Imagine a serene duck gliding gracefully on the surface of a tranquil pond. Above the surface, the duck appears effortless, smooth, and unruffled, but beneath, there’s a flurry of activity – a complex dance of webbed feet propelling the duck forward.
Think of marketing as everything above the surface. And that hidden force beneath the water? That’s strategic communication – the powerful yet often underestimated component that can drive business-to-business (B2B) marketing success.
As beautiful as marketing may look above the surface, here’s why strategic communication practices can guide you to greater success along your marketing journey:
1. Optimizing Client Experience for Sustainable Growth
There is no doubt that marketing has a significant role in the customer journey map or path to purchase – the series of steps your customer prospect takes from beginning their research to making their purchase decision. By its function, however, marketing will only address your external-facing target audiences, using various tools to lead them to your door.
Strategic communication aims to engage both external and internal audiences, guiding them through a seamless customer journey. It strives to attract prospects, address their preferences, overcome doubts, and facilitate purchase decisions. The ultimate objective is to enhance client satisfaction and loyalty because this leads to long-term success and revenue generation.
Navigating the B2B customer journey is like solving a puzzle – it’s dynamic, nonlinear, and capturing a prospect’s journey from research to decision-making can be a bit of a head-scratcher. Internal hurdles, like process gaps and communication hiccups between departments, tend to throw a wrench in the works. Typically, operations handle the journey mapping, but strategic communication plays a vital role in deciphering stakeholders, understanding their communication styles, and reshaping their perspectives to sync up with the customer experience process.
2. Strategic Stakeholder Engagement for Market Leadership
Like marketing, strategic communication uses market research and, preferably, first-party data for audience insight and campaign planning. The key distinction lies in its comprehensive understanding of ALL external and internal audiences and stakeholders, in contrast to marketing’s focus on customers or more external-facing audiences.
Critical differences between audiences and stakeholders:
Failing to secure buy-in from critical stakeholders or to inform key audiences promptly can result in disaster.
Getting a solid handle on your audiences and stakeholders is like holding the key to B2B success. It’s not just about market dominance; it’s about uncovering those hidden advantages that make you stand out. Take your employees, for instance – often, their expertise is a goldmine in the marketplace, and yet, we often don’t tap into it enough. These frontline heroes have the inside scoop on what’s working and what’s not with your products and services. Imagine the possibilities if you let them have a say in decisions or, at the very least, listened to their insights!
3. Crafting a Consistent Message: The Cornerstone of Unique Value Proposition
When it comes to messaging, consistency is critical. Whether it’s the brand message, the advertising campaigns, the content on the website, or the tone on social media, strategic communications professionals work diligently to ensure that all these elements align and convey a cohesive brand.
Consistent messaging establishes and reinforces the company’s values, mission, and Unique Value Proposition (USP). This uniformity enhances brand recognition, making it easier for stakeholders, clients, prospects and employees to understand and remember the company’s core message.
Keeping your message consistent in B2B isn’t just about trust and credibility – it’s like the glue that holds relationships together. It ties up all your communication channels, strengthening your company’s backbone in marketing and sales. Consistency makes life easier for clients, giving them a clear brand story at every turn. It’s the secret sauce that sets your business apart and adds that extra oomph to your brand identity.
4. GOST Framework: Aligning Business Tactics for Maximum Impact
All of us rush to find solutions to fix problems quickly – business leaders are no different. Statements like, “We need a better website for improved sales,” or “Let’s increase social media presence,” are typical starting points. When we proceed with this kind of checkbox marketing, where tactics are not tied to a communication strategy, it ususally wastes precious time and money.
To prevent this, strategic communicators adhere to the GOST strategy – aligning Goals, Strategies, Objectives, and Tactics. Objectives are refined with SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) to create a better Return on Investment (ROI).
Trusting our instincts is great, but sometimes a bit of strategic planning pays off. Crafting a well-researched, data-driven marketing strategy before diving into tactics ensures the best ROI. Plus, in our experience, the solution you initially think will work might not tackle the real issue.
For instance, a B2B client initially sought a campaign for their service departments. However, senior leader discussions revealed a deeper problem – they struggled to connect with the industrial segment, unable to even get a callback. After reviewing their content and services, it was clear they were missing the mark. So, we suggested changes: a new business unit name, updates to the landing page showcasing services, and content highlighting their industrial expertise. Fixing these issues was crucial before launching any prospect-focused campaigns.
Read “Strategic Solutions for B2B Success: How to Conduct a Website Content Audit in 5 Easy Steps”
5. Proactive Risk Management: Safeguarding Success in a Dynamic Landscape
Risk management is crucial in ensuring business resilience. Strategic communication is critical for effective risk and crisis management in two ways:
The strategic side of risk management is like a company’s superhero cape – it helps B2B businesses tackle crises head-on, be it a pandemic, cyber attack, workplace injury, or something else. Being well-prepared to communicate transparently not only lessens the blow but also opens doors for recovery.
When crisis management plans team up with SWOT analysis in your strategic communication plans, you’re in proactive mode. Spotting and nipping potential issues in the bud can often keep them from turning into full-blown crises.
How can you tell if your marketing needs more strategic communication? Check ROI against marketing spend and assess alignment with sales. Gaps may signal communication or process hiccups. Another clue lies in public-facing communication tools, like your website. Conducting a content website audit will help you assess if there is a need for unified strategic communication plan
Need help? We’re here for a chat or a courtesy website audit – let’s get those ducks in a row!
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