First, let’s take a good hard look at your business.
You’ve probably done this already – but it’s always a good idea to develop a clear, realistic picture of where your business is before you jump into marketing.
This will help you focus on the main things you do well, where there’s opportunity to improve and tailor your messaging towards your ideal customer groups.
Be honest here.
Every business has some things they do well and some areas where they’re exposed. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Niches are your friend. And you probably serve them already.
Going for the ‘everybody with money’ market is common, but it’s unnecessary. And, for 99% of B2B businesses, it ends up being unsuccessful.
The trick is to self-analyse and discover which slice of the pie you’re best at eating.
At the Marketing Project, we used to serve EVERYBODY. And we were stretched in all kinds of ways before we were really ready. Once we found our niche (serving purpose-driven B2Bs who are making a positive impact on the world) we started to see some proper traction (and we were much happier). We haven’t looked back since.
Evaluate your past and present client list and think about:
- Which industries you’re servicing
- The business size and turnover of your clients (an estimate is fine)
- Where your clients are located
- Their business stage (eg. start up, scale up, established)
- The demographics of your primary point of contact
- Which of your clients are happiest?
- Where do you do your best work?
- Who really gets the best of your business?
- Which parts of your business are scalable, and which part of your workload would put you in trouble if it increased?
- Which clients are the most profitable? (it’s no secret that 80% of your profit usually comes from 20% of your customer base)
This is one of the most important actions you’ll take – not just for marketing, but for the way your business operates. It will give you a concise outline of your ideal customer, services and products – and you’ll be able to use it as an anchor for your planning – now and in the future.
To properly identify how you’re different from your competitors you need to conduct a SWOT analysis.
Yes, we know, it’s an obvious thing to do.
But does your business have one?
When was the last time you reviewed it?
Industries, businesses and economies change so quickly, it’s always good to come back to exercises like this regularly. You’ll learn a lot and your answers will set the foundation for your strategy.
Any review of where you’re at is not complete until you look at your competitors.
Identify at least 5 businesses that you feel are your closest competitors and do a concise review of their businesses.
- Their USP
- How they position themselves / their brand position
- Their marketing activity
- What niches they’re targeting
- Any areas they’re weak in
Use this information to identify gaps – both in your competitors’ offering and your own. Make particular note of those gaps and come back to them later.
Now it’s back to your current customers for a more thorough review.