A key ingredient of the Marketing Integration (MI) Framework is principles or what I call the 4 Rs of B2B markeitng.
I’ve used this marketing mix to help me filter and set priorities when it comes to key marketing strategies and tactics. Each “R” aligns with the B2B marketing gears referred to above.
Relevance – What you say and what you offer must be relevant to the markets you serve. The information you share about the problems you solve needs to be understandable and relative to the current and unrealized business needs of your customers
Relationships – Developing and maintaining strong and meaningful relationships with key stakeholders is more important then ever before. Be relevant, build your reputation and leverage relationships to separate yourself from the competition. Communicate with the idea of building these relationships and creating a community
Reputation - Your reputation and your B2B brand is built on the back of your successes and what others say about you through formal reference programs, word of mouth and word of mouse (search results and social networks/media)
Return – focus on producing a return for your stakeholders and your company. Seek ways where every stakeholder will generate measureable returns. A customer may need publicity while you and your partner may need a case study. Figure out how to create win, win, win scenarios
Let’s apply this to a real world example.
You’re trying to figure out how to make the most of your marketing budget. The recession is making you think hard about where, when and how to spend funds.
You’re looking at the tradeshow budget and deciding which event to cut. Try asking these questions (just follow the circle above starting with relevance and then go clockwise):
1) How relevant is this event to customers, partners, prospects and the markets you serve? Is it the most important show of the year to your customers? If so, who attends and why? Do you have anything to say at this event that is compelling? Something that that will position you as in tune with what’s going on in this market?
2) What relationships will this event help create and develop? Will it help a customer? Will it help a partner? Can you strengthen relationships with the media, analysts and thought leaders? Will it damage any relationships if you don’t attend? If so, why?
3) How will you use this event to improve or build upon your reputation? Can you showcase a solution you implemented for/with a customer? Ideally a solution that is relevant and is a catalyst to strengthen relationships important to you and your customer?
4) What returns do you expect from participating in the event? Hard returns such as sales opportunities, feature articles, key account meetings and net new account discoveries. What returns can you provide to your customer? To your partners?
There is an art and science to B2B marketing. I hope that this mix is something that is helpful to you and your company. As always feedback is welcome and encouraged.