6 Steps to Sizing your Marketing to Fit your Business
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
I often hear variations on two questions from B2B business leaders:
Is the marketing we are doing working?
What marketing should we be doing that we’re not?
The answer to both starts with another one:
Does my marketing fit my business?
A lot of companies have a marketing program that doesn’t align with their business goals. Sometimes they are overextended – trying to deliver on more marketing programs than they can effectively execute. Other times they are overly focused on a single tactic that worked for them in the past.
Either way, a lack of balance in B2B marketing is more than just inefficient. Success in marketing, more than most functions in the business, relies on all of the pieces working in harmony. Without that synchronicity, customers are confused, distracted or frustrated by inconsistent messages and experiences. Doing more of the wrong marketing can actually detract from achieving your revenue goals.
The solution: start with the end in mind and design your B2B marketing program to match the needs of the business.
Here are six steps to rightsizing your B2B marketing program:
1. Take stock
The first step to rightsized marketing is getting a clear and comprehensive view of what marketing you’re doing today. Years of changing priorities and challenges often create layers of incremental marketing activities that aren’t aligned and may or may not still be relevant.
Another thing to confirm: your business purpose and your ideal customer. Seems obvious to you, right? But how long has it been since you compared your vision to reality? Things change – the customer you thought would be your best target may not be who is actually (and most profitably for you) your best customer.
Next: ask your team what they think your purpose is, and who your ideal customers are. If your employees don’t agree on these foundations to your business, you need to fix that.
2. Align your business with your customer
Now that you have confirmed who you are and who you help, you need to connect the two. What do you have in common? (Hint: it’s how you can help them with something they care about.) Organize your messaging and communications around this essential story.
It’s so common for businesses to try to say too much, to talk about themselves instead of their customers. This is just noise in a noisy world. Tell your customers’ story – not yours. You will stand out and they will engage with you.
3. Map your customer’s journey
The inside-out view of marketing is that it’s an independent function in your organization. This siloed approach to marketing doesn’t work because your customer doesn’t experience you in a silo. They see you out in the world in all the ways you show up. That includes traditional marketing actions like advertising and your website. But it also includes their experience with your sales team, your product, and others that have an opinion of you.
Understand and document your customers’ journey with you, from the first time they hear about you to the point where they’ve been buying from you for years. Every step has a marketing component. This map is your marketing canvas.
4. Set your strategy before choosing your tactics
Before choosing any tactics, make your overall marketing plan. Which stages in the customer journey need the most improvement? How much are you investing overall in marketing? Who will do the work – your team, or an outside resource?
With your strategy as a backdrop, you can see clearly what types of tactics make sense, and which ones you can successfully implement within your capability and funding limits. You can better define what success looks like, and measure progress.
Some of the major causes of inefficient and overreaching marketing are the random acts of marketing that are based on a gut feeling, an executive edict or a reaction to a business event. Every tactic you commit to must help deliver on your marketing (and business) strategy.
5. Do less
Marketing is not free, but we often act like we think it is. How many different “free” software apps is your team using? How many “free” social media channels is your business engaging with?
Most businesses are trying to execute on too many marketing tactics. The result is that most of the tactics are not delivering positive ROI, and many of them aren’t creating any measurable value. The surprising truth is that your marketing program is most productive when you commit to fewer tactics, and then deliver them successfully.
Start with 1-3 tactics at most for each stage of the customer journey. Before you invest in a new tactic, confirm how it will improve the journey, and what metric you will use to show that.
6. Relentlessly track results
Choose a clearly defined metric for every tactic and set a target for that metric at a specific time in the future. Marketing organizations suffer greatly from subjective and nonintuitive measurements. Sales and marketing, for example, rarely agree on what a good lead looks like.
If you’ve clearly defined how much budget you have at each stage to achieve the target results for that journey stage, ROI become much simpler to measure. Instead of trying to judge what “good” ROI is, you can compare your results to how much you budgeted to achieve with that tactic. Did you achieve that or not?
Say “no” to drama. Track results dispassionately and relentlessly.
Success with B2B marketing is not defined by the size of your budget or by the number of different programs you are managing. Success comes from how well your marketing activities align with the needs of your customer in their journey, and how successfully you deliver on each tactic you sign up to deliver.