Get your breath back. Part 1 – Redefining marketing strategy

Challenge 1. We’re not seen as strategic!

If you’ve been following our blog over the last few months, you’ll have noticed that we’ve been talking a lot about how B2B marketers are feeling breathless. We conducted some research at the beginning of the year which told us that 63% of them are feeling pressure from agile competitors and 57% feel like they’re just playing catch up all the time.

These challenges are taking a personal toll; a whopping 65% of marketers feel more stressed than this time last year as they attempt to keep up with marketing innovations, stay on top of the competition and wade through an ever-increasing to-do list.

The value of marketing in B2B

When it comes to strategy, 61% of marketers feel they don’t have enough time to think about the future. They struggle to see far enough ahead to think strategically and this might be why only 38% of the businesses we surveyed see marketing as strategic. Queue additional stress factor…

As marketers, we know that strategy is important. Get your marketing strategy right, and it can have exponential value and benefit. But get it wrong, and it can cause endless challenges and concerns. Not surprisingly, time is a key factor here – an error made at the start can be something that you have to revisit over time and it can be difficult to undo.

But what do we really mean by strategy? All too often we consider marketing strategy to be the sum of the activities we’re doing in marketing, but that’s not strategy, that’s just a summary of your tactics. So, it’s important to be really clear about what the strategic elements of your marketing are. 

Change how you’re perceived

In B2B, marketing is very often defined by activities and outputs rather than the overall objectives you’re trying to achieve. The solution to this is really an education piece. Create a simple, shareable plan that aligns marketing to the company’s overall strategy and make it easy for anyone in the business to understand.

Being seen as strategic is about perception as much as anything else. But all too often, because marketers are too busy delivering against KPIs, they don’t have time to remind everyone else how the marketing function is delivering against the overall business goals.

And that’s ultimately what marketing strategy is. It’s not the fancy spreadsheet that outlines what’s going on, or the QBR that demonstrates whether you’re above or below targets. It’s a simple explanation of how the approach you’re taking to marketing is improving your ability to perform as an organisation overall.

It’s worked for our clients, so hopefully it’ll work for you. If you’d like to read our research in full, download our Breathless Business report or check out the next blog in this series, on marketing planning.