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What B2B Brands Must Evaluate Before Budgets and Plans Take Shape

Adam Cormier

Did you already break a New Year’s resolution? Regardless, reward yourself for taking time out of the busy holiday season for some self-awareness, reflection and evaluation.

Now that we have turned the calendar to start a new year, we can use this spirit of discovery and awareness to evaluate your marketing plan against the 2020 budget. To do this, we need to examine where you are on your growth and awareness journeys to help determine the alignment between your plan, your budget and your goals.

It does not matter if your plan is signed, sealed and delivered or a blank screen with a blinking cursor. This exercise can be used to create the plan or test the current plan.

brand awareness for b2b tech brands

Which Growth Stage Defines Your B2B Brand?

In 2019, we announced NXT Stage, a strategic guide for B2B marketers’ growth journey, where we help marketers reflect on where they sit on the business growth continuum. Consider this as your high-level roadmap that plots the development of the marketing organization with the growth trajectory of the business. Once you establish your stage, now you can align the direction of marketing to current and upcoming business milestones and “right-size” or expand programs aimed to reach the next stage of growth.

Whether the business sits at the Emerging, Mid or Late Stage, the maturity of your marketing organization may align differently. Now that you have your stage, we need to dig deeper in your discovery and look outward to your marketplace. This is the next part of the exercise.

In 2020, you will hear us talk a lot about “Awareness to Consideration,” the domain in which we as marketers can have the most impact to support business revenue goals. Within the business organization there is someone that will try to correlate a revenue number to your budget. Understanding the impact your programs have on this journey through the funnel will better serve you when it comes time to demonstrate your impact.

Awareness: How to Define Your Brands Messaging & Positioning

Start by answering this question: Do my target personas know me?

Break this answer down to answer by product, vertical industry and market segment (SMB, enterprise, etc.). As you think through your needs for 2020, determine if your awareness levels need further development and look to clarify your message to the marketplace, drive more thought leadership commentary or elevate the visionaries within your company.

Keep in mind that your level of awareness may not be the same for all products and markets. Once the market knows you, now you need to activate them to answer the next question.

Consideration: How to Address the Buyer’s Journey in Your Marketing Plan

Do my target personas know what I can do for them?

In other words, your targeted buyer not only has awareness of the brand but is considering the brand promise and value proposition of the product or solution among the competition. As a marketer, the effort to build awareness has delivered this prospect to this critical milestone. Now looking at your plan, how are you addressing objections and fallout? Does your content strategy address concerns and champion the value proposition? Is the web site optimized and complimented with search and paid social? Do you need to engage influencers to reinforce the decision to buy?

Putting it Together: How to Tackle Awareness and Consideration with a Growth Mindset

Unbiased self-reflection is an invaluable exercise that will help expose gaps in strategy and identify ineffective tactics. The lens of NXT Stage and answering the awareness and consideration questions will yield some understandings so that you can assure that your plan is aligned to your budget, which needs to be aligned with your goals.

NXT Stage will provide organizational context you can use to ensure that marketing and the business are on the same page to keep go-to-market expectations in check. Layering in the evaluations gained from the “Awareness to Consideration” exercise now gives marketers focus to understand where budget dollars need to be used to close awareness gaps or drive easier decisions for prospects at consideration.

Next Steps: How Can Your Agency Help Planning and Goal Setting?

This work is not easy, and marketers need to lean on their agency partners that are ready to get their hands dirty in the data and work through the organization to come to baseline understandings. Start by sharing your goals and building a good relationship with your agency – they should become an integral part of your team.

At PAN, we pride ourselves on being good stewards with our client’s investment in the relationship, which means that we can help with the discovery and evaluation, and also build and execute on a strategy that optimizes your budget in a way that targets programs aimed to achieve goals. As your business grows and your marketing team is stretched to scale, we have your roadmap and we are ready to take this journey with you.

growth marketing mindset

Topics: Thought Leadership

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