In this article I am going to share the marketing playbook that we are running at The Juice. The reason that this playbook works for us is because the entire company is bought in and it translates back into how our product functions. It’s unlikely that everything I share here will work perfectly in the work that you do. I believe there are foundational elements to this strategy that every marketer can be injecting into your work and I’ll be explicit when calling them out.
How about we start with this one right out of the gates.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT HOW “REVOLUTIONARY” YOUR PRODUCT IS!
Products have become commoditized in B2B SaaS. Everyone’s stuff is the best and it feels like a majority chunk of the B2B marketing pie is running the same out of date playbook from 2012 to “capture leads”.
Consumer expectations have changed rapidly in a short time due to factors that are outside of our control and it’s on us to adapt as marketers.
Here’s a real life example that happened to me this weekend.
The humidifier in my daughter’s room broke. My wife asked me to find another one.
I did what I think a majority of us would do.
I went to Amazon and typed in, “baby humidifier”.
You wouldn’t believe the volume of results that came up. I was overwhelmed.
Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. Stop.
AquaOasis Cool Mist Humidifier Quiet Ultrasonic ….now that’s a mouthful.
I took one look at the listing and clicked “Buy Now”.
The reason that it won my heart is because it was the only humidifier that showed the box that it was coming in. The box displayed a family holding their baby and getting ready to put her to bed.
That imagery alone gave me confidence that this was the right humidifier for my family.
I didn’t read any reviews. I didn’t compare prices.
The pictures on the box won me over.
Ok what does this have to do with your marketing strategy again?
This has everything to do with the work that we are doing at The Juice. We are telling stories and building programs for the new parent who buys humidifiers because of the pictures on the side of the box who happens to do marketing in B2B SaaS. We buy with emotion and we want to help our audience get their content in front of people who do too. We are the people who make irrational decisions because something won our heart and mind and we want to make sure we are optimizing for these moments when people come into The Juice’s hemisphere for the first time.
That’s why I appreciate the marketers behind the AquaOasis humidifier. They understand their product is a commodity, but chose to differentiate by using pictures to put me in that moment that I go through with my daughter every night.
I don’t believe in hacks. I don’t think they are sustainable.
I do believe in people. I buy into marketing that treats me like I’m a human.
Also, I think being able to tap into the influence of like-minded people is powerful.
I think we are a pretty self-aware group at The Juice. We know people don’t want us to talk to them or share the same hot takes that are burning a hole through LinkedIn.
That’s why we believe in the relationships that we’ve built with people to help tell our story.
It’s curation and it’s the concept that is helping us level up with our marketing.
The Concept of Curation in B2B Marketing
One of my favorite musicians is Steve Gunn. He released an EP called Nakama in January.
After the 5 songs and 24 minutes were up I left it on auto play and a female vocal hit that caused my ears to perk up. I let the entire song play.
Who is this beautiful voice?
That was my introduction to Margo Cilker’s Phoroylle. I listened to the entire album once, bought it on vinyl, and started checking her tour dates to see if she was playing anywhere close to me.
That’s some powerful stuff. An introduction that drove action all because the Apple Music algorithms decided to tee up an artist similar to Steve Gunn and I hit hard.
I believe that we have the ability to facilitate similar moments like this through the content that we develop for our audience.
This is why I believe that the best marketing right now in B2B is a combination of original perspective and the facilitation of external stakeholders ideas into your content stream.
I love LCD Soundsystem and can listen to them all day, but sometimes I need someone to introduce me to new music that could have been a distant offspring to the band that I love.
I am talking about music here, but the same goes for sharing ideas.
There’s a couple different approaches that you can take to make this happen.
Two Modern Day Marketer Approaches to Curation
- Permissionless Co-marketing
I’m a follower and fan of the work Amanda Natividad is doing at SparkToro. Her use of Twitter to drive content, engagement, and new ideas has been a masterclass to watch.
So, when Jonathan tagged me in a post with her article, “The Case for Permissionless Co-Marketing” I stopped what I was doing and read it.
The piece in her article that stuck out to me the most was her thoughts on how to use this strategy to elevate your brand. While I had never called it “permissionless co-marketing” this was something that we adopted from the moment that we pressed play on marketing at The Juice.
We are lucky. The Juice is a platform that helps B2B marketing and sales professionals discover the best content in one place without having to fill out a form or deal with annoying sales cadences.
Twitter is a primary vehicle that allows us to elevate our brand by promoting the content of brands on our platform….and it works.
Every brand in the world is looking to get their content in front of more of the right kind of people. Instead of spending every tweet promoting our content we’ve made a habit out of sharing brand’s content who we’d love to be our customers.
This not only helps drive new member acquisition on our platform, but also begins to build good will with brands.
Think about the last time someone RT your content, shared it in a Slack community, or put it in a newsletter?
This is the modern way to build brand relationships in 2022.
- Content Collaboration
I still have a bad taste in my mouth when thinking about how co-marketing was done 5 or so years ago. If your boss is still making you do similar things then send for help.
Co-marketing used to be one of these things where we’d spend all of this time trying to find brands who shared a similar audience to the brands who employed us.
We’d decide to do some kind of joint marketing initiative like a co-branded webinar and here’s how it would work:
- We’d decide before the event that we were going to share attendee lists with each other
- We’d deliver a subpar piece of content that no one in our audience remembered or didn’t attend
- We’d export the “attended” and “did not attend” list
- We’d spend way too much time trying to decide which company drove what registration
- We’d share the list and try to coordinate when our sales team was going to follow up
- Sales will call down the list and let us know that, “these leads suck”
- We’d never do co-marketing with that company again because we “didn’t see any ROI”
It makes me sick that I was responsible for running some of these dog and pony shows.
Vanity metrics. Barf.
The counter to old school co-marketing is content collaboration or the curation of individuals who can be an extension of your brand because of their philosophy.
We started our podcast, Modern Day Marketer to explore the ingredients that make up marketers who defy the status quo and to build new relationships.
We’ve published over 100 episodes in a year.
These 100+ episodes have given me the opportunity to not only meet some kick ass marketers from around the world, but also have helped in shaping the story that we are sharing with our audience.
Another side effect of content collaboration is that your guests have shows, too. I can begin to describe how many shows I’ve been asked to be on to share my views because the guests enjoyed their experience on our show.
Nemanja Zivkovic and I both dropped episodes that we did with each other a couple weeks ago.
How’s that for collaboration?
It’s not just a podcast episode either.
This past year I’ve run several different content campaigns where the instructions are simple:
- I’ll curate a group of potential contributors who I know have an opinion on a topic
- I’ll provide the prompt and ask for 1,000 words or less
- I’ll provide a deadline
- I’ll do everything in my power to promote through every existing content stream that we’ve developed
We are building our stage.
Asking others to share their voice on it only makes what we are doing stronger.
The reason that this works is because it’s not a transaction.
It’s laying the foundation for a long term strategy where you build and develop trust with people that you dream would be your customer in the future.
External collaborators have been the reason we’ve accelerated our brand building efforts.
My biggest piece of feedback is don’t just treat collaborators as a podcast guest, content contributor, or (gulp) influencer. Treat collaborators as people and obsess over nurturing these relationships.
So to wrap here are the primary things that I want to leave you with:
- Evaluate your consumer behavior: Think about buying decisions that you’ve made outside of work in the past month or so. Reflect on the reasons for the purchases and reverse engineer what that brand did to get you there.
- People and not leads: The more we can think about our audience more like emotional human beings and less like names in a spreadsheet the greater chance we have to win their heart and minds
- Consider curation: Do you have a content platform to share other ideas outside of your views or your brands? Now is a good time to think about injecting like-minded philosophies into your streams. This can be through permissionless co-marketing or through content collaboration
Check out how to start enjoying a less boring and more bingeable experience with B2B content and sign up for The Juice. 🧃