The intention of this post is to get anyone who takes the time to read it to understand one thing and one thing only.
It’s trash to bury the “cookie cutter” approach to B2B marketing.
If this post is read by just one marketer who is operating on a team who does cookie cutter marketing then I will consider it a success.
In all likelihood you are landing on this post because you:
When you are doing marketing before your product has launched there are only so many ways that your audience accesses your content. We are in a period where attribution isn’t overwhelming. We are slowly building our audience by being consistent with our content delivery and distribution.
It sounds simple for now, but challenges will eventually emerge. That’s what happens when you try to scale a content strategy as your business grows. I am fortunate to work for a company that accepts writing for humans over machines and that’s why I am going to use a paragraph or few to explain my stance on being anti-cookie cutter in B2B marketing.
I’m going to pledge my allegiance towards a personalized approach, but first I want to make it crystal clear what I mean by cookie cutter marketing.
You know when you drive around a neighborhood and every house looks the same?
Same floor plans. Same square foot. Same garage doors. Same driveways.
The color of the houses might be different, but everything else is the same.
What about anything one-size fits all?
Shirts. Hats. Socks. You name it.
There’s nothing more less personalized than one size fits all. It’s for everyone and when it’s for everyone that means it likely isn’t very good.
Don’t even get me started with FM radio. That’s another topic for another day.
Cookie cutter marketing is generic, out of the box, set it and forget it, mind numbing tactics that don’t work, but we keep pushing them forward. There’s so many examples to call out, but to entertain myself here’s a few:
Batch and blast email sends.
Keyword infested blog posts.
It’s like nails on a chalkboard just typing these things out. I’ve noticed that a big reason why a lot of cookie cutter marketing doesn’t work is because the tactics aren’t meant for your audience.
They are meant for the marketer and their KPI’s. They are easy to execute. They are supposed to be “quick wins”.
There’s a follow the herd mentality when it comes to doing B2B marketing. We see someone do something that we think is successful and the next thing you know the entire industry has water downed what was once unique into something that is completely annoying.
We’ve spoken to hundreds of marketers since The Juice has formed and many are struggling being a member of a team running a marketing playbook that is better suited for the dot com era. It’s easy to go with the flow. It’s even easier to get sucked into the trap. Once you are trapped it gets even harder to tell your boss that you don’t think we should be doing marketing like this anymore.
I had an incredible conversation with Sara Pion, Senior Marketing Manager, Customer Engagement at Alyce that I published last week. Sara is an anti-cookie cutter marketer. She obsesses over personalization and knows that B2B marketing isn’t one size fits all.
She was describing helping Alyce’s customers understand how to better reach their customers and said something simple, but caused me to reflect:
"Depending on who we are talking to we take a different kind of approach, but the overarching theme is we want you to have better results and the best way you can do that is put yourself on the other end of your outreach’s shoes."
How often do you put yourself in your audience’s shoes?
The more conversations that you have with your customers the more you begin to uncover opportunities to create personalized approaches to your marketing strategy.
Members of your audience might not fully realize it, but they are receiving a fully curated content experience outside of their work life every day.
Spotify knows what bands they like and serve up recommendations on new artists they should check out.
Blue Apron sends them meals to cook for dinner based on answering some questions about food they like ahead of time.
The Netflix rabbit hole is a real thing and happens because the platform is consumer centric above all else.
There’s a strong likelihood that members of your audience are working from home or working from anywhere these days. The lines between work life and home life are more blurred than ever before. It’s on marketers to start thinking more like a curator and less like a traditional B2B marketer.
The days of running yesterday’s B2B marketing playbook are finished. We are in an era where our audience has more influence on the buying process than ever before.
It’s time to remove the friction and start marketing like humans. This is an opportunity for you to spend time understanding the motivations, interests, and desires of your audience. We should be learning from them in order to provide the right recommendations back.
If it feels funny when you ship it then can you imagine what it feels like to your audience?
Now is the time to go all-in on personalization because if you don’t then your audience will move on to someone who will. People want frictionless content experiences like they are receiving when they are not logged in during the day.
Throw away your cookie cutter approach and invest in a strategy that obsesses over personalization. Companies who do this will win. We all work for companies that have products. The products are commodities. The experiences that we create around each individual is the differentiator.