How to set goals for B2B marketing

There are two things to measure in B2B marketing activities and results. Some companies argue that all that matters is results, and indeed, that’s ultimately true, but it’s easier to evaluate the results when you know the level of activity being applied.

It’s important to balance the measurement of both activities and results. I’ve seen many companies get distracted by the amount of marketing activity and forget about getting results. I’ve also seen companies expect significant results and then not execute the activities. Both matter.

It would be nice if there was a standard prescription for setting marketing goals. Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, in the sections on tactics, I provide a number of metrics that address both the activity and result considerations.

You can compile the individual tactic metrics into a marketing scorecard that includes five to ten metrics that you will track and report on monthly. Some metrics may be leading indicators (for example, leads will help predict revenues) and others will be lagging. The purpose is to focus your marketing team on the activities that matter most to your business success and for everyone to get a view into what results are being achieved.

The first covers content development (also called “thought leadership”), the fuel that drives B2B marketing. There are a number of chapters on developing different types of B2B content, everything from case studies to videos.

The next two sections cover each tactic. They’re grouped into online tactics and offline tactics, although there are some (like PR) that cross between the two.

Each chapter provides an overview of the tactic, some tips on how to implement effectively, and suggested metrics. While there are a few tactics I haven’t covered, I’ve tried to address the most prevalent and critical ones for B2B companies.

One of the biggest differences between B2B and consumer marketing is thought leadership. A thought leader is a company or individual recognized for their expertise in a particular area. A thought leader can guide their industry towards the implementation and application of new ideas. Being recognized as a thought leader makes you the “go-to” for particular products or services and is a powerful way to increase brand equity, achieve price premiums, and avoid bid competition.

B2B companies need to be thought leaders in order to dominate their industries. But how do you become recognized as a thought leader?

The starting point is to have deep expertise in a particular area and a demonstrated track record. If you don’t have proof that your solution works, your first step is to get that proof. Without it, buyers won’t have any evidence of your expertise or qualifications—making it less likely that they’ll choose to buy from you. This means that any marketing you do without a track record might be dollars badly spent.

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