There’s a lot of content out there talking about B2B Strategic Marketing, but to our way of thinking it's not Strategic Marketing at all.
Strategic Marketing is the way a firm effectively differentiates itself from it’s competitors by capitalising on its strengths (both current and potential) to provide consistently better value to customers than its competitors. In principle it's that simple, but it means a lot more than getting creative with the marketing mix.
Armed with a thorough understanding of the firm's capabilities and aspirations, the customer market and the competitive landscape, the Goal of Strategic Marketing (and the job of the strategic marketer) is to maximise a firm's positive differentiation over competitors in the eyes of its target market. It does this by answering 3 key questions; where, how and when should the business compete. In understanding this, it's no surprise that a Strategic Marketing Plan will often lay a framework for fundamental change in the way a firm works and how it engages its markets.
Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketing, like any area of management, has both strategic and operational components. While operational marketing (marketing management) is concerned with developing a suitable marketing mix to realise a set of defined business goals, Strategic Marketing on the other hand is concerned with defining what the business needs to 'be and become' to consistently beat the competitors by delivering consistently better value.
Simply put, the Role of Strategic Marketing is to decide:
- Which markets to compete in (where to compete).
- What the basis of the firm's competitive advantage is going to be (how to compete), and
- When and how the firm will enter each market (when to compete)
It’s only when these three questions have been answered can the marketing planning begin.