Every business wants to succeed, and every business is searching for the best way to do that. Whether success to you is helping others, getting your innovative product into as many businesses as possible or being recognised as market leaders, success rarely comes spontaneously.
So, what’s the best road to take towards success? Both a strong B2B marketing strategy and a stable brand presence will help to position you as a serious player on the market and get you closer to your commercial objectives.
Read on to see the difference between the two, and how they can work together to elevate your B2B business.
The difference between brand strategy and marketing strategy
Both important strings to your business bow, your marketing strategy and brand strategy can, together, help to execute your vision and align business goals. To use each of them to their best advantage, it’s important to know how they differ and what they can individually bring to the table. Also, to remember each element’s success is reliant on the other.
Your brand is the personality behind your marketing strategy and all of your marketing messages. This serves to breathe life into everything you do, set you apart from the competition, and get you recognised by potential customers.
Your brand strategy, then, revolves around this. While you could say your marketing strategy articulates your ‘what’, your brand strategy communicates your ‘why’.
What makes a brand?
Although most people’s minds immediately go to design work, this is only part of a good brand strategy. Think of any big brand you know – yes, you can envision how they look, but it goes beyond this, you also have a sense of their entire personas. For example, Apple is innovative, ambitious, and young; in comparison, Microsoft is established, trusted, and more conventional.
Brand therefore represents the entire package of who you are.
A brand strategy is built up of your brand positioning, values, story and tone of voice. It drives your actions, keeping your efforts aligned with your ethos and why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place.
Your value proposition is also included in your brand strategy, which helps in B2B marketing to effectively connect you to your audience – the ultimate aim!
Businesses won’t properly connect with audiences – and solve their pain points – by putting all their efforts into their products and services, which it can be easy to fall into with B2B. Audiences want to know the life force driving these products and services, too. Over 57% of consumers will increase their business with a company if they feel connected to a brand, with 76% more likely to buy from these brands over a competitor.
Your marketing strategy is essentially the backbone of your business activity. While some businesses ‘get by’ without one, in the digital era especially, a marketing strategy is a must if you want even a chance at succeeding.
A marketing strategy is a tactical approach to, simply, attracting and gaining customers and is centred around your product(s) or services. This should be done not just in the context of what you provide, but should draw on the unique proposition that makes your offering niche and valuable.
A high-end B2B marketing strategy should typically include:
- A SWOT analysis – this is an evaluation of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- A competitor audit, stakeholder research, and market analysis
- A clearly defined value proposition, mission statement, vision, and elevator pitch (alongside extensive brand messaging guidelines)
- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound (SMART) goals
- A content marketing plan
- A social media calendar and strategy – using the marketing channels suited to your brand
- Media campaigns – including email marketing and paid ads
- A long-term plan, made up of short-term actions, a B2B marketing strategy is tailored to all of your buyer personas. Above are some of the staples of a B2B and B2C marketing strategy, but every company will have their own unique version, one that is carefully planned and bespoke to your service/product, intended audience – including decision makers – and market.
A successful B2B marketing strategy isn’t something that can be built quickly. Like all good things, results come to those who wait.
How brand strategy and marketing strategy work together
Crucial ingredients to your business strategy, your brand and marketing efforts exist better together! Your brand strategy is an integral part of your marketing strategy. While you could execute a marketing strategy without having done any brand work, it will compromise the effectiveness of your strategy.
So, if brand is the entire package, marketing is the delivery vehicle. You could have an amazing brand strategy but without marketing, it won’t go anywhere. It won’t reach any of your audience.
If you have marketing but no brand, you may reach your audience but you won’t have much to offer them. At most, you may be able to deliver an exciting looking parcel, but as soon as they open it to find out what it is or who it’s from, they’ll see very little inside.
Together, a brand strategy and marketing strategy deliver a deep understanding of B2B customers and your target audience. They don’t just let your audiences know what you’re trying to sell them, but they show them why you’re selling it and why they should choose you to buy it from.
Plus, using these strategies together is essential for keeping your entire business aligned with your core purpose. This is what creates a long-lasting, authentic, and impactful company presence.
How to build a brand strategy
If you know your brand isn’t as strong, or accurate as it should be, then it’s good to recognise this and take the right steps to making sure your business is the one you want it to be.
A brand-building strategy includes:
- Audience and competitor research – analyse what your audience likes, and what you like and dislike about your competitors.
- Defining your brand image – your brand is by no means all about the logo, but this kind of imagery does play a big part. Make sure it creatively conveys your business for all it encompasses.
- Tone of voice and brand guidelines – this will be a part of your brand handbook, clearly stating all the intricacies of your brand. How does it speak? What does it stand for? How do you want others to see you?
- Consistency – whether from scratch or rebranding, it’s important to involve your team in the process and communicate the objectives. Otherwise, your efforts will come across as inconsistent and messy, potentially putting people off during their purchase decision rather than gaining their trust.
Want to build a marketing strategy?
For B2B marketing, it’s not just about having a strategy to succeed, but one that is airtight, carefully planned – but flexible and responsive – and well defined. You want a marketing strategy that will carry your business through every activity and towards your goals.
If you need help building a B2B marketing strategy, then EV can help. We are a multi-skilled B2B marketing team, with a depth of experience in digital marketing – specialising in brand strategy and marketing implementation. We will leverage both elements, so that together they can enable your business to thrive.
Get in touch with us today for a chat.