Short Versus Long-Term Marketing Strategies for B2B’s
Developing a comprehensive marketing plan takes time. It is a process that includes identifying your target customers, understanding your competition, establishing your branding, and mapping out your goals. This is why developing a marketing plan is one of the most important, yet difficult things your business needs to do. Static marketing plans are those that map a few strategies that do not change. Dynamic marketing plans involve both short-term and long-term strategies that focus on multiple goals, timelines, and performance. Both short-term and long-term strategies are important, and we’ll discuss the differences here.
Short-term Term Marketing Strategies
Short-term term marketing strategies allow your business to be around long enough for long-term strategies to take hold. Short-term strategies are designed to get people interested in your business and move them to take some type of immediate action. The goals of short term strategies and tactics may include anything from downloading a case study, scheduling a sales meeting, signing up for email updates, to making a one-time purchase. Here are some examples of good short-term strategies:
- Reduced prices – Get the word out on your business by having a one-time sale, percent off first time purchase, or other promotions that drop the price of your products or services. It also allows customers to sample one of your products or services to get a feel for it and their experience working with your company. Social media is a fantastic tool for implementing this type of strategy.
- Email marketing – Use your existing customer and/or prospect email addresses, and make it a practice to continually grow your list. Produce a high-quality email to send your list that does several things: 1. Remind them of who you are and what you do. 2. State why they should do business with you. 3. Make it easy for them to contact you via phone, email, etc. Beyond that, there can be other objectives, such as downloading a White Paper or case study; requesting a sales meeting; accepting a special offer, such as a discount during the month, or just clicking over to an article on your website. The objectives don’t have to be lofty. The primary goal of email marketing should be maintaining “top of mind awareness” so that when they are ready to buy what you sell, they think of you first.
- Tradeshows – Most companies in the industrial world exhibit at one or more trade shows each year. Although attendance is dropping at most shows, they still offer one of the fastest routes to connect with potential customers within a certain market or niche. Companies that get the most from trade shows go into them with an action plan beyond manning the booth. It’s easy to obtain prior to the show of the companies who will exhibit. Review the list and target companies you want an audience with. Assign team members to various targets to make sure they hear from someone at your company during the show. Sponsorships can work well at making your company stand out from the competition. If one of your top engineers or experts will be at the show, inquire early about speaking opportunities. If you have a new product or technology to introduce, reach out to the trade media who will be at the show and ask them to come by your booth to interview your best subject matter expert. The trade publications covering the event are tasked with covering the “latest and greatest” at the show, so give them something to write about!
- Free training or lunch-and-learns – If you sell a highly technical product, training provided during lunch-and-learns can be extremely effective. Engineers especially love a free lunch during a time when they can also learn about a product or service that solves one of their problems!
The above are all great examples of strategies to do on a one time or short-term term basis. They are also a great way to collect data on who is engaging with you, as well as which strategy was the most successful. The downside is that focusing only on short-term strategies does nothing for your long-term growth.
Long-term Marketing Strategies
Long term marketing strategies look beyond a certain period and can even focus on goals that are years away. Marketing plans that include long-term strategies are best evaluated annually to get a clear picture of objectives versus results. They can then be adjusted accordingly, based on data gathered during that period, such as cost to benefit, customer demographics, market outlook, and sales goals versus actual. A few long-term marketing strategies include:
- Brand recognition and growth – Every company with a name has a brand. Smart marketers know they must manage their brand with a brand strategy, or customers and the marketplace will manage it at random. Creating a brand strategy allows you to guide and control the perception you desire for your brand; but you have to first determine what you want your brand identity to be. There are as many ways to craft a brand identity as there are individual companies, but the process for developing the brand strategy can be replicated and is pretty straight forward.
- Social Media – Social networks should be used to achieve both short-term-term and long-term goals. It takes time to research the right platforms, topics, and even best times to post. Social media allows you to communicate with followers, implement CTA’s, and even advertise.
- SEO – Search engine optimization can take months to fully build a foundation, and then is ongoing and dependent on the latest in search engine algorithms. Organic search engine traffic, or getting found on a Google search without advertising, remains a leading way to generate B2B prospects. Since Google wants to deliver the optimum search results to every user, they are continually updating and refining the ways in which websites are ranked. That means that whomever is managing your site’s SEO should be keeping up with the latest techniques and practices. For this reason, B2Bs should consider consulting with trusted experts to get the best results.
- Print and digital advertising – Some studies show that consumers need to see an ad up to seven times before they are moved to take action. Depending on your target audience, a combination of both digital and print advertising should be utilized for long-term brand building and recognition. Using a mix of digital and print enables marketers to gather more useful data than print alone. We recommend an integrated digital and print campaign in the same publication for the best results.
No matter which you lean towards, both short and long-term strategies should be part of your bigger marketing picture. Your overall marketing plan should be viewed as a finely tuned frequency. When all data is collected, and goals tallied, it’s time to start the process all over again. If you need help creating a marketing plan or brand strategy, give us a call. We’ve helped many customers walk through the process with solid results.