Marketing strategy has NOT changed. Marketing tactics have indeed changed.
Marketing strategy is quite clearly what the brand stands for.
Marketing tactics are how we leverage the new media opportunities, especially the social media and communicate with customers.
This concept of positioning a brand is as appropriate for B2B as much as it is for B2C markets.
Consider these two examples. I am writing this after my informal discussions with folks at IBM & also at a leading Tier-1 IT services company, and expressing in ‘simple’ English what they shared with me about positioning.
1. A Tier-1 IT services company would pitch their value proposition to a telecom customer as follows:
“Tell us what you want to do, and we will get it done by putting our engineers on it. We will be able to cut your costs by x%”
2. IBM’s value proposition to the same telecom customer is:
“If you do what we tell you, we will reduce your overall costs by x% while ensuring that we will provide 24×7 service & 99.999% uptime for the IT systems”
The point I am making here is as follows:
Tier-1 IT services company’s strategy is cost cutting. Their sales collateral, their selling pitch, social media marketing, their website – all will reflect this positioning /strategy. These are the tactics that follow the strategy.
IBM’s strategy is business value. Their sales collateral, their consultative selling pitch, their social media influence, their website – all reflects this positioning /strategy. Again, these are the tactics that follow the IBM’s strategy.
I am not saying what is right /what is wrong.
All I am saying is that each business defines its strategy first and uses various media to communicate their strategy.
Social media is a tactic to communicate the overarching strategy. Just being active on social media does not change your strategy.
It is very important to define and take a strategic positioning for the product /service that you launch and then go ahead and implement using the right tactics.
As a final example, I can share this:
If you are in the business of providing training, quality training content is important.
However, if you are in the business of helping people get jobs, quality training content is less important; rather, the processes to ensure that more companies hire from your training institute is important.
In both these above cases, the marketing strategy is vastly different.One would emphasize quality content while the other would emphasize how successful they are to get people employed……