Your Marketing Strategy Should Use Multiple Channels
It’s hard to believe that some B2B businesses today are not making use of all the marketing channels available to them. But it’s true.
Every now and then our agency is introduced to a new client who is not having much success getting traction in a target market. Usually, the discovery conversation reveals that the client’s marketing program is overly reliant on one or two marketing tactics focused on a limited number of delivery channels. Some are laser-focused on social media. Others have built a program around YouTube videos. And others have directed most of their energies at developing rich content for their website but limited the marketing of that content through other channels.
Unfortunately, in today’s B2B marketplace, if you’re only delivering your messages through one or two marketing channels, there’s a good chance you’re not getting through to your target audience. Research tells us that average B2B buyers will use 10 or more channels as they get the information they need to make a buying decision. And they’ll consume an average of 13 pieces of content before choosing a vendor.
So, if you’re looking to update your marketing strategy, there are five things you can do to optimize how you use marketing channels to position your company and your offering.
Define the Audience
It may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many marketers don’t take the time to define their buying audience. An accurate definition of the buying group in a potential customer’s organization is the cornerstone of an effective marketing strategy. And it is the one reference point for everything else that goes into that strategy. Afterall, if you don’t know who you’re selling to then how can you possibly market your product or service to them or determine which marketing channels you should use to reach them?
At the most basic level, your definition of the buying audience should answer three key questions:
- Who is the actual buyer in the customer’s organization?
- Who within the organization influences the buying decision?
- Who is the ultimate decision-maker on the purchase decision?
Typically, there will be different job titles associated with the answers to each of these questions. Depending on the industry you’re targeting, your list could include hardware and software managers, developers, engineers, as well as the CTO, CFO, and CEO. Developing key persona profiles for each of these key roles will help you determine the type of information you should deliver to them to influence their buying decisions. And it will help you identify the marketing channels that are most likely to get that information to them.
Develop the Message
Defining the target audience personas will also make it a lot easier to develop the key messages that will position your product or service with them. To be effective, those messages should focus on the business problems or pain points that each persona faces and how your offering solves them. Therefore, they should present the value of your product or service from the buyer persona’s point of view, rather than your organization’s point of view.
To make sure you create messages that speak to each persona, you’ll want to structure your messages in a message house that addresses all value propositions that can be promoted to each persona.
For example, if your target audience includes software developers who will actually use your product, then you should include messages that explain how your product can make the software development process easier, simpler, or more efficient. Likewise, if the key decision-maker in your target market is the CFO, you should craft messages that explain how your product reduces development costs.
Together, the message house and the target audience personas will make it easier for you to identify the marketing channels you should use for your marketing campaigns and tactics. Developers, for example, may respond better to blogs, email newsletters, and ads on developer journal websites. CTOs and CFOs, on the other hand, may be more likely reached with videos on LinkedIn and very targeted account-based marketing campaigns.
Structure a Multi-Level Program
Regardless of which marketing channels you identify for each persona, you’ll want to structure a marketing strategy that addresses the entire target audience on multiple levels and through multiple channels.
At its most basic, this means ensuring that all personas are always targeted with a constant flow of general awareness information that creates a perception of your organization as a key player in the space. This can be achieved with tactics that deliver the general positioning messages in your message house via all the channels you have identified — blogs, website, YouTube, social media, and more. To this marketing foundation you can add tactics and campaigns targeted at each specific buyer persona using the marketing channels that are most likely to reach them.
Adapt the Message to the Channel
While general positioning messages should be the same across all channels and for all personas, tactics and campaigns targeted at each persona should be specific to that persona’s area of interest and business pain points.
That means that messages from your message house should be adapted for delivery by the specific channel you’re using. This is where good content marketing practices and effective marketing writing skills come into play. Text written for rich content pieces like briefs and white papers should be adapted to fit within the context of a blog. Likewise, text written for a blog shouldn’t be lifted and automatically slotted into a video script. While the message being delivered should be the same across all tactics, the structure, tone, style, and emphasis should be appropriate to the delivery vehicle.
Finally, regardless of how many channels you use or how many campaigns you run, it’s important to be consistent with the messages you are delivering to each persona. A focused, clear, and consistent delivery of the same messages, repeated through multiple channels, and targeted at the same persona over a defined period will have the most chance of getting through, creating the right perception, and “sticking” in the persona’s mind as they go through the buyer’s journey.
It All Comes Down to Strategy
These five fundamental steps towards a multi-channel marketing process should help you optimize your marketing strategy to position your company and your market offering with the key decision-makers in your target market.
Of course, there are many other factors to consider as you build that strategy, such as competitor positioning, content marketing, the message house, digital marketing, and more. For insights into these and other marketing topics, check out our blog roll.