MarketingProfs’ post Key B2B Marketing Challenges and Strategies provides a summary of findings from research firm B2B International on the key challenges facing B2B marketers. The study shows that in comparison to the UK and Germany, U.S. marketers see the biggest challenges, although not by a huge margin. So my review will summarize the U.S. results.
B2B marketers listed their top challenges as:
- Innovation – 72%
- Market share – 57%
- Countering the competition – 45%
- Increasing brand awareness – 43%
It appears to me that these are all related to a lack of attention to the marketing fundamental of proper differentiation. Differentiating a company is a multi-dimensional and analytical task that is more complex to create than would appear at first glance.
Are marketers skipping critical steps in the strategic marketing process that will set the company up for branding success? It appears so, as U.S. marketers report:
- Only 27% are doing competitive analysis and benchmarking. This is an obvious oversight, as 45% want to counter the competition. Counter what?
- Only 42% are using sophisticated segmentation that considers customer likes, behaviors and needs. With 72% seeing innovation as a challenge, you can see why.
The study is clear. Given the prioritized challenges, marketers have not prioritized the tasks that provide the backbone required for solid differentiation.
Without a clear view into the competitive landscape and a detailed look at customer likes, behaviors and needs, it is no surprise that the study reports that marketers rate the strength of their unique selling proposition (USP) an unimpressive average 5.8 out of 10. How can you develop a USP if you don’t understand your competitors and customers? With this knowledge, how do you address the value needs of the market?
Without a solid foundation, it is no surprise that 56% of marketers see a significant challenge with building the company’s brand and effective communication strategies. This cannot be ignored. In the end, a company’s brand and communications strategies all support revenue.
Revenue growth is a concern for 31% of marketers. Given the number of marketers that do not believe they have a grasp on the fundamentals of differentiation, I think that percentage should be higher. Differentiation is critical for attracting new customers, entering new markets, maintaining and growing current clients.
Is it time to reconsider your marketing fundamentals?