B2B Marketing Strategy

Putting an end to “me” centered B2B marketing and leading the change

Brett McGrath

July 13, 2021

Putting an end to “me” centered B2B marketing and leading the change

Last Friday afternoon I was completely gassed. I’m talking about not only was I running on fumes, but the check engine light was on. I had left it all on the field last week and it was the closest I had felt since hanging up my jersey when the Friday Night Lights shut off for me nearly two decades ago.

That makes me feel old. A lot of things I do these days do that. 

My legs hurt more after a long run. 

The words I use to describe things remind me of my parents.

The way I think about the way I used to do marketing.

Yes, thinking about my career as a B2B marketer makes me feel old these days. I meet new marketers every week and always tell them that I think I’ve worked in almost every marketing function, in SaaS companies of all shapes and sizes, and all have products that serve different verticals. 

This diversity of B2B marketing experience has taught me a lot of things. I think I can write a book on all of the things that I’ve done wrong and all of the cringeworthy tactics that I’ve deployed along the way. 

Yuck, deployed.

How about capture?

The tactics and words that I used to use to describe my activity should have earned me a 10 year sentence in the B2B marketing prison.

Throw away the key and be banned from a career here for good.

I think a lot about my evolution as a marketer and was trying to figure out how I survived over a decade of doing what I am doing without repercussions. 

I thought long and hard about it and finally reached a conclusion. 

My response is the same response that I gave my Mom when I got caught drinking in high school. 

Because everyone else is doing it!

Sadly, it’s true. B2B marketers around the globe have been following each other’s lead and stealing each other’s playbooks since the beginning of time. Once we see one marketing team execute something flawlessly that drives the pipeline we all try to replicate it until it becomes stale on our audience. 

Who remembers when webinars were cool?

or how about Clubhouse? (Too soon?)

I’m not here to say that we should use other marketer’s ideas and remix for our own. That’s good marketing and all of the greats do it. What I am suggesting is that we need to take a step back and ask ourselves a critical question. 

Am I doing this for my audience or am I doing this for my metrics?

Stop everything and think about all of the content, campaigns, and sales collaboration that you are currently working on. 

Now ask yourself the question.

Am I doing this for my audience or am I doing this for my metrics?

If you go down the list and most of your responses are marketing centric it’s ok.

I’ve been there and am still trying to dig myself out of being a “me” centered marketer. 

You know what I mean by being “me” centered, right? 

It means you are willing to sacrifice the experience of your audience for your metrics. It happens when we don’t come from a place of abundance. When our mindset is transactional and we aren’t dedicated to the long game.

It’s not your fault. It’s the market industry that we all grew up in. 

It’s been a place where marketers will sacrifice their brand and reputation for the short term...cringe...GROWTH HACKS to GENERATE LEADS for their sales teams. 

It’s not you. I promise. We were all there once. 

It’s because we work in an industry that obsesses over:

🤖SEO built for algorithms to soar to the top of Google’s rankings

🕹️Blogs written for keywords to game the system and get traffic 

🏴‍☠️Low quality syndication to capture leads for our sales teams...even if they are bad leads 

🚧Gated content to grab data and validate our work 

It’s hard to break the cycle of being a “me” centered marketer, but I’ll give you some tips that have worked for me and hope that they can help you out.

3 ways to sedate the "me" centered marketing in you:

  1. Put yourself in the shoes of your content experience

We live in a world where our content is curated for us based on our personal interests and desires. I love the Danish band Iceage. My Apple Watch knows when it’s time to go for a run to play Iceage and bands like Iceage to keep me motivated. The concept of curation amplifies the importance of personalization.

If people are reaching your content then reward them for it. Don’t put traps in front of your stuff. Content these days is being shared in Twitter DMs and Slack groups. Optimize for this experience. 

  1. Talk to the market 

Don’t leave customer or future customer conversations to product or sales. One of the biggest advantages that we have as marketers is our ability to absorb information and synthesize it into messages to share and validate what we are doing.

I used to think talking to the market was someone else’s job. I would have given myself a shorter sentence in the B2B marketing prison if I would have started making a habit of having these conversations 5-7 years earlier. 

  1.  Write like a human 

I’m not here to say SEO isn’t important, but don’t make it your everything. The biggest differentiator that we have as marketers is the words that we use and how they represent our brand.  The more you write for humans and less for machines the more your message is going to resonate. 

To take one from the great David Ogilvy:

“Do not...address your readers as though they were gathering together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”

When you flush the one to many approach down the toilet you unlock the ability to become a customer centric marketer. It takes time and patience, but will make your day-to-day work life more enjoyable. I never thought I would be so energized by writing, but I am again. I am because I know that the messages are hitting and each day I am building and developing our brand. 

If you are feeling gassed on the old way of doing B2B marketing then rethink your program. The best validator for that is if you can make the determination that what you are doing is more for you and less for your audience.

Don’t be a follower like I was nearly a decade ago. We all have the power to lead the change. A movement that is about inspiring our audience and putting an expiration date on the traps that we lay in front of them.

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