June 6 marks the day Allied soldiers descended on the beaches of Normandy on what is popularly known today as D-Day: the operation that turned the tides of the Second World War and ended the great conflict. As preparations are being made to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the landings, B2B marketers can do their part by learning the tactics which brought about D-Day’s success.
Back then, the main objective of the Allied powers was not the capture of all the landing points but rather to land in a small area, establish a beachhead, and expand from that point. For marketers, it’s basic entry strategy. You don’t just go for the entire market. You start at a particular niche, your beachhead, and start expanding your company’s own army of sales, employees, and assorted marketers.
Infantry and Mechanized Landings – Gaining Trust
In most cases, it’s easier to get a minor commitment first instead of starting with a major commitment because you can just simply work your way from the former to the latter. How do you do this in marketing? You simply establish rapport and use lead nurturing to establish trust over time. You don’t pitch your entire solution but gradually engage with them long enough to fill them in on it.
Naval Artillery Support – Demand Generation
To support the element of surprise on the German defense line, thousands of Allied naval ships helped the incoming infantry with artillery bombardments along the shores and further inland to eliminate or suppress enemy artillery and personnel.
In a way, those destroyers are akin to demand generation activities. You don’t want the competition sealing you out by consuming their territorial share of prospect attention.
Examples of this approach can include websites full of regular blog posts or sending newsletters in exchange for contact information. This will keep prospect attention on your business and support additional engagement efforts.
The Secured Beachhead – Sustainability
Despite victory at the beachhead, the Allies failed to achieve other objectives on the actual date of the landings. Hesitant decisions from supporting air and artillery support compromised the elements of surprise and helped the Nazi strongholds prepare for a better defense line.
But still, it was thanks to maintaining that little shore that the infantry managed to spread control. B2B marketers should maintain their own line if they hope to expand into deeper market territory. That includes having sustainability and reduced overhead.
Airborne Landings and Support – Inside Influence
It was the largest naval invasion in history so air support was also a critical factor against the German occupied defense line. Airborne troops paradropped behind enemy lines so that their offense ensured the attacks were now from all sides. In a sense, this is simply a quicker version of planting spies prior to wartime.
Marketers apply both forms when they gain influence from within the industry. Think of ways to drop in on critical industry influencer and win them over from inside the market. This also works with individual prospect companies. Find an insider who can vouch for your company from inside their organization and open their doors to you.
Finally, know that this land-and-expand strategy works best when you’re too preoccupied with always generating new customers. As always, B2B marketers and sales reps should follow the 80/20 rule. If it was good enough for the D-Day veterans, it should be good enough for you!