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Short term v long term - which is best for a B2B marketing strategy?

It's a busy time of year for marketers. Your 2023 budgets are confirmed, so you're planning what will generate the best return for your spend.

Should you go for short-term or long-term marketing initiatives?

Wooden blocks. First block says Long on one side and Short on another. The next 3 blocks spell TERM

The B2B marketing dilemma - short term v long term?

Suddenly everyone's a marketing expert. They know exactly what you need to do next year - focus on quick results activities. And you know that the pressure to adopt these short-term strategies will intensify as the year progresses.

But is increasing your PPC spend or focusing purely on product sales the best use of your precious budget? These may help to hit monthly or quarterly targets, but your longer term ROI will be low.

So how can you successfully meet the demands of business owners, the C-suite, shareholders and the like and deliver results quickly, but still achieve your marketing goals and build

long-term success?

To build a successful marketing strategy, you should include a mix of long-term and

short-term marketing initiatives and target both your existing and new customers together.

So what is the right mix?

Some people follow the Binet and Field 60:40 formula of brand building to sales activation ratio, while others go by the 50:50 split.

Others believe it should be 95:5 for B2B marketing as only 5% of people are ready to buy now, and the other 95% won't buy for months. In other words, you should focus on brand building so people immediately think of your brand when they're ready to purchase.

But the real answer to the best mix is that it depends on your products/services, the sector you operate in and what you want to achieve. A good ratio for one business might not work for another.

Wooden letters on a wooden surface with a light bulb by the words short term

What is short-term marketing?

Short-term marketing is about achieving immediate marketing objectives, acquiring customers and generating fast sales, so your initiatives focus on quick gains.

Sometimes these can be knee-jerk reactions, such as jumping on the latest bandwagon, trying to cause a stir by being controversial or temporarily increasing spending in one area to meet a specific sales target.

It can also involve offering a discount if an order is placed immediately. This really is a short-term solution as it may help you hit your immediate target, but if the person was going to place an order anyway, you could have lost a valuable sale at your full asking price. The only winner here is the customer, who's just bagged a deal.

On the other hand, if the person is umming and ahhing about a sale, this could be the incentive they need.

Done well, short-term activities can be effective, especially if you're launching a new product or service where you want to create as much noise as possible.

However, you need to be realistic and appreciate that although short-term marketing may generate quick sales, it will be over a limited period, so you're not necessarily building customer loyalty or a strong sales funnel.

Short-term marketing examples

Discount offers - Think Black Friday, Stock Clearances. These are proper promotions and offers (not the panic target-hitting discounts) and are great for bringing in quick, one-off sales or getting rid of old stock before you bring in new items.

PPC - Paid ads such as GoogleAds get you in front of people and drive paid traffic to your website. With PPC, you can encourage your audience to go to a specific landing page on your site for product information, download content, or sign up for your newsletter.

Social media advertising - This is fast becoming a popular way of targeting new customers. With social media advertising, you can tailor your ads to users' interests and needs or by demographics, geographical location, job title etc, making them ideal for time sensitive promotions, giveaways and boosting web traffic.

Trade shows - Love them or hate them, trade shows are an effective way to showcase your products and services to a specific sector. As well as exhibiting, you can participate in seminars, sponsor a show event or advertise around the venue.

Webinars/Podcasts - As with trade shows, these allow you to get in front of a specific audience or market sector by sponsoring, hosting or being part of a webinar or podcast.

Wooden letters on a wooden surface with a light bulb by the words long term

What is long-term marketing?

Long-term marketing is less about sales and more about future growth.

Long-term marketing focuses on the bigger picture and needs to be in place for at least 6 months before your marketing efforts start to show results. It's about nurturing your audience and guiding them along each stage of the buying process. It's about long-term quality, not quantity.

To put it simply; if your target audience doesn't know who you are, what your products or services are and your values, why would they trust you and buy from you?

A long-term marketing strategy is about building your brand and trust, being consistent and establishing meaningful relationships with your audience so that you're their natural choice when they're ready to make a commitment or purchase.

Because they know and trust you by now.

Long-term marketing may produce fewer short-term results but can build significant organic growth.

Long-term marketing examples

Content marketing - This is a crucial part of your long-term marketing strategy and can involve blogs, thought leadership articles, eBooks, case studies, infographics and how-to guides. It helps establish brand awareness, position yourself as an expert, and build your search ranking. With content marketing, you create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content that helps your audience solve a problem. It's not about pushing your products and services.

SEO - SEO is a long-term strategy. It's not about keyword stuffing. Good SEO is a cost-effective way to build organic traffic and raise brand awareness by optimising your web pages and content with the keywords your audience is searching for.

Social media - This is different to short-term social media advertising as a long-term approach allows you to extend your reach, increase your visibility, build your online personality and have a conversation with your audience with valuable, exciting and even funny content. You can also gain real-time insights into your target audiences' interests and behaviour.

A good strategy will include a mix of interactions such as sharing content, responding to posts and questions, offering advice, providing customer support as well as encouraging employee advocacy.

Emails - Yes, these can be used for short-term results driven purposes, such as promotions, but email marketing should be part of your long-term strategy. A good email campaign is based on audience-specific messaging designed for different touchpoints and to nurture the recipient along each stage of their experience with your brand.

You could send a welcome email when someone signs up for your newsletter, ask for their views with a survey, introduce them to a new product, provide valuable content, share links to whitepapers and thought leadership pieces and send out pre and post-event/webinar emails.

PR - PR is a highly cost-effective way of reaching a diverse audience to build brand awareness, credibility, trust and loyalty around your products and services. It can help boost your online presence, present a positive image of your business, tell a story and build a connection with your audience. No longer confined to print, PR must be central to your long-term content strategy.

A single piece of PR can generate content in many different ways: as social proof, blogs, leadership articles, social media posts, email campaigns, newsletters... and so much more.

round wooden ball with a wooden plank on top of it and a wooden ball balancing at either end.

The long and short of it

A good marketing strategy balances customers' needs while still meeting business objectives.

Long-term is about future growth and development, while short-term marketing is about creating immediate results. If you think about it, the B2B sales cycle can be long and involve different decision-makers, so short-term marketing is unlikely to bring long-term gains. But it can generate leads for you to build on for long-term growth.

So, to be successful, you need to use a combination of both short-term and long-term marketing activities that address the needs of your customers and potential customers through each step of their journey with your company.

Do you need help deciding what to include in your marketing strategy or simply want help writing great content? If you do then drop me a line or give me a call. Let's have a chat.


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