How to make a b2b marketing plan?

Author
Updated on
June 10, 2024

Key Challenges and Recommendations for B2B Businesses in Branding, Communication, and Marketing

 1. Positioning and Messaging

Challenge: Many companies struggle with refining or building strong positioning and messaging.

Recommendation: 

- Crafting a Story and POV: Invest in a strong product marketer or a specialized team to develop a compelling narrative and point of view. 

- External Assistance: Consider hiring an outside firm with expertise in this area.

- Expected Outcome: Enhanced conversion and close rates due to clear, compelling positioning.

 2. Brand Identity

Challenge: Many companies are unsure where to start with branding.

Recommendation:

- Personification: Think of the company as a person. Define its beliefs, behavior, voice, and appearance.

- Alignment: Ensure these elements align with the company’s offerings and resonate with the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

- Brand Archetype: Develop a brand archetype that reflects the company’s identity and connects with customers.

 3. Coordinated Demand Generation

Challenge: Teams struggle to create coordinated demand generation programs and integrate marketing and sales efforts.

Recommendation:

- Integrated GTM Strategy: Develop a comprehensive go-to-market (GTM) strategy that aligns marketing and sales.

- Avoid Quick Fixes: Account-Based Marketing (ABM) alone is not sufficient; a holistic approach is necessary.

 4. Attribution and Measurement

Challenge: Attribution remains complex, with many companies struggling to measure what works.

Recommendation:

- Focus on Key Data Points: Track three main metrics:

  - First source and offer that initiated engagement

  - Last source leading to demo booking

  - Total engagements required to convert a lead to an opportunity

- Realistic Expectations: Accept that attribution will never be perfect, balancing art and science.

 5. Marketing Perspective Shift

Challenge: Marketers are transitioning to promoting from the voice and POV of employees, partners, and customers, requiring significant education.

Recommendation:

- Voice of Stakeholders: Emphasize marketing from the perspectives of employees, partners, and customers rather than just the company's viewpoint.

- Education and Training: Invest in educating the marketing team on this approach to enhance authenticity and relatability.

 6. Financial Goals

Challenge: Companies aim to control their own destiny, focusing on free cash flow or positive EBITDA.

Recommendation:

- Financial Discipline: Emphasize strategies that drive financial independence and sustainability, applicable from Series A to public companies.

 7. AI Utilization

Challenge: The hype around AI creates noise for marketers and sellers, despite its potential.

Recommendation:

- Legitimate Use Cases: Focus on practical AI applications such as video editing, image generation, idea generation, and account prioritization.

- Future Outlook: Anticipate the evolution of AI agents and prepare to leverage them for significant benefits.

 8. Content Investment

Challenge: Companies desire high-quality content but often lack the resources.

Recommendation:

- Invest in Talent: Hire skilled content marketers who can act as producers and editors, not just creators.

- Utilize Expertise: Leverage ideas and perspectives from subject matter experts, customers, and partners.

 9. Transition to Account-Based Models

Challenge: Many companies are shifting from lead to account models or designing double funnel models, requiring tight collaboration.

Recommendation:

- GTM Principles: Establish guiding go-to-market principles to facilitate this transition.

- Cross-Functional Collaboration: Ensure close cooperation between finance, sales, operations, and marketing to successfully implement the new model.

Addressing these challenges and following the outlined recommendations can significantly enhance a company’s branding, communication, and marketing efforts. A strategic approach, investment in talent, and leveraging both internal and external expertise are crucial for success.

The Pitfall of Efficiency-Driven Marketing in B2B SaaS

In the realm of B2B SaaS marketing, there is a notable tendency to prioritize dashboard efficiency over genuine marketing impact. This approach often stifles creativity and memorability, leading to campaigns that might look good on a spreadsheet but fail to build a strong brand. Here’s an exploration of this issue and why a shift in mindset is necessary:

The Misguided Focus on Metrics

  • Example of Misallocation:
    • Companies are quick to spend $200 on generating an ebook lead—a mere contact card—while hesitating to spend the same amount on a high-impact gift that could leave a lasting impression.
  • Creative and Research Spending:
    • Investment in creative initiatives and research is often deemed less efficient, even though these elements can significantly enhance the effectiveness of lead generation efforts.
  • Buying Leads and Intent Data:
    • There is a tendency to buy leads who are unfamiliar with the brand and pay for intent data that often does not deliver true insights. This results in expensive, misguided efforts based on weak signals.

The Shortcomings of a Dashboard Metric Mindset

  • Shortsightedness:
    • A focus on dashboard metrics leads to a narrow view of marketing, where success is measured by immediate, quantifiable outcomes rather than long-term brand building.
  • Inefficiency in Effective Marketing:
    • Effective marketing inherently involves some degree of inefficiency, especially in the creative process. The messiness of ideation and the riskiness of out-of-the-box ideas are essential for creating memorable and impactful campaigns.
  • Lack of Research and Preparation:
    • Skipping the research phase to save costs undermines the foundation of a strong marketing strategy. Without proper measurement and understanding, efforts are likely to remain conventional and uninspiring.

The Need for a Shift in Mindset

  • Valuing Creativity:
    • Allowing room for creativity and unconventional ideas is crucial. These elements might not always be efficient but are vital for standing out in a crowded market.
  • Long-Term Brand Building:
    • Focus should shift from short-term metrics to long-term brand equity. Building a great brand requires more than just efficient lead generation; it requires creating memorable experiences and lasting impressions.
  • Balanced Investment:
    • A balanced approach to marketing investment—one that includes both immediate lead generation and long-term brand-building activities—is necessary. This includes spending on creative gifts, thorough research, and innovative campaigns.

The current efficiency-driven mindset in B2B SaaS marketing needs reevaluation. While metrics are important, they should not overshadow the need for creativity and long-term brand building. By embracing the messiness of the creative process and investing in impactful, memorable marketing initiatives, companies can move beyond the status quo and build truly great brands. This approach might not always look perfect on a dashboard, but it will lead to more meaningful and sustainable success.

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