The B2B Marketing Mixup:
These two words sound like something you’d hear in a Hollywood movie’s War Room as the plot thickens. They’re also the B2B marketing buzzwords that flood your Twitter, LinkedIn, and if you’re like me, even your Facebook feed.
But… do we take the time needed to consider the practicality of what they mean?
What is a Marketing Strategy? And what – if anything – differentiates tactics from strategies? And why is there any confusion in the first place?
I mean, this is the bread and butter of digital marketing, but often business owners and their digital marketing team have a hard time enumerating the differences. That’s why we’re taking a moment to lay out what makes them unique, and why it’s important to get all of this right.
We’ve talked about goals before, and we’ll likely talk about them again because they’re essential.
Goals are the lifeblood of growth for your business for many reasons, one if which is they’re the starting point for every plan of action ever. Why start something if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish?
Set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals before laying out your strategy. You’ll see why as we get further along.
Once you have your goals lined up, then you can talk strategy.
This is the stage where most of the misperception starts though because we tend to confuse strategy and tactics. Let’s set the record straight first.
- A marketing strategy is an overview. It’s an idea of how a goal can be achieved in theory.
- A marketing tactic is an action. It’s the implementation of the theory that produces tangible results.
Strategy can be tricky because it necessitates a lengthy bit of legwork that most of us would rather not deal with. It requires detailed knowledge of your brand’s story and status. It relies on an accurate evaluation of your company’s strengths and weaknesses. It calls for insight on competitors and consumer behavior and ultimately clings to the big picture of your business.
All of that can be incredibly complicated.
But it’s important. It shows you the avenues which will allow growth, and how you can get to where you want to go as a business. Lay out your best ideas based on the information above, and you’ll have outlined your new B2B marketing strategy.
Now Decide on the Tactics
Once the strategy is in place, you can start taking action and applying tactics.
This is the stage where we write blog posts, schedule our social media, and run those carefully worded ad campaigns. Any action we take to deliver on strategy is a tactic, and there are thousands of them.
As long as your tactic is proven to yield results and catered to your goals, your only further objective is to evaluate and improve on them.
Put It Together:
Okay, so there’s a lot of information to synthesize here.
To illustrate how all of this flows together, I’ve created a very generic example. Hopefully, this helps you visualize a way to do this for your business:
- Goal: “Increase overall sales by 20% in the next fiscal year.”
- Strategy: Create innovative reasons for current customers to utilize our products/services to a greater degree. Specifically, find ways that customers can expand the use of our product/service in their business and increase the volume of their orders.
- Tactics: Employ blog posts, Social Media, and YouTube videos to create content, distribute it, and generate conversation about our products/services and their many uses. We will also double the paid digital advertising budget to increase remarketing campaigns and create a brand that is top of mind.
Doesn’t this just make sense? You lay out a goal, then define the way you want to reach it, and end with the steps you take to get there. Any other method will get you out of line and prevent growth.
This post is meant to speak directly to the fundamentals of marketing, which aren’t changing anytime soon. We need companies to start with marketing strategies and then start generating their plans. The other way around just doesn’t work.
Once the right strategy is in place, you have the cornerstone set for all of your marketing activity. Your measurements, changes, and improvements will be more insightful and accurate. Your marketing will be valuable, purposeful, and an essential element in your business.
Check out our Ultimate Marketing Checklist for more insightful ways to properly strategize your next B2B marketing campaign!