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How VP’s of Marketing Can Focus on B2B Marketing Plan
And Get Out of the Tactical Mud
When we talk to VP’s of Marketing for B2B companies, we always hear a variation on a familiar refrain:
“I don’t have enough time/money/resources to execute all of my ideas.”
And we totally get this.
But when we dig deeper, we realize that when many VP’s say they are having trouble executing all of their ideas, it’s because they are being tasked with implementing tactics that aren’t their primary responsibility, or their primary area of expertise.
The VP of Marketing’s Responsibility
The VP of Marketing provides the big picture oversight needed to ensure marketing efforts stay true to the brand, are effective for personas,
and stay on budget.
The role of the VP of Marketing is essential.
But here’s the thing:
Marketing VP’s mired in tactics can’t focus on big picture strategy.
When the big picture gets blurry, this means:
A less effective B2B marketing plan. Fewer marketing qualified leads. Fewer sales qualified leads. Fewer sales from marketing efforts.
So to you, Marketing VP, here are our 5 suggestions to help you focus on the marketing plan and get out of the mud
Obtain a Sufficient Marketing Budget
Please don’t roll your eyes and run for the hills at this obvious suggestion.
Stay with me here:
You need a marketing budget to stay on track.
I know: easier said than done. You’ve tried. You've been told “it is what it is.”
In our experience, many CEOs are hesitant to give the marketing team a budget because they don’t quite see the value in marketing. Marketing hasn’t produced results in the past. But at least part of the reason why marketing hasn’t produced results in the past is that it didn’t have the budget to succeed.
And round and round we go.
Not giving marketing a budget is a mistake.
Without a marketing budget, the team can’t invest in pay-per-click campaigns, whitepapers, or marketing experiments. The team will be forced to employ the same methods that aren’t producing results.
The average B2B Marketing budget is 11% of company revenue. Of course, your situation is unique. But you can use this 11% statistic as a guidepost to help you win the budget you want. Once you win this budget, you will have the ability to produce more traffic and more qualified leads for the sales team.
Create Buyer Personas
Building buyer personas is one strategy that will save VP’s of Marketing time and turn efforts into tangible results. Buyer personas save you from fruitless marketing endeavors that are doomed to fail.
Wth buyer personas:
- You save time
- Your marketing produces better results
VP’s of Marketing can provide their marketing team and any third party vendors with the buyer personas to make sure every blog post, every campaign, every piece of marketing is targeted to the right audience.
Enlist Expertise Where You Don’t Have It
As a VP of marketing, I’m sure you love diving into analytics and enjoy writing blog posts on your expertise.
You want to learn more about SEO and keywords. Be an expert copywriter. Become a master at pay-per-click campaigns.
But you can’t do it all.
Investing time learning complicated marketing tactics like SEO, web design, and even copywriting distracts Marketing VP’s from their goal of controlling the big picture.
The VP of Marketing’s time is better spent overseeing activity and driving initiatives forward.
Instead, hire experts to handle the tactics outside your area of expertise.
You might start by hiring:
- SEO experts to build a keyword strategy that will push you to the top of Google search results.
- Expert copywriters to write your homepage, website, and blog posts in a client-in way that connects with prospects.
- Professional designers to design a website and branding materials that are cohesive and polished.
Enlisting the work of an expert will result in faster, higher quality work than the DIY alternative.
Create a Content Calendar (and Manage it as a Team)
Content calendars are a great way for marketing teams to get on the same page about current and upcoming content.
But a content calendar is not as useful if it is out of date. And it takes more than one person to manage it. (Putting only one person is control of a content calendar means a lot of double checking on statuses. But if each writer and editor updates the calendar after they’ve finished a task, things stay more current.)
When the team is responsible for the content calendar, the VP of Marketing can step back and see the big picture.
With a full content status update on the screen, the VP of Marketing can look and say, “Okay, things are on track,” or, “Why are we falling behind, and how can we fix it?”
Say "No" to Initiatives That Don’t Fit the Marketing Plan
Too often in sales meetings and marketing meetings, someone will share an idea that truly doesn’t fit the company, the personas, or the marketing strategy the VP of Marketing has planned.
Let’s say the sales team gets back from a trade show where they learn your biggest competitor is using…Snapchat (extreme example, but let’s use it to make the point). Everyone thinks the Snapchat posts are really great, funny, and engaging. You don’t think Snapchat is a good idea, but the CEO seems intrigued and tells you to add it to your list.
This is where you stop the Snapchat train:
Don’t waste time on marketing avenues that aren’t going to support your marketing plan or target your personas. Instead of saying a half-hearted, “I’ll look into it,” use your position as the marketing expert to defend your “no.”
Here are a few lines you can use to support your “no” with the right reasons:
From my research, Snapchat is not a medium our audience uses.
Our personas are not concerned with that. They hang out on LinkedIn.
But if the CEO thinks it absolutely must be done, don’t allow them to make you squeeze it into your budget or your time. Ask for the budget so you can stay on track with your marketing plan. Say something like:
Sure thing. But I am not willing to give up part of my budget. You hold me accountable for the results, and that means I need to spend the budget the best way I see fit. Can you give an additional budget?
VP’s of Marketing: Keep your Focus on Strategy, Delegate the Tactics
Delegate the blog post writing, the SEO optimization, the website updates, and other tactical tasks to other members of your marketing team (or an agency).
Your marketing will be more successful if you make sure the tactics are supporting the big picture strategy.
When your marketing keeps the big picture goals on track, your sales team will receive more quality leads. Quality leads will result in more deals. You can track these deals back to marketing.
And when the CEO sees marketing’s impact on revenue, you won’t have such a hard time securing your marketing budget.
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