Five Questions Every B2B Marketer Needs to Ask – by Christopher Ryan

B2B Marketing is a tricky business with a lot of moving parts.  To do it right, you need the answers to the appropriate questions.  Here are five to get you started:

  1. Is what you offer a commodity or a differentiated product or service?  This is a critical question because it will determine how you must market to be successful.  A differentiated product or service has advantages, but it must usually contend with a much smaller market niche. By contrast, a commodity product or service must often be sold on the basis of pricing or some other non-unique attribute.    
  2. Can you be successful in your chosen market space?  Sometimes the business game you are involved in is very difficult to win.  In other words, you can have great intentions but be set up for failure.  At Fusion Marketing Partners, our job is to evaluate the company, the product or service, and the target market, and then give our best opinion on whether a winning scenario exists.  It is better to figure this out early, before you spend a lot of money and effort.  Of course, the fact that you can’t win in a specific market doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed in any market.
  3. Are you a push (outbound) marketer or a pull (inbound) marketer? This is an important distinction and will determine everything from strategy, to budget, to personnel.  Most companies should practice a blend of push and pull marketing – with the blend shifting heavily towards pull marketing over time. 
  4. How many leads to do you need?  I wrote a recent blog post on this subject, and if you don’t already know the exact number and quality of leads you need to meet your company sales targets, please don’t delay establishing your targets.  And by all means capture these numbers in a service level agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales, and make sure the sales managers are on board.  SLA’s are sometimes a pain in the rear to create but are true lifesavers when the sales department is challenging your right to exist.  
  5. Is your website presence where it needs to be?  According to HubSpot, 78% of Internet users conduct product research online.  In some markets (e.g. technology) the percentage of web researchers is even higher.  Therefore, you are doing your company a terrible disservice if your website is not optimized to attract, educate and convert visitors.  By convert, I mean that you either sell the website visitor something or you capture their contact data via an opt-in form, giving you permission to contact them.  This gives you a great source of future customers to communicate with, at little or no cost.   
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Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan has 25 years of marketing, technology, revenue growth experience. As both a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.
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One comment

  • variable data printing April 16, 2011   Reply →

    Great article! There are some good tips here. I own a direct mail business and I struggle with marketing to other businesses. I think # 5 is the biggest challenge for me right now. I realize that many businesses looking for my services are doing it online. I am trying to gain more exposure for my website.

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