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How Product Positioning Works in a B2B Market

How Product Positioning Works in a B2B Market

Whenever you hear the phrase “product positioning,” you most likely associated it with a B2C market. This is common since most B2C products are tangible and more clearly defined, making them easier to position in a market and compare against competitors.

But even as a B2B company, your “products” still pertain to a specific mindset with your clients. So, the important question is, what is your positioning strategy doing about it? 

The Top 4 Things to Keep in Mind for B2B Product Positioning

 

The Product Itself

Okay, this one might seem obvious, but many times it can be overlooked. If you don’t know your product inside and out, how will you position it effectively? 

First, evaluate your “product.” Ask yourself these questions:

  • What client needs does it fill? 
  • What is the top benefit? Does is provided additional features?
  • How is it different from your competitors?

In a B2B space, ask the additional question of “How does my product better help other businesses?”. To fully understand your product, you must honestly consider why clients should purchase it. Once you break down and comprehend the who, what, why of your product, it will be easier to strategize your product positioning. 

The Buyer Persona

Building a buyer persona can be done in 5 easy steps, but applying it to a B2B positioning strategy maybe a little more complicated. 

Product positioning is an implementation tool under the STP model (standing for Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning). This model helps marketers identify their most valuable customers and then develop products and marketing messages that suit them. This range of customers is then represented by a buyer persona, based on their behavior patterns, motivations, goals, and demographics.

Personas give you a better idea of the market and who your targeted clients should be. So when you’re developing your product positioning, you can have a better understanding of who your customers are and how your products fill their needs.

Your Competitors

Time to do some digging. 

A deficient comprehension of your clients’ alternatives can make for a poor understanding of the market and who you are actually up against. You need to understand how your customers see your product against your competitors to impact how you market and position your product.

Know who your competitors are and, more importantly, study them —  the good, the bad, and the ugly. Have an idea of what you’re up against. Then, combat it by providing the necessary, need-to-know product information in your sales spiel and marketing collateral, so clients have everything they need to make an informed decision. Would you rather your potential clients formed impressions of your product from your organization itself or a lowly Google Search?

The Market

Alongside your competitors, it’s also vital to evaluate the structure of your industry’s market. For example, let’s take a look at this perceptual product positioning map.

Perceptual mapping helps organizations visually analyze how their target market perceives their product. When creating a perceptual map, the axes should represent your customers’ criteria when buying products in your market.

Hypothetically, let’s say this graph represents your industry’s current market (dot size representing market share). Using your knowledge of client perception (either through surveys or one on ones), you’ve landed in what seems to be the center of your market. Looks a little crowded there, agreed? 

When it comes to analyzing the market, it’s crucial to look at market gaps. Why? Because it’s where a potential market opportunity might lie. Gaps could mean untouched customers for your positioning strategy. However, market gaps should be taken with a grain of salt. Gaps can also exist because there is no customer need, or provides unrealistic financial means for an organization.

While market gaps can be up for discussion, there is one thing that is for sure — you need to know your market in order to have a successful product positioning strategy. 


Need some help with your positioning strategy? Leave it to the experts. Drop us a line, and we’d be happy to help.

A Beginner’s Guide to Growth Marketing

A Beginner’s Guide to Growth Marketing

If you’re a professional marketer, you know that significant growth doesn’t usually happen overnight. Sometimes, it can take weeks, months, or even years of building up your marketing strategies to produce targeted goals and results.

Don’t you wish there was a way to know if your strategies worked while further helping your business grow to its full potential? Lucky for you, there is!

What is Growth Marketing?

 

Growth marketing, growth hacking, performance marketing… You’ve heard these interchangeable phrases used before, but what do they mean?

Growth marketing is an integrated approach of constant testing across marketing channels with the goal of scaling and optimizing your business. The purpose of a growth marketer is to find new ways to build and engage your organization’s audience. 

A growth marketer is keen, creative, analytical, and scrappy —  all at once. They will test and experiment with new concepts and content until they find an approach that enables significant growth.

For example, have you ever conducted A/B testing? Congratulations, you’re already on your way to being a growth marketer! As the purpose of A/B testing is to test the effectiveness of content based on performance, it’s essentially a growth marketing strategy without the label.

Why is Growth Marketing Important?

Since not all industries or markets are alike, there are unfortunately no clear cut rules to direct and guide everyone’s marketing strategies. While overtime marketing best practices have developed, when it comes to an individual’s brand, there are never any guarantees for what will work and what will not. Traditional strategies usually involve “set it and forget it,” burning through resources like time and money, with no intention of maintaining potential customers’ attention. 

This is where testing and experimentation become valuable. When it comes down to it, brands turn to growth marketing to provide them with creative, innovative, and low-cost strategies to achieve business scalability. 

Notably, growth marketing is exceptionally substantial for content marketers. It helps them discover new ways to communicate with audiences, whether it’s testing a new marketing channel or a piece of content. Using the evidence of analytics, marketers can then integrate the best performing content into their strategies without worrying about its effectiveness.

Low-Cost Growth Marketing Strategies to Help You Get Started

For marketers accustomed to traditional marketing approaches, this level of experimentation can look overwhelming or even impossible. How is it possible to produce large amounts of growth with limited resources? Fear not! Here are a couple of convenient ways to implement growth marketing with content you already have.

A/B Testing

Like mentioned before, A/B testing is growth marketing in disguise. To run an A/B test, you’ll need to create two versions of the same content piece (or just slightly alter a piece of content you’ve already created). This can work for multiple types of content — landing pages, social ads, emails, etc. The ultimate goal is to use analytics and decide which version resonates best with your audience.

Look into search ranking

Investigate where your business ranks when it comes to specific search terms. You can do this with Google Analytics and other SEO tools, or simply conduct a search using incognito mode. Not only does this provide feedback on where your SEO might work, but can also give insight into competitors, ideas for content creation, and more.

Feedback from current users

You don’t have to let analytics do all the talking. As the best source of product information, your customers can provide feedback to improve any current business function, including marketing. Whether it’s with surveys or client one on ones, get the answers you need to encourage business progression.

Audit your current content

Growth marketing is all about staying up to date with trends in the industry and uncovering new marketing tactics that take advantage of growth opportunities. Techniques that worked a few years ago could now not be the most effective way to generate consumer engagement continuously. What’s not performing as well as you would like it to, and more importantly, what’s the solution to fix it? Make it a point to frequently review what you produce so it can achieve its full potential.

Want more examples of growth marketing implementation? You can find more here, but don’t limit yourself to just those. There are several resources out there including SmarkLab’s Growth Plays — a complete playbook of 50 unique campaign ideas and tactics to help prioritize your marketing efforts. 

Assess in your current strategy what elements or content may benefit most from growth marketing and start there. By applying growth marketing, you’ll be able to maximize your marketing strategy backed by data and analytics while contributing to your business’s growth.


Get the most out of your content by letting us help implement your growth strategy. Drop us a line to get started!

Why You Should Have a Repeatable Go-To-Market Strategy

Why You Should Have a Repeatable Go-To-Market Strategy

Have you ever heard the phrase “Always be launching”? It may seem pretty straightforward, but it’s definitely easier said than done. Fortunately, a go-to-market strategy can help make this more possible than you might realize.

A go-to-market strategy is the process of how a company brings their products to the market. Generally, this additionally includes any planning, researching, or preparing that happens before a product launch. When releasing a new product or feature, you definitely don’t want to waste any time and resources throughout the process. Without planning, there is no knowing notable factors about entry to the market, like audience or market saturation.

So Go-To-Market strategies are obviously important, but why make them repeatable?

The reason behind why a recurring go-to-market strategy is so significant is because it positions your business as innovative and progressive. It’s not hard to deny that people like new “news”, especially if it’s in relation to new products or features that interest them. By implementing a GTM strategy, you are continuously engaging with your customers’ interests for your products while creating a wow factor and perception of success. Positioning yourself as “up and coming” will give your customers that serious sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) whenever there are any missed releases.

Go-To-Market Strategy

Go-To-Market Strategy Development

What does the Go-To-Market process entail? 

First, you need to establish your “event”. Don’t worry about creating a big occasion or a new product launch just to push news out to an audience. Here are some potential ideas that your GTM strategy can rally around:

  • Feature or Service Updates

You want your current customers to have the best version of your product (and they want that too!) Keep them aware of your products’ updates so they can continue to be satisfied.

  • New Features or Services

Continuing to enhance your products is all about furthering yourself in the market and rising above competitors. Alert your customers to show them why they are already using the best in the business.

  • Free tools or freemiums

Announcing that trial period gets people hooked on your product while also creating loyal customers in the making.

What’s Next?

Now that you have your options of “events”, here’s the important part: making it repeatable. For each release you have, it is possible to create and build reusable elements that will fuel weeks of content. 

The Announcement 

This is the presentation of your news. Whether it’d be weeks leading up to or the day of, there are various ways to get your audience excited. It can vary anywhere from social and email to news articles and press releases (or a combination of all of these). As a company expert, you’ll know the best way to reach your audience.

The Exclusive Story 

When creating an event, details are critical if you want your audience to stay informed. Craft a write-up about the significance of the release including items like the use case, the problems it solves, or the opportunities it creates. If you are pitching to media, this is almost required, but don’t let that restrict you from repurposing it for other content like your website or your blog. 

The How-To

Allow your customers to get the tangible details of the release by including tutorials, guides, and documentation.

The Webinar 

The How-To but essentially repurposed to video format. With this new medium, you can further extend information to customers while still talking about the details of your products. And there’s a bonus: Set the webinar up as gated content and allow tracking for leads and potential new clients.

Earned or Paid Media (optional) 

Try and find a way to fit your news into your pre-existing content strategy with paid and owned media. Promoting this content helps drive exposure and engagement to your release. Now combine this with any earned media — positive reviews of the new feature, current customers’ recommendations, coverage in an industry trade — and you’re well on your way to a successful launch.

And there you have it! An easy yet effective way to use the tools you already have to start building your go-to-market strategy from the ground up. Remember to keep exciting your customers and “always be launching”.


Get the best tips and tricks on go-to-market strategies from the experts. Drop us a line and let’s get started!

Strategic B2B Positioning: What You Need To Know

Strategic B2B Positioning: What You Need To Know

Here’s the bottom line: In today’s market, to guarantee the utmost visibility in any industry, effective B2B positioning requires some sort of strategy. Rising above competitors is getting tougher as more and more contenders seem to enter the market. And while marketing efforts can be optimized or revamped, there is one element that underlies as a foundation for all: positioning

Let’s take a look at what “positioning” is and why it may be the most important (but one of the most difficult) building blocks for your company’s growth.

What Exactly Does “Positioning” Mean?

Here is what is positioning is NOT:

  • Positioning is NOT branding. While both involve actively shaping your brand, positioning is how your brand sits in consumers’ minds.
  • Positioning is NOT “marketing’s job.” Ultimately, it’s the CEO or founder’s job to lead the way on what the positioning will be. Marketing can, of course, take on a role in the process, but their job is more heavily involved later on in implementing the strategy through the messaging.
  • Positioning is NOT just a statement. As you develop strategic B2B positioning, that brand story should weave itself into every element of your company.

Here is what positioning IS:

Positioning IS perception. The story that consumers and clients have created in their minds about your company and your brand. As positioning is composed of many different elements, from marketing and branding to service and social responsibility, it is crucial to create a clear and captivating customer perception with a strategy so clients choose your product and/or services to fill their needs every time.

Developing Your Positioning Strategy

The Buyer Persona

 

What are the ideal needs of your clientele? While every client may have different problems or difficulties, remember your job as a company is to solve those key pain points by providing a solution. Creating that buyer persona helps consolidate what needs your company should focus on filling and therefore, positioning your story around. Generally, the best persona to pursue would be the one who has the highest distress, simply because they are more likely to shift towards your solution if their needs aren’t currently being met.

Additionally, ask your current clientele for their input. This will help focus your areas of what customers’ perceptions are of not just your products, but your strategic B2B positioning as well. Ask questions like:

  • What do they like about your product?
  • What is the predominant benefit they receive?
  • Why did they switch to your product?
  • What do they wish was better?

The Competition and the Market

 

Where do you see your company fitting into the market? In consumers’ minds, you are already competing against other contenders, so make sure you know what you’re up against. One of the best ways is to simply gather competitive intelligence, whether that be from their website, blogs, social media and notably, reviews. Reviews are key to revealing what approvals — or disapprovals — current consumers are experiencing with your competitors’ products. How can your company fill these needs that your competitors aren’t delivering their promises on?

Do research not just on your competitors, but the industry as well. Where is the market demand now but more importantly, where is it going? Use your positioning to fill the empty void in your market to reach a new consideration of clients and maybe even contemplate the opportunity of creating your own category.

Differentiation and Consistency

 

That distinguishing factor that makes your company stand out from your competitors? USE it. This is what positioning is all about. See that a compelling story is crafted so your company will stand out from the competition and brand advocates will continuously share with anyone who listens. 

Once you’ve established a brand position, keep to it. The second you change your brand’s story, you confuse your clients. Remember consistency happens across your whole positioning strategy — not just one individual element. This should include the messaging you are using for your marketing, ensuring that the delivery is centered around your story.

 

While there are several guiding principles to elevating your strategic B2B positioning, due to the differences and challenges each individual industry is facing, unfortunately, there is no one standard solution.  As a specialist in your industry, you will know the in and outs of the market to implement the best possible positioning for your company — these are simply just tools to help you get started.


Still feeling overwhelmed by strategic B2B positioning? Leave it to the experts! Drop us a line and we’d be happy to help. 

4 HubSpot Features That Can Enhance Your Marketing Strategy (Or Just Make Your Life Easier)

4 HubSpot Features That Can Enhance Your Marketing Strategy (Or Just Make Your Life Easier)

Did you know that less than a quarter of HubSpot users leverage the full potential of the CMS? It’s certainly understandable—HubSpot is a choose-your-own-adventure of epic proportions. It’s hard not to think about all of the fantastic features that so many users are missing out on, though!

Not everyone has the time to complete all of the relevant HubSpot Academy courses (though we highly suggest them if you do!), so we’re here to talk about some HubSpot features that are worth checking out.

Insights reporting

If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time combing through analytics to find a relevant piece of information, you understand the need for customizable insights reporting. Maybe you want a create a new dashboard that fills just your weekly reporting needs. Or perhaps you want each member of your marketing team to create a dashboard that pertains to their duties. Either way, everyone will save plenty of time by not having to sift through data irrelevant to them.

Don’t worry about losing HubSpot’s default reports, either. You can create all of the custom reports you need and still be able to reference anything HubSpot automatically collects. Your report navigation will include:

  • All reports
  • Custom reports
  • Standard reports
  • In dashboards
  • Not in dashboards

Creating and sharing meetings

How much time do you spend each week coordinating meetings and rescheduling every time something comes up? The back and forth emails so necessary to modern office life can be such a time suck. And the sheer number of calendar programs that people in different organizations that you might be working with use can be chaotic. But with the HubSpot meeting scheduling software, you can sync your Google or Office 365 calendars, as well as schedule and hold group meetings. 

You might be thinking, “why would I complicate things by adding one more meeting scheduler into the mix?” Well, HubSpot automatically keeps records for meeting attendees and prospects for you to reference later on. Is that a game-changer? Yeah, we thought so. 

Image: HubSpot

Prospect tracking

Speaking of prospects, while it’s certainly possible to track them yourself, why not let HubSpot do the work for you? On the surface, it’s evident that HubSpot would include this feature, but you might not be aware of the breadth of it.

HubSpot’s prospecting tool detects the IP address of each person who visits your website and reports that information back to you. If someone’s checked out your site a bunch of times, delving more in-depth with each visit, it might be about time that you reach out. HubSpot makes getting that information accessible, as well as the subsequent reaching out.

You can also have this info sent right to your inbox each day with HubSpot’s daily prospects report. With this tool, you can sort your prospects using just about any criteria, from geographic location to the number of visits they’ve made to your site. Set reminders to follow up, right in the tool as well, so everything is in one place. 

A few other emphasized features of HubSpot’s prospecting tool include:

  • Email sequences
  • Email templates 
  • Email tracking
  • Email scheduling
  • Documents
  • Meetings
  • Live chat
  • Calling
  • Sales automation
  • Reporting
  • Predictive lead scoring
  • Salesforce integration

In addition to all of these prospecting features, HubSpot also offers a contacts dashboard. This dashboard gives you the option to filter your contacts in just about any way under the sun. If you’re keeping an eye on leads, you might want to keep track of their lifecycle stage or the last time each contact interacted with your website. If you’re already in the process of nurturing, you’ll want to keep track of the last time you reached out to them. HubSpot makes this all a reality!

Image: HubSpot

Integration with WordPress

While HubSpot offers you the option to run your website or blog through HubSpot itself, there are several reasons you might choose to use WordPress instead. Maybe you’ve already built it far before you started using HubSpot, or perhaps you prefer WordPress’s interface more. But we can’t deny that HubSpot’s analytics tools surpass those of WordPress. Luckily, you can integrate the two platforms. 

All you have to do is install HubSpot’s plugin on your site, and you can track things like your traffic and bounce rates, as well as step up your prospecting game. You were previously able to see how leads interacted with your website as a whole, but now you can see what they’re doing on your blog as well, so you can even send personalized emails and offers.

Once you’ve integrated your HubSpot and WordPress accounts, you’ll have the option to view your reporting dashboard right in WordPress, as well as your contacts, lists, and forms. Keep in mind; you’ll also have the opportunity to install a HubSpot live chat or chatbot if you don’t have one on your site already!

Upgrade Your LinkedIn Company Page in 3 Steps

Upgrade Your LinkedIn Company Page in 3 Steps

Two weeks into the new year and still not seeing any progress on your company page? You may be sitting behind your laptop right now, wondering how in the world you can get out of the “startup” social phase and begin growing and establishing new leads from LinkedIn. According to Top Dog Social Media, 50% of B2B web traffic originates from LinkedIn, making your company page essential for a successful B2B business.

How can I upgrade my LinkedIn company page and see more traffic?

Believe me, you’re not the first to ask, and you won’t be the last. Boosting your company page can seem like a hassle and take months to see results. However, by implementing certain tools, you can start seeing results much earlier. That’s why we’ve created a list of three steps to begin executing today.

Increase visual aids

That’s right, bring on the pictures. Did you know that 90% of information sent to your brain is visual? That’s why we encourage you to post more images, such as infographics. According to Demand Gen Report, infographics can increase web traffic by 12%. Executives from companies have little time to consume media, so quick visual aids can help deliver information along with attracting more viewers.

Posting at the right time

Daily posts at the correct time of day are essential to increasing web traffic, along with attracting engagement. According to research provided by Hubspot, “On average, the best time to post on LinkedIn is between 3 PM and 5 PM CDT on Wednesdays.” Now, does that mean you can only post between those times on that day to become successful? Absolutely not. But you’ll see that this is during the time of day where people are either getting out of work or have a break in their day, giving them time to consume certain media. 

Being consistent with your company page is another crucial aspect of a successful media channel. Try to post three to four times a week and make sure you’re active by engaging with followers on comments, or shares.

Establish Credibility

To initiate web traffic (and maintain it), you need to establish trust with your followers. Give them a reason to follow your company page. 

How can you achieve this? 

Provide your audience with beneficial industry insights. Don’t get me wrong, posting updates, blogs, ‘meet the team’ inquiries are essential to a company page, but adding sharing latest industry news establishes credibility. 

Voilà!

Take a step back and analyze your company page for a minute or two. Ask yourself, “what am I lacking?Or “where are my successes within my page?” Initiating these tools and analyzing your page will benefit you, starting 2020 on a high note!

 

Addison Hesterman is an Account Manager and Marketing Specialist here at SmarkLabs. She graduated from Iowa State University and has a passion for helping businesses grow!