Q1 B2B Marketing Tips: Start the Year Off Right

Adam Smartschan

Partner & Chief Strategy Officer

It’s never too early – or too late – to start thinking about how you can get the year off on the right foot. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite Q1 B2B marketing tips.

Calendar showing January 1st

First, though, why is Q1 so important for B2B marketers?

It’s simple. Come January, everyone is feeling a little lethargic after the holiday break. That means you have an opportunity to get one over on the competition.

Better yet, a lot of buyers “find” money in the new year. They might have missed a goal the previous year, or budgets might look rosy. Either way, you want that cash to go to you.

With that in mind, here’s how you can rock Q1 2020.

Start Forming Good Habits

It takes 66 days to form a new habit. Why not start on Jan. 2?

Every B2B marketing department has something they can improve. You could start blogging more. You could establish regular reviews of your progress against strategic goals. Whatever it is, if you kick it off with the new year, it will be second nature around the end of February.

Establish SMART Goals

SMART goals are strategic, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. And Q1 is the ideal time to establish them.

Most departments and companies start the year with strategic initiatives. So, check off that “S.”

For measurement, you’re starting with a blank slate. Build a dashboard with a simple time series to count whatever it is you’re going for. Want 1,000 leads in the new year? One graph can be your chapter and verse.

Achievable means looking exclusively at things you can affect. You might want a prettier UI on your app, but that’s not necessarily marketing’s job. Drive enough new business that you can afford a front-end dev or two.

Realistic is up to you, but don’t be afraid to stretch a little. Don’t leave leaves or money on the table.

Finally, time-based is easy in Q1: Look at the year. Now’s the time to get things started right.

Rework Your Buyer Personas

You know those buyer personas you built using a template a few years back and sit on a shelf?

Pick them up, dust them off and give them a read.

For most companies, they’re probably looking pretty dated. You’ve definitely learned something new or subtly adjusted your positioning since you made them.

We’ve found that it’s pretty tough to update buyer personas. Instead, we prefer to start from scratch. You can use your old ones as a guide, but don’t try to line-edit them. If you do, you’ll just bring over old, outdated material.

Look for a New Agency Partner

(Insert Altitude Marketing plug here. We’re the ones providing the Q1 B2B marketing tips you’re reading, after all.)

Start an Email Marketing Campaign

If you can provide value on a weekly basis, why not send out a weekly email? Nobody wants your sales pitch, but tips, tricks and hints on a regular basis are always welcome in someone’s inbox.

Call Some Publications

Q1 is a great time to get deals on advertising. Your reps are working on new quotas, and they want the same Q1 boost you have. See what they’re offering, and always negotiate.

Think Hard About Social Media

Time was, everyone “did” social media … because everyone was “doing social media.” Look at your profiles in the cold light of a January morning. Is that Instagram account with seven followers really worth your time? Or could you be driving leads better somewhere else? If nobody’s following you, nobody’s going to notice that you stopped posting.

That’s it for your Q1 B2B marketing tips! From all of us at Altitude, wishing you the best this holiday season, and a successful and profitable 2020.

Adam Smartschan

Adam Smartschan heads Altitude's strategic marketing and branding efforts. An award-winning writer and editor by trade in a former life, he now specializes in data analytics, search engine optimization, digital advertising strategy, conversion rate optimization and technical integrations. He holds numerous industry certifications and is a frequent speaker on topics around B2B marketing strategy and SEO.