B2B Marketing Strategy: 4 Questions To Ask Yourself As You Plan for 2020

It’s November and the 2019 trade shows are almost done, leading into a quiet time that can be used for 2020 B2B marketing strategy planning.

Developing a B2B marketing strategy is challenging in normal circumstances, but the dawn of the new decade brings the added challenge of new marketing technologies, new or improved tactics, continued changes in the media landscape and an uncertain political and economic environment.

Media: Fewer Journalists, New Revenue Models

On the media front, the big news is still the shrinking number of journalists at media outlets. In 2019, media layoffs hit their highest  point in a decade and spread from traditional publications to digital-native sites. Expect trade publications to look for new revenue models that may come from videos at major conventions, organizing conventions or brand advertising. One good trend, ironically, is fake news, because it has started a small trend away from user generated content on social media sites back toward reported news. It’s too soon to know, however, whether those readers will stay and if advertisers will follow.

Martech Gets More Complicated

Keeping up with the technology that can impact a B2B marketing strategy could be a full time job. By one count there are more than 250 “martech” companies which is causing a trend toward developing martech stacks – that is identifying and managing multiple software services to maximize the overall process of guiding prospects to become customers. Add to that the potential for virtual and augmented reality, interactive content and personalization in marketing communications which seem futuristic, but will be here sooner than we think.

Tactics are Evolving

On the tactics front, new media types are taking a front seat for many marketers. For many, video will become a much bigger part of the marketing mix due because it has much bigger impact on SEO. Podcasting is mainstream now and gives companies a way to provide easily consumable content for mobile audiences. Content marketing and SEO are still important, but challenging. SEO is impacted by Google serving up an increased number of “no click searchs” by answering so many questions and providing so much data on its own site from new search features such as company information boxes and “SERP position 0” information boxes. Marketers will need to come up with new ways to keep the clicks coming through to their site. These could drive a new content marketing campaign tactics and email campaigns.

Don’t Get Me Started on Politics

General political rancor, impeachment and looming elections in the US in addition to political unrest around the world is impacting economies. When tariff battles and uncertain trade negotiations are added to that mix, it’s hard to understand the business environment and how to budget for B2B marketing strategy and plan. 

While all of this uncertainty may have an impact on your B2B marketing strategy, it’s easy to know where to start the B2B marketing strategy planning process. There are four foundational questions that are essential to answer as the first step in your planning.  

We’ve put together afree to download resource called 2020 Vision to help with these questions. To give you a sense of what’s in the document and how it can help your B2B marketing strategy, here’s an excerpt of the topline questions from the 2020 Vision Guide. You’ll still want to download the document to get at all of the sub questions.

Question #1: How have your customers changed?

Markets are not static and neither are your customers. Innovations introduced at the beginning of the year, for example, may be common or even outdated by year’s end. Or perhaps your company has added new products this year that appeal to a previously addressed audience. Finding out who it is that your sales force is chasing and why is very important?  

Question #2: What are your competitors doing?

No two businesses are exactly alike, which means you cannot “cut and paste” a competitor’s marketing plan and expect it to work well for your company. You can learn from your competitors, however.  Use their efforts as a benchmark for your own strategic planning and a springboard for creative thinking. 

Question #3: Does your marketing vision support changing company goals?

If you achieved your 2019 marketing goals, Congratulations! Now is the time to celebrate.  But whether you hit the mark or came up short, 2020 is a new year and new goals are in order. How you performed in 2019 will help inform how to plan for 2020. What existing programs should you expand? Which programs have outlived their purpose? What are the emerging opportunities? 

Question #4: What new marketing programs will be part of your 2020 Vision?

A wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Even so, change is constant in marketing. To remain relevant and viable, new programming is essential — whether it is a creative riff on an old idea, or a fresh concept for a new innovation. 

As a new decade dawns, a fresh and clear-eyed view will optimize your B2B marketing strategy planning process and lead to success in the new year. Do you have the clarity of 20/20 vision? Or would you benefit from a few well-placed adjustments to sharpen your strategic vision? If a little focus is what you need, download the 2020 Vision resource here.

If you would like help sharpening your strategic marketing vision for 2020, click here to email The David James Agency now for a free consultation. Also, we have another whitepaper for you: Peso and the Buyer's Journey.

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