Value marketing and value through marketing… Wait what?!

Doing value marketing for a business revolves around:

#1: Determining what you want to achieve.

What do you want marketing to bring to your business and what do you want to give the customer through it?

#2: Choosing the appropriate information, according to your goals, and supplying it to the potential client.

Determine the quantity, type, distribution channel(s), and time when you will communicate the information.

#3: Stimulating the prospects.

Challenge them to ask questions and explore their goals and methods of achieving them. Provoke the prospects to explore the challenges before them and the tools to meet them.

#4: Maintaining two-way communication with your target audience through different channels.

A conversation is conducted by two people (at least). You are looking to build a community of brand supporters, customers of your solution, and people with a common interest in a specific topic.

In this article, we will enter the dynamic environment of technology companies with their products. We are about to consider how, with the above principles, you can do value marketing and how to derive value through marketing for B2B SaaS product companies. BUT! If that’s not your specialty, stick around because the tactics and mindset can work for you, too. Let’s start.


Deep-dive into the specifics of the tech product company

Let’s clarify some specifics of this type of company. First, we will depict its five main teams as the pillars.


The five pillars of the IT product company

We have the RnD team, responsible for developing the product, exploring new technologies that can be implemented, testing them, and creating subsequent versions of the solution.

We also have project managers and account executives – the experts who drive the work on projects to implement and maintain the product with users. They are responsible for analyzing and preparing the project plan, defining the scope, and working with the client during implementation.

On the other hand, the Sales and Marketing team positions the company and its solutions on the market, develops existing markets, enters new ones, grows a partner network, and takes care of the brand’s reputation and growth.

The Customer Support team takes care of customer satisfaction and their smooth operation with the product. It is responsible for product support after a successful go-live, communication with users for advice and help with a problem, and striving to delight them with guidance and practical advice.

We also have the financial and administrative side of the business. It compiles the budgets, analyzes the results achieved by the various parts of the company, forecasts growth for future periods, and defines the risks before making a profit. To summarize, it comes up with the best plan to allocate and utilize finances to drive the company’s growth and keep margins high.

Finally, we will mention the management of the company. It maintains the focus on the individual units and the overall work in the organization. Coordinates the efforts of team members and provides impetus when needed.


The interaction of marketing with other units

Each team impacts and interacts with the company’s marketing and sales. They influence the strategy and tactics, determine the main messages that the business communicates, and generate information about the products, services, and dynamics in the organization. One of the marketing objectives is to take the essential information and use it to enhance the feeling and perception of the brand.

The SnM supports effective communication between the individual units and increases employee awareness about the innovations in the business, the product, and the services. This creates the synchronicity between solution, expertise, target market, and corporate mindset. Therefore, good marketing is born from the inside out, the root starts from the company’s core and the flower unfolds in front of the market.


Inside-out marketing for B2B IT companies

Inside-out marketing helps to:

  • Achieve awareness among the people in it about the novelties along with the product, about the plans for business development, etc.
  • Build a unified team spirit and common understanding of company principles and values.
  • Stimulate the exchange of ideas and innovation.

All this is evident when company employees communicate with outsiders, be it partners, customers, or brand supporters. It gives the impression that this is a cohesive team with a clear vision of who they help, why they help them, what they help them with, and how they do it. That is, a sense of reliability and professionalism is instilled.


“The Incredible Adventures of an IT Company” as written by Marketing

Another feature of technology product companies is the topics they can generate content for. Life in this type of company has several aspects and a mix can occur between:

  • Corporate news
  • Content about products and services
  • General topics that interest the target audiences and are related to the company’s activities
  • Niche topics where the business seeks to position itself as a leading expert

The knowledge that a brand can share loses its value if the information turns into disorganized content.


The importance of human contact

Finally, the technology company provides a product with accompanying services in a digital environment that must not confine marketing only there. The physical and digital spaces must be connected to build a sustainable relationship between the business and the customer.

Here are a few moments from the buyer development journey where person-to-person contact can have a significant impact:

  • hands-on demonstrations of the product;
  • the negotiation phase of the project;
  • training users to handle the solution;
  • aspect of the customer support you offer.

Meanwhile, you can leverage physical media outlets to spread your main marketing messages. Such are billboards, print, television, radio, and events. These are places where you can establish the foundation of a deeper connection with potential customers and partners.


3 specifics of marketing in B2B IT companies

After we have studied the specifics of the tech (product) company, it is time to pay attention to 3 features of marketing for this type of business:

  • Internal communication, understanding, and awareness between departments in the company.
  • How information is generated, selected, and organized for the marketing activity.
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with customers, partners, and brand fans.

Let’s look at them individually.


The birth of marketing starts from within

Internal communication between marketing and sales and Research and Development teams ensures the sharing of information on market trends, customer feedback, and information on product development and competitor services.

This feedback helps R&D adapt long-term product development plans and accompanying roadmaps. In the shorter term, while there is an established roadmap to work on, the team members can discuss prioritizing tasks from it against the input they’ve received from marketing and the sales team.

R&D can provide more specific feedback on product positioning, key messages, and themes that marketing is developing. Since R&D experts are the people who develop the product, marketing, and sales can look to them to double-check that they have mastered the concepts of product processes and functionalities. This will ensure that R&D is involved and that the two teams are working on their communication style.

In companies where marketing and sales work with customer service on training and customer support materials, direct feedback from customer support helps identify recurring or critical issues and plan needed improvements to existing documentation or anticipate the creation of new ones.

This, of course, could be information for both teams to share with R&D to consider how they can make the product more user-friendly. Interactive content, for example, has been gaining popularity in recent years and an expectation has formed on the part of users that software products have their quick tooltips, which contain 2-3 sentences with instructions for the use of a given functionality.

Customer feedback can also be positive. It can give guidance to marketing and sales on what to emphasize in product positioning, key marketing messages, and direct conversations with potential customers.

Communication with the finance department helps with allocating the SnM budget and anticipating their financial limits and goals. This subsequently helps to prioritize projects within allocated budgets. Planning how to leverage the team’s financial resources—at what pace, for what projects, for what elements of the projects—is key to getting the team to relax and work at scale.

Communication with senior management informs marketing and sales about the overall vision, goals, and strategic direction of the company’s development. This keeps team efforts aligned with broader organizational goals. Also with help from managers, sales and marketing people can set specific values ​​against their KPIs. The specific measurable goal helps us consider which investments will move us closer to it for less cost and in less time. It is the basis on which we build our long-term plans make mental simulations and explore “what if” scenarios. It is our starting point when we feel confused and indecisive in the middle of our journey.


Information management for marketing purposes

Can you imagine how much information the teams in a company generate just from the interactions described in the previous section? We are about to share, from personal experience, a few beneficial practices.

First, make the information storage available to all participants in the communication. This is also essential for the following periodical information reviews. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • Do we stick to what we discussed the previous time?
  • Is the information up to date?
  • Is this still our direction of development?
  • Can we add something new?
  • Are we achieving the target result guided by this information?

When we have an answer to these and some additional questions, we go to the third step – decision-making. Do we continue with the existing plan as it was up to the time of the review or will we make some changes to move forward?

This three-step process can be described in much more detail. We will probably do it in another article. For now, our goal is to avoid decision fatigue.

To conclude this point, let’s summarize what marketing is getting as information from its conversations with other teams:

  • From R&D, the marketing team receives information about upcoming products or features for which to create effective campaigns and promotional strategies.
  • Clarifying business goals with senior management helps marketers and salespeople align their efforts with the company’s overall strategy.
  • Regular updates from finance allow them to assess the financial impact of their campaigns and initiatives, helping the teams to refine strategies for optimal ROI.
  • From the administrative department, the SnM team receives logistical help in organizing events, promotions, and campaigns. This includes coordination of facilities, materials, and administrative processes.
  • Marketing’s conversations with customer service provide insight into the outcome of product development efforts and product positioning directly from customers.


Cultivating relationships in B2B marketing through communication

The marketing approach we described aims to provoke the prospect to search. To look for the root of the problems of his business. To seek more information about possible solutions. To also delve into the stories of other companies in the sector to learn from them.

You drive the development cycle from suspect to customer by capturing existing interest or creating a new one. The Lead must then step in by asking himself a question and exploring more deeply his goals and the methods of achieving them.

Content cluster methodology works with such a focus. Initially, we created extremely extensive material on the global topic of the cluster. This material skims the surface of the various subtopics, which we will subsequently develop in detail in separate materials. Thus, the user gradually gets deeper into the topic and gets more and more used to your brand’s presence as a trusted source of knowledge.

Let’s finish the article with another basic principle of effective B2B marketing: Develop relationships with customers, partners, and supporters of the brand by maintaining two-way communication with your target audiences through different channels. Predispose them to engage freely in discussions, share information, and ask questions. For your part, let your beard give them answers, but don’t give it all away. Share selectively and incrementally so they come back for the next conversation.

Communication is like dribbling a basketball. You don’t have to answer every question in a direct way and extremely exhaustively. You can lead the conversation differently, pick up a new topic, and skip questions. The important thing is to keep things interesting with a certain amount of mystery and anticipation for your next move.


Turning Value Marketing into Tangible Success

In the first part of the series “How to do value marketing in the B2B sphere?” we discussed how things are going with technology product companies. We highlighted 5 specifics of this type of business, referring the conclusions to one of the big marketing challenges- to organize the information they communicate internally and to the target user.

If we delve into the content of the article as much as possible, you will see that the described approach is based on this process chain:

Unit in the company > Generated information (format and topic) > Stakeholders (internal and external) > Communication (purpose, channel, format, frequency) > Feedback.

The individual links in this process chain are also (smaller) circuits. For example “Generated information”:

Creating information > Characterization > Classification > Sorting > Organizing > Reworking (reformatting) > Selecting the appropriate recipient > Main message > Selecting a channel > Planning (frequency, time, topics, distribution) > Monitoring > Gathering feedback > Optimizing

Let’s call the first layer that we apply to value marketing “Knowledge management and communications”. From here on in the series, we will discuss in detail topics such as:

  • How to organize content creation and position ourselves as subject matter experts?
  • Why do we need a content distribution framework?
  • How to integrate marketing and sales for exponential growth?
  • … and others.