BtoB

Building an offer strategy for this quarter and beyond

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For b-to-b marketers, the process of delivering campaigns to support quarterly sales goals is both an opportunity and a challenge. The focus on deadlines and execution doesn't afford the time to take a step back, gain a broader view and effectively plan for the future. The solution can begin with effective evaluation and planning of your current offer content, with an eye to its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. By building an offer plan, you will be able to better leverage existing content, align relevant content to different segments and create a plan for one, two and three quarters into the future. Here are four steps you can take to create your own Offer Planning Matrix and make your offer content work more effectively.
  1. Prioritize. Organize and rank your existing offer content by value to the buyer. This means reviewing all your content. Try using a simple ranking system such as best, good, average and poor, weeding out low-ranking offers. For the rest, write brief summaries of the primary points that describe their benefits to customers, prospects and which target segments the offers are most appropriate for.
  2. Place. Align your highest-value offers across the buy cycle for each target segment. Remember that your offers will need to match the mindset of your buyers. Properly mapping your offers has a direct link to your results. If you send a stage-three offer—a product demonstration, for example—to a stage-one person who's unaware of their problem, they simply won't respond and you've wasted time, money and an opportunity to make a good first impression. To map your offers, create a simple grid sheet with the four stages of the buyer's mindset across the top. These stages can include “Status quo,” “Questioning,” “Committed to change,” and “Ready to engage.” Next, add your segments down the side of the sheet. This will enable you to take your list of prioritized offers from the beginning and place the offers under each appropriate stage.
  3. Prepare. Identify missing offer content and decide what content you need to develop for future programs. Get with your industry team to create a plan and budget for content development to fill the gaps.
  4. Plan. Use your Offer Planning Matrix to create your next quarterly cadence and outline a plan for longer-term marketing programs to nurture different buyers' mindsets.
Meanwhile, keep yourself informed about new offers and frequently update your Offer Planning Matrix by continuously evaluating these four steps. You'll see the fruits of your efforts pay off in higher-quality responses, a reduction in campaign fire-drills and more time to focus on marketing strategy beyond next quarter's campaign. Caroline Bishop is VP-marketing at online marketing and sales company WebReply (www.webreply.com). She can be reached at caroline@webreply.com.
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