At MODdisplays, we are obviously biased toward trade show marketing as a strategy to increase B2B sales, but there is much more to B2B marketing than exhibiting at trade shows. Business spend upwards of 85 billion dollars per year to promote themselves to other businesses, and the trade show industry only accounts for 17.3 billion dollars per year. Businesses also promote themselves using online advertising, magazine advertising, direct mail, and cold calling; and business invest billions each year in market research and public relations. Despite the massive size of the business to business marketing industry, there are still general rules that large companies tend to follow in their marketing campaigns. The general B2B marketing principles can be applied to businesses of all sizes.
Tip #1 – Keep your branding and company image consistent. Businesses “re-brand” themselves constantly, which is a great way to destroy any hard work you’ve put into your marketing campaign. Unless your business is recognized worldwide, you don’t have the luxury to change your logo and the design of your website year after year. It’s important for businesses to realize that every aspect of your marketing campaign must be consistent with an overall theme and with a set of marketing goals (see Tip #2). Do not try to reinvent yourself every time you plan a new marketing campaign or you will end up confusing your potential clients.
Tip #2 – Develop a set of measurable marketing goals, and design your campaign to meet those goals. Businesses with disjointed and confusing marketing campaigns often have no idea what they are trying to achieve with their marketing program. Setting goals gives your company a strong marketing focus, and allows you to measure your success. If one aspect of your marketing campaign is not contributing to your overall plan, eliminate it and try something new.
Tip #3 – Make use of unconventional and creative marketing methods. Business to business marketing is a massive industry, and nearly every aspect of B2B marketing has been honed and refined by experts over the last few decades. Because the industry is so well developed, I’m not suggesting that you attempt to reinvent the wheel and defy decades worth of trial and error. However, every successful marketing program distinguishes itself in some way through the use of creative and unconventional marketing schemes. How will you ever set yourself apart from the other companies in your industry if there is nothing unique and creative about your marketing approach? In general, it is important to stick with the tried and true methods that have been proven to work, but don’t forget to be different.
Tip #4 – Think carefully about your target audience before you plan out your marketing program. The marketing methods you use need to be directly proportional to the products or services you are trying to sell, and they need to be carefully target toward your potential clients. You would never want to use telemarketing as a way to solicit multi-million dollar clients, and you would never use online advertising to appeal to older generations. You would be shocked to learn how many companies pay no attention to their clientèle and focus instead on what marketing style is most interesting to them at the time.
Tip #5 – Effective business to business marketing is going to cost money, and lots of it. If it was possible to reach thousands of potential clients for free, your industry would already be saturated with slackers and freeloaders. Unless you’re absolutely brilliant, marketing will cost you. I would estimate that your marketing budget should account for about 15% of your operating budget unless you’re an online company with very low overhead. Companies that fail are companies that don’t invest in marketing.
At MODdisplays, we specialize in trade show marketing. We believe in a simple, modern, clean approach to exhibit design with an emphasis on sustainability and responsibility. This approach has distinguished us from our competitors and helped us to quickly establish as one of the industry’s leading retailers of portable trade show booths. We started with a marketing plan and measurable goals, and we have stuck with our plan from day 1. This B2B marketing advice is derived largely from personal experience and trial and error.
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