A Best-in-Class B2B Marketing Strategy Framework
- A B2B marketing strategy framework engineer's customer and business outcomes to maximize revenues. It identifies the best customer and market growth opportunities. It defines the path to achieve targeted revenue results in the shortest time and least cost. And it focuses on the methods, processes and best practices that produce the outcomes that most matter and avoids wasting time with activities that don't.
- A marketing strategy is needed to achieve the most important business outcomes (i.e., increased revenue) or results that have previously been elusive. It's built pursuant to a proven B2B marketing strategy framework that will define, de-risk and maximize the likelihood of achieving desired results.
- The strategy is a precursor to everything that comes after. Great execution won't get you very far if your strategy is wrong. But a solid plan allows marketing execution to be tackled with clarity of focus, prescriptive guidance, measured execution, and the realization of targeted objectives.
A B2B Marketing Strategy Framework
Customer behaviors are changing, purchase criteria are evolving, and markets are shifting. If your strategy is staying the same, you're likely out of sync with customers and ill positioned for growth.
Creating a winning marketing strategy sounds like a no-brainer. But the truth is many organizations apply less effort to their marketing strategy than a manufacturer applies to building a toilet brush. And that's in large part why performance results disappoint.
Research shows that marketers under-invest in strategy due to a lack of time and know-how. The time requirement is a tradeoff. Upfront time for research and analysis is needed but a good strategy will thereafter save countless hours by focusing on the factors that drive results and avoiding activities that don't.
Strategy know-how can be resolved with research, insights and learning. This article is intended to help.
A 3-Step Process
The Johnny Grow B2B marketing strategy framework was born from research and has been refined over many years. It's a simple but effective three step model.
Begin with the Company Growth Strategy
No marketing strategy should exist in a vacuum. The C-suite is less interested in marketing's departmental achievements and more interested in how they directly contributes to the company's top goal.
To maximize the contribution to the company, the marketing plan must be directly aligned with the company's growth plan.
The company's business growth strategy defines a prioritized approach to achieve a growth objective. Most often that means a calculated approach to grow revenue or market share at the least cost and in the shortest time.
Company growth strategies capitalize on core competencies and design competitive advantages that create or extend differentiation. They demonstrate how the company will win customers, position the brand relative to competitors and make the investment needed to achieve the revenue goal.
The point here is that the marketing strategy will be far more successful if it directly contributes to the company's growth strategy and overarching revenue goal.
According to Gartner, "Marketers who develop an integrated marketing strategy will deliver a 50% higher return on marketing investment (ROMI) than those who do not."
Develop the Marketing Strategy
Now you can advance to identify the best customer and market growth opportunities. That will include measuring total addressable marketing (TAM), identifying the best customers, prioritizing their pain points, performing white space analysis, considering competitor challenges, and positioning solutions that solve for the customer.
They you need to find the most direct route to drive the most revenue contribution. That requires comparing alternative strategies and measuring results.
Strategy is a process, not an event. So, to visualize that process we use a proprietary model we call the Predictive Pyramid.
It's an interactive dashboard that compares different scenarios. The pyramid is needed because no marketing program lives in isolation. Each has cascading effects that impact other areas and those impacts must be considered when making tradeoffs.
The data that drives the calculations is sourced from company history if its available or industry benchmarks if it's not. In working with clients to populate the predictive model, we often find that most marketers believe they don't have the needed data. But quite often they have much of the data, it's just disorganized in decentralized siloes.
Interactive modeling and comparing alternative strategies will ultimately identify the most direct route to the top goal.
However, from our experience, one more level of detail is needed to accurately measure and forecast the most strategic results. This is a proprietary artifact we call the Strategy Blueprint.
The Marketing Blueprint is a value chain model that starts with the headline goal, identifies the best practices to support the chosen strategies (which are selected with the predictive pyramid) and applies the metrics and conversions that calculate forecasted payback.
The Blueprint evidence-based best practices and metrics are what makes your plan measurable and predictive.
Develop the Go-to-Market Plan
The final step is to bring operational execution and measurement to the strategy.
The Go to Market Plan is a roadmap for systemic execution of actions that drive the strategies. These are the lower level marketing programs and tactics that collectively roll up to the company's top goal (revenue growth).
I’ve written about how to create growth marketing analytics previously so won't repeat that here. But one thing I will highlight because it's critical is getting real-time measurement. Our tool of choice is marketing dashboards.
These instrumented panels bring real-time visibility to the lower level metrics that roll up to the most important goals.
They flag variances with alert notifications and recommended actions. They show when progress falls short or efforts are off course so marketers can quickly course correct.
The Point is This
Without a clear strategy, marketing is navigating without a map. Instead of taking the express lane, execution looks more like aimless wandering. Marketing goals will be delayed, degraded or not achieved.
Only with a solid B2B marketing strategy framework will you organize execution from loosely defined acts to precision growth.
Good strategies show what's vital to achieve targeted outcomes. It's more important to do the right things than do things right. Equally important, the strategy will identify what not to do. If you are incurring time or expense on efforts not directly supporting your marketing strategy, you are off course and delaying achievement of the most important goal.
The best strategies are aligned with the company growth plan, grounded in buyer insights, solve for the customer, identify the most lucrative customer and market growth opportunities and stay laser focused on the methods that drive the most revenue contribution. The best strategies also pursue a progressive execution, such as the Marketing Maturity Model.