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The Impact of a Learning Strategy in B2B Marketing

When you read most B2B marketing strategies, you get the impression that the world is a stable and predictable place. It seems like there are more knowns than unknowns in the market, and that change happens in small, manageable steps. But the reality is quite different in the B2B world, especially in tech markets.

B2B markets, particularly in the tech industry, are constantly evolving. New startups emerge out of nowhere, fueled by venture capital and offering stock options. Established leaders make desperate moves to prove their relevance, often failing. Demanding customers continuously raise their expectations, making it harder to meet their needs. New technologies, particularly AI, render old ones obsolete. And new regulations completely reshape the way businesses operate.

In essence, there are always more unknowns than knowns in every B2B market. Most of what we consider "knowns" are actually assumptions with bits of bias and chunks of hunches embedded within them. They lack the certainty that we often attribute to them. Yet, many B2B marketing strategies are written with an air of certainty, as if the author has followed a tried-and-true recipe, meticulously measuring each ingredient. They sound like scripted physics demonstrations on YouTube, replacing the word "energy" with "budget."

Why do we create strategies that project certainty in the face of market uncertainties? Perhaps it's because those who craft these strategies hold lofty job titles like SVP of Strategic Strategy, Planning, and More Strategy, EMEA. Maybe we assume our stakeholders expect certainty from us, or we believe that the execution of our strategies requires it.

But the truth is that strategies built on certainty often fail when confronted with the unpredictable nature of markets. So what can we do about it? Does being strategic mean we have to accept this price? Must Strategic People write inflexible strategies? Should we just wing it every day and hope for the best?

The answer lies in embracing a different kind of strategy.

The Learning Strategy

A learning strategy treats learning as a primary goal, on par with other objectives. It acknowledges that learning cannot be passively absorbed but must be actively captured. It brings critical assumptions to the forefront, recognizing that they are not established facts, and suggests actions to test those assumptions. It incorporates experiments into the program, protecting the experimental budget from the confines of the comfort zone. And it regularly revisits itself, checking assumptions and recommending course corrections.

These seemingly simple changes have a profound impact. With a learning strategy, the entire team is committed to listening attentively and improving every day, rather than merely executing quarterly instructions. While a Strategy of Certainty only suggests tactics with a high probability of success, a learning strategy embraces tactics that may not work but have a great potential for learning.

Of course, a learning strategy can only succeed if the learning is actively harvested, captured, stored, and shared. Lessons learned must inform the next round of strategies and actions. When this happens, the learning strategy sets off a virtuous cycle. The team continually improves, gains a clearer understanding of the market, discovers what truly resonates with buyers, and ultimately sells more.

An added benefit of a learning strategy is that it's more enjoyable than following a traditional, somewhat delusional marketing plan. It's liberating to acknowledge that we don't know everything and that learning is an ongoing process.

In the ever-changing landscape of B2B markets, embracing a learning strategy is not just okay—it's essential. It allows us to navigate the uncertainties and complexities with an open mind, adapt to new information, and continually evolve our approach. So let's embrace the unknowns, embrace the process of learning, and embark on a journey of growth and success

If you need digital marketing services in Leicestershire, choose WG Media as your trusted partner in the ever-changing landscape of B2B marketing. We specialise in implementing effective learning strategies and brand positioning, helping you embrace the unknown and achieve remarkable results. Join us on the path to success and unlock new possibilities for your business.


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