Marketing Challenges for Diversified Companies

Diversified companies face challenges in their marketing outreach that need to be addressed. Goals should be set to overcome those challenges. The greatest challenges have to do with diversity. Diversity can lead to lack of focus and poor marketing communication. If objectives are met, diversity can become a strength.


The main challenge is how to better manage marketing for diverse businesses under one corporate umbrella. Those diverse businesses were probably stand-alone companies at one time. They all had separate marketing departments and separate brands. They were probably bought and assembled into one corporation with the aim of reducing costs and leveraging each others strengths.

Cost reductions usually come by integrating systems, de-duplicating personnel, and sometimes reducing interest on debt if the acquiring company has a better debt rating. Marketing is sometimes left alone because of a lack of overlap in that area. Put another way, there is a perceived lack of synergy in the marketing departments.

Opportunities for Betterment

Integration should be the goal. Not necessarily complete integration, because the individual brands still have value. Nevertheless, some overarching corporate image should go along with the individual brands so the market can start to see some connectedness.

Some grouping of the diversified companies is desirable. Those groups should ideally have overlap among buyers of the products. That’s because the marketing outreach should start to converge so that a buyer of one product, service, or solution can recognize kinship with the other brands.

An important goal of branding is developing brand loyalty. It makes perfect sense to leverage the brand loyalty of one brand to develop loyalty toward its kin. Customers like companies for lots of reasons, including quality, value, design, customer service, etc. By not leveraging these qualities between brands, the parent company is not getting full value out of its structure.

Similarly, if one brand is clearly better and more recognizable over another, serious consideration should be given to eliminating the weaker brand. The stronger brand can absorb it.

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B2B Marketing Trend – Understanding Buyers Better

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is increasingly focused on understanding buyers. According to recent marketing research completed by ITSMA (Lexington, MA), this trend is now becoming the primary focus of B2B marketers. The trend is occurring at the expense of brand and positioning (B&P), which have been the primary marketing focus areas in B2B.

Before: Brand and Positioning

Brand and positioning have long been the best strategic focus areas available to B2B marketers. These focus areas have been the “tools” that have given marketers control. Marketers implement a strategy according to a plan that aligns brand and positioning with organizational goals.

There is a downside to brand and positioning and that is that these strategies usually require that the marketer cram a lot of information together, trusting that the customers, prospects, salespeople and influencers will sort through and discover the specific information pertinent to them. Some variables can be broken out into smaller bundles, such as by language and country. But by and large, a B&P focus ends up with broad categories of products, services and solutions.

Forcing buyers to sort through broad categories and wide product selections can be arduous for the buyer. In the worst cases, sellers essentially post a catalog online, and depend on the buyer to have a product number or the exact right description of a product or service. Many have minimal or no visual clues to help navigate.

Now: Focus on Buyers

The new trend is buyer-focused. Getting to know the customer has always made sense, but it has been hard to do well in practice. In businesses with lots of buyers, there may be great diversity in buyer behavior, motivations, knowledge levels, and specific needs. It’s now becoming possible to capture some of that information efficiently.

For large purchases and recurring purchases, it may be the salespeople, who have a relationship and knowledge of the buyers. So the salespeople hold key customer knowledge. Valuable knowledge-of-buyer may consist of institutional knowledge, product/service needs, motivations, etc. It’s important that this knowledge gets channeled back to the marketing department. Otherwise that knowledge may not be acted on organizationally.

For smaller purchases across a diversity of buyer personas, it helps a lot to give the buyer the power to self-select some of his or her segmentation variables. The marketer now has information that is useful for predicting buyer preferences in real time. This can easily be done online with data to support at the back end.

Market research and competitive intelligence still add value. By planning ahead, and using the right tools, marketers can truly focus on buyers and by doing so, improve results, whether they be measured in revenue, profitability, customer satisfaction, or some other metric.

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Let Think of Whiting help you achieve better focus on your buyers. Contact Think of Whiting today for strategic help with improving focus on your organization’s buyers.

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