Marketing, Are You In or Out?
Regain your sanity: Get the results you want and need. Change your marketing focus from “inside-out” to “outside-in”.
Marketing inside-out versus Marketing outside-in should be common terms and concepts for B2B marketing and sales organizations. It seems that many are easily captivated by all the wonderful things their companies are doing with products, services and technology. They have a great web site that says “look at us and how good we are”. They have a blog that talks about all of their great offerings. They even do social media that says much of the same. Their focus is inside-out.
A marketing outside-in approach starts with the buyer and stays focused on the buyer. We know that marketing’s mission is to facilitate the exchange process between the company and the buyer. Value starts with the buyer and works back into the company, so it is vital to change from service/product-focused inside-out thinking to buyer-focused outside-in thinking.
It is time understand who your buyers are with an outside-in focus. The buyer is not just research, demographics, and statistics about some market segment. Your B2B buyers are individuals and you must know what they are trying to achieve, what goals drive their behavior, how they buy, and why they make decisions.
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A basic principle of marketing is to satisfy the needs of the buyer. So, why are so many of you not using this as the starting point? Sure, you start with all the right intentions, but somewhere along the way, you get caught up in your own press clippings. Value is determined by the buyer – it’s not your list of perceived benefits, ROI and other claims. The value is expressed in terms of how your solution creates value for buyers by meeting their real needs within their context.
A recent study by the Fournaise Marketing Group revealed that one of the top issues that 77% of the CEOs have with marketers is that they keep on talking about brand, brand values, brand equity and other similar parameters. Senior management has great difficulty linking back to results that really matter. You know, things like revenue, sales, EBIT or even market valuation.
What ever happened to the buyers? As the saying goes, “They don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care”. The same goes for the brand. Show the buyers that you care by providing them with relevant information that is important to them on a consistent basis. The goal is to earn their trust and confidence. You want to be the first company they consider when they are ready to speak with a sales rep. Even though you are a B2B company, it’s important to think about the individual that you are working with.
Last month a Harvard Business Review article titled “Marketing Is Dead” cited several studies supporting the idea that traditional marketing communications are no longer relevant in the “buyers decision journey.” It says traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead and the evidence is clear that many people in traditional marketing roles or organizations may not realize this.
SBI’s 12 month research report does not put a nail in the coffin for Marketing, but it clearly shows that the B2B buyers are in control. They seek information to solve their needs well in advance of engaging with a sales rep. They are not looking to be sold. The buyers determine what type of communication they want and when they want it. The companies that are exceeding the benchmarks are the ones that have moved away from an inside-out to an outside-in strategy. They have a custom-built marketing and sales process that is mapped to the way their buyers want to buy.
It is time for you to:
- Know your buyers
- Identify their buying stages
- Provide them with the right content at the right time
By knowing the what, where, who, and how of your buyers, you will be able to formulate an outside-in marketing strategy that connects with the real needs of your buyers. This will be a major contributing factor in achieving the results that you are looking for in 2013.
Contact me today for a Free 30 minute session to discuss how to implement your new outside-in approach.
Author: Terry Stidham
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