Srideep Sen

Independent Marketing Consultant

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5 Vital Aspects Of Effective B2B Marketing For Start-Ups And SME/MSMEs

Having an expert external B2B marketing consultant who has a proven track record for working with Start-up’s, can help as well, to ensure accurate brand positioning and visibility which can be built right at the start.

Marketing has always been considered an integral part of any business success story, and yet, in case of start-ups and SME/MSME’s, B2B marketing essentially remains under-leveraged, and subjected to conflicted conversations around ROI’s, priority investments and business impact, compared to B2C marketing. With shoe-string budgets and lack of dedicated marketing teams, start-ups, SMEs and MSMEs are often left to basic, in-house marketing outreach initiatives that hardly go beyond just creating a basic brand hygiene and little to no ROI/ Impact. Further, B2B marketing is even more important for Start-up’s and smaller companies, as it helps build long term, organisational relationships which can go a long way in building a steady stream of revenue or leads.

Depending on the stage of growth for the start-ups / SMEs /MSMEs, there are different strategic B2B marketing techniques that needs to be implemented. Having an expert external B2B marketing consultant who has a proven track record for working with Start-up’s, can help as well, to ensure accurate brand positioning and visibility which can be built right at the start.

Some key steps that can go a long way in building a winning B2B marketing strategy, can be summarised as under:

1. Digital positioning and visibility: As the digital world becomes a certain reality for most businesses, including tech enabled start-up’s, building a positive brand visibility and positioning in the digital space, has become vital. From basic hygiene aspects of creating a corporate identity in the form of a website/ blog or social media handles, to engaging in strategic digital marketing through search analytics and tools like SEO, and ORM, has also become important. It is no longer enough to only be seen in the digital space. It is important to be seen and heard speaking the right language, highlighting the corporate philosophy, supporting the right causes etc., so as to connect, and engage with the right set of target audience.

2. Integrated marketing strategies: This is another aspect of B2B marketing where various media platforms need to be leveraged in a proper manner so as to reach out to a wider range of audiences, and thus create a wider engagement opportunity. Even as businesses come to terms with disruptive marketing trends post COVID, there is a rising need to integrate traditional marketing methods with the new age media platforms, for successful results. Hence while video calls and e-mailers have replaced in person meetings and physical brochures and newsletters, the rise in social media, digital media, content marketing on online platforms and crafting of new, data driven campaigns, is gaining popularity.

3. ROI focussed approach: In most organisations, conventionally, the marketing and sales departments rarely work together, leaving gaps and loopholes when it comes to measuring effectiveness of campaigns, driving ROI and creating impactful revenues driven through consumer engagement. This lack in internal coordination often also reflects on customer experience and long term customer loyalty. In case of B2B marketing, where the company reputation and positioning among industry peers is at stake, it is important to have a close knit working relationship between the two teams, so as to create campaigns which can result in lead generation and revenues – as aspect that is crucial for start-ups who are generally boot strapped for funds.

4. Thought Leadership: In addition to the above aspects of B2B marketing, thought leadership is another important aspect that needs to be factored in, especially in the case of start-ups. Creating a distinctive share of voice and profile for the brand spokesperson, allows to not only build brand credibility but to also drive conversations around the specific service or solution that a start-up is looking to bring to market and thereby create an ease of doing business, among peers and the industry in general. Participation in webinars, industry trade events, and creating informative opinion pieces are some of the tools that can help build thought leadership for entrepreneurs.

5. Adopting ABM and leveraging Employee activation tools: Last but not the least, ABM or Account based marketing and Employee activation are some of the most effective yet under-utilised marketing tools, which actually have a lot of potential to generate leads, with least investment. Often, the focussed approach for ABM helps ensure clear messaging and customised marketing outreach, thereby ensure quality leads and thus larger conversion ratios. Employee activation tools rely on employee endorsement of brand offerings and leverage the network and connections of the numerous employees who in turn can act as lead generation source for businesses. With a little investment in training and incentivising employees, across domain, can help build a robust marketing team.

In line with the above mentioned points, it is important now that start-ups, SMEs and MSMEs broader their horizons to the potential significance of B2B marketing and leverage the above mentioned tools to make the most of their campaigns. With a new age, rapidly evolving market scenarios in the post pandemic era, it is important for businesses to remain relevant in not only their product and service offerings but also in their consumer approach and marketing outreach strategies, in order to thrive and succeed in these volatile times.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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