Market Smart

Summary Written by Tracy Shea-Porter
"The most successful B2B companies in the world use marketing to dominate their industries and deliver enviable results."

- Market Smart, page 1

The Big Idea

Get Smart About B2B Marketing

"Smart marketing, used effectively in B2B companies, leads to growth."- Market Smart, page 199

It all starts with a marketing strategy

Lisa shows you how to develop a B2B marketing strategy in three steps:

  • Step 1 is an internal process to gather information available within the company. It includes a company workshop and interviews with staff and management. It also collects available reports on sales, profitability, and marketing.
  • Step 2 is external – it includes research and interviews with customers, industry experts, and competitors to augment internal information and validate, or disprove, the hypotheses you’ve made in Step One.
  • Step 3 brings together the data and insight you’ve gained to confirm the marketing strategy – target market, value proposition, and messaging.

Lisa then provides a detailed approach to help you put into action the three steps, and even includes an example of a marketing strategy, and other helpful templates, to guide you here.

How do you take action on your marketing strategy?

Insight #1

Tactical Planning

"There is no silver bullet in B2B marketing."- Market Smart, page 65

Once your marketing strategy is in place, tactical planning begins. Lisa details how to choose tactics, create a realistic timeline, determine appropriate resources, and also covers budget and performance measurement. As Lisa explains, “there is no silver bullet in B2B marketing.” It is more effective to employ multiple tactics together to get optimum results. And, avoid the desire to “jump on the bandwagon” and focus on one seemingly hot, new tactic. Lisa offers these factors to consider when determining tactics:

  • The industry
  • The target market
  • The company’s position in the market
  • How much marketing the company has done in the past and how successful it has been
  • What kind of marketing the competition does
  • The company’s goals
  • The company’s marketing budget

Lisa then outlines four guidelines to help companies choose the right tactics:

  • Guideline 1 – Get the basics in place
  • Guideline 2 – What’s your stage of evolution?
  • Guideline 3 – Prioritize tactics by ROI
  • Guideline 4 – Focus your efforts and evolve

Lisa also encourages you to reassess, recalibrate, and adjust the timing of tactics as you go – actively monitoring and remaining flexible to changing market conditions.

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Insight #2

Developing Content

"Marketing can transform a small player into an industry leader, and make the difference between struggling for sales and having leads come to you."- Market Smart, page 199

Before you implement, of course, you need to develop content. As Lisa explains, B2B companies need to be thought leaders in order to dominate their industries. They need to have deep expertise in a particular area and a demonstrated track record. Being recognized as a thought leader makes you the “go-to” for particular products or services and is a powerful way to increase brand equity, achieve price premiums, and avoid bid competition.

To decide what topics to cover, you can:

  • Generate a list of twenty topics and ask your customer-facing staff (business development, customer service) to rate the topics.
  • Repeat the process of gathering topics, but have a customer advisory panel rate the topics.
  • Take your product developers (often engineers) to lunch, talk to them, and take notes.

From here, Lisa suggests you cross-reference your topic list against upcoming product launches, your firm’s core competencies, market trends, and changing customer needs – and create an editorial calendar.

Then, interviewing the thought leaders to create content is necessary – either through your marketing team or a third party – such as Lisa’s company The Mezzanine Group.

If you are interested in creating a well-defined B2B marketing strategy that leads to a strong tactical plan and execution, that gets results, then Market Smart is for you. Lisa encourages contact and welcomes questions and success stories via email or Twitter.

Read the book

Get Market Smart on Amazon.

Lisa Shepherd

Lisa Shepherd is the founder and president of The Mezzanine Group, a business-to-business strategy and marketing company based in Toronto, Canada. Over the last two decades, Lisa has worked and consulted with over 200 companies in more than 30 different industries on how to grow revenues and profits through effective marketing. She has grown Mezzanine into a four-time winner of the fastest growing company award from PROFIT magazine (two years on the Profit Hot 50 and two years on the Profit 100). She knows how to use marketing to gain customers and increase profits for B2B companies.

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