By Dan Bobby, managing director of brand consultancy, Dave
Right now, marketing departments will be sitting down to decide on the best approach to surviving - and indeed thriving - in a chaotic economy, trying to make sense of what is going on around them. They’ll know that when it comes to cutting costs, management will look at the ‘softer’ departments first and that puts marketing directly in the firing line.
They’ll also know something needs to be done right now. So, how can these business-to-business (B2B) marketing departments prove their worth and get through this economic maelstrom?
Talk to customers, don’t broadcast at them!
There is a temptation for B2B marketeers to adopt the techniques used by their consumer counterparts.
Using mass market approaches to reach and influence a few key individuals or businesses is not effective and shows bad strategy from the CFO. Channeling energy, focus and budget into targeted, bespoke target communications and marketing is a necessity.
This helps set up the sales teams to have meaningful, relevant conversations with customers-not an ego-pleasing ad campaign in magazines.
Know your customer, know your business!
Too many marketing departments are removed from the actual business they serve. As a result, the services they offer tend to be viewed internally as ‘marketing services’, which makes it a far easier cost to cut.
As marketers, it is crucial to understand clearly your offer and your customers and match the two seamlessly. By doing this, you are helping your business stand out. This will make it easier for customers to choose your service and make them more likely to stay with you in the long term.
Focus only on activities within the marketing department that grow gross margins or help to develop existing client relationships. This streamlining will show the most important activity and make you realise everything else is not a necessity.
B2B marketing in the current environment can all too easily be viewed as an extravagance. Marketing is not advertising or reputation building-it must be sales-related. Within this high pressured economy, the more commercial marketing is, the more valuable it becomes.
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