I’m not sure I enjoy any part of marketing more than the playback.
This happens when the message that you’ve been using to cut through all of the other junk not only breaks through, but more importantly starts being recited by others. You can receive the playback in a Slack message from a teammate, in a Tweet from another marketer, or even on a Zoom call during a recording. A big moment for the Modern Day Marketer message happened a couple weeks ago when it started being used by the rest of The Juice team during our weekly go-to-market meeting.
Is that something the Modern Day Marketer would do?
Do you think the Modern Day Marketer would like this?
Are we building the right things for the Modern Day Marketer?
These were the types of questions that were being asked and I didn’t even prompt them.
I listened as the team worked through the conversation as I held back the smile on my face. One of the most challenging parts of marketing is getting others to adopt your message. The holy grail is when others start using your words to describe something they are talking about.
I’m not a golfer, but I’ll compare this moment to getting a hole in one. They don’t come around often and when they do you just want to bask in the glory.
There was no time to bask in anything because before I could jump in to share my excitement Jonathan tossed it over to me and said:
Hey Brett, could we get a definition for what makes up a Modern Day Marketer?
At that moment I decided to hold back. I could have word-vomited everything that I believe made up a Modern Day Marketer. Instead I told everyone that I was going to reflect on the definition and get back to them next week with clarity.
One of my favorite things about working at The Juice is our passion around taking our internal conversations and turning them inside out. This has helped us build trust and level up our brand a lot quicker than I expected.
We’ll be talking about Modern Day Marketers indefinitely because these actors play the best supporting roles in the story that we want to share with all of you. In this post I am going to share context on how this term came to be, define it, and share what’s next.
The Creation of Modern Day Marketers
You are never comfortable doing marketing at an early stage company.
Being highly adaptable is a requirement because of how quickly things can change.
This can start with your message and move all the way over towards product direction. I’ve worked in several early stage companies in my career, but never anything as fresh as The Juice.
The most important work that I did in my first 3-6 months at The Juice was to use the tools at my disposal (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack Communities, etc.) to meet other marketers, earn their trust, and then set up time to have a conversation about what they cared about. It had been a long time since I had worked in the MarTech space and I could tell things were a lot different. I knew that I needed to go direct to the source to learn about these changes.
These 30 minute “get to know you” calls would end in 20 minute rants about problems with B2B marketing and how these individuals were working to change the status quo. During each of these calls I would take extensive notes and try to determine if I could begin to draw parallels between everyone’s passionate takes. After the first month I knew that these conversations couldn’t remain siloed and that’s why I started the 3C Podcast. It’s a lot like the origin for this post. I knew sharing what was coming at me would be beneficial to people other than myself and this has proven true.
During the first run of the show I started to understand two important themes:
- A large majority of people that I collaborated on content with thought B2B marketing sucked...everyone I spoke with worked in B2B marketing
- Everyone who felt this way wasn’t satisfied with the current state of B2B. In fact they couldn’t be more excited to share with me how they were working to make in better in their roles
I knew this group of marketers was on to something, but didn’t realize there was something profound happening until I hung up an introductory Zoom call with Hiba Amin, Senior Marketing Manager at Hypercontext.
We spoke for about 20 minutes and I learned the following:
- She did not believe in gated content
- She obsessed over using the content she was created to build audience
- She had used this method to grow a newsletter list to 70,000 subscribers
- She prioritized learning from communities and had built a marketing family through it
I went through my process of scheduling time for the recording, sharing my notes back with her, and then recording the episode. It was after we got done with the recording that it all hit me.
Marketers like Hiba and most of the others that I had learned from over the past several months are different. They aren’t doing marketing like I was doing it when I was coming up in the game. These marketers were customer obsessed and woke up everyday thinking about how they could provide value to their audience.
Damn. It started to click.
This group of marketers viewed content marketing as a noble pursuit.
They believed in SEO, but didn’t think of it as a content marketing strategy.
They had opinions about how their product could make your day better, but prioritized building trust before pushing it down your throat.
After the conversation with Hiba I spent the next 10 days reflecting on all of my conversations and lining up themes.
There were more similarities than differences. That’s when I knew that I was on to something.
I started calling them Modern Day Marketers.
I’d use it on the podcast, articles, and when I was authoring our newsletter.
Slowly I started using Modern Day Marketers in internal conversations to describe our ideal customers or the people who we want to help tell our story.
That brings me to the final point of this post
WTF is a Modern Day Marketer?
Defining the Modern Day Marketer
I’ll start first by sharing a Tweet from Andy Raskin that I saw a few weeks ago that struck a chord with me:
B2B marketing has been obsessed with category creation over the past several years.
It goes something like this:
- Create a message around the problem our product solves
- Brand the thing
- Start talking about how no one else does it
- Create advocacy and social proof around the category
- Pitch your category to analysts and hope people start writing about it
I’ve seen a lot of companies try to do this. I’ve seen most of them fail.
You know that quote, “A rising tide lifts all boats?”
Well...it’s really difficult to gain traction when you are the only boat in the water.
I like Andy’s quote because movements create momentum.
It’s more likely that people identify with a movement than some arbitrary category that another B2B company is trying to create.
Modern Day Marketers is the movement that we want to help contribute to through our messaging, content, people, and our product. We want to build for the Modern Day Marketer because we believe in the direction that the Modern Day Marketer can take our industry.
At the simplest form the Modern Day Marketer is the catalyst for change in B2B marketing. This individual refuses to be stuck in the status quo by running yesterday’s playbook and dedicates their efforts to providing value to their audience by any means necessary.
The Modern Day Marketer is the hero and the “me” centered marketer is the villain in our story.
The Modern Day Marketer:
- Is sobered up from being drunk on dashboards the last several years - she believes in tracking metrics, but refuses to play the volume game
- Writes for people and not machines - she is true to the authenticity of the brand she is building and refuses to compromise it by distributed shitty, keyword infested blog posts
- Removes content roadblocks and is focused on experience - she comes from a place of abundance with the content she creates and understands the value of letting it fly free
- Values of creating with community - she doesn’t believe in the transactional nature of a co-marketing opportunity, but seeks long term brand building opportunities from others who share a similar mindset
There are more qualities of the Modern Day Marketer and I am excited to share them with you. I’m turning the idea of Modern Day Marketers into a program. I’ll be sharing more details on the podcast, in the newsletter, and on the blog. If you’re a Modern Day Marketer or have ideas about this topic I’d love to hear from you. The easiest way to reach me is on Twitter.
It’s easier for some than others to identify as a Modern Day Marketer.
Some marketers are fortunate to work as contributors on progressive brands who are more willing to push the envelope. Most marketers operate on teams with different levels of ancient infrastructure that makes it challenging to push forward.
It doesn’t matter what type of company you are working for.
What matters is that you’ve got ideas and a passion to push B2B marketing forward.
Every progressive Modern Day Marketer that I’ve met has gone 10 rounds with the status quo.
They won some rounds and lost others.
When lights go out there’s only one type of marketer that is on their back and staring up at the lights.
Work on your message.
Wait for the playback from your team.
Modern Day Marketers are training right now.
Modern Day Marketers are building great B2B brands.
Modern Day Marketers are winning the hearts and minds of their audiences
Are you a Modern Day Marketer?
Check out our Playlist B2B Marketing Sucks to learn from the best Modern Day Marketers that I’ve met this year.
If you enjoy what we are doing we’d love for you to do a couple things: