How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your B2B Business
In this article, you'll see how to create a marketing plan for your B2B business. See the differences between a tactic and a strategy.
There is lots of information on the web promising to show you how to create a b2b marketing plan. However, many of those articles give you a list of tactics. Although marketing tactics tend to be helpful, they don’t always give you the results you hope for without a defined strategy. In this article, you’ll see how to create a marketing plan for your B2B business.
With a marketing plan, you must create one with your customers in mind. You also need to factor in your business, positioning, unique value proposition, and the financials to implement your strategy.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the differences between a tactic and a strategy.
Tactic VS Strategy
Many who try to implement marketing plans tend to get confused with the differences between strategy and tactics. Some marketers try to search for strategies when they end up looking at different tactics.
If you get confused as well, here’s the simplest explanation. A tactic is a tool, whereas a strategy is a plan. A marketing plan involves your goals, measuring success, who to target, where to target and how. “How” is where those marketing tactics fit in like pieces to a puzzle to create a B2B business marketing plan.
For example, your goal is to get 10,000 email subscribers within the next 12 months, and your target audience is women business owners between the ages of 25 and 50. You’ll want to target those business owners through social media ads, paid search ads, and email marketing campaigns.
In this example, your marketing plan involves three different tactics including:
- Social media advertising
- Paid search ads
- Email marketing
Furthermore, you can optimize your marketing plan with a strategy for utilizing those three tactics. For instance, you can create a social media strategy that aligns with the end goals of the marketing plan.
Why Tactics Are Pointless Without a Strategy
When it comes to your marketing plan, a strategy instills the details of reaching your target goals and success metrics. If you used your tactics without an approach, you wouldn’t know if your marketing campaign was successful. Because without a strategy, it’s impossible to keep track of your results.
How to Create a B2B Marketing Plan
Now that you understand the purposes of a tactic and a strategy, you can start creating a proper marketing plan. Keep in mind that a B2B marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. As with most B2B marketers, a marketing plan mainly involves writing and solidifying much of the information you already use in your marketing efforts each day.
So instead of going into too much detail on research, let’s start with four easy steps to create a marketing plan. Afterward, there will be more information on measuring your ROI (Return on Investment) and marketing campaign success.
Step 1: Position Your Company in the Market
Before you set attainable goals for your marketing plan, you need to understand the market first. Positioning your company will involve:
- Understanding your competition. You need to look at your competitors’ positioning. What are their strengths and weaknesses? A SWOT analysis can be a valuable tool in assessing your competition.
- Establishing a unique value proposition.
- Knowing where the unique value proposition places you in the market of other competitors to create a B2B business marketing plan.
With a unique selling proposition, this is where you identify an opportunity that your business can solve in the market. For example, your competitors have higher prices. You can position yourself in the marketing campaign with lower prices.
Step 2: Establish Your Target Market and Buyer Personas
The next part involves identifying who your target audience is, such as:
- Who are the people you’re targeting? What is their age, and where do they live?
- What are their pain points, and how does your business solve them?
- Are they all similar, or do they have different personas?
- Is your target audience different from your competitors? How?
- Where do they hang out? How can you reach them both online and offline?
Once you create a profile of whom you’re selling to, the next step is to identify your goals.
Step 3: Identify and Set Goals to Create a B2B Business Marketing Plan
After setting the foundation with the first two steps, it’s time to establish your goals. When aligning marketing goals with your company goals, you should set SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound) goals. SMART goals are essential in helping you define a clear path when implementing a marketing plan.
To start identifying your goals, you need to define what success looks like for your company. Are you trying to bring in more revenue? Or are you wanting to establish a more substantial social media presence? Consider looking at your company’s weaknesses and figure out the best methods for reaching a solution and setting a goal.
Once you’ve created a list of goals, break those down into smaller, short-term goals. This approach will keep you focused and help you understand your progress.
Overall, when it comes to setting goals, they should:
- Align with your sales team
- Have a timeline (Goals for the year, quarter, monthly, and so on)
- Be easy to measure and keep track of to create a business B2B marketing plan
- Implement SMART strategy and involve successful metrics for each tactic
Step 4: Outline Tactics and Implement a Plan
For this last step, this is where you can create a list of tactics that your team will implement to reach success. With your goals in mind, you can determine which tactics will help you get there. Remember that you can constantly adjust your tactics. Test, tweak and optimize so you can stay successfully on the path.
When you outline each tactic, they should have their own specific strategy, which will include:
- Success metrics and goals for each channel
- A tactical plan for each campaign
- How each tactic will fit within the buyer’s journey by catering to how customers make decisions with your marketing efforts
How to Measure ROI To Create a Business B2B Marketing Plan
Once you successfully create a marketing plan, you can start tracking your measurements from the start. About 77% of marketers measure the ROI of their campaigns after the first month. Of course, depending on your strategy and tactics, each campaign result will require different lengths of time.
While you’re implementing your new strategy, you can make minor adjustments and refine your success while continuing to test it to create a business B2B marketing plan.
Keep Track of Success
To understand how your marketing efforts are making an impact, you want to measure your data. Say you launch an email marketing campaign that surrounds capturing new leads. You would measure data such as the number of email subscribers before and after the campaign starts.
If you find no measurable results identified by your strategy, you can stop making investments and try a different approach. This change prevents companies from creating a budget leak within their organization if they are unable to optimize.
Test Each Variable to Measure Results
If you start a PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign, you may need to run it for several months to capture enough data to evaluate. However, you can make changes throughout your campaign with A/B testing to improve the effectiveness of your PPC ad. Keep measuring throughout the campaign, and focus on which PPC ad is performing the best.
To understand why your marketing plan is successful, you can recreate the success to test out your theory.
Analyze Your Results To Create a Business B2B Marketing Plan
Measuring the success of your marketing plan requires much effort. You must keep revisiting your progress and refine your strategies. Remember, your long-term goals will stay intact, but you can constantly adjust your tactics accordingly.
Here is an overview of how to analyze and make adjustments:
- Decide which channels and frequencies are worth the investment. Evaluate your performance by comparing initiatives. This method includes measuring with data and metrics, limiting your variables and preventing distractions with less relevant data.
- Keep studying your audience for more information. Analyze your results and make adjustments where necessary. Keep assessing those results and understand how they contribute to your marketing plan’s goals.
Build Value and Achieve Success
To make the most of your marketing plan, be sure to implement the necessary support for your team’s requirements. Achieving successful campaigns will depend on how you operate effectively.
Communication is also key to working side by side when working toward a goal. Overall, keep testing and adapting your efforts so you can continue to build value for your company over time.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She’s also a freelance web designer with a focus on user experience. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.