We often refer to marketing as the fourth discipline of a B2B business. The first business discipline is obviously building your product, the second discipline of business is building the financial infrastructure to support your business itself, the third discipline is the process of selling your product or service. With B2B businesses, these three disciplines are established pretty quickly and a business may run and have success for a number of years with only these three areas established as professional disciplines. At some point though, after you have the three disciplines in place, establishing this fourth discipline, marketing, is required to bring scale to your business and enable the growth you want and demand. Spending money on marketing and establishing it as a professional discipline within your company are often two very different things however and if you do the former, without the latter, then your cost of marketing is likely is far too high and the ROI on your marketing spend is poor.
As business-to-business companies ramp up their marketing, it can be all too easy to spend your money on activities that seem correct and appropriate but do not actually deliver true value and whose effectiveness hard to measure. You need to spend to grow, but how much to spend on marketing? 2% of projected revenue? 5%? And how much on advertising and awareness vs. how on events vs. how much on content for demand generation campaigns? Does spending big on your first global product launch make sense? How do know?
If marketing is to be a scaling function or magnifier on your business then it must be cost-effective and clearly measurable. Cost-effective means that the expenditure you’re making must be significantly less then the additional business you’re generating and this can be hard to calculate. Much of what the B2B companies need to do in marketing will have longer-term revenue effects, so that means that thousands of dollars you spend this year will not all have a revenue impact this year. But you need a professional marketing model that can show you just how effective your marketing is in the short-term medium-term and long-term. This is not a trivial task, especially when more than 99% of marketing professionals were educated in B2C, not B2B marketing, but it is possible.
Business to business marketing is a derivative function. This means there are many things that you will need to do to move the demand generation and revenue needles. The way to measure many elements of the marketing spend is on their ability to move a prospect from one state to another. Unaware to Aware, Interest Established to Acknowledge Problem, and so on. The overall process from beginning to end can be measured but each element within the process must have measures as well. Driving and measuring these progressions between phases of specialized buyer’s journeys within carefully selected demand campaigns is at the core of professional B2B marketing. Understanding the fastest and least expensive tactics to drive each specific progression is master class tradecraft and can save you an enormous amount of money and time. This overall approach enables accurate demand generation forecasting and true marketing ROI analysis. This is the beginning of marketing becoming your fourth professional business discipline, and not just a growing expense with uncertain ROI.
B2B³ uses a process that starts by building a deep understanding of the business problems you solve, who exactly has these business problems, and how they would like to solve them. This is the targeting “Drill” and narrows the focus of all your marketing effort to only those with the highest ROI and chance for success. “Casting a wide net” might sound good but it will dilute your efforts and drive unproductive spending you don’t need.
We then use this knowledge to enact a comprehensive buyer’s journey based demand generation process that we refer to as the Black Box, into which go Contacts and out of which come a predictable flow of marketing qualified Leads (MQLs) for Sales. What more could management want from marketing, right? The Black Box will take the carefully selected prospects from their existing state (which may be that they currently have no understanding of the problems you solve), all the way through a custom buyer’s journey, resulting in your product or solution making their short list at the time they are ready make the buying decision. This may sound like marketing speak, but it is the language marketers speak inside the Black Box. Outside the Black Box the communication to the rest of the business is simple and very clear, we show in real-time the pipeline from the Contacts with which we are communicating all the way through to the MQLs that have been generated for Sales and the acceptance by Sales of these now sales-qualified Leads (SQLs). This process and its interlock with the Sales organization is based on decades of tried and tested experience and B2B³ can deliver it with small, efficient teams and the most effective use of marketing budget dollars in the industry.
If you think your marketing is too expensive and not delivering what you need then you really do need our help. We are experts at driving the maximum efficiency and effectiveness from every dollar of marketing investment and can help you through the transition from marketing as a growing expense with unknown ROI and unforecastable results to that fourth business discipline that delivers predictable, cost-effective results and that plays an ongoing strategic role in your short and long-term success.