8 simple steps to an effective B2B communication strategy
Your communication strategy defines how you’re going to deliver your business plan from a marcomms perspective. It defines what you’re going to say, to whom and when you’re going to say it and – importantly – it’s supported by robust evidence.
So why do you need a B2B communication Strategy?
A communication strategy forms the foundation of every marketing, branding or public relations brief – without which, you’re likely to be wielding a blunt instrument and wasting a fair amount of money.
What are the key components of a Communication Strategy?
All five elements of the communication strategy are of equal importance and are reliant upon each other to be effective.
- Value proposition
- Sector priorities
- Target personas
- Positioning statements
- Messaging (for each stage of the buying cycle)
If one or more of the elements is poorly developed, you will not have a workable strategy!
So, what are the 8 essential steps to creating a business communication strategy?
There’s a lot that goes into developing a communication strategy. This section will walk you through the detailed process of producing a communication strategy for your technology business.
1. Form ‘The dream team’:
First and foremost, recruit your expert task force from across the business. Ensure you get the right people on board, so that your communication strategy will have the insight, expertise and gravitas that it needs. Your project will also require a board level champion.
2. Objective setting:
Document your sales lead requirements and determine what success will look like. What should marketing deliver for the company to achieve its strategic goals? Whatever your objectives are, they must be SMART and there should be a communication objective against each business objective.
For example: such as: To generate #X qualified leads for bespoke vessel design from shipyards servicing the renewables industry.
3. Value proposition:
Spend time articulating your value proposition and purpose. Your value proposition is a simple statement to summarise your promise to your customers. It encapsulates the benefits of buying from you, rather than your competitors and should capture why you exist and why your customers should care. Once crafted, it should guide everything the company says, does and develops, keeping your communications focused and relevant.
4. Prioritise your audience:
Identify your low hanging fruit and prioritise! Unless you have an infinite supply of resources (mainly money and time), you will need to prioritise. Identifying your target audience’s sweet spot is the most effective way of identifying your low hanging fruit. Look for overlapping common characteristics – this is your ‘sweet spot’, or your low hanging fruit.
5. Target personas:
Craft your target personas and give them a name. A target persona is a representation of your ideal customer. They’re not real people, but they should be brought to life as much as possible. The sweet spot exercise should have helped to shine a light on who you should be targeting and why. The next step is to put some flesh on the bones of these decision makers.
It’s likely that you’ll start with more personas than you end up with, but this is normal. Three or four are likely to be the number of personas to focus on, to help you deliver on the commercial sales requirement detailed above. Remember, focus equals funds.
6. Positioning statements:
Craft and tailor a positioning statement for each persona you end up with. A positioning statement is a subset of your value proposition but speaks directly to the heart of your individual personas. It defines the target audience, your product and category, a specific benefit and, most importantly, it differentiates you from your nearest competitor.
The four key stages of the buying cycle (or customer journey) are well documented, with the most common being represented in the acronym AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action). It’s imperative that your messaging considers your customers’ journey through these stages, and is specific, relevant and compelling – to tailor to each stage of that journey. The first two stages build trust, whilst the latter two account for the customer’s consideration and desire. These four key stages of messaging need to work in harmony to inspire interest and help convert prospects into customers.
Validate your assumptions amongst your trusted customers and advisors.
Share your first draft of your communication strategy with a small group of trusted customers, to get their input – ensuring there’s a good mix of your different personas included. You’re not seeking to present it in its entirety for their ‘agreement’, it’s more of an opportunity to validate any assumptions you’ve made. Use their feedback to refine and create your final communication strategy.
Once you have your complete communication strategy, written and approved, all that’s left is for you to implement it! Review your existing brand assets, ensure every message is current and accessible to your target audience, and then start planning your campaigns.
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At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is.
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