Marketing is a key component of both large and small business. If you are able to market your products and services effectively, it gives you a greater chance to succeed in the long run. This is especially true in the case of B2B products and services. The B2B marketplace is extremely competitive with a large number of companies vying for the market share. In order to stand out from the crowd, it is important to have a well-planned marketing strategy. One of the classic examples of a well-planned strategy is that used by Google. Google not only monitors the past search behaviours of its users but also knows a lot about its users.
When an individual conducts a search on a phrase say, “best places to visit in London” Google offers a highly customised set of results which will be completely different from the search results of another person. Google does this by customising the results based on everything it knows about its users. However, this customisation require a lot of input in terms of resources as well as time. On the other hand, most businesses have limited budgets and need to adhere to these as well. Especially in the case of small businesses, budgets are a critical aspect of any marketing plan. So here are a few techniques that will help you in keeping your B2B marketing budget under control.
Create an Intelligent Budget
Creating a realistic marketing budget will save you from overspending. Most of the companies go with the rule of the thumb for creating a B2B marketing budget where 10% of the revenue is allocated on the marketing. The amount allocated for the budget also depends on several factors influencing the business such as past experiences, current marketing targets, business exposure and staff salaries. It is important to keep the return on investment in mind while setting a budget as this will help you justify your marketing expenditures and will stop you from pumping extra money when things do not work out.
No room for experimentation
The most crucial thing to remember for any business is that there should be no room for experimentation in marketing. You should have a fair idea beforehand whether a marketing plan is likely to work or not. There should be no testing of the waters simply because that often leads to budgets being exceeded. It is always better to stick to longer term strategies and not look for any potential splash campaigns.
While splash campaigns can be successful in some cases, the risk involved is too high, especially for smaller businesses. Thus, it is advisable to stick to a longer-term theme and build your marketing material around it. Further, it is important to have a grip on market needs. Before you launch any sort of marketing campaign, you should be clear about what the market wants and how you will cater to it. Experimentation can be a dangerous path to tread on. If you account for all of the above factors, you are more likely to stick to your budget.
Analyse the competition
Assessing and analysing the competition forms a big part of any marketing strategy. If you spend ample time on understanding and studying what your competitors are doing, you can regulate your costs effectively. For instance, a company which is selling shoes needs to analyse other companies offering the same product. It needs to assess what percentage of the marketing budget of the competitors is going into advertising and what percentage is being allocated to forging partnerships etc. Such metrics can help you in defining the key components of your own budget, allowing for regulation of the same.
There have been numerous cases where a company decides to outdo its competition and ends up overshooting its marketing budget massively. Such cases can be really dangerous for a company and in order to avoid this, it is important to research the competitors beforehand. Another advantage of assessing the competition is that it gives you a fair idea as to what has been working for them in the market in terms of marketing their products. This can help you in broadly laying out your own marketing strategy within the stipulated budget.
For any business, it is important to understand the relationship between risk and reward when it comes to the marketing strategy. There are certain marketing campaigns which are too risky to execute and, in such cases, it is not a risk that would be worth taking. For example, if you are thinking about an advertising campaign that is going to have a great short-term impact but may not align with your long-term strategy, then that is not worth executing.
In other cases, if you know that a marketing campaign would have the desired impact without exceeding your budget, then you can go ahead with that because it will lead to long-term benefits for your business. Thus, if you are able to analyse the risk associated with a particular marketing campaign beforehand, you will be able to manage the campaigns better and also stick to your overall budget associated with it.
Take Calculated Risks
Doing business is all about taking risks while pursuing profit growth. However, it is tricky to evaluate the amount of risk which can lead to a successful marketing campaign. As one cannot accurately predict the outcome of an activity, businesses forcefully implement strategies which although have proved to be fruitful to others but might not work out for them. So, keep a plan in your mind and see where and how it fits in your marketing budget. In addition to this, make sure some money is kept aside to cover an unexpected event.
Focus on content
When it comes to B2B marketing, content plays a key role. So, if you are able to focus on your content and are able to deliver impactful advertisements, these will go a long way in ensuring that your overall marketing plan is executed well. By investing in the intelligent content, you can also make sure that your budgets are adhered to, and you can stay within stipulated limits. Additionally, it also ensures that your brand recall remains high in the minds of potential B2B customers. Until the time when your next marketing campaign comes out, potential customers will remain aware of your brand. While developing your content, you should make sure that it is in alignment with your overall marketing strategy and also ensure that it is worth investing in.
How valuable is your content?
Make sure you provide users with all the information they are looking for such as ingredient lists, sizing charts, how-to guides, etc. If the consumer does not get the detailed information on your website, they are likely to seek it somewhere else and might enter a different purchasing funnel outside your e-commerce channel. Check out the below example of ‘The Human Solution’ which efficiently showcases itself as the ergonomic expert. Its resources section consists of strategically laid content in the form of, blogs, specs, tools, purchasing guides and videos, which helps consumers get all the information at a single place.
It is also important to keep track of your return on investment. You should constantly be monitoring the returns that have been achieved by each of your campaigns and weed out the ones which are not so successful. If you see trends that you do not like, you need to quickly switch campaigns or develop new ones which provide better returns. In this way, you will ensure that not only are you sticking to your budget, but you are also having a powerful impact on your potential B2B customers.
Make Use of Technology
A number of marketing tools are readily available in the market to fulfill all your marketing needs. However, if not used wisely, technically upgrading your marketing techniques might cause a spike in your budget. A little bit of research on the right marketing tools will help your budget stay under control. Start by creating an up-to-date website and link it to all your social media profiles. Focus on uploading target driven content ending with a powerful call to action option to know the response of your audience. Avoid uploading vague content and maintain a balance between the type of content, the number of posts per day, week or month and continuously optimise your webpage with trending keywords to attract the right audience.
Use marketing automation
B2B marketing is not only about spending money, it also includes a lot of time and resources to execute a successful marketing campaign. Using marketing automation can help save a lot of time and money for businesses. With the help of marketing automation, businesses, can automate the routine marketing tasks and utilise the saved time in improving other marketing strategies. It also helps to keep the budget in control as automation makes managing data less expensive and allows users to manage all the marketing information in the cloud.
Use a Strategic Marketing Approach
One of the best ways of reducing marketing costs is by using strategic marketing campaigns. This can be done by identifying weak points in the campaign and eliminating them completely. For example, to gain attention of its customers towards a broader range of products, Amazon has a dedicated section which says “customers who bought this item also bought”. Also, Amazon has been successful in increasing its sales by making additional purchase recommendations to its customers based on their prior behaviour.
High Performing Marketing Campaigns
Focusing more on high performing marketing campaigns and leveraging the resources on result-driven campaigns will help you save a lot of money and attract the right customers. Additionally, instead of using a similar marketing strategy for all your target audience, try to categorise your audience in different groups and tailor the marketing campaigns specifically to each group. To sum up, it is critical for any business to ensure that they stick to their B2B marketing budgets. This can only be achieved if you are diligent about your campaigns and develop value for money advertisements.
In today’s highly competitive market, it is a necessity to have a lasting impact on potential customers and at the same time regulating your marketing budgets. Sticking to a long-term strategy is the best way forward, rather than investing in shorter splash campaigns. The competition also needs to be assessed, and content should be developed according to the needs of the market. If all this is done diligently, it will ensure that you stick to your budget.