B2B Marketing Strategy

Creating Your Enemies and Knocking Them Out in B2B Marketing

Brett McGrath

July 13, 2021

Creating Your Enemies and Knocking Them Out in B2B Marketing

I was recently asked what’s my favorite part about being a marketer. 

Have you ever thought about this? 

I reflected on it for a second, but the answer was easy for me. 

The most satisfying thing about being a marketer for me is identifying a problem, choosing a side, and doing everything in my power to support that side. 

I like choosing a side. I like taking a stance.

Some of the best marketing of all-time is when marketers position their brand against the enemy. 

Just Do It: Nike’s fight against inaction 

Think Different: Apple’s battle against status quo 

How about a B2B example?

No Software: Salesforce’s war agency legacy incumbent solutions 

One of my favorite marketing books of all-time is, Behind the Cloud: the untold story of how salesforce.com went from idea to billion-dollar company and revolutionized an industry by Marc Benioff. This book not only teaches you how to become a positioning expert, but gives you plays to run to get there. It’s the perfect balance of tactical and strategic advice. 

One of my favorite plays offered that I think about a lot as a marketer is Play #20: Always, Always Go After Goliath. This can not only mean to go after the market leader in your category, but also the elephant in the room that is holding back your future customers from reaching their full potential.

There’s something inherently satisfying with creating enemies and attacking them in our marketing. We are highly competitive people, want to win, and want our opponents to lose. The product your company has should not only support your message, but get your enemy to adjust course.

I’ve been at this since January and we haven’t launched our product yet, but we’ve got enemies. 

We aren’t attacking companies. We are attacking the non-customer centric ways to do marketing.

These are deeply entrenched ways to operate in B2B marketing. These are monsters.

I feel like Little Mac from Mike Tyson's Punchout trying to knock out the Heavyweights to get to the last level.

I’m talking about: 

Everything listed here is in the arsenal of most modern day B2B marketers. I’m not pointing the finger here because I’ve been guilty of them, too. Marketers start to get off the tracks when we are focused too much on our process or our numbers and less on consumer expectations and habits. 

Have you ever thought about the content experiences that you create in your role as a B2B marketer and the content experiences that you receive as a B2C consumer?

Don’t worry. I never thought much about them until I started spending most of my waking hours working for a company that is setting out to create more frictionless content experiences.

Content experiences like we get when we are listening to whatever song we want on Spotify or binge watching the next show our friends won’t shut up about on Netflix.

Content experiences like we get when our news is personalized to fit our interests from Google or Apple News. 

Content experiences like the personalization that Zillow offers when you are trying to buy your next house. 

We live in a world where the content that we receive is highly personalized, 1:1, and built for our interests. It’s incredible when you take a step back and actually think about it. 

It’s what you watch, listen to, eat, shop, and even how you date. 

It’s early, but I can emphatically say that our enemy is the friction filled content experiences that status quo marketers project on their audiences. My job in my role is to punch up a weight class and do whatever I can to bring awareness to a more progressive way to do B2B marketing.

Change is here. Consumer preferences, consumer technology, and consumer experiences have all changed for the better. The marketers who lead this trend are investing early and often into these opportunities. These marketers are selflessly creating consumer-centric content experiences. They are the change.

I was stopped dead in my tracks last week when Jonathan shared an article on Slack from Forbes called, “Eight Ways to Ensure Gated Content Reaches the Right Audiences”. The headline grabbed my attention like any shot made by an enemy.

I read the article and then did the only thing I could possibly think of doing at that moment. I used it as ammunition for the opening letter of our newsletter that gets sent out every Friday (not signed up yet? Get it here). I know the message resonated because I got people from our list to reply back.

Sidebar: Want a good under the radar metric for your bosses or internal marketing efforts? Start sharing replies back. It’s a great way to measure your message and track momentum. 

I prioritize talking to brand new marketers every week. I’ve never heard any of them get excited and talk about how much they love putting gated forms in front of their audiences. They feel stuck trying to determine ways to create a more seamless content experience for their future customers. 

If the marketers who I am talking with regularly feel stuck, imagine how their audience feels trying to consume their content?

I’m here to promote the progressive marketer and teams who don’t feel stuck and have removed the friction points in front of their content experience. My goal is to bring you these stories to inspire and drive action.

I can’t win this fight by myself.

Who wants to help? 

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