A recent survey revealed that less than 25% of B2B marketers view their company’s marketing as “excellent” – with the majority (41%) rating it as “fair”. Considering the time, effort and cost involved in marketing your business, a fair rating is a pretty disappointing return.
So, if you’re one of the many B2B business owners and managers who feel there is room for improvement in your marketing output, where do you start? And what should you do? Here are three top tips that will help you focus your marketing efforts and generate results that will see you become a market leader.
Step 1 - Nail Your Budget
Budgeting can seem like a bit of a drag, but an accurate budget is a critical piece of any marketing plan. There’s no “one size fits all” approach to setting your budget, but having said that, there are some commonly used methods. Choose one that seems a good match with your business, then keep a close eye on the return and your bottom line– if you find they are not what you hoped for you may need to change your budgeting approach. The seven methods below are based on an article by Artillery Marketing.
- Sales Percentage – Budget is set on a certain percentage (e.g. 5%) of sales - not profits. This is predictable and gives the team clarity, but it’s a bit one-dimensional and doesn’t adapt to the changing needs of your business.
- Sales Units – A figure is put on how many marketing dollars it takes to sell a product (e.g. $5) and then multiplied by how many items need to be sold (e.g. 1000 units x $5 = $5000 budget). A rigid approach that is easy to calculate but is not very adaptable to change.
- Business Goals – This links your marketing budget to specific goals you are trying to achieve (e.g. increase your website traffic by 25%). It takes a bit more work to come to a figure that will make your goals happen, but the amount will be a much closer reflection of what you need to spend to get results.
- Buyer Journey – Popular with Service as a Software companies, it’s based on the expected profit generated from a new customer, and how much of this you’re willing to spend to win more customers (e.g. gross profit per customer is $1000, willing to spend 5%, need to attract 100 customers = $5,000 budget).
- Competitor Comparison – Based on what your competitors are spending. This is unreliable because although you may be in the same market, you are not your competitor, and their needs and goals will differ greatly from yours.
- Market Trends – Another external-based approach where the aim is to measure your market share and come up with an appropriate budget from there. A big problem with this is that it doesn’t consider your growth goals, which means it’s unlikely you’ll achieve them.
- What You Can Afford – A commonly used method. And while you can only spend what you can afford, you need to dig a bit deeper than this to create a meaningful budget that will drive growth and bring you ROI.
Step 2 – Create a Strategy
Once you’ve come up with a marketing budget, the next step is to create a marketing strategy that determines how your money will be spent. A good strategy will clearly identify what you want to achieve (your objectives), how you will track and assess your success (the metrics) and where you will spend your budget to achieve your objectives (the channels). Here’s an example of how this might look:
- Objectives – For B2B businesses this is often driving website traffic, generating more leads, or converting those leads to revenue.
- Metrics – You might measure your success on total leads, total opportunities, total revenue, or ROI.
- Channels – Some popular marketing channels are emails, social media, content marketing, SEO, paid search or TV, radio and print display advertising.
When deciding which marketing channels you’ll use, use data from past campaigns as a guide, plus industry insights and current trends.
Measure and Adapt
It’s one thing to have a solid budget and strategy, but tracking your results and adapting your focus accordingly is what will really put you ahead of the game. It’s essential that you have a clear picture of exactly where each dollar of your budget is being spent and where your revenue is coming from. When you can compare the two, does it measure up to your expectations? Are you achieving your objectives and getting ROI?
Most likely you’ll need to adjust your spending in certain areas, to be sure you’re getting maximum value from your budget. The process of measuring and adapting is a continuous exercise, and one which is the foundation of successful marketing. Analysing your data, choosing the right channels and making the call to change things up if they’re not working are essential drivers of future growth.
Marketing doesn’t need to be difficult. Even if you’re new to marketing, or have tried before without much success, if you map yourself out a strong budget and strategy, then look closely at the results and tweak things if necessary, you’ll propel your marketing from fair, to excellent in no time.
Over to You
Have you got any tips to add that have helped you set your budget, create a strategy or measure your results? We’d love to hear them.