can be put together in a matter of days or weeks, not months. That’s the practical way to form a B2B marketing strategy. Business schools usually teach marketing strategy as “the four Ps”—product, price, place, and promotion.
In my experience, the four Ps isn’t a very practical definition. The reality is that most companies are fixed in their product and place (what they make and how they sell it). They can’t switch from making airplane components to making farm equipment. Yes, they can introduce new products and services, but they won’t make major switches.
Likewise, a shift from selling through distributors to having a direct sales force is unlikely—it can happen, but it doesn’t happen often. Because of that reality, I use a different approach to defining B2B marketing strategy. I believe there are three areas that companies need to define:
- Target Market: Who are the ideal customers, what needs and priorities do they have, how do they make purchase decisions, and how do they learn?
- Value Proposition: Why should buyers buy from you? What unique factors does your company have that are important to customers?
The more specific, objective, and quantified you can be, the better. This is also known as “competitive advantage”.
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