B2B Marketing Strategy

Building Relationships with B2B Marketers and Networking in Public

Brett McGrath

July 13, 2021

Building Relationships with B2B Marketers and Networking in Public

Animal House.

Hilarious movie.

It works because it reminds us all of a much more carefree time in our lives.

I can relate.

I wasn't quite at the Bluto level, but I did like to have a good time.

It's not what you know.

It’s who you know.

We’ve all heard it. 

We’ve all heard it from our Mom, Dad, brother, sister, grandparents, or other acquaintances at some point in our lives. 

I remember being on the last lap of my college tour and that phrase was drilled into me by almost every professor at every office hours visit that I attended.

I didn’t take it seriously.

I had parties to attend. 

Brain cells to destroy.

Future? I’ll think about that later. 

Things seemed to get serious quickly when I walked across the stage and grabbed my diploma.

It’s over? 

What’s next?

All of my college buddies who were ahead of the curve all had jobs lined up.

It wasn’t because they worked any harder than me.

It was because of the people they knew and maintained relationships with to get their first job out of college.

I should have put down the Xbox 360 sticks and picked up my flip phone to hit me network more. 

I’m old. That experience was a decade and then some change ago.

I was starting from behind and I did what every kid that didn’t want college to end does.

I applied aimlessly to whatever job posting that sounded interesting. 

No experience? No problem. 

I had nothing but time and I probably applied for 50 jobs that Summer. 

I didn’t hear back from any of them. 


Because they didn’t have any idea who I was or what I could bring to the table outside of my less than impressive resume. 

This experience shot back vividly in my mind after a conversation I had with a recent graduate who asked me how I ended up getting into the tech industry with the right company at the right time.

It’s never been all roses, but there’s always been a process.

Lowlights become some of the best pieces of source material when creating content.

It’s never been about what you know.

It’s always about who you know. 

How does this relate with a post that you are supposed to gain value from?

I’m going to be blunt here.

Quit treating your communication to others like you're a directionless college senior looking for a job.

It sounds desperate and manufactured. 

I know. I've been there.

I had an incredible conversation with link building guru, Kas Szatylowicz of Tidio

She reminded me that transactional outreach tactics to share links just don’t work any more.

Have they ever? 

Probably not. 

What works is hitting your network. 

Building and developing opportunities with people inside your industry and creating undeniable win / win situations. 

This is how you do marketing in 2021.

It’s not what you know.

It’s who you know.

The spray and pray outreach tactics to generate relationships with marketers in the past need to be buried 6 feet deep. 

I was guilty of these methods when trying to get my first job. 

I should be tried by Federal B2B Marketers Court based on some of my past behavior in this market. 

Marketers like Kas have helped show me the light after a long hiatus in the B2B marketing space. 

I think it’s important that I don’t replicate old habits.

This is how I hold myself accountable. 

Create content about the right way to do things and hold myself to it.   

Building and nurturing relationships with industry counterparts is what matters.

This is what I wish I would have been able to tell myself a decade ago.

Here are the steps you can take to build legitimate relationships with other marketers:

  1. Share and comment on their content 

The best place to establish relationships these days is in public. 

We operate in an incredible period of time. 

Everyone in our industry creates content, selects channels, and distributes content. 

There are very few obstacles that exist from making an amazing connection with another marketer who is creating kick ass content.

A lot of marketers get it wrong where they feel like they need to use their platform to spray hot marketing takes to their audience.

That’s what everyone else is doing.

Stand out by taking the time to consistently reply and comment on what other marketers are sharing through social. 

This is what being in the game looks like.

This is how you get attention from marketers that you appreciate.

This is how you build and develop connections. 

  1. Ask for their point of view on a topic that matters and give them your platform

Feeling good about the connection?

It should be clear when you have those breakthrough moments.

The biggest indicator is getting the follow back.

Getting the follow back doesn’t mean that you should immediately jump in the DMs and make the ask, but can be a great indicator for future collaboration. 

When the opportunity is right (it is different for every scenario) you should ask your favorite marketer for their point of view on a topic that matters and present them the options for distributing their message.

If you don’t have a podcast you should think about starting one just to maximize the opportunities for collaboration in this market.

Podcasts are easy.

Marketers love them.

I’ve told Jonathan that I view the 3C Podcast as a marketing product.

It’s been my fast pass to meet new people and gather new points of view.

It’s been the most helpful way to gain new exposure in pre-launch mode.

If you create an awesome episode with someone they will share it with their audience.

The shares are important, but the connection gained for future opportunities is the most powerful outcome. 

  1. Turn your guest into an industry thought leader 

A great piece of content with a collaborator can fall flat if you don’t put energy around the promotion.

Focus on the wrapper.

Focus on the message.

Focus on the channels.

Focus on the communication with your guest.

Have a lock step promotional strategy where you turn your platform into your guests hype machine.

You want to create a win / win scenario for you and your guest. 

You are just promoting an episode.

You are promoting your guests point of view and the more new eyeballs you can offer to their personal or company brand the better.

It’s not done with record button stops.

It’s just getting started.  

After about 12 years of meeting new people, building relationships, and creating win / win opportunities with other marketers I’ve learned the importance of patience and consistency.

Patience and consistency might not be the shiniest objects in the marketing toolkit, but they can be the most impactful when building your personal and companies brand. 

It’s ok to be a directionless recent college graduate. We’ve all been there.

Look back on that period in your life and use it as a motivator when building a relationship with your next podcast guest. 

It’s not what you know.

It’s who you know. 

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