As a business grows, it transitions from reliance on outbound sales tactics to attracting clients directly through marketing and communications strategies.
At Acumen, we think about our purpose as a commercial team in a straightforward fashion. The idea is to get people to come to us, rather than us chasing them – surely that’s the ideal situation, right?
Ideal, yes, but it takes work. In the B2B consulting and software space it’s virtually impossible to differentiate on brand alone. So, it’s crucial to implement careful tactics around how the company presents and communicates itself – this is critical to both winning new business and influencing how clients perceive our value.
Accept that marginal gains will be small at first
Digital marketing these days is a minefield of data that can become all too misleading and confusing unless it’s stripped back to what’s worthwhile and meaningful. PPC advertising has the capability to attract huge audiences, but what use is it to your business unless it hits your target market? Refine your campaign audiences to be overly-specific, then build it up from there. Refining your audience is a prime example of the importance of quality not quantity. Getting to a place whereby your business generates leads and is well-known within the industry takes patience – you have to accept you’ll be celebrating tiny marginal gains initially. You might find yourself celebrating an increased average time spent on the website by a few seconds, or increased LinkedIn metrics by a small %. Less satisfying maybe, but it’s crucial to erase all possibility of getting irrelevant leads. Marketing may be a steady game, but if you hone into the specific, you’ll get a much higher quality return.
Get your messages straight
In the consulting and software space, complex combinations of product/service offerings make it a minefield of information for your audience. It’s often hard to see what makes you different compared to the competition, so it’s crucial to point out your USP’s in order to be recognised and remembered. Highlight where your offering sits in the market to eradicate confusion and indicate your value proposition.
Despite the B2B environment, don’t let creativity falter – think about new and innovative ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. Highlight what makes you different.
Reiterate the challenges they face. Spell it out for your audience. They should already know the problems they have but by ‘problem highlighting’ you remind them that they need you.
Content, content, content
All too many consulting firms don’t utilise content as part of their marketing strategy. Content is fundamental to demonstrating thought leadership, enhancing SEO and thus driving website traffic and building trust with your audience. Utilise it to highlight a problem (see above). Done right, thought leadership can become one of a firm’s most effective and valuable tools for attracting potential new clients.
Codify what you can
Most marketeers have the natural ability to visualise the bigger picture, and it’s easy to become swept away looking to the final results rather than keeping track of how you got there. To ensure repeatable results and to refine your plan of action, codify the process where you can. What may seem like extra leg work initially will only mean a smoother process next time.
Live and breathe your brand
All marketing activity is founded on the brand. This should seep through your messaging yet sit upon a tactical framework that conveys your USP’s. Finally, make your brand encompass your overall company purpose.