In my last post, I introduced my Marketing Integration (MI) framework. This framework has six planks that work together in order to align strategy with actions that produce results.
This framework has been developed (it continues to evolve) to help solve key problems that exist in B2B markets where there are long sales cycles, complex solutions & sophisticated buyers.
First of all, sales and marketing is not a dirty word!
With the exception of monopolies, every organization markets and sells something. Most B2B oriented companies have marketing and sales professionals whose job it is to generate results. They have to contact prospective buyers to inform, educate (sometimes annoy!) and encourage them to buy something. Reps need to meet with IT buyers and marketers need to promote “the latest and greatest”. In fact, it is highly probable that the IT buyer has a sales and marketing organization promoting his/her company’s products and services.
But, hang on…there’s a reason why a buyer doesn’t return a call or click on that link!
Now hold on a minute. IT buyers are being inundated with “cold calls” and reps that provide no value (or at least that’s what some have told me over the past couple of months). Heck, those reps just want “the deal” and to play golf. Actually, I happen to know quite a few really good Account Managers (Kimberly, Colin, Sean, Mark, Alex, Anthony, Scott, David…come to mind).
IT buyers tell me that manufacturers and “solution providers” send them to their websites for information (assuming the links still work) but over half the time they don’t get the content they want and need. In fact, they may have a bad taste in their mouths already. As homer would say “DOH”!
There is good news though!
There are extremely good account managers and marketing professionals that do work together to provide value and produce results for their customers and their companies. I’ve been blessed to work with forward thinking reps, open minded executives and great partners like Cisco who support an integrated approach to marketing and sales.
These talented people and progressive organizations have helped me develop my Marketing Integration (MI) framework. This framework has 6 planks. The first being the “B2B Marketing Gears”.
Marketing Integration (MI) Framework – B2B Marketing Gears
These three gears make up the go to market focus areas for a B2B marketing plan.
Branding and Positioning – If you don’t think branding matters, when it comes to B2B organizations, I suggest you read Philip Kotler’s book B2B Brand Management. Today, you must clearly communicate what you stand for, what you offer and why it’s of value to your customers. The branding and positioning gear covers three things:
- Identity – brand architecture, guidelines and corporate identity
- Offering – solution mix and the addressable market(s) it serves
- Research – feedback and information on/from customers, partners and competitors
Communications and Community – Marketing communications is changing in two primary ways. First, the content we create must be of value to recipients, available in various formats (text, graphics, audio and video) and in sync with the buying cycle. Second, you must allow for interaction and community development. My blook report on Groundswell covers this in detail. Communications must be engaging, educational and interactive with social media playing an increasingly important role. The Communications and Community gear covers three things:
- Content – create meaningful content that sales enables, informs, educates and builds your brand reputation
- Presence – use of the web, social media and sales support tools to advance brand positioning and generate demand for information, events and opportunities (sales, publicity and partner attention)
- Following – create a community of fans (customers, prospects, partners, media and analysts) through multi-channel communications and automation and in real life briefings
Business Development – Business development is all about generating results. This gear covers three things:
- Demand generation – execution of campaigns and sales promotions that generate, develop and nurture leads and build relationships
- Customer/Partner development & engagement – create meaningful results oriented relationships with customers and channel partners
- Sales enablement & advancement – empower the sales organization with programs, coaching and tools that will help them be successful.
These three gears work together but the first gear, branding and positioning, is what gets everything started. I hope this first plank of my MI framework is of interest to you and may help you be successful. Feedback and comments are encouraged.
Next post: The B2B “Marketing Mix” or 4 R’s of Marketing