Marketing Strategies For Business-to-Business Companies

In designing a marketing plan that will increase your sales and revenue without squandering your budget, I advocate choosing the most cost-effective mediums and repeating your message using them. Many people think that the bigger the price of a marketing activity the more effective it will be in increasing sales. Not true. You could spend thousands on a short-term radio campaign, print advertising in elite publications, or a crate full of glossy brochures, which would surely put a dent in your marketing budget without creating the sales response you were wanting.

The most effective marketing techniques are simple, single-topic communications "dripped" repeatedly using direct mail, email, inexpensive print advertising, or whatever medium makes sense to reach your specific audience. Additionally, a clean, clearly designed web site that appears high in the search engines on keywords/phrases related to your products or services is invaluable. (read about search engine optimization).

Targeted Marketing vs Mass Marketing...

Mass marketing mediums can be good vehicles for advertising business-to-consumer companies but are unnecessarily costly for business-to-business companies. When using mass media you are paying to reach a huge percentage of people that have no interest in your product or service. Targeted marketing using direct mail, email, print ads in industry publications, trade shows and informational seminars will provide business opportunities while only paying to reach the people who are (or could be) interested in your offerings.

Seminar Marketing...

While you are continually dripping your clear, concise messages on your target market(s), you may as well invite them to come visit you for an informational seminar on a topic that may be of interest to them. Don't be discouraged if only a few people show up. It only takes one buyer to make it a big success, and in the meantime, your invitation "reminded" your audience that you are still in business (a major accomplishment these days) and still available to serve their needs. The client that does show up for a seminar is stepping out of their comfort zone, so they may have immediate needs or at least be interested in something you have to say. If you do commit to an on-going seminar marketing program, watch the flow of sales into your company and I think you'll see that six months to a year down the road the seminar series has generated sales and on-going client relationships.

Trade Show Marketing...

Hosting a booth at an industry trade show, while expensive and time-consuming, can be a valuable opportunity to have some face-to-face time with existing customers and meet some new prospects. Part of the value of participating in a trade show is being "visible" in your industry. Many companies that are successful in their local industry begin to believe that they are "too big to need trade shows". When they are not visible at these events they are "conspicuous in their absence", leaving existing customers wondering if you are in financial trouble, having management problems, etc. This opens up space for a smaller company to get some face time with attendees and find business opportunities.

The 4-step Rule...

Here is my "four step" rule for proceeding with the marketing process. It is important to proceed through these steps in order to make sure nothing is left out of your marketing efforts.

1) The "basics":

Logo with descriptive tagline, business cards, letterhead, primary brochure of services/products, web site (mirroring the story told in the primary brochure)... everything you need to tell your story to clients, prospects and suspects. This is an absolute necessity!

2) Frequent contact of existing clients:

Your existing clients have already proven that they will buy from you. Frequently remind them that you exist, that you care and that you are available to serve their needs. They will respond with loyalty as long as you live up to your promise of good service. This will give you immediate, lasting and quantifiable benefit.

3) Find prospects that match your existing clients:

Use direct mail lists, email, etc. to gain access to prospects with similar needs (or interests) as your existing clients. List sources could include industry publications, demographic lists, Chamber of Commerce, etc. This will keep a flow of new customers coming into your company, providing you the opportunity to serve them and turn them into loyal long-term clients.

4) Image advertising:

After all of the above steps are being accomplished on an on-going basis, some companies opt to spend more of their marketing dollars on building a public image through public event sponsorships, banner advertising at sporting events, high-cost print advertising, etc. I seldom recommend this as only the commodity product companies (soft drinks, athletic shoes, etc) will see much benefit from this type of activity.

Call me at 317-258-8608 to discuss how to implement these steps to benefit your company.