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Date: 20 October 2016 | Time: 13:55

Navigating the Marketing Maze

Running a business without a marketing strategy is a bit like setting off on a journey without any directions. When it comes to marketing, many companies fail to identify the vital steps needed to successfully plan and implement a campaign...

First of all, consider how healthy your marketing is? With regards to your business, ask yourself the following:

  • How well is your current marketing performing?
  • How does your marketing measure up to your competitors?
  • Are you communicating the right messages about your business?
  • Are you attracting new customers?
  • Are you engaging with your current customers in the right way?

Once reviewed, you can begin to take strategic steps to help strengthen your marketing practices. We’ve listed below our top tips for successfully navigating your way through the Marketing maze.

1. Understand your market

“understanding your position in the market should be the first port of call for any business before developing a marketing strategy or undertaking any marketing activity”

Speaking at the AMF Marketing Club, Samantha Davidson Managing Director at Horizonworks stressed the importance of thoroughly understanding your market. The key words here are review and research. Review your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Review you market potential within the market, and new or existing opportunities which your business can tap into and review your customer-base and the various touch points they have with your business. What are the internal and external perceptions of your business? You should continually seek to research external trends, perceptions, and challenges that may affect your business and market. It is only when you benchmark your business against competitors that you can begin to undertake any marketing activity.

2. Have you defined your brand?

“your brand is your business – it represents the essence of your organisation”

Your brand is what you want your business to stand for and how it should be positioned within the market. Ask yourself the following:

  • What is your core purpose and promise?
  • What is the personality of your business, your company values, vision and mission?
  • What sets you apart from your competition and makes your business unique?

Once defined, ensure the visual aspects reflect all the above and stay consistent. You should actively communicate your brand in everything you do, both internally and externally by living and breathing you values, vision, and mission.

3. Do you have a marketing strategy?

“A clear and focussed strategy is essential to help drive your business forward and provide a framework for growth”

A clear and focused strategy is essential to help drive your business forward. Remember, your marketing objectives should be clear and feed in directly to your business objectives – what do you want to achieve and what is the role of your marketing? The idea is to define messages mapped against your target market, and then identify the correct marketing tactics and channels for these markets. Create a plan of action, detailing activities set out against time, resource and budget. The next important step is to define how you will measure your marketing activities, after all, marketing is always under the spotlight!

4. Are you using the right marketing tools?

“just as an orchestra is made up of different sections all following the same piece of music, each element of your marketing should work together in harmony and follow a clear strategy”

Have you researched the range of marketing tools available to you? The best campaigns often contain an integrated set of activities that help you achieve the goals set out in your strategy. The tools available are:

  • Public Relations (PR) – consider regional, national, international PR opportunities, thought leadership, articles, speaking opportunities, white papers, awards
  • Credentials – try to develop a suite of case studies and testimonials and sales materials that translate your brand effectively
  • Explore the various opportunities that networking, memberships, trade shows/events can provide, such as marketing, seminars, and news
  • Regularly communicate through newsletters, magazines, content marketing, blogs, e-marketing, SEO, your website and social media channels.
  • Finally utilise targeted campaigns such as quality data, CRM, and telemarketing.

5. Are you measuring the impact?

“if you don’t measure the impact of your marketing you won’t know how successful it is”

You need to review and measure your marketing strategy as time goes on. Implementing a strategy is only the beginning. Consider the following:

  • Is your business growing? In terms of sales, profit, brand, market presence and demand
  • Is your PR coverage communicating key messages? Have you received media feedback/requests? Research circulation figures and readership demographics to gain a full insight.
  • What is happening on your social media channels? Look at your followers, likes, interactions, reach, impressions, and continually compare to competitive activity.
  • Is your email marketing effective in generating opens, clicks, forwards, subscribers, and shares? Does your website generate hits, regular content, referrals?

You should be able to continually measure results and evaluate the impact of your activity.

With of all this information in mind, planning and implementing a marketing campaign doesn’t have to be as daunting as once assumed. Therefore, to successfully navigate your business through the marketing maze you need to:

1. Understand your market
2. Define your brand
3. Have a marketing strategy
4. Implement regular and consistent marketing activities and embrace the range of marketing tools available
5. Measure your marketing and review continuously

Find out how we can help strengthen your marketing by contacting us, or visit our Services page.

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