Marketing Strategy

Quadrant Analysis for B2Bs – Cash Cows Produce Best Marketing ROI

During the heyday of conglomerates in the 1960s, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) developed its growth-share matrix model, which has since been widely used by strategic planning and corporate development teams across America.  It was a simple model that showed a corporation how to allocate its cash across various business units.  There were stars that had a relatively high market share in a high growth rate market, cash cows with a relatively high market share in a low growth rate market, question marks that had a relatively low market share in a high growth rate market, and dogs with a relatively low market share in a low growth rate market.

Since the Marketing Id encourages unconventional thinking, I thought it would be a great idea to apply an old BCG-style quadrant concept to analyze the optimal tradeoff between inbound and outbound marketing in today’s B2B environment.  However, I am not going to do this from BCG’s growth-share perspective, but simply use their quadrant analogies from a relative use standpoint. Accordingly in the figure below, I present my revised BCG-style model showing inbound marketing (IM) usage from low to high along the x-axis and outbound marketing (OM) as the dependent variable from low to high along the y-axis.

So in my BCG-style model for IM-OM, I came up with the following revised classifications of B2Bs that are managing a mix of IM and OM elements in their integrated marketing efforts or plans:

In summary, from an integrated marketing plan perspective, my BCG-style model for IM-OM concludes that:

  • A cash cow is the optimal position for a B2B, since it delivers the best marketing ROI.
  • A star is not all that it is cracked up to be for a B2B, since showy, disruptive and expensive outbound activity does not  deliver the desired marketing ROI.
  • A dog can be redeemed as a marketing-driven B2B, if it gets in tune with marketing, specifically for inbound activity.
  • A question mark, being a traditional B2B with a high OM-low ROI structure, needs to do a two-step towards becoming a more optimal ROI cash cow.