Monday, November 09, 2015

Four pillars of b-2-b marketing

There are four essential matters that should be in place before any marketing activity is initiated.

From a marketing agency point of view when dealing with any new client, or established clients, there are 4 important things to understand.
      1. What is the business model?
      2. Do you have a marketing plan?
      3. What is the marketing budget?
      4. Do you have a CI Manual?
The Business Plan
Yes, we need to go back to the Business Plan and in particular to understand : - What are the goals or objectives the company has set for the medium term? These are often set at the level where they can be measured in terms of numbers. It maybe the company aims to increase turnover by 5%,  or increase sales by 10%, or increase profit The Business Plan will also explain how the increases are to be made - new production/ facilities, new products etc. Hopefully there is a Business Plan  to refer to. Amazingly not every business has a plan, they just roll out the same de-facto plan year after year. One important thing for marketing is to understand the business model. Put simply the business model describes the method by which the company earns money. It may be the company actually designs,  makes and sells products to end users, or they may just source and sell products from others. There may be some variants within the model that are important for marketing to know. For example in the lighting industry selling luminaires created new 'sockets' and each time a lamp reached its end of life this automatically prompted a replacement sale, which may be half or dozen or more in the life of the fixture. Accessories to add functionality to the base product typically carry high mark ups, so promoting that base product can generate a further income steam from associated products.

The marketing plan
Again not everyone troubles to research and publish a marketing plan, but investing time on doing so and 'selling' the plan to the rest of the company can save a lot of time and effort in the long run. Think of it as a manifesto that sets out your strategy for helping the company meet its business goals. It establishes the agenda and provides the rationale for its implementation.

The marketing budget
A budget is essential if you don't want expenditure to soar out of control. I  have introduced marketing budgets for various companies I  have worked for and for clients as well. Without a budget marketing people are more at the mercy of sales people who sell advertising and the like on a discount basis, so it sounds like a great deal when it isn't. A company with a sensible marketing plan and well researched budget is far less likely to fall for the apparent savings on offer, because research will often have shown they should not be buying that particular advertising space at all. And if they did want that they could negotiate a better deal on a series rate.

 Corporate Identity
The CI guidelines are the remaining essential element at the foundation of the marketing programme. Repetition of a corporate style - logo, fonts, color-ways, livery etc will have a cumulative effect in building your brand and differentiating your products from the competition.

So take some time to review these four fundamentals. Understand where marketing resource will be most effectively invested to achieve business goals. Set out your plans and share them with the rest of the company. Manage the marketing investment against budget. And bring a consistent identity to your products and communications.

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