5 Unexpected Places to Network for B2B Business Leads

AL DAVIDSON | March 20, 2019

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When doing B2B marketing, many business owners and sales reps tend to fall back on the same old approaches. They focus on the same places and methods for doing networking and finding new prospective clients. These include: trade shows, industry associations, and formal networking events. All of these conventional networking methods make some sense. After all, sometimes there’s no substitute for having a presence on the floor at your industry’s biggest annual convention, or pressing the flesh in person at a local business networking function. But if you want to boost your B2B marketing results, you need to be creative about where you do your networking.

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Ingredients of a Marketing Plan That Are Essential to Make an Impact

Article | August 18, 2021

Each business endeavor begins with a well-defined business plan and, more crucially, a marketing strategy. An effective marketing plan is chock-full of different marketing selections for your firm and is a must-have if you want to get to your destination. But, unfortunately, the market is full of competition and uncertainties. It is estimated that about 20% of small businesses fail in their first year as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. After five years, 50% fail, and after ten years, 80% fail. Here are a few ingredients of a marketing plan that help you outshine in the diverse and competitive markets. A marketing plan is the first stage in establishing a successful marketing program. In addition, a marketing strategy serves as a road map for efficiently allocating precious time and resources to prevent wastage. A marketing plan includes a written document that describes an organization's advertising strategy, marketing techniques, tactics, promotional activities, and marketing efforts over a specific time. Market research, SWOT analysis, thorough information about its target consumers, competition positioning in the market, marketing plan budget, target market profile, distribution methods, promotional tactics, and marketing objectives are just a few of the ingredients of a marketing plan. Importance of Marketing Plan A marketing plan is vital because they make sales easier for any small business owner. When you target your ideal target customers, you increase the chances of generating leads and converting them into sales. Below is a few more importance of marketing plan: It aids in the effective management and accomplishment of your business objectives It facilitates cross-departmental collaboration and communication It contributes to the avoidance of future dangers and uncertainties It contributes to the success of marketing activities It contributes to reducing the chance of failure It enables the efficient and prudent use of resources while taking market opportunities into account Extensive Market Research Market research is one of the crucial ingredients of a marketing plan. Market research is the act of collecting and analyzing data to have a better knowledge of your consumers and the current state of the market. For marketing success, you must conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis compared to your competitors and a PESTND (political, economic, sociocultural, technological, natural, and demographic) analysis to better understand your competitors business's operating environment. Marketing research involves certain areas to be given utmost importance: The dynamics and trends of the market, including seasonality Vendors in whom you will place your trust Demographic information about customers, market segmentation, target markets, product needs, and purchase decisions Industry benchmarks What is presently available and what competitors are providing Current industry sales Robust Market Strategy The marketing strategy is the overarching company plan for attracting and converting new customers. It would be best to do a scenario analysis to understand your market position concerning your competitors clearly; only then can you develop a solid and successful market strategy. Market strategy plays a key role among all the other ingredients of a marketing plan and contributes to marketing success. A marketing strategy covers the 4Ps of the marketing mix: product, price, place, and promotion. In addition, a marketing strategy entails brand messaging, its value proposition, demographic information about its target customers, and other advanced elements. Below are few B2B marketing strategies: Social media marketing Search engine optimization Content marketing Search engine marketing/PPC (Pay-per-click) Referral programs Industry events Appropriate Financial Planning Another crucial element of a marketing business plan is financial planning. Marketing your campaign is a costly aspect of the business; it is necessary to have an appropriate and realistic budget plan to avoid financial wastage. Allocate your budget for each activity planned and manage your cash flow. For 67.4% of respondents, a limited marketing budget is the top marketing challenge facing small businesses. Plan your financing considering the organization's budget cycle, organizational events, seasonality, festivities, etc. The following points demonstrate why financial planning is essential. Prudent financial management Long-term view Profit and loss measurements To determine the value of liabilities and assets Utilization of Marketing Channels There are several marketing channels, but they are constantly changing and evolving. Therefore, due to a shortage of time and funds, select the appropriate channels. Choose the channel that is the most effective for promoting your products, services, and brand identification to potential consumers, depending on whether your firm is B2B or B2C. Channels provide a variety of purposes, that includes assisting you in discovering new methods to sell to your ideal client and help you to create experiences for your audience that help establish your brand reputation. Here are few channels that are utilized: Retail or Ecommerce Social media channels Email marketing Websites Referral channels SEO Word of mouth Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing Analyses of Competitors While a marketing strategy entails several analyses that aid in the operation of your firm, a marketing competitors' analysis is conducted concerning your competitors. You should be aware of your competitors and the distinctions between your products and services. Analyses of competitors are a crucial component of every marketing strategy. Conduct a competition analysis to learn about your competitors' goods, sales, and marketing tactics. Marketing competitor analysis is a critical component of any marketing plan since it helps differentiate your product or service from the competition. Competitor analysis enables the following: Identify market inefficiencies Identify market trends Create innovative goods and services Increase your marketing and sales effectiveness Conclusion: A sound marketing plan will help you generate leads. Ascertain that your marketing strategy is recorded. Numerous marketers assess the effectiveness of their efforts in relation to their objectives. This enables you to plan more effectively for the future and provides a clear picture of continuing changes. FAQs: What are the key ingredients in the marketing plan? Here are the critical ingredients of the marketing plan Extensive market research Appropriate financial planning Robust market strategy Utilization of marketing channels Analysis of competitors Clear marketing objectives What is a successful marketing plan? A successful marketing plan generates a positive return on investment (ROI), additional revenue, client lifetime value, and cost per win (sell), among other metrics. A marketing strategy is successful when it maximizes the benefits to your firm. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the key ingredients in the marketing plan?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Here are the critical ingredients of the marketing plan Extensive market research Appropriate financial planning Robust market strategy Utilization of marketing channels Analysis of competitors Clear marketing objectives" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is a successful marketing plan?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "A successful marketing plan generates a positive return on investment (ROI), additional revenue, client lifetime value, and cost per win (sell), among other metrics. A marketing strategy is successful when it maximizes the benefits to your firm." } }] }

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Transitioning A Side Hustle Into A Successful Business: A Detailed Guide

Article | August 11, 2021

Currently, over 70 million Americans have a side hustle. That's approximately 45% of the working population. Starting a side hustle has many benefits, as you can earn extra income, develop new skills, become a small business owner and quit your day job. But how do you transition your side hustle into a full business? This article will cover eight steps you need to follow to turn your side hustle into a successful business.

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6 Types Of Training For Small Business Owners

Article | February 20, 2020

Building a small business is no easy feat, especially if you are a novice. From marketing to financial management, many aspects require your attention. To make things easier, invest in your training. Through a variety of training programs, including those mentioned below, you can improve your knowledge and skills. In turn, this will increase the chances that your small business will be profitable.

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Fast, free, and sustainable: Here’s how ‘fulfilment’ is driving the ecommerce market

Article | August 24, 2021

The past 18 months has presented unimaginable challenges for many businesses seeking to stay afloat in times of crisis. But as with any challenge, shifting needs, perceptions and practices develop opportunity, opening doors for product and service differentiation. Notably, in this time, sustainability has moved its way to the forefront of many minds. Not only has the pandemic forced businesses to re-evaluate commercial models for future resistance, but the constant reminder of issues regarding the climate crisis and ethical practices has magnified the need to think sustainably, too. But in this sense, sustainability is no longer a differentiator between businesses, and instead, an expected value any commercial enterprise must keep at its core. The solution therefore, lies in the way in which sustainability is injected into every business practice - from manufacture to fulfilment. In this article, Nate Burke, CEO of technology, digital marketing and ecommerce solutions firm Diginius, discusses the latter end of a product's journey, and how sustainability can help businesses gain an edge on the competition. As it stands, fast and free shipping is proving an attractive offering, often outperforming other cost-saving strategies. Understandably, these deals grab the attention of deal-savvy consumers who want their items delivered quickly and without extra charges on top of their original basket cost. In fact, how many of us have paused, hesitated or even abandoned an order for the opposite reason? Well, you’re not alone - 64% of all online consumers expect their orders to be shipped for free and within five working days. What’s more, 68% of us will check a returns policy before making purchase. Present major obstacles here, and retailers will be providing an instant turn off in an ultra-competitive sales sphere. Ultimately, an attractive delivery option can make all the difference in a customer choosing your products over a competitor’s. Unless they have developed long standing brand love, the chances of a customer remaining loyal to an offering which they can get for less and in quicker time elsewhere, are low. This isn’t to undermine the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility, though. While fast and free shipping is expected, it may not necessarily be the most ethical business model, particularly if it will mean greater emissions for more frequent deliveries, and cost-cutting measures in other areas of the business in order to make up for lost shipping fees. Global reports state that consumers would be more likely to purchase from companies with an established reputation for sustainability too. This suggests it is just as important for online businesses to focus their efforts on acting ethically, as it is for them to fulfil orders efficiently. But with the rise of online shopping, which has been propelled by the pandemic with a 48% increase in online spending coming as a result of lockdown restrictions, businesses may be finding themselves weighing up the two. Clearly, there is misalignment between consumer expectations and commercial values here, and choosing between the two will require more than a look at a business’s bottom line. Sustainability and credibility It should be noted that today’s consumers are incredibly switched on when it comes to buying from sustainable brands. They can see through the smoke and mirrors or false claims to make informed decisions about the products and services they choose. And more often than not, these decisions are based on a brand’s credibility. Any business can say they are doing certain things to protect the planet and their people, however, not all can provide sufficient evidence. And as competition increases, these are the businesses that are finding themselves falling behind. We only need to look to recent examples such as Boohoo for proof. In 2020, the fast fashion giant found itself in hot water when it was revealed it was not following sustainable or ethical business practices. Poor warehouse conditions, less than minimum wage pay and inadequate health and safety standards were just a few of the concerns. As a result, the company experienced huge losses, with its share price falling by more than a third during the first two days of the scandal coming to light. There is an undeniable perception on sustainability and ethical working practices, and people do not want to support brands that don’t support their economy and their people. Interestingly however, as a fast fashion retailer, Boohoo is renowned for its speedy shipping and low prices, even offering unlimited next day delivery for a small, one-off yearly cost. Therefore, in this case, it is clear that efficient fulfilment alone is not enough to sustain commercial success. Its ethical responsibility had a larger part to play. And while the company has attempted to correct its wrongdoings internally and then communicate these through marketing strategies, its tainted reputation is proving difficult to rebuild, suggesting just how important credibility is for a sustainable business. But that’s not all. When it comes to free and fast shipping, credibility continues to play a significant role in shaping consumers’ perceptions of the service they are going to receive. For larger brands with established reputations, this is less of an issue, but for smaller companies who may be starting their ecommerce journey, it is vital that you appear a reliable, trustworthy and credible enterprise that is going to follow through with its promise of a fast and free delivery. This may be through clear contact details for consumers to get in touch with queries, customer reviews, business information and responsive and helpful customer service via email, live chat, direct messaging or phone calls, for example. A balancing act Of course, building credibility will not solve every issue for a business, but it is a place to start. It is also a common denominator for sustainability and fulfilment and can help businesses differentiate themselves from the competition. However, the misalignment between attractive cost saving deals and sustainable business practices can cause confusion. Often, lower delivery fees and fast shipping incentives, particularly for items that are already low in price, can set off alarm bells and leave customers questioning the ethical impact of their purchase. Alternatively, high fees and long delays can send customers looking elsewhere - both are bad for business. Instead, businesses need to find a balance. Find the point at which free and fast shipping can be offered without impacting profit margins, and therefore, the sustained success of the business. For example, ASOS offers free delivery for orders over £35. While the majority of its customers are likely to spend this amount anyway, those that are not are enticed to do so, generating greater income for the business and an attractive deal for the customer. And in the minds of customers, the reasonable threshold amount helps justify the cost saving as a sustainable offer, rather than something that will put the business out of pocket and force them to act unethically elsewhere to make back lost earnings. The threshold will be different for every business, but through the use of data and analytics tools, the amount that is best for your business can quite easily be found. These tools can also help centralise activity, from sourcing and manufacture to product marketing and post purchase service. With this in place, processes can become much more streamlined, which can in turn, increase the efficiency of order fulfilment. If things are delayed, for instance in the case of pandemic disruption, email updates can be automated, ensuring you are also providing high quality customer service. With all this in place, not only will a business be sustainable and efficient, but its credibility will only go from strength to strength, too.

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