Your marketing strategy and marketing plan are not the same thing. A marketing strategy answers the questions of ‘when, where and how’ you should compete. A marketing plan, on the other hand, is an action document specifying the activity you will undertake and when. Your marketing strategy informs and provides direction to the actions in the marketing plan.

Your B2B Marketing Strategy

Defining your B2B marketing strategy is crucial to determining ‘how, when and where’ you can win the work you deserve. It involves identifying the business markets you want to compete in, determining the timing of your entry into those markets, and outlining how you will stand out from your competitors in those markets.

To differentiate your business from your competitors, you need to focus on the ‘how’ question. This means deciding on the positioning strategy that will define the experience you offer your customers, the services you provide, and the price at which you will offer those services to provide better value than your competitors.

Your marketing mix should be defined in your marketing strategy. This includes the different elements you will use to promote your business, such as product, price, promotion, and place.

Marketing Strategy Questions:

  1. What is our purpose & what values do we live by?
  2. How are we going to be positioned (vs competitors)?
  3. Who is our target market? (Where are we going to play?)
  4. What services (value) will we offer and at what price? (How we’re going to win, Part I?)
  5. How are we going to promote our value? (How are we going to win, Part II?)

Your B2B Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where the strategy is put into action. …Note: if there is no allocation of responsibility, KPI’s or a timeline, you haven’t got an action plan!

Marketing Plan Gantt Example

With your marketing strategy answering the ‘when, where, and how’ questions of competition, your marketing plan creates a series of projects and action plans to meet specific marketing objectives, such as growing revenue in defined markets and building awareness. Every marketing plan should define:

  • a set of activities/actions,
  • key performance indicators (KPIs),
  • the person or people responsible for undertaking each action, and
  • a timeframe within which each action is to take place.

There should also be a process to monitor and evaluate the success of the marketing activities to inform ongoing improvement.

B2B marketing plans usually map actions to the sales funnel and define actions that will directly lead to new revenue from existing and new clients. They focus on attracting visitors to websites, converting those visitors to leads (captured records), and nurturing those leads until they are ready to buy.

Marketing Plan Considerations:

  1. Brand – redevelop or refine the brand and messaging.
  2. Website – redevelop in line with the new brand & optimise the site to capture leads (conversion rate optimise).
  3. Social plan – develop and implement social sharing.
  4. Content plan – define and map the content needed to attract and nurture potential customers.

Final Thought

Your marketing strategy sets a broader framework for winning by defining when, where and how you will compete, while your marketing plan puts the strategy to work and defines how you execute your marketing strategy, setting out the actions needed to achieve your objectives and bring the dollars through the door.