No barrier

It’s easy to fall into the familiar refrain that goes: “B2B marketing is boring”.

That is just an alternative version of the hit: “We have always done it this way”.

The reality though is that most marketers don’t have the guts – sure, sometimes it is the budget, or the time, or the team, but let’s be realistic, it is mainly the guts – to try anything new.

Fortunately, some do. And some others do as well.

There is literally no barrier to B2B marketing today.

Just go experiment.

Note: the image in this blog post is from Postman‘s graphic novel, The API-first World.

To market marketing

Marketers market products. And marketers also market marketing.

Some are good at the former, few even understand that the latter is just as important.

To market marketing means promoting the role of marketing internally. It means asking around what the expectations around marketing are, kicking off a dialogue, setting and reporting on the right metrics, being consistent at building a narrative that supports all of the above.

When marketers do only market products, you see marketers going around and trying to apply the same tactics in completely different circumstances. Then coming up with a new fad to try and keep things fresh.

Marketing is a practice, not a campaign.

Reporting marketing

It’s a responsibility as marketers to make marketing accessible to the rest of the organization. We are the ones good at communicating, after all.

It starts with reporting on your KPIs.

If you have 20 slides with tables filled with character size 12 numbers, covering all the regions, all the channels, all the assets, all the stages of the funnel, you are doing everybody a disservice. Nobody will understand what you are up, and by not understanding it, they will not be excited about the next thing you will present or ask money for.

Pick three numbers. Make them about awareness, conversion, and pipeline. Report on them with three slides, splashing the big number on one side and an explanation of the number on the other (what you did, what happened, why it matters, what’s next – keep it character size 30 at least). Do it every month or every quarter and let readers ask their own questions about regions, channels, assets, and so on.

That’s a way to build credibility and interest around the marketing function.

Come together

Three things to consider when you write new marketing content.

  1. It needs to be relevant to your audience – “me” is not relevant.
  2. It needs to be different from what is out there.
  3. It needs to be distributed in a channel where your audience hangs out.

All of the above needs research, so writing marketing content never starts with a blank page and very rarely starts with a brilliant idea. It starts with questions, data, insights, and the right expectations about how long it takes to make it all come together.

A little brand test

If you are having any doubt that your brand is not working, try this little test.

  1. Open Word.
  2. Write down the key claim or message from your website.
  3. Pick 5 competitors.
  4. Go to their websites and write their key claim or message on the same document.
  5. Show the document to a colleague, a friend, your partner. Ideally, a customer.
  6. Ask them to identify your claim or message.

It does not matter if your competitors are lying, if you are the only one who could truthfully claim what everyone is claiming, if your technology is better, if you have a more accurate vision for the future, if your founder has an incredible track record.

The customer does not care.

You are not trying to make an argument in the court room. You are competing on the market.

Note: if you pass the test, it does not mean your brand is working. A message is easy enough to imitate and brand is a combination of multiple items that should reflect the way you see the world. But if you don’t pass the test, then your brand is definitely not working.