Twitter just rebranded itself as “X.” Our industry is still buzzing about ChatGPT that, by January 2023, became the fastest-growing consumer software application in history. And before that Tik Tok made its arrival. And before that social media influencers were big. And before that…
They all claimed they would be the best and greatest way to reach your customers. But influencers and TikTok probably won’t work for your company if you sell B2B or need a complex sales process. If you want to truly win the industrial marketing game, I suggest you go back to the fundamentals of marketing. Number one, get to know your customers better. Get inside their head. Know what makes them buy from you. And while you’re at it, figure out what you can be doing better to serve them what they need.
Marketing consultant Tim Kist recently wrote an article in a “Marketing Matters” column that sums up our belief in marketing fundamentalism. He said, “Tactics have changed, and new fads have come and gone… but the importance of understanding your customer is something that has not changed in decades. Research from Market Culture has demonstrated that the more customer-centric you are, the more profitable you will be. Leading companies are customer-centric in all their activities and ensure they consistently deliver superior value, as defined by their customers.” He goes on to say, “an understanding of what your customer values and [having] a coherent plan, where every employee knows their role in delivering value to customers, continue to drive successful marketing strategies.” (If you want some help figuring out what your customer values, check out our tool).
The Corporate Images Star
At Corporate Images we use a simple formula to understand and market our B2B clients. It’s simple and easily understood. We call it the “Marketing Star” because its five points (see star diagram) cover the major bases. Get this right and you won’t get lost in the latest marketing fad.
Effective, on-brand marketing will continue to center on five key things, displayed in this star diagram:
- Target Audience – the current customer and market segment you’ve defined based on past sales and market research, plus an audience too often neglected – the Stakeholders. These are the people with the power to affect or be affected by your business—your banker, silent partner, business press, board, government entity, and of course, your employees. They all need to be in the know so they can positively impact your success or be positively impacted by it.
- Key Messages – based on your business’ Core Competencies (the special or unique products and services that only you deliver). These messages must relay what customers truly value about your company (a value you may need to ask the customer to share because it’s what they, not you, value about your service or product).
- And finally, the Sales and Marcom Processes you choose that capture both the interest of potential and current customers. These processes should focus on the key steps in the sales process you have designed. From a marcom view, the process should show how relevant content can be delivered by using the appropriate platform, whether digital (video, web site, social media) or traditional (print ads, print collateral, mailers, emails).
The key to successful marketing will always go back to the fundamentals of addressing the needs of your customers. Remember, the sales and marcom processes come in many forms, some of which include digital marketing. You can use digital marketing to build your brand, but you have to pick the right platforms for your business. Regardless of how you market your business, it all comes back to the “Marketing Star.” Trends will come and go, but these five elements will never change. If you master them, your business will continuously prosper into the future. If you’re having trouble with your marketing or sales efforts, give us a call. We are here to help!