Mergers and acquisitions - or M&A for brevity’s sake - are an exciting point of growth but can also present extremely difficult marketing challenges. As multiple businesses come together, marketing teams can often spend a lot of their time on the administrative aspects of merging systems and tools, rather than maintaining and scaling marketing campaigns or addressing the strategic opportunities for driving additional growth as a result of the merger or acquisition.
We’ve compiled a selection of topics that B2B companies need to think about as they navigate through an M&A about the tools, teams and processes, as well as the outstanding benefits of working with an experienced marketing agency that can guide you through the process. Let’s dive in.
Create a Transparent Integration & Marketing Plan
A comprehensive, transparent rebranding and integration plan is essential to successfully navigate mergers and acquisitions. Be sure to break down your plan into consistent and reasonable time increments, keeping in mind flexibility for changes. Envision your goals for the awareness and perception of the brand or brands and work backwards in the development of the plan to achieve it.
Like all major changes within an organization, mergers and acquisitions can lead to nervousness and unrest at all employee levels, as well as within your current customer base. The dissemination of your integration plan to employees within the companies will create confidence for the success of the transition. Bringing your clients in early on these plans will also create fewer opportunities for confusion and higher retention rates.
Marketing & Branding
A thorough M&A marketing and branding strategy will include extensive market research, flexibility to change, and often shifting people into new roles.
Market research & competitor analysis
When performing market research and competitor analysis, keep in mind the competitors of each business and each industry, as well as new competition that may arise as a result of the M&A.
Market research will likely reveal at least a slight shift in ideal customers. You’ll want to develop new customer personas to assist in honing the voice and tone of new marketing materials, as well as throughout the rest of the marketing process.
Reputation & the story
Be ready for inevitable external press and exposure by crafting a narrative that is honest but upholds or improves the reputations of each business and the new organization.
Once the optimal story is prepared, be proactive with the press to gain as much control over the narrative as possible. When done properly, this exposure can be leveraged to showcase important differentiators of this new organization, improving reputation and increasing brand awareness.
The right people & the right roles
M&As require a very different marketing strategy than an established brand. Companies will need to evaluate their current marketing staff or agencies to ensure they have experienced support throughout the process. As companies come together, consider the possibilities of redundant staffing and whether roles will need shuffling, reassigning or creating.
CRM & automation systems
Explore Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and automation systems of both companies, and identify a technology stack that will work for all companies so that a thorough data integration plan can begin early in the transition. This will include merging all businesses’ CRMs and automation tools into one centralized location. This will be a complex process, so don’t underestimate the time it will take as you develop your integration plan.
With the merging and acquiring of organizations should come a new value proposition that encompasses the history and goals of all businesses involved. Once developed, a segment of the integration should include a communication plan to disseminate this new value proposition and the story behind it to current and prospective clients.
Developing a brand guide early on that incorporates each organization will be crucial for a smooth and consistent rollout of new materials. This will ensure that all branding assets, including communications, websites, social media and even brick and mortar locations, perpetuate the look and feel of the new brand.
M&A-friendly web plan
Create an M&A-friendly website and web plan that will transition each website into one new one smoothly, rather than simply wiping the original web presences clean. Address any older content that is being migrated, redirect users from older sites to the new one and determine an appropriate timeline to sunset the original websites that aligns with your overarching marketing plan.
Your marketing and communication plan should include leveraging social media to keep each brand’s followers in the loop throughout the transition. Rather than deleting the brands’ original social media accounts, use them to drive followers over to the new accounts, encouraging them to follow.
Data & analytics
The M&A marketing strategy is an ongoing process. Before launching any campaigns or digital presences, establish data collection methods and put them into place. Anticipate consistent gathering and analysis of campaign and user data to fuel the direction of your marketing strategies, and make adjustments accordingly.
Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Agency to Help
Hiring an experienced B2B digital marketing agency to assist in marketing a merger or acquisition can take much of the stress off the shoulders of your marketing team. It’s like having a team of experts in your back pocket to answer questions and help every step of the way.
B2B digital marketing agencies that specialize in different industries can be incredibly beneficial for M&A marketing since there is no industry learning curve; they are already experts in your field and can hit the ground running. They also keep up on industry technologies and trends that can benefit your strategy. Being aware of the industry players, this kind of agency also conducts thorough market research and will identify ways to differentiate your new brand’s value proposition from the competition.
A digital marketing agency will be able to handle:
- Building an M&A-friendly website and web plan
- Merging CRMs and automation tools
- Transitioning all companies’ branding and design into a new brand guide
- Data collection and analysis for evaluating on-going marketing plans
One of the most important benefits of working with a digital marketing agency for a merger or acquisition is the long-standing relationship available with them. A digital marketing agency will be accessible for questions and happy to help with additional services long after the process is “complete.”
While marketing a new M&A can be overwhelming, having the right teams and strategies in place can make the transition smooth and successful. Want to work with Beacon Digital Marketing for your merger or acquisition? Drop us a line.
Whitney is a highly sought-after B2B online marketing expert with more than 12 years of experience leading marketing and communications teams in a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, small businesses, tech startups, and large global corporations. She’s helped dozens of brands gain greater recognition for their causes and products in the digital world.