It can be easy to fool yourself into thinking you have a sound B2B marketing strategy for your small business. Perhaps your team publishes a blog post every few weeks, fires off a tweet here and there, or mass blasts an email marketing message once a month. But just because you’re dabbling in various marketing tactics doesn’t mean you’re an effective marketer.

All businesses, no matter their size, should spend some time crafting a solid marketing strategy. That’s because your marketing strategy can be your best sales asset—capable of driving leads, improving customer acquisition and retention, and opening up the door to new revenue streams. So what steps can you take to make sure you have a marketing strategy that works for you rather than against you? Let’s take a look:

1. Understand Your Goal

No two companies have the same marketing goal. For instance, a large enterprise may be focused on expanding into a second market or forming alliances with other companies, while a small business is determined to simply reel in qualified leads. So, first determine your goal. Perhaps it’s increased brand awareness. Maybe it’s customer retention. Maybe it’s ranking on page 1 of Google for your industry. No matter what it is, jot it down and keep it in plain sight so your team is constantly reminded of the end goal.

2. Know Your Audience

You can have the most effective marketing language and the most compelling visuals, but if you don’t know and understand your target market intimately your efforts will likely fall on deaf ears. Get to know your audience through the use of surveys, focus groups, Q&As, and one-on-one interviews. Study your website metrics. For instance, if you notice that your subpage on trade show activity is garnering website traffic—even more than your page about your flagship offering—your audience may be more interested in connecting with you in person than reading product pamphlets. This would suggest the need for more customer meet-and-greets and virtual events.

3. Assemble the Right Team

To spearhead a robust marketing strategy, it’s important to staff your company with star players. This means finding the right designers, writers, social media specialists, and SEO strategists. Just because you have a blog, are on social media, or frequently do email marketing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually effective across these vehicles. And let’s be honest; most small businesses don’t have a large creative staff. So most companies will outsource certain functions to agencies to help their marketing campaigns compete on a higher level. And an intern will likely jump at the chance to help out with social media.

4. Remain Differentiated

It’s not enough to just have a great marketing strategy—you need to have one light years ahead of your competition. Businesses are increasingly operating in an overly saturated market with countless companies boasting similar value propositions. As such, the pressure is mounting to remain differentiated.

The right marketing strategy can set you apart. For instance, a blogging platform that shares sentiments from your C-suite can help your brand connect more personally with your buyers. Similarly, regular webinars can enable your company to serve your target market in a whole new way. Take a good look at what your competitors are doing on the marketing front—pinpointing both their strengths and weaknesses—and determine what you can do to edge ahead of the rest.

Ready to give your marketing strategy a facelift? Where will you start when it comes to launching a killer marketing plan?

Tracey Panek is a Marketing Manager at Dun & Bradstreet. She has been with the company since 2008 and spent her first years as a Hoover's editor. Now she focuses on content marketing, lead generation, and helping small businesses succeed.

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