Much like cakes in a baking contest, marketing strategies always look a little different among organizations, even when they’re following the same recipe. Digital marketing best practices tell us what ingredients we need and how to prepare them, but we’ll all make something unique.
The only problem is that far too many businesses have grown shy of experimentation. Rather than use a recipe as inspiration, they rigidly follow it, even when it falls short of audience expectations.
Too many organizations are striving to create the same thing, which ultimately deprives them of the originality they need to take the cake.
So, we’ve put together a guide that will help organizations understand precisely what they need to craft the perfect marketing mix. With a dash of market analysis, a pinch of brand positioning, and a lot of audience research, you, too, can bake your marketing strategy to perfection.
Grab an apron, and don’t forget your whisk. First, we need to prep our workspace.
You couldn’t bake a cake without first knowing its ingredients. Every marketing mix calls for something unique based on the organization’s industry, audience, and objectives. The current B2B marketing landscape is a complex network of multichannel touchpoints, all leading customers to one final destination — conversion.
To become successful in our digital era, organizations need more than just a baseline understanding of SEO, social media, and paid ads to get ahead. Promotion is no longer enough to drive sales; customers want engagement. They want an experience throughout the buyer’s journey, not solely after becoming a customer.
Strategic planning is critical in B2B marketing because it ensures your marketing strategy addresses every touchpoint that your audience may encounter before becoming a customer.
Think of it like climbing a tree (sorry to deviate from the baking analogy for a moment). People may climb from different angles, using different branches to reach the top, but they all wind up at the same place.
The same is true for B2B marketing. One prospect may hear about your organization through a referral, another may discover you on a search engine during their research. Another may see an ad, then look up your business.
Each journey is unique, but your end goal is always to make the transition from curious lead to satisfied customer rewarding.
The marketing mix concept focuses on four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. All four of these factors must align harmoniously in your organization’s marketing strategy to be effective and deliver the greatest results.
The problem is that a lot of organizations tend to focus on only one or two of these elements while the rest fall short. Even if they can attract business, they ultimately fall short on their own strategy and miss out on valuable opportunities to drive revenue through their marketing efforts.
A comprehensive marketing mix allows an organization to leverage its strengths, close gaps in the buyer’s journey, and create a more cohesive, seamless customer experience from start to close.
Now, we’ll look more closely at the four Ps of marketing that you need to create a truly fantastic marketing strategy.
B2B marketing is unique in that organizations have to build relationships with decision-makers and business owners to sell their products. Unlike B2C, which focuses primarily on selling a product, B2B centers around selling solutions.
Rather than focus on product benefits, organizations have to concentrate on solutions. Their ultimate goal is to establish long-lasting relationships with their customers that help another organization fill gaps or overcome challenges in their operations.
When crafting your own marketing strategy, consider what elements set your solution apart from the crowd. Your organization may offer more flexible payment options or include features that competitors don’t have. Perhaps your customer support is more comprehensive, or you provide scalable solutions for growing organizations.
No matter what industry you are in, connecting benefits to solutions is the key to making an impact on your audience.
In B2C marketing, it is often easy to advertise a price advantage because the product has a fixed cost. B2B, on the other hand, tends to rely on a more original pricing model that has costs and revenue vary by consumer needs.
Consider the various prices like selling your baked goods at different rates based on their complexities. The standard vanilla cupcake with a thin layer of frosting is your most simple offering; the price increases for consumers that would like a cherry on top, or cream in the middle. And the price is the highest for those that want a dozen of them.
Customer needs vary wildly in the B2B landscape, and the value of a product has to match the solutions a buyer chooses, whether they opt for your least-expensive offering or the most comprehensive package you can provide.
Whether you provide user-based pricing, usage-based pricing, tiered pricing, it’s vital to always remember the value behind your offer. Customers are willing to pay a competitive rate for what they want, but only if they see the value upfront.
Transparent pricing is highly valued by today’s empowered consumers. They won’t wait to “contact sales” and touch base with your organization when a competitor offers them a definitive price on their website.
B2B companies that fear they’ll lose an edge by being upfront about their pricing need to focus more on learning how to market their product effectively. If you fear your price is too high to advertise to the public, then focus on creating a strong marketing campaign that makes its value undeniable.
You won’t have to worry about mentioning the price if it’s being justified by all the benefits.
Marketing in the B2B world grows increasingly nuanced as Web3 takes hold and the social media experience begins to transform into something far more personal. Rather than market to the masses, organizations have to consider each individual journey and ensure it feels meaningful even when you’re closing hundreds or thousands of deals annually.
To achieve this, organizations have to become agile and comfortable interacting with customers across channels and touchpoints. A deep understanding of your audience’s behavior is essential to choosing the most effective channels for your marketing strategy.
Instead of trying to be everywhere your competitors are, go where you know your audience is. Shifting your marketing mindset in this way can help you select more meaningful placements that ultimately lead to more high-value leads.
That being said, you will need to be present in more than just one corner of the internet. A hybrid marketing strategy that leverages online and offline marketing measures could work for some organizations, while others will need to create a journey across search engines and social media to see the best results.
The placement of your product is ultimately defined by your ideal customers. Find out where they are, and go there.
Promotion can only work when it's positioned effectively, and the promotional strategies you use will vary by location. This is why the understanding of “place” is so important. Ultimately, it ensures that your marketing messages reach their intended audience in their greatest form. They aren’t muddled by noise from competitors or obscured by poor visibility on a channel.
Traditional tactics are still effective in the B2B world, so don’t be afraid to think beyond the screen. Trade shows, conferences, even direct mail can still be effective in our technologically inclined world.
Look for opportunities to market your product in person, and don’t be afraid to implement a combination of strategies that reach your audience at various points of the buyer’s journey.
Digital marketing can often feel static despite the speed it tends to evolve. Organizations may feel like they’re only watching their marketing unfold rather than actively driving its success online.
By homing in on your ideal leads, you can choose the best channels and methods of marketing to them. Organizations that employ multiple promotional tactics see the highest success because they’re willing to adapt to their audience’s needs. They promote where they know they’ll be seen, not where they hope others will see them.
Now that you understand the marketing mix, it’s time to combine them into one cohesive blend. But be careful — you have to take a delicate approach. Focusing too much on one of the marketing Ps will leave the others out of balance.
Many organizations that dedicate too much time on one element often find their strategy to be hollow inside. It crumbles at the slightest challenge.
Strategies must be harmoniously integrated to ensure that you are marketing products to the right audience. When you understand your audience well, it’s easier to find the most effective marketing methods and channels.
Research is key here. Focus less on selling your product and more on reaching the key decision-makers that would want to buy it and integrate it into their organization.
The most important thing a B2B organization has to do is segment its audience. We no longer live in a world where your audience is easily defined in one sentence. Your core audience might be, but if you take a look at your clientele, you likely find that many of your customers’ demographics fall outside the bounds of your buyer persona.
The “ideal client” can take many forms, and segmentation ensures that you are able to cater to all of them simultaneously.
For example, an organization might find that its core target audience is senior tech developers aged 35-45 who work for large firms. But they also realize that there are more independent, successful startup founders who are younger and less experienced. They could equally benefit from the organization’s product in a different way.
Their behavior is different, and they are likely to find solutions by searching for the leading providers online and reading reviews, rather than evaluating organizations one by one online.
By creating unique funnels for each segment of your audience, you can choose more effective marketing channels that lead to a higher ROI. For example, you might find that email campaigns are highly effective with one segment while another is more responsive to PPC ads and LinkedIn content.
Although it breaks your audience into unique groups, segmentation actually simplifies your B2B marketing strategy by clarifying wants, needs, preferences, and goals of each audience. In turn, you can align your marketing mix for each segment to make sure you get your approach just right.
Be proactive with your marketing. Check on it just like you would check on a cake you’re baking in the oven.
Analytics will help you determine whether your marketing strategies are performing as intended among unique segments.
While many organizations tend to focus on big-picture metrics, like monthly conversions and clickt-hrough rates, it’s equally important to pinpoint smaller analytics that can reveal big insights about your audience.
For example, by focusing on the performance of a LinkedIn paid ad over the course of a week, you can determine how many members of your target audience engaged with it. If you find that despite a lot of clicks, only a small percentage were in your targeted segment, then you know that you need to focus on optimizing the ad to avoid wasting your marketing budget.
Modern marketing analytics allow you to track engagement and success in real-time. This makes it easier to definitively say what’s working, what you can build on, and what needs to go.
Instead of passively reviewing monthly analytics reports, start tracking them daily and gleaning as much insight as you can week by week.
Although personalized marketing strategies will have their own KPIs to focus on, these are some of the most relevant to monitor across all organizations:
Continuous evaluations will ensure that your marketing team is able to effectively connect with ideal customers while maximizing ROI. Even when you find a marketing mix that works well for your organization, it is important to make continuous improvements that help strengthen your brand in a hyper-competitive landscape.
While analytics are the most helpful way to assess marketing effectiveness, you can also draw data from sales and seek out customer feedback through surveys. You might even want to conduct focus groups that help you better understand your audience’s needs, especially if you are enhancing your marketing mix for multiple segments.
By integrating feedback and data into your marketing mix, you can ensure that your strategy stays flexible and dynamic. It will always reflect the current needs of your audience, highlight the most meaningful features of your product, and remain responsive.
Once you’ve crafted the perfect marketing mix, it’s time to think ahead and focus on how you can keep delighting your audience as their needs and expectations evolve. Factors such as the economy, industry trends, and even global events all impact customers, which means they should impact your marketing strategy, too.
With an agile and interactive approach to marketing, organizations can avoid locking themselves into a rigid strategy that does not easily adapt to their audience’s needs.
For this reason, you should seek to develop some in-house best practices to stand as the foundation for all your future marketing strategies and campaigns to come.
The future of B2B marketing strategies is bright, but it will require more effort than ever before. With the inclusion of Web3, artificial intelligence, and hyper-personalized ad content now taking center stage, organizations have to be willing to put in the time it takes to craft meaningful journeys for their audiences.
Luckily, the marketing mix has proven to withstand the test of time, and it offers a strong foundation for you to rely on for years to come.