What you’ll find in this guide:
- The characteristics of enterprise marketing
- Challenges of enterprise marketing
- What is inbound marketing?
- Disruptive enterprise marketing strategies
- Building a successful enterprise marketing strategy
B2B enterprise marketing is its own beast. It’s often difficult to effectively manage, prioritise and deliver marketing activity at enterprise level, despite the fact you probably have more resource than smaller organisations.
The larger a business gets, the more of a challenge everything from getting work approved to greater investment becomes, with departmental silos, longer sign off processes, and political considerations getting in the way of seamless delivery. Plus, your targets are likely to be larger, with more complex buyer cycles, as your company grows.
That being said, having the additional resources means more exciting marketing opportunities and potential. That’s why we’re looking at some of the best strategies you can use to make the most of your marketing capacity, work with efficiency, and succeed in marketing as a large enterprise.
The characteristics of enterprise marketing
Marketing as a large enterprise (and towards other large organisations) varies in several ways to how SMEs perform marketing, encompassed by the fact it’s often much more targeted and considered.
As an enterprise company you already have an established and successful business – you don’t need to build brand awareness from the ground up.
You’re at the stage where you can focus your sights on more ambitious, higher-value marketing objectives, whilst underpinning existing revenue streams. This might be to attract large organisations at the top of your wish list, break into new sectors and geographies, or launch new products or services. In these instances, your regular marketing activity, while still valuable for consistent, blanket lead generation, probably isn’t going to cut it.
These are the four primary characteristics that differentiate enterprise marketing campaigns:
- Audience: Your audience for enterprise campaigns will be much more complex, aimed at multiple audiences, buying personas and parameters. For example, certain organisations, locations, sectors, or even more specifically, certain roles within an organisation.
- Messaging: The messaging used in enterprise marketing should be highly bespoke and personalised wherever possible – almost as if it’s being written for one-to-one communication. This requires a lot of research to understand your audience’s pain points and needs, to then tailor content to address these needs.
- Scale: Enterprise campaigns will often be delivered at scale, likely because you’re targeting multiple buyers within large organisations. Although your communication is still focused, high-value prospects will require more engagement, and therefore more activity, possibly over more channels, to convert.
- Budget: Larger budgets aren’t always necessary but can be used strategically to maximise impact. Putting a budget behind certain activities, such as social ads or audience data collection, can ensure your campaigns are being seen by exactly the right people at the right time.
Challenges of enterprise marketing
Having more marketing resources and a more diverse audience is both a blessing and a curse. Often, enterprise organisations may find it difficult to prioritise their objectives and, in turn, focus their resources. This can create a scatter gun effect, ultimately generating less reliable results at a slower rate.
Enterprise marketing is a competitive landscape filled with experienced players. It’s more challenging to gain market share against established leaders than SMEs who may be new to marketing.
Organisations with structured processes and large resource pools risk becoming weighed down by their size, making them less able to shift strategies and produce marketing assets with speed. Without this agility, it’s difficult to stay in-tune with industry trends.
You may be targeting international audiences or multinational organisations which leads to more intricate marketing delivery, potentially needing bespoke messaging, communication channels, and/or working hours.
Complex buyer and sales cycles
B2B markets and larger organisations both come with a greater number of buyer types and, as a result, a more complex sales cycle. Each buyer should be treated as a specific audience, with individualised content and messaging, but should also be targeted simultaneously. Using this combined top-down and bottom-up approach greatly increases your chances of conversion.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is all about putting your audience first. This approach primarily facilitates friendly lead generation and building trustworthy, authoritative reputations.
The aim is to centre your marketing activity around supporting your audience’s success and helping them reach their goals. By delivering genuinely valuable communications and content you can entice prospects to come to you (hence the term inbound) and build truly lasting relationships with your customers.
The benefits of inbound marketing:
- Cost-effective lead generation with greater ROI, exploiting digital marketing
- Building digital presence, brand authority, and brand equity
- Defining a customer journey that creates sales qualified leads
- Continually tracking, evaluating and adapting strategies based on performance
Disruptive enterprise marketing strategies
Based on the characteristics, objectives, and challenges outlined above, we’ve collected some of the best marketing strategies for enterprise marketing. From finding the right content to managing your resources, utilising these strategies will put you on the right path to successful, targeted, lead generation.
Even big brands and large enterprises, with dedicated marketing departments, struggle to manage their multi-channel marketing activity.
Taking an omnichannel approach – where your activity is holistically aligned across all touchpoints – is often more complex, but can actually make managing cross-channel activity more intuitive. Not to mention more impactful. Essentially, it involves connecting your cross-platform marketing activity to a shared purpose, message, or objective.
This offers 3 key benefits:
Creating a consistent brand presence is an important trait for large enterprise organisations. It helps build brand recognition and trust, leading to loyal prospects.
Omnichannel marketing will emphasise your brand’s core messaging and objectives. Reiterating an unwavering USP or CTA to prospects on multiple touchpoints is more likely to build on your brand values and drive the target audience to take action.
Integrated user experiences
Omnichannel activity is completely connected. Therefore, you’re giving your audience a fully considered brand experience, not multiple disjointed events. This leaves a positive, lasting impression where individuals feel like they’ve been heard and your products and/or services are clearly meeting their needs.
Aligning your marketing activity across channels can often mean more streamlined and efficient output.
Instead of running different campaigns on each channel, you can run adapted versions of the same campaign across channels. This could be for different industries or audiences. Or build a connected journey through channels. For example, adapting delivery styles for different platforms and buyer types.
This not only avoids confusing your core message, resulting in more impactful marketing. It also gives you an organic link leading people to more of your content. Therefore, you’re getting much better results for much less.
The one warning to bear in mind when you take on omnichannel marketing is that understanding your audience is key. To make sure you’re approaching the right audience at the right time with the right content, you need to do the research, to understand their digital behaviours, their needs, and their pain points.
Sales and marketing integration
Large enterprise sales often require more resource and thus come with higher costs. Enterprise strategies not only need to be more detailed, but they will also require marketing support to succeed.
They should be designed to accommodate the complex B2B sales cycle; this being the multiple decision-makers, longer timescales, and multiple levels of entry. To get it right, you first need to tailor your sales cycle to different types of prospects. Then, ensure your activity is targeted to each stage of the buyer journey.
Each decision-maker needs to be taken through the inbound marketing buyer journey by your marketing activity, while being closely nurtured by your sales team. This therefore requires more touchpoints, more assets, and more strategic planning.
How do you pull this off? Greater sales and marketing integration.
Actively nurturing your prospects and converting leads becomes much easier when you’ve nailed your sales cycle and accurately aligned your marketing activity to this communication structure.
In a similar vein to omnichannel marketing, account-based marketing (ABM) relies on integrated and coordinated marketing efforts. Equally, it provides a framework for focusing your resources onto a single, or a specific number of, buyer personas.
Essentially, ABM is a marketing approach where resources and/or campaigns are targeted towards individual organisations in a market. It puts all the strategies discussed so far into practice. Established as a method to approach extremely valuable, large accounts, it’s an ideal strategy for large enterprise organisations.
The aim of ABM is to generate customer engagement, on an individual and company-wide level, and build trusting relationships with these customers.
Customer expectations are higher than ever. They want more than a transaction – they want experiences and consistent, reliable engagement. You’ll see the results of your campaigns improve once you ensure timely and personalised responses to all engagement. This ensures your leads don’t turn cold, and immediately establishes a positive, experiential relationship. A good CRM system that supports you in this endeavour will be hugely valuable.
Organisations already have to step up and provide experiences to compete in today’s market. Breaking through to large organisations demands an even more powerful impact, especially because they’re being targeted by many of your competitors.
Put your best foot forward with your most interesting topics and don’t be afraid to be inventive with how you deliver this. A simple social post or plain text email can have a surprisingly big impact when done right, but creating something that is a bit different to the norm will definitely get people’s attention – especially when it’s entirely bespoke for this specific audience.
The power of data
“The true heart of what ABM does, and where technology can really help, is understanding customers better by looking at the data and tracking what is happening to them. When you’re doing ABM in a true omnichannel fashion, you’re able to coordinate all these different touchpoints so that you’re providing the right experience and building the right relationships.” – Gupta, The Drum
The success of enterprise ABM is reliant on quality data. This is the most targeted type of marketing you’ll ever create, and so you need to perform deep research to understand your audience demands thoroughly, as well as collecting the contact data you need to deliver.
On top of this, establishing concrete and specific performance indicators is even more important here than in other strategies. Website views won’t give you an accurate insight into the success of an ABM campaign, for example, whereas booking in X-number of calls or meetings with the relevant buyers within the target organisation is a better indicator.
Diversified marketing activity
At enterprise level, your commercial objectives will likely need you to diversify your marketing strategies. In order to achieve your goals and grow at a consistent (or faster) rate, you need to be able to concurrently manage different streams of marketing activity.
For example, if your commercial objective is to grow revenue by X amount, generating sales in multiple sectors, or breaking into a new market, may be the best strategy to help achieve this. In which case, you’ll need to be marketing to multiple different sectors and multiple buyer types within each sector. This would mean creating, running, and managing several streams of marketing simultaneously, or in close succession (so one or more audiences aren’t being neglected at any given time).
Diversification, however, does not override the importance of establishing targeted focus in your marketing activity. For example, you could run three separate campaigns at once, but each campaign would still be tailored with specific messaging. Or, you can have several themes of content, each designed with a specific purpose, that you don’t stray from. The important thing is not to attempt to target unrelated audiences, or establish unrelated objectives, within the same stream of activity.
This can seem counterintuitive after all the advice to stay focused. So here are some tips to stay organised while diversifying your marketing:
- Repurpose your content: Release the same campaigns for different targets, just finetune the messaging, delivery methods, or other features in a way that suits each audience.
- Allocate teams: Assign different teams to different streams of activity, for example a campaign or audience or theme. This way activity doesn’t get confused and people can focus on managing one aspect.
- Consider your resource: Of course, make sure to choose your different targets/activity streams based on what resource you can handle. It’s better to get a few campaigns right than get many wrong.
If you have a substantial or important campaign you want to take on, consider outsourcing to an agency. For example, a product launch, a breakaway into new geographies, or a valuable ABM campaign. This way you don’t have to sacrifice any of your usual marketing activity, which could be important for lead generation, to make way for this standalone project. Or if you want to take on more activity long-term, they can help support the increased load.
Agencies should be seen as a way of augmenting your own internal resources and should be able to act rapidly to bolster or scale your own resources, having solid up-to-date marketing expertise on hand They may even push you out of your comfort zone or provide some fresh perspective.
If you need more marketing resource long-term, but don’t have the available investment to hire in-house, this is a great option to tide you over until you’re sure you can afford to expand.
Still unsure if you need outsourced marketing? Explore the benefits here
Building a successful enterprise marketing strategy
Finally, here’s a quick checklist of actions you should take to build a successful enterprise marketing strategy:
1. Set your objectives
Create SMART objectives and build your campaign audience, messaging, timeline, platform, and assets to align with these.
2. Build your audience
Define your core audiences overall, and for each campaign or activity stream. Research these audiences in full and break them down into the different decision-makers/buyers. Create a sales cycle for this audience and the different buyers.
3. Define your core message
Based on your audience research, you should have the understanding to tailor your messaging to the needs or challenges of your target audience.
4. Align your workflows
Use your defined journey to shape your marketing activity. Next, align your marketing activity with your analytics and sales activity for best results.
5. Track your activity
Consistently monitor engagement and performance of your campaign activity as it’s happening, to identify ad-hoc opportunities or changes and to identify active prospects. This allows you to tweak and adjust campaigns for maximum success.
6. Evaluate performance
Wash up your activity with a thorough performance review, against your original SMART objectives, to assess successes, failures, and improvements for next time.
7. Optimise campaigns
Whether you have or haven’t met your objectives, use identified improvements to repurpose your work and re-utilise for more optimised results in future campaigns.
Discover the EVOLVE model and our approach to digital marketing campaigns for enterprise success. Get in touch today and we’ll book in a discovery call to see how we can help you.