How to Start a B2B Marketing Department

How to Start a B2B Marketing Department - Brandwidth Solutions

Stepping into B2B marketing is not just about playing a new game, it’s about mastering a different league. As you embark on the journey to establish a robust B2B marketing department, the path is laden with questions and possibilities.

In this post, we’re not just skimming the surface. We’re diving deep into the five critical areas you need to focus on: assessing your existing data landscape, understanding the pulse of your customers, evaluating the current state of your website, auditing your content arsenal, and finally, determining your departmental needs and budget. Each of these areas is a pillar supporting the development of a successful B2B marketing strategy.

Whether starting with a rudimentary spreadsheet or a fully-fledged CRM system, whether your website is a digital masterpiece or just a basic information dump, this post is your compass. From sketching customer personas to mapping out a content strategy that resonates with your audience, we’re covering it all.

1. Assessing Your Marketing Infrastructure

Your journey begins with an essential inquiry: what are your available tools? Do you have a high-tech marketing automation system with rich data, or are you starting with something simpler like a basic Excel sheet? This stage is not just about inventory, it’s about recognizing your current platform for crafting your marketing strategy.

Now, consider the resources supporting your sales team. Is there a robust CRM system like Salesforce, with customer details and insights, or is this a path you’ve yet to venture down? A CRM is more than a tool – it’s a repository of valuable customer experiences and preferences.

Crucial insights often reside within various parts of your organization. Are there individuals with past marketing expertise or unique administrative knowledge who can contribute? Their skills could be vital in shaping your market approach.

This phase goes beyond mere assessment of your resources. It’s about pinpointing deficiencies, acknowledging your baseline, and determining the tools you need to build. It’s like preparing your toolkit before beginning a sculpture. By the end of this assessment process, you’ll not only understand your current capacity, but also have a plan for what you must acquire or enhance to evolve your B2B marketing into a tangible and effective entity.

2. Unlocking Customer Insights: What Do You Really Know?

In marketing, crafting customer personas is similar to solving a puzzle – where data and analytics replace paints and canvases. The process involves merging various data types – demographic information, consumer behaviors, preferences, and obstacles – to create a detailed and realistic portrayal of your ideal customer, bringing to life the various segments of your market. Are you currently able to outline these personas?

There’s a wealth of customer insights within your organization. Your top salespeople and experts have daily customer interactions. Could they help form base profiles or personas based on last year’s best customers? Their firsthand experiences offer crucial insights into customer preferences and behaviors, vital for developing accurate and dynamic personas.

This phase is about moving from supposition to reality. It’s crafting a customer narrative grounded in data and real experiences. At the end of this exploration, your understanding of your customers will influence your marketing strategies and will foster a customer-focused culture across your organization.

3. Evaluating Your Website’s Current State

Your website is a key ambassador of your brand. Consider if it truly engages your audience and meets their needs, going beyond just being a digital brochure. It should be a storytelling medium that connects with your prospects’ values and needs. The technical aspects of your website, like hosting, mobile-friendliness, and navigation, are as important as its design.

Understanding who manages your website’s content helps gauge the alignment of your digital presence with your marketing strategy and identifies areas for improvement. Conducting a customer journey mapping exercise is essential. This map tracks the customer’s interaction from first click to conversion, revealing gaps in content and how to make your website more engaging and conversion-friendly.

Ultimately, the aim is to transform your website into a lively, adaptable platform that mirrors market changes and evolving customer needs. A comprehensive review and upgrade can make your website visually compelling, functionally sound, and in sync with your customer’s journey.

4. Content: The Backbone of Your Digital Footprint

Start with a content audit, a deep dive into your existing content to evaluate its relevance, impact, and alignment with your marketing goals. This audit highlights your content’s strengths and weaknesses. Examine the story your content conveys. Assess the range, depth, and quality of your materials, like blog posts and infographics. They should not only exist, but also resonate with and meet the needs of your audience.

Diversity in digital content is essential. Are you using various formats like videos, podcasts, and webinars to cater to different audiences? Align your content types with your customer journey map to identify gaps in your content strategy. It’s crucial that your content not only be high-quality, but also reach your audience effectively. Ensure you have a distribution strategy across channels like social media and email to reach and motivate your audience.

This phase is about elevating your content from a collection to a dynamic, strategic tool that engages, educates, and converts. Each piece should serve a distinct purpose and reinforce your brand’s digital presence. Ultimately, your content should be an active player in achieving your marketing objectives.

5. Resource Allocation and Outsourcing Strategy

First, define the financial scope for your marketing activities. Understand that your budget is crucial for shaping your marketing strategies, requiring you to make strategic choices (like an advertising plan) for the best impact within your budget. Once you start showing ROI you might be able to get your budget increased.

Then, evaluate your internal resources, considering your current budget distribution and the potential for utilizing or enhancing your team’s skills. Focus on optimizing what you have before considering additional resources.

In outsourcing, decide which tasks to keep internal and which to outsource, such as content creation or digital marketing. This can be a cost-effective way to access specialized skills while focusing your team on their core competencies.

Finally, aim to develop a marketing framework that balances in-house abilities and external expertise, creating a financially sustainable and strategically sound system. This approach should equip your department to handle present needs and future growth with a clear plan for effective resource allocation toward your marketing objectives.

Ultimately, setting up a B2B marketing department starts with auditing data and understanding customers, analyzing your website and content, and strategically managing resources and outsourcing. This journey is a continuous cycle of evaluation, action, and improvement aimed at developing a department that is effective in today’s market and is flexible for future changes.

B2B marketing is fundamentally about human connections behind business interactions. Your strategy should engage people – not just companies – with compelling stories and lasting relationships.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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