When searching for a digital marketing agency to partner with, there are two agency models to understand and consider depending on the needs of your company. Integrated marketing agencies are an appealing option for businesses looking for comprehensive services and a streamlined approach. Conversely, tactic-specific agencies focus on one marketing modality, such as paid advertising or search engine optimization (SEO), which is another option for companies looking for support.
Throughout this article, we discuss both approaches more in-depth so you’re equipped to make the right decision for your company.
Let’s dive in.
Integrated Marketing Approach
An integrated marketing agency uses multi-channel targeting strategies with the same or similar messaging. Often this means the agency brings together various components of a successful inbound strategy combined with outbound strategies. This may include creating blog content, email campaigns, social media management, and paid ad campaigns.
An integrated marketing agency is a great option if you are looking for a marketing hub capable of handling your strategy and execution. It is a holistic approach that looks at your entire business and the potential impact of the different marketing methods and channels on the overall success of your business. An integrated marketing agency makes recommendations based on the most appropriate strategies for your industry and the stage of your business.
When a company is just starting out, it may be hard to know what kind of marketing expertise you need. An integrated marketing agency can provide all the expertise needed in one location, so you don’t have to stress about integrating the different methods into a strategy on your own. This decreases the overall cost and eliminates the inefficiency of employing a separate firm for each type of service.
Effective digital strategies require multiple channels working together synergistically. An integrative marketing agency makes it easier for companies to achieve their objectives with a single point of contact versus managing several different vendors responsible for different aspects of their marketing strategy. For marketers who want to bring multiple aspects of their campaign strategy under one roof, integrated marketing agencies are an all-inclusive solution that covers everything from content creation, promotion, and distribution.
With a thorough understanding of integrated marketing agencies, it’s time to discuss the tactic-specific approach.
As you advance your marketing maturity and budget, tactic-focused agencies can be useful when you need to go deep in a specific marketing channel. For example, you might reach the point where you consider hiring a dedicated PR firm who is exclusively focused on your industry. If your organization has a dedicated in-house team capable of managing multiple marketing channels, and you have the time and budget to coordinate multiple vendor relationships, then a tactic-specific approach may be an effective strategy for your business. This is a big reason why you see enterprise brands using multiple agencies in addition to their in-house staff to fulfill their marketing needs.
You may notice some correlations to the saying– when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail– if you choose to work with a tactic-specific agency. Tactic-specific agencies can help advise on a single marketing channel but it’s unlikely they can advise on which marketing channels would be the most effective for your business. Their recommendations will be specific to the services they offer, no matter how relevant the services are to your business. This comes at the expense of neglecting to recommend other strategies with the potential for greater business impact.
Working with Integrated Marketing Agencies
When working with an integrated marketing agency, know that you may need multiple marketing tactics to accomplish your goals. For example, if you are looking for more leads and sales, choose an agency that specializes in inbound marketing methodology, as well as paid advertising. If you need help with brand awareness or building community engagement, look to partner with a marketing agency specializing in social media management and public relations.
Choose What Makes Sense for Your Business
There are many ways to market your business depending on your timeline, budget, and goals. Hiring a full-service integrated marketing agency is the easiest way to get your marketing strategy and execution taken care of seamlessly through one vendor.
If you have a strong in-house marketing team who only needs assistance in a single area or is able to juggle multiple vendor relationships, you may find the tactic-specific model works best for your needs.
Start creating your marketing plan by outlining what you hope to achieve and defining how much money and resources you can allocate towards it. Then compare your goals to the unique offerings that integrated marketing agencies and tactic-specific agencies offer. If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency capable of handling all things strategy through execution, SmarkLabs does it all.
Feeling bamboozled by marketing tactics, channels, and buzzwords? There’s a lot to navigate when searching for the best marketing practices for your emerging company. Knowing when and how to get a realistic and effective marketing strategy off the ground may even seem daunting.
In this B2B marketing strategy framework, we provide insights on how to develop a manageable strategy for an early market team. First, we’ll cover the four marketing fundamentals essential for every business to define. Then we discuss the ongoing strategies successful companies use to scale long-term growth.
Let’s get started.
Start-Up Marketing Fundamentals
Before you can develop any tactical strategies or marketing messaging, you first need a clear picture of who you are serving and how you provide value to them. Ideal client profiles and buyer personas are essential building blocks that ensure everything else you build remains relevant to consumer needs.
Define Buyer Personas & Ideal Client Profiles
An ideal client profile (ICP) describes characteristics of a business that make it an optimal fit for your products and services.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional descriptions of the individuals who work at the ICP/businesses that would benefit from your solutions.
Having ICPs clearly defined helps your sales and marketing teams to understand which businesses would make great prospects. Your buyer personas will assist in creating effective messaging that aligns with real customer needs and desires.
Aim to create 2-3 personas and 1-2 client profiles. Your ICPs and buyer personas can be developed based on what you know about past or current clients.
While larger companies may conduct customer interviews to guide the creation of buyer personas, it won’t be as realistic for smaller businesses with less time, fewer resources, and fewer customers. Further, the information obtained from an interview typically reflects just one individual’s problems while an effective buyer persona should be representative of the broader problems your solutions solve.
If you need more insights, look to 3rd party resources such as LinkedIn or online job boards where you can pull information from job listings matching your customer profiles. You can also use professional information sources or industry associations for more information.
What to include in your Ideal Client Profiles:
Demographics including industry, job titles, levels of seniority, location, and company size
In recent years, there’s been a fundamental change surrounding who holds the power in the sales process thanks to the integration of pocket-sized technology. Buyers have access to more information than ever to compare products and services—making high-quality, relevant content that assists customers along every stage of the buyer’s journey essential for your business to succeed.
The goal of the content associated with your website, emails, and social media is to advance buyers through the sales and marketing funnel. The buyer’s journey will help you prioritize the topics covered in your content.
Competitive analysis involves researching major competitor products, sales, and marketing tactics. Often the first objective is to understand their marketing strategies. The second is to see how they position themselves in the market and how you want to position your company in response.
Your competitive analysis ultimately is the research that fuels how your marketing strategy will develop. A well-performed competitive analysis will support data-driven business and marketing strategies, paving the way for you to excel in capturing market share.
Start by defining what questions you have or insights you hope to gain that will assist you in your business and marketing goals. Then gather the information to answer those questions from your competitors’ websites, blogs, social media, and through analytical tools. Reviews can also reveal immeasurable value regarding the positive experiences and pain points consumers have using your competitors’ products and services. Throughout your competitor analysis, consider how you will position your brand in the market landscape.
Set SMART Goals and Choose your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Using the SMART goal framework ensures your marketing objectives align with your business goals. SMART is an acronym used to create goals that include Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely elements.
In the early stages, your goal may be to increase awareness of your brand. As time progresses, your goal should shift to increased leads and ultimately revenue. Examples of KPIs that align with these goals are shown in the table below:
Increase brand awareness
It’s important to have an understanding of how many deals or opportunities are needed in your pipeline to close a new customer. Set your marketing goals using the closest key metric that leads to new opportunities–typically new sales leads.
This is the best place to start as you build your marketing program. In later stages of your company’s development, you may advance to more complex goal setting using revenue attribution reporting. Set your goals further up the funnel until you get to website traffic.
A typical funnel looks like this:
Visitor → Lead → Marketing Qualified Lead → Sales Qualified Lead → Opportunity → Customer
You will need to determine how many marketing-qualified leads you need to generate in order to convert the number of sales leads from your goal. This conversion formula can be modeled up to the top of the funnel at “visitors”.
Foundational Steps Checklist:
Document 2-3 buyer personas and 1-2 ICPs
Map out your buyer’s journey
Complete a competitive analysis
Set SMART goals and identify the appropriate KPIs
These steps will assist you across all decision-making moments in your business.
With those boxes checked, it’s time to talk strategy.
Create Your Content Strategy
“Content” refers to the digital marketing assets associated with your company that demonstrate your expertise within your field and help communicate your unique solutions to potential customers. This may include blog articles, videos, ebooks, case studies, white papers, or reports to name a few.
An effective content strategy aims to assist potential customers by providing educational information that helps solve problems. Creating content that is integrated with search engine optimization (SEO) best practices will assist your website in being discovered by people actively searching online for answers or help. SEO content focuses on positioning your products and services as timely solutions to those consumer problems.
The topics you choose to cover in your content should be based on keywords that align with how your buyer personas define their problems, as well as the topics that establish you as an authority in your field.
Content Strategy Breakdown:
Categories. Identify 3 to 5 categories of information you want to be known for. Start with the broad topics where you want to be viewed as an authority and which align with your products and services. You can add more categories as your company grows.
Subtopics. Identify sub-topics related to the broad topic categories, based on what your audience is searching for.
Campaign roadmap. Create a campaign roadmap based on those topics and define how each campaign will convert across the stages of your funnel.
Distribution. Create a plan for how to distribute and promote your content, such as through email, social media, and paid advertising.
The content your team creates– whether blog articles, videos, ebooks, or case studies– will serve as more than just resources housed on your website. As you distribute the content through the various channels, these assets will serve as fuel for creating demand for your products and services. We’ll discuss demand generation in more detail below.
But first, you’ll need a go-to market strategy.
Develop Your Go-To Market (GTM) Strategy
When preparing to bring a product or service to market, your GTM business strategy should integrate your sales strategy and marketing strategy to position your product as the best solution to consumer problems. Your GTM strategy is developed based on the four foundational marketing steps we discussed at the beginning of this article.
HubSpot offers 4 questions to help you hone in on GTM:
Product-Market Fit. What problems does your product or service solve?
Target Audience. Who is experiencing the problem?
Competition and Demand. Who offers the same service? How much demand is there?
Distribution. How will you sell the product or service?
With your GTM plans in place, you’re ready to start executing your marketing campaigns.
Advance More Buyers Faster with Demand Generation
Demand generation is everything your brand does to create awareness and interest surrounding your company’s products and services. This includes all marketing efforts to help your organization reach new markets, promote new product features, build consumer buzz, generate PR, and re-engage existing customers.
The purchase decision for B2B products and services typically involves extensive online research and comparisons. Personalized online messaging for specific consumer problems is the best place to start when developing content for use in demand generation campaigns.
Below we give brief descriptions of the modern channels for distributing your message and creating demand.
Paid Media.LinkedIn ads, Facebook ads, Google display, paid search, video ads, and other promoted multimedia are effective channels for expanding brand reach, generating more website traffic, and retargeting past web visitors.
Social Media. B2B companies are embracing online brand development and with it, commanding their social media presence to engage, attract and inform their audiences. Your business can demonstrate credibility and nurture customer loyalty through educational content and resources aimed at helping your target audiences. Whether you share blog posts, case studies, e-books, or how-to videos, your social media marketing strategy will be successful if centered around actionable, helpful content.
Email Promotion. Email marketing is the process of targeting your audience and customers through email promotion. Boost conversion rates and revenue by providing subscribers and customers with valuable information to help achieve their goals. Read more here on email marketing tips.
No matter which channels you choose, the key to success in digital marketing remains the same– consistency.
Time to recap! In this b2b marketing strategy framework, we’ve covered:
4 early marketing fundamentals every business needs established
Foundations to content strategy development
Initiating a Go-To Market strategy and creating demand for your solutions
All that’s left is to ensure you can efficiently track, measure, and analyze your data.
Connect Your Tech Stack
You are likely already using a CRM and various marketing tools. Make sure they are set up correctly to track the metrics you’ve defined as your KPIs. If you’re looking for a CRM and marketing tool all-in-one, HubSpot is ideal. It offers a comprehensive integrated system for managing email, social, paid, website, and more all in the same place as your sales processes. HubSpot is also scalable. As your business grows, you can transition from the free version all the way to enterprise.
Your B2B Marketing Strategy Framework
Whew. We gave you a lot of information in this b2b marketing strategy framework. We know B2B marketing may seem complicated. But running a successful startup marketing strategy doesn’t have to be stressful. Download our content playbook to get started.
These days, SEO is a frequent acronym used among marketing professionals as they develop and implement their marketing plans and campaigns. SEO has become an integral part of marketing strategies for any organization that wants to survive and strive in the digital era of the internet. But as a B2B marketer, you might be asking yourself how does SEO work for my business?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of boosting your brand’s visibility on search engines, namely Google. Its goal is to increase your organic web traffic and lead qualified internet users to download your resources and fill out your web forms. SEO requires your team to optimize digital assets by:
Editing digital content
Writing new, SEO-friendly content
Technically, SEO is part of search engine marketing (SEM). SEM focuses on placing your brand’s digital assets at the top of search engine results. While there are other SEM strategies, SEO is the most effective for B2B businesses.
Defining SERP and Indexing
Two other terms are critical to SEO. A search engine results page (SERP) is what appears when you type a query into Google. A complex algorithm determines the order of SERPs, but SEO helps improve ranking. Your business wants to be on the first page. Page one results have a 71% CTR while pages two and three have a combined CTR of 6%. Indexing refers to adding web pages into Google search. Non-indexed sites won’t show up on SERPs. WordPress websites are automatically indexed. Google crawlers also follow links and discover websites to add to their index.
The Three Types of SEO
There are three types of SEO:
On-page SEO includes activities carried out on webpages that will be published (e.g., inserting keywords, links, or meta tags)
Off-page SEO includes activity performed on a webpage after it goes live (e.g., sharing, liking, or commenting on the post to build engagement)
Technical SEO includes behind-the-scenes website setup activities (e.g., creating SSL or XML sitemaps)
For the best results, your team should use each of these tactics.
The Process of Keyword Research
Your website should appear in search results when internet users type in relevant keywords. SEO empowers your brand to rank for keywords. For example, a digital marketing agency may want to rank for the keyword phrase “SEO strategy.” Your team must conduct keyword research to determine which keywords your business should rank for. Keyword research is in-depth research into keywords that receive ample search requests. Once your team identifies these keywords, they can begin including them in their content. As a result, your content will rank higher with search engines and additionally, appear higher on SERPs. When conducting keyword research, here is a recommended approach:
Consider Your Prospects’ Online Searches
Research search queries people are using to find your business, similar companies, and even competitors. These keywords can be found through Google Autocomplete, Google Search Console, Reddit, or even SEO tools like Ahrefs. Make sure to include every stage of the sales funnel. If it helps, replicate the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision) and designate topics or key phrases that prospects might be searching for. When creating keywords consider:
What are the problems that your personas face?
How could they be searching for ways to overcome these pain-points?
How are you the solution?
What are the main features of your product or service?
What are the keywords driving the highest amount of organic traffic for your competitors?
Use SEO Tools
Type these words and phrases into SEO tools like Ahrefs. These tools reveal volume, competition, keyword difficulty, and more. With this data, you’ll be able to distinguish and create a list of the best keywords to optimize your website and content for.
Optimizing B2B SEO for Businesses
SEO tactics are useful in any industry. However, there are a few B2B-specific SEO tactics every B2B marketing team should know.
Promote Thought Leader Content
B2B businesses make many sales through their thought leaders. Ask your brand’s top thought leaders to write blog posts and other content. Publish them on your website, and link to them on your professional networking sites.
Publish Original Research
Publishing proprietary data on your website will attract attention from bloggers and journalists in your niche. They will link to your website, boosting your SEO without extra effort on your team’s behalf. You’ll also further establish your business as a credible source.
Pick High-Value, Low-Volume Keywords
B2B businesses should focus on high-value, low-volume keywords. Long-tail keywords, which contain 3 or more words, are also preferable. They are more specific and may fit your brand better. This is especially important if your product solves a niche problem.
Use Keywords from Disrupted Industries
If your product is disrupting an industry (or two), include keywords from the industry you’re disrupting. They will probably be more popular than those for your new product, and you’ll be able to draw attention away from older solutions.
Create Keyword-Specific Landing Pages
There’s a good chance that your brand will have multiple top keywords. Create landing pages for each keyword. These landing pages should offer valuable content that centers on the relevant focus keywords, as well as support keywords.
Your content team may feel pressured to create a large quantity of content for the sole purpose of promoting your keywords. However, search engines are getting better and better at identifying keyword-stuffed content. Plus, customers won’t trust your brand if they come across content that’s less than the best. Ensure all of your content prioritizes value—while staying SEO-friendly.
Diversify Content Types
Most blog posts are about 500 words. Most of your website’s blog posts can be this length. However, include additional staple blog posts of 800+ words, eBooks, white papers, guides, and other critical content. Use these longer pieces to collect valuable customer data—and further analyze your audience.
How to Work with a B2B SEO Agency
B2B SEO agencies provide expert SEO advice and content that helps your brand increase web traffic and generate more leads. Working with them should be a collaborative, streamlined process. When you begin working with a B2B SEO agency, be sure to:
Assign a dedicated agency contact
Communicate your goals and business vision
Establish a clear brief review and feedback loop
At the end of the day, a B2B SEO agency will help you improve SEO—and fast. Working with them effectively will only help your team reach its goals faster.
The Bottom Line
SEO gives you the tools to provide the right audience with the right information at the right time. It helps establish your company as a credible source, generate leads, and, ultimately, boost sales.
Want help with your brand’s B2B SEO efforts? Let’s talk.
In the world of B2B marketing, there is a lot to juggle. Between budgets, creative, strategy and leads, B2B marketers definitely have their work cut out for them. To make matters even more stressful, marketing to businesses is completely different than marketing to individual consumers. There are entirely separate methods and strategies for promoting and marketing towards business audiences. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some B2B marketing examples to follow? Lucky for you, we’ve already tried and tested some of the best B2B marketing strategies (so you don’t have to!). If you’re looking for some successful B2B marketing examples to follow, here are a couple to inspire you.
3 B2B Marketing Examples (That Deemed Successful)
Lead Generation with Webinars
Overall, most successful marketing strategies focus on lead generation and guiding those prospects through the marketing funnel. This example shows how Vertrax, a supply chain management solution provider within the oil and gas industry, increased their qualified leads using repeatable and valuable content for their prospects. Vertrax began hosting rotating product webinars — monthly webinars that alternated between Vertrax’s three main products. Unlike a full-on demo or sales pitch, these webinars took a deep educational dive into the problems their solutions were solving. These webinars gave Vertrax’s sales team tangible content to send their leads and the opportunity to repurpose the webinar as gated content to capture even more leads. Since Vertrax’s first product webinar, Vertrax’s pipeline has increased in the number of healthy, reliable, and qualified leads.
Creative Storytelling with Video
When it comes to B2B marketing, It’s always important to know who your buyer persona is. What kind of content are they consuming? Where are they consuming it? What content would resonate with them enough so they are aware of your solution/product? In this B2B marketing example, IngeniousIO, an innovative solutions leader in the AECO space, realized that their end customers were not likely to read heavy content like lengthy whitepapers or research reports. They needed an accessible and exciting way to present their solution. Ultimately, they decided that a humorous, approachable product video would be the best way to communicate their message. After a few weeks of paid advertising on YouTube, IngeniousIO generated tremendous activity from their target demographic with 260k views, 475k impressions, and a total view rate of 54%. The ad also caused a large increase in inbound leads for IngeniousIO, further confirming that video was the best medium to reach their buyer persona.
Repeatable Marketing with Content
Many B2B marketers may have finite resources to dedicate towards strategic marketing efforts and campaigns. Marketing plans might include a reoccurring marketing strategy to enable a continuous stream of content generation without depleting your marketing team’s resources. Take this situation for example. Bridge Financial Technology, an analytics SaaS platform in the financial industry, needed a measurable marketing program that would allow them to be more strategic with their marketing efforts, and enable their organization to scale. As a result, Bridge built a repeatable marketing plan to support their marketing and sales team’s needs. This repeatable solution could be promoted through all of Bridge’s marketing channels. This included newsletters, blogs, social posts, and a weekly webinar to showcase a broad overview of Bridge’s platform functionality. The frequent, repeatable marketing content substantially impacted Bridge’s pipeline, with 29% of Bridge’s MQL converted to SQLs and a 9.6% conversion rate overall.
Looking for success similar to these B2B marketing examples? Let SmarkLabs do the work for you! Drop us a line, and we’d be happy to help.
As businesses start to switch their operations and procedures to software solutions, the Saas industry has begun to take over. Saas products’ virtual and online elements have caused its delivery model to become the core of business applications. This technological shift has not only grown the Saas market significantly but has also created a vast new customer base for Saas companies. While this offers an incredible opportunity for your Saas business, to make the most of this technological advancement, you’ll need to know how to make the most of your Saas marketing. Don’t worry— we got you covered. Here’s a guide to some Saas marketing strategies (and metrics) that will encourage growth for your business.
How is Saas Marketing Different than Other Industries?
No doubt promoting Saas products has its challenges. Since there is nothing tangible to show your potential customers, your marketing efforts must work twice as hard to convince your audience that your product can solve their problems. Ensuring that promotion efforts focus on your product’s value is crucial because users can’t physically see it themselves. Marketing efforts must also target every stage of the buyer’s journey. This is because most Saas users decide which product to use fairly quickly. The decision-making process is sped up as users have access to information with one quick online search. To appeal to the informed buyer, your content must be loaded with pertinent and relevant information to convince users o try your service.
Effective Saas Marketing Channels to Utilize
Today’s buyer is more informed than ever, and most of the time, they are going to search engines for their answers. This means SEO is crucial for any Saas business that wants their solution discovered on Google. Working on SEO provides businesses with better search engine rankings and visibility to create their presence online and, most importantly, to be found by users.
No matter the market, businesses use content marketing to grow their brand and build awareness. Most importantly, content drives leads. Creating and promoting content attracts website visitors and ramps up audience engagement to turn uncertain prospects into paying customers.
Retargeting (or remarketing) turns website visitors into customers. After someone visits your website and then leaves, retargeting can re-engage with them by displaying online adverts on other sites they visit. This valuable tool gives your brand another chance to establish trust and familiarity with website visitors so they can come back and convert into customers.
For some Saas solutions, users can naturally expand a customer base by introducing the product to others. With referrals being one of the lowest costing and quickest ways for Saas companies to have new users, many businesses have implemented a referral system or program. To ensure quality referrals, organizations will often ask for information regarding the person’s industry, company, or job title and sometimes include an incentive.
Saas Marketing Metrics to Focus on
Next, let’s talk about metrics. Monitoring analytics not only helps the effectiveness of your marketing but also exposes risks and finds opportunities to accelerate scalability. To help to stay focused on the growth of your Saas business, concentrate on analyzing these metrics:
Churn is one of the most important metrics for any Saas company because it tells a company how much business they are losing over a certain period of time. While customer service may play an essential role in keeping a low churn percentage, marketing should also be analyzing ways to improve this metric. Churn is more than lost customers or revenue. A sure way to keep a high churn rate is to market and sell your product to those who truly need it.
Let’s talk about LEADS. Any marketer or sales reps know the importance of generating leads. However, you don’t want to waste your time on just any lead — you need to make sure they’re qualified. In addition, break leads into lifecycle categories like MQL and SQL. This helps outline where potential customers are in the buying process and identify any leads that get stuck in the funnel.
CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
Customer Acquisition Costs tells companies how much it costs to acquire new customers and how much value they bring to your business. To calculate CAC, take total sales and marketing spend and divide it by the number of new customers (over a specific time). CAC helps companies manage their growth and accurately gauge the value of their acquisition process.
CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
CLV shows the average amount of money each customer pays during their engagement with your company/product. This metric is very insightful for Saas companies because it articulates an accurate portrayal of a business’s value and growth.
Whenever you hear the phrase “product positioning,” you most likely associated it with a B2C market. This is common since most B2C products are tangible and more clearly defined, making them easier to position in a market and compare against competitors. But even as a B2B company, your “products” still pertain to a specific mindset with your clients. So, the important question is, what is your positioning strategy doing about it?
The Top 4 Things to Keep in Mind for B2B Product Positioning
The Product Itself
Okay, this one might seem obvious, but many times it can be overlooked. If you don’t know your product inside and out, how will you position it effectively? First, evaluate your “product.” Ask yourself these questions:
What client needs does it fill?
What is the top benefit? Does is provided additional features?
How is it different from your competitors?
In a B2B space, ask the additional question of “How does my product better help other businesses?”. To fully understand your product, you must honestly consider why clients should purchase it. Once you break down and comprehend the who, what, why of your product, it will be easier to strategize your product positioning.
The Buyer Persona
Building a buyer persona can be done in 5 easy steps, but applying it to a B2B positioning strategy maybe a little more complicated. Product positioning is an implementation tool under the STP model (standing for Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning). This model helps marketers identify their most valuable customers and then develop products and marketing messages that suit them. This range of customers is then represented by a buyer persona, based on their behavior patterns, motivations, goals, and demographics. Personas give you a better idea of the market and who your targeted clients should be. So when you’re developing your product positioning, you can have a better understanding of who your customers are and how your products fill their needs.
Time to do some digging. A deficient comprehension of your clients’ alternatives can make for a poor understanding of the market and who you are actually up against. You need to understand how your customers see your product against your competitors to impact how you market and position your product. Know who your competitors are and, more importantly, study them — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Have an idea of what you’re up against. Then, combat it by providing the necessary, need-to-know product information in your sales spiel and marketing collateral, so clients have everything they need to make an informed decision. Would you rather your potential clients formed impressions of your product from your organization itself or a lowly Google Search?
Alongside your competitors, it’s also vital to evaluate the structure of your industry’s market. For example, let’s take a look at this perceptual product positioning map. Perceptual mapping helps organizations visually analyze how their target market perceives their product. When creating a perceptual map, the axes should represent your customers’ criteria when buying products in your market. Hypothetically, let’s say this graph represents your industry’s current market (dot size representing market share). Using your knowledge of client perception (either through surveys or one on ones), you’ve landed in what seems to be the center of your market. Looks a little crowded there, agreed? When it comes to analyzing the market, it’s crucial to look at market gaps. Why? Because it’s where a potential market opportunity might lie. Gaps could mean untouched customers for your positioning strategy. However, market gaps should be taken with a grain of salt. Gaps can also exist because there is no customer need, or provides unrealistic financial means for an organization. While market gaps can be up for discussion, there is one thing that is for sure — you need to know your market in order to have a successful product positioning strategy.