B2B Marketing Blog

Written by The Mezzanine Group
on November 09, 2011

One of the most useful things that MBA schools teach is the ‘3 C model’. It’s a framework for defining strategy. And like most brilliant things, it’s good because it’s  simple. 

The 3 Cs to a Great B2B Marketing Strategy

The 3 Cs in the model are:





At the intersection of these 3 Cs is a great marketing strategy.

3 C's of good marketing strategy


The idea is that at the intersection of a company’s strengths, a customer group’s needs and the competitors’ offerings lies the opportunity.

Think of this example:

  • If your company is fantastic at building custom software for insurance brokers
  • and there is a large group of insurance brokers who need software to help them be more successful
  • and there are no other companies building software for insurance brokers, then -

wow, you have a great strategy.

Of course real life is more complicated than that - but the framework works, you usually just add more detail.

There are far more complicated and sophisticated strategy models, but this one cuts to the chase. For the work that Mezzanine does with small and mid-sized B2B companies, this model works very well.


How to Use the 3C Model for Marketing Strategy 

To use the 3C model to develop your company's marketing strategy, you'll gather information on each of the 3 Cs, and then analyze it to determine your strategy. 

Here are some specifics for each step:


3 key questions to answer:

  1. What are our competencies (what are we really good at?)
  2. What are our aspirations (what do we want to do?)
  3. What resources do we have?

Companies can do a workshop among management, sales and customer service to get answers to these questions. 


  1. Who are the customers in the market? 
  2. What are the needs of the various customers? 
  3. How do they buy? 
  4. How much do they buy? (ultimately, your market has to be big enough to support your company in achieving its growth goals)

It’s almost always helpful to get independent research about customers - even if you think you already know the answers.  



  1. What are competitors not offering that your customers need?
  2. What can competitors not easily offer that you might offer?
  3. How do competitors go to market (sell, service, market) that does not connect well with customers?

Out of the 3 C model, your marketing strategy becomes apparent. You’ll be able to define:

  • What you offer
  • How you offer it
  • What your unique value proposition and market positioning is
  • Your message that will connect with your target market


Additional Resources: 

  1. What IS Strategic Marketing? 
  2. The Difference Between Business Strategy and Marketing Strategy
  3. Recipe for a Good Marketing Strategy


Or download the executive guide to strategic marketing planning:



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