Drew Neisser
January 24, 2020

Effective B2B Brand Strategy: The Appetizer Version

Guest: Drew Neisser - CEO & Co-Founder, Renegade

In this interview, host & Renegade CEO Drew Neisser actually sits down with, well, Drew Neisser. Maybe it’s half interview, half monologue. Either way, on this episode, Drew explores the concept of CATS. Not the fluffy, loveable-yet-tempestuous pets, but the four key traits for being an effective marketer that are absolutely crucial in developing an effective B2B marketing strategy.

Listen in to learn about being an effective, creative marketer, crafting a brand, cutting the clutter in your efforts, and much more! For the main course on How to Develop an Effective B2B Brand Strategy in 2020, please chomp on Drew’s Special (17,771 word) Report: http://renegade.com//b2b-brand-strategy-report/

Full Transcription: Drew Neisser on B2B Brand Strategy

Hey, it’s Drew, and this is a special episode because it’s just me talking to me about B2B brand strategy, one of my favorite subjects. In fact, it’s such an important subject that I recently published a 12,771-word blog post—yeah, we’re doing a little renegade thinking here—on the topic of B2B brand strategy. So this episode will give you just a taste. Think of it as in an amuse-bouche before you tackle this bigger probably 25 to 30-minute report. That’s how long it’ll take you to read it. Anyway, thanks for listening, as always. Here’s the episode.

Hello, Renegade Thinkers. Welcome to the show.

In this episode, Drew, is going to interview Drew. You know how this goes. I will ask questions and then I will answer them. Now, we’re going to take on a big topic today, and that is B2B marketing strategy, but we’re going to break it down into four big buckets. Each bucket has three, if you will, steps in it. So there are four big buckets. These four big buckets are really the result of analyzing 300 plus interviews with CMOs and another 50 with senior marketing executives, trying to narrow it down to figure out what exactly makes for an effective Chief Marketing Officer. How do these folks consistently succeed when others don’t? And then, within those giant four bucket characteristics, I’m going to break it down even further. Let’s get started.

Okay, Drew, so what are the four big buckets that you’d need to think about when you are approaching B2B marketing strategy?

Well, I’m so glad you asked, Drew, because those four are: courageous strategy, artful ideation, thoughtful execution and scientific method. Now, those of you who are listeners to the show know that courageous, artful, thoughtful and scientific is an acronym—CATS. Because I think the cool cats of marketing are the CMOs who make amazing things happen. Now, unlike in previous episodes where I just stopped there and said, “Yeah, you’ve got to be courageous, artful, thoughtful and scientific,” we’ve now really turned this framework into something broader and allow you to think about B2B marketing strategy and perhaps a way you haven’t thought about it before. At least I hope so.

Okay, so we’ve got this big bucket called courageous strategy. So, Drew, what are the three steps within them, and then can you break those down?

Well, of course I can. Within courageous strategy, we have three steps: one, clear away the clutter; two, dare to be distinct; and three, pounce on your purpose. Notice that fine alliteration. Let’s talk about clearing away the clutter. Why have something as broad as this? And this gets to this issue that I’ve noticed with B2B marketing, which has become incredibly complicated. And I don’t mean just modestly complicated, I mean ridiculously complicated. We did a study of B2B CMOs and we learned that 91% believe that marketing has become significantly more complicated in the last 24 months. But here’s the interesting thing. A different survey among CMOs asks the question, is marketing more effective today than it was two years ago? And the answer is no, so this increased complexity has not led to increased effectiveness. Do we think complexity is the problem? Drew, is complexity the problem?

Why, yes, it is. And we have the evidence to prove it but I’m going to ask you to take my word for it for the moment. The goal here is to try to remove some of the complexity just by saying we can do it. We’re going to put on our Marie Kondo hats, we’re going to do the things in her process. You go through your closets and you find the things that give you joy, and you jettison everything else. Love that. She also teaches you how to fold quite nicely. Very helpful with socks and underwear. Anyway, I digress.

We’re going to clear away the clutter by starting with the notion that we don’t necessarily need 25 brand personas, that we don’t necessarily need to be in every marketing channel available, that we don’t necessarily need this complex matrix of marketing. We’re going to clear away the clutter and we are going to recognize the power of simplicity. More is not more unless it’s focused like a laser beam is a lot in a very small package. Laser focus gives us the ability to actually move the needle and that’s what we’re talking about here when we talk about marketing effectiveness. We as the heads of marketing need to make things happen. We need to make big things happen. If we clear away the clutter and we say we’re only going to try to do a few big things, life becomes a little bit simpler and it’s more wonderful. This is why this fits into this courageous bucket because it takes courage to try to clear away the clutter. Okay, let’s pause for a second.

Step two a courageous strategy is daring to be distinct, or dare to be distinct. Now, Drew, why is daring to be distinct so important in this courageous strategy block of your platform?

Well, let’s just step back and say, what’s our job? What are we trying to do here? We’re trying to differentiate our brand. It takes courage to do that. Now, when I asked marketers how many of them felt that their company was differentiated, was distinctive from their competitors, only 44% said that it was. That’s not a good number. And then 54% said that their marketing was distinct from their competitors. Can we just agree right here that that’s our job, to make sure, in an ideal world, that our product or service is unique? I know that’s hard, but let’s just consider the opposite. Let’s say that your product or service is not only not unique or distinctive, it’s not even as good as some other competition. Do you think marketing can solve that problem? Well, the answer is no, it can’t and in fact, the fastest way to kill a bad product is to do some great marketing for it. Wait until you hear the episode with Karen Jones of Ryder as we talk about her experience at DHL, where they spent a ton of money only to drive that business into the ground. It was great, a really interesting conversation that I had with her on that subject.

We’re going to dare to be distinct because, as marketers, if we don’t dare to be distinct, if we don’t drive, even if it means driving organizational change, we’re going to fail. Because we have to bring the company and the brand and the strategy along. That’s what we do. And if we don’t do that, we’re not going to be successful as marketers. We’re only as good as the products that we have to market.

Great. We’re going to dare to be distinct. Easier said than done. What is one of the ways that we can actually be distinctive, Drew?

Well, that’s number three in courageous strategy, and that’s pounce on your purpose. Now, Simon Sinek has made a lot of money and built a very successful practice convincing brands to find their “why.” It’s all about the why. Not the what and how, but the why. One of the reasons that I include this in the courageous strategy portion is not just because I believe that purpose makes organizations greater, it’s that it’s often easier to find a purpose for your organization that is distinctive or unique than it is to find a product or service differentiation. And if you can differentiate a purpose, it’s very hard for other brands to compete against you. Now, I don’t know if that exactly makes sense, but I can give you a couple of examples.

I had a conversation with Cindy Donahue of Highmark Health. Not on a podcast, just at a CMO gathering, and she talked about how profound purpose was in changing the way that she was able to recruit employees to do their evaluations and then think about marketing. It gave her a platform to unite the employees to go to market in a very competitive, in a very difficult category. I’ve got lots of other examples, but I just want to focus for a moment and just say, when finding your purpose, there are a number of ways to get there. I’m working on a long piece to talk about how you actually do it. In this episode, you’re going to take my word for it and say, “Okay, we’re going to find our purpose and if we do that, we will end up with a unique strategy.”

In this section, we’ve talked about the importance of courage, fundamental to marketing. We’ve decided that we need to clear away the clutter, simplify our goals, aim higher. We’ve decided that we’re going to dare to be distinct. In other words, we are not going to let our organization go to market with something that looks like everybody else that sounds like everybody else, that, in fact, is like everybody else. And then lastly, we’re going to pounce on our purpose, because even if we’re the leader in the category and we go to market with something that’s unique, you know that everybody’s going to copy what you do, but they’re never going to copy your purpose. It’s funny how they do it. They think they can copy the how and they can copy the what, but what they’re missing is the soul of the organization, which is why leaders often stay leaders. All right. Let’s take a break. And when we come back, we’ll ask Drew some more questions.

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Well, I think you’ve figured out we’re back and we’re in Part 2 of wielding the wisdom of over 300 CMOs in the 12 steps that I’ve described. So, Drew, what is Part 2 of this platform of developing an effective brand strategy, an effective marketing strategy?

Well, Part 2 is artful ideation. We’ve got our strategy. Now we need to get to our idea.

Okay. Why is it “idea?”

Well, brands are ideas. That’s fundamentally what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to get to a very earnest description of your product or service that differentiates you, right? We’ve already talked about that in Part 1 in the strategy. So we need to get to this idea of artful ideation. How do we get there? Great question, Drew. Step number one. It’s actually step number four in the process, but step number one in our full ideation is welcome we. I will never forget this moment at a CMO Club conference with John Costello, who was the CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts and a long time, extremely effective and successful marketer. He said to this group when they asked for some advice, “You know, it’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care about the credit.” As you think about being a Chief Marketing Officers, if you’re thinking, “Gee, this about me and my personal brand, this is about me being the hero inside the organization.” That’s a problem and you know it.

I’ll give you one other example. Part of welcoming we is an insistence that we involve the entire organization. Successful CMOs befriend their CFO, they befriend HR, and they befriend the Head of Sales. And they do all three with very distinct processes and purposes. So with the CFO, you’re working out how we’re going to measure this and get them involved in creating the metrics that matter. We’ll get to that later. We’re going to work with the HR person, because if they say to you, once you have your big idea, “Hey, I got it from here,” you have a problem because they usually don’t. And we’re going to befriend sales because marketing and sales need to go hand-in-hand. You know that and I know that. The age-old battle between marketing and sales, it just has to end.

We agree that welcoming we is a good idea. That’s not a problem. So, Drew, what else can we do in this area of welcome we that’s very easy and very simple to execute, to keep our eyes on clearing away the clutter?

Well, one of the things that we do in our brand strategy process is, at the beginning of an engagement, we do a 15 to 20 SurveyMonkey questionnaire that goes to all the employees, that asks them some very basic questions that get at where you are right now with the brand. Where are the people at in the organization? Do they believe in the purpose? Do they understand the purpose? Is there purpose and do they understand it? How likely are they to recommend working at the organization to a friend? You can sort of do an ENPS with them.

There are a number of other subtle things that you can do in this questionnaire and in the end you can ask some open-ended questions, like give us some adjectives that describe the organization. Maybe some of them have some ideas in there. Make sure you have open-ended questions. The amazing thing about welcoming we is, when you do this survey, nine out of ten times, you’ll get employees who respond and just say, “Thank you for asking.” That’s so cool, isn’t it? All you had to do was ask to get them involved. So that’s Part 1 of artful ideation. It’s recognizing that we need to involve the organization. When Renegade does our interviews with new clients, we say to the CMO, “We want to interview anybody who might reject a program, who could be a barrier in this process. We welcome we. We want to talk to anybody and get their input so that when we come back with the big idea, the purpose-driven story statement, we know that we’ve gotten their input.

Okay. Next step. We’ve welcomed we and now we delight by design. This is really an interesting and complicated idea, but let’s just summarize this with “aesthetics sends signals, kludgy design anywhere prevents brand love everywhere.” While delight by design is primarily a design opportunity, one of the things I’ve noticed is that really well-designed brands are the brands that, when you see them, you go, “Ah. I just I feel better. I go to the webpages and they’re not all cluttered.” And you look at the copy and it works with the visuals and the visuals actually tell a story too. One of the things you’ll usually find is that a designer was an early hire. We have a client where I think a designer was the third hire after the two founders and you can see it in the user-interface and you can see it on the website.

Now, there are lots of ways to delight by design and I’m going to cursory job on this thing but, Drew, tell us a couple of ways that you can delight by design or give us an example.

Another story I like to tell. My good friend Eric Eden, who is the CMO of Receipt Bank was on the show a couple of times (part 1, part 2) . Well, I went to one of their trade shows that they were exhibiting among a bunch of other tax-related brands. It might have been a QuickBooks conference. Anyway, Receipt Bank’s color is orange. They had about 50 individuals on the show floor with orange t-shirts and they had orange signage.

Now, in this sea of typical red and blue, which are the dominant colors that brands use, orange stood out. But there was also an enthusiasm that went with the orange. The orange actually communicated something about the brand, about its friendliness, about its ease of use. Color is a powerful part of branding. And if we go back to the dare to be distinct, orange is a daring color. Morgan Norman was on the show. We talked about the name change that he did from ProsperWorks to Copper, and using the color pink as a way of just saying, “Hey, we’re not your average software service.” There’s a lot more to delighting by design. But in the interests of keeping moving, I’ll leave it there and just say, as a CMO, we don’t expect you to be a designer, but we do expect you to appreciate the power of great design and the role that it can play in helping your artful ideation section.

Third, Drew, what’s the third part of artful ideation?

Well, so glad you asked. Perfect pithy. Now, that may seem a little ironic because here I’ve already talked for 18 minutes, anything but pithy, but when it comes to marketing, I’m really going to encourage you to think about pithy. Not just in all the ways you communicate, but also in just the way you think about your business. We need you to craft your purpose-driven story statement in eight words or less.

So first of all, I want to explain what a purpose-driven story statement is versus a tagline. This came up in a presentation I was giving to a bunch of CMOs and they said, “This feels like a tagline.” And I said, “Nope.” The difference between a tagline and a purpose-driven story statement is, your purpose-driven story statement actually includes an element of purpose, it communicates to employees, customers, and prospects. It encompasses all of those things. Quick example, Case Paper, “On the Case.” That idea was that Case Paper absolutely will go above and beyond and will differentiate itself in its ability to deliver to customers in a moment of need, no matter what the crisis is. They will be “On the Case.” Literally, figuratively.

We designed that into their logo. It became part of the way they evaluated employees. They did employee awards. They’re doing customer awards. They’re doing all sorts of things that reinforce the idea of being on the case. Those are three words that explain pretty much what Case Paper is committed to doing, its purpose. You can confuse it, you can call a purpose-driven story statement a tagline if you want. I’m okay with that as long as that tagline has purpose. All right.

Another great example, SurveyMonkey, “Power the Curious.” Now, you could say that that’s just a tagline. I tell you, it’s a lot more of than that. “Power the Curious” in an incurious world is an unbelievably powerful statement and they are using it to train employees to be more curious. They’re actually teaching curiosity. They are training their customers on how to be better at asking questions. There’s tremendous power to this idea. Zoom, “Meet Happy,” Box, “Deliver Joy.” These ideas are much bigger than just a tagline. These ideas drive organizational behavior and change. I think that’s enough on artful ideation. We’re going to take a quick break and when we come back, we’ll do the third step of the platform.

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All right. Part 3, thoughtful execution. We’ve got a courageous strategy. We’ve got some artful ideation in terms of what the brand stands for, what it looks like. Now it’s time to make it real and that’s what thoughtful execution is all about. Now, there are a couple of differences in the way we think about and go to market with this approach.

Number one, the first target. The first order of business is to engage employees first. If employees don’t believe, no one will. They are the front line that drives the bottom line. When they’re inspired, goodness follows. And you know this to be true. You know, categorically, if employees aren’t on board with your marketing, if they don’t believe in your brand, everything falls apart the minute you go to market. How many times I’ve heard these stories of where a new campaign is launched and then they call the call center and the call center has no idea about the new campaign and it falls apart.

Well, you just made this wonderful new promise and you don’t deliver on it, so when we think about thoughtful execution, we think about how we can engage employees first. Deloitte has Deloitte University. Diana O’Brien and I talked about that on the show and they teach what it means to be a Deloitter. They actually teach the idea of empathy. It’s an amazing story.

Aetna, before they launched their new campaign, “You don’t join us, we join you,” spent six months training their employees on how to rethink customer experience. So if you call and let’s say you wanted to get approval on a knee surgery. Instead of just saying yes or no, they say, ”This surgeon is okay and these costs are okay, at the end of the conversation they’ll say, you know, nine out of ten knee surgeries, people want to get physical therapy. Do you want to get that set up now too?” Just that little thing communicates and makes your promise. It makes your purpose-driven story statement real. So as you think about thoughtful execution, think about going to market with your new campaign with employees engaged first.

Now, in the research that we did, 80% of CMOs will say, “Yeah, yeah, we totally agree, employees are critical.” Then you say, “How long did you allow for the program?” Most will say one month or less. Now, sometimes that’s enough. Most of the time it isn’t and the reason it’s not is that we’re talking about making a purpose-driven story statement real, meaning we’re changing behavior, we’re doing something that we didn’t do before. In order for that to happen, we need to train employees. This is the difference. Again, if it’s just a tagline, you don’t need a month. You could do it in a day. “Hey, we’ve got a new tagline.”

If it’s a purpose-driven story statement, you’re saying, “Hey, we’re going to change the way you’re evaluated as an employee.” If you’re at Case Paper, and you don’t have a service orientation, if you’re not committed to being on the case and don’t know what that means and how we’re going to measure it, you’re going to have a tough time delivering on it. If you work at SurveyMonkey and you’re not a curious individual, life’s not going to be very fun for you nor are you going to be able to deliver on that promise. So we’re going to engage employees first.

Great. Okay Drew, what’s next?

Cultivate customer champions. We need to do what it takes to engender brand love. Make your customers the hero of your story. Of course, it’s not about you, it’s about them. And one of the things is, call them on their birthdays. That’s just a silly example of how we connect with the customers on an individualized level.

A couple of thoughts on cultivating customer champions. We’re in B2B. What’s the first thing that typically happens when you go and meet with a prospect?

Good question, Drew.

Typically, they say so who else do you work with? And can I talk to them because they don’t really believe what you have to say. So let’s say you launch a new purpose-driven story statement and a new campaign and you have this brilliant design and then you’re going and pitching this and they say, “Oh, hey, let me talk to some of your customers.” And then your customers say, “I didn’t know about this. I don’t feel like the curious is powered. I don’t think they’re on the case.” Then the whole thing falls apart. So after we’ve got employees onboard, we literally almost have to retrain our customers because we’re making this real. Whatever our new promise is, we’re making it real, which means we have to make it real for our customers. And oh, by the way, there’s such a clear benefit to you when you make it real to your customers when they really become believers in your purpose.

They’re going to want to do more case studies. They’re going to want to be champions of your brand. And then we can get to the third and final part of thoughtful execution. I know a number of brands that are really, really good at cultivating customer champions. Marketo is really good at it. Red Hat is really good at it. Avid built their whole marketing campaign of “greater creators” around this idea of cultivating customer champions. Adobe did it. Spartan Brand is an interesting one. They have a B2B and B2C element. I had an interesting interview with Carola Jain where we talked about the role that Spartan played in helping employees who are involved in Spartan become perceived as team leaders within the organization. I thought, oh, that’s interesting. Their brand enables other companies to develop employees.

All right. We’re going to cultivate customer champions. I know that seems like a no brainer, but most of the time, when you get ready to launch a new campaign, all you’re focused on is the external market. How are we going to use it to drive leads? We’ve got to get employees on board. Then we got to get our customers. Then we can get to the final step of thoughtful ideation, which is to sell through service. There are so many reasons why we need to sell through service, but I want you to think about being a giver. Give away your insights, your tools, your product, your service, and your swag. Make it easy to buy. Any of you who are regular listeners I’m sure would have listened to the Brent Adamson episodes (part 1, part 2, part 3).

We’ve done three and Brent of Gartner talks about how buying is broken. You’ve got an 18-month sales cycle. You’ve got ten plus people on the committee. And even when they finally do make a decision, they’re typically unhappy about it. Why? Because, in Brent’s mind, buying is broken. So what does a marketer really have to do? They have to make buying easier. How do they do that? They sell through service. They create a number of things. This is where content is really big. They do the job that the seller that the buyer needs. I’ve got a CFO. What does the CFO care about? Well, the cliché is they care about ROI, so do you need an ROI calculator? Sure.

You have operations people in IT people. Do you need a really good demo that ideally is customized or even pilot to make it easy for your potential buyer to see how it goes? Do you provide a comparison of yours, and try to do it as neutrally as possible, but a buyer’s guide for the category that says here are the 25 questions you must ask. And because you’ve been in this category so long and you’re so knowledgeable and you get your best people doing content, not your junior people, really thinking through these buyer’s guides, they’re a service. They’re no longer marketing. This is amazing when marketing becomes a service, everybody wins. Now, I could go on and give you lots more examples, but we’re already into 30 minutes of this episode, so we’re going to take a break and when we come back, we’ll talk about the final component.

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All right, we’re back with Drew interviewing Drew. Part 4 of our CATS model. Courageous, artful, thoughtful. All three really amazing things will get you close to the finish line, but you will fail without Part 4, which is the scientific method. We need to make sure what we’re doing is working and it’s not more complicated than that. Let’s break that down. Okay, Drew, what is the tenth step in this whole thing, and the first step in the scientific method?

Measure what matters. Now, that seems so obvious and we’ve seen this before and it’s like a no brainer, but I often see a dashboard for a CMO that has about 35 or 40 things, and I’ve had a couple of CEOs on the show on one of the things they talk about is that the CMOs tend to bury them with data as if that is the way to sell what marketing is doing. What the CEO really said is, “No. I only need a few metrics and if you’re overselling these metrics, it’s a problem, too.” We need to measure what matters. This is something I mentioned earlier in the welcome we. You as a CM0 you as a marketer, need to sit down with your CFO or your CEO and say, “Let’s develop some metrics that you believe matter to the point that if we achieve these metrics, you will realize that marketing is not an expense but in fact, it is an investment that drives the business forward.”

And we’re going to do this with blended metrics, not individual metrics because individual metrics are problematic in marketing and we know this to be the case. If we look at our three primary constituents, we could say we have employees, customers, and prospects, all are relevant in the marketing formula because we already talked about that. We need a measure for employees, we need a measure for customers, and we need a measure for prospects.

If we start with employees and we say, “Great retention is an interesting measure, but that can get tricky because we may need to hire a lot of people, so if we’re a fast-growth company, 25% of our employees could be new over the last year, that could be a good thing.” Depending on where you’re in your cycle, we’re going to develop an employee metric that reflects the strength of the brand. Do they understand what the purpose of the organization is, can they parrot that back? Do they understand it? That’s Part 1 of this thing. Longevity could be another. You may have some productivity measures that you want to put in place. You may just want to have a general happiness measure, but the idea is, we want to get a measure about employees.

Part 2 of the measurement is customers. Obviously, we want our employees to stay with us. Lifetime value is a good measure. But also, one of the factors that really matter is likelihood to recommend. I’m not a fan of NPS on an individualized basis, but as a blended metric with other things, I think it’s brilliant. We do need to know, of the folks that say they’re going to recommend us, how many of them will really stand up and be case histories? If we just look at it as how many of our brands are actively willing to promote us and feel really good about that, and we do that as a percentage and we track that and say that’s a goal, that’s a metric that you can move that will really matter. NPS is just too big and too broad for you to create actions against.

Third and finally, and this is the one that every CFO and CEO really cares about, is sales velocity of some kind. Now, if you have an 18-month sales cycle and you are simply saying, “We’re just measuring pipeline, the number of leads that marketing drove into the organization.” Fine, put it in there as a part of your blended metric. The reason why I don’t want you to stop there is, you have these leads in there, you’re not going to know whether they’re actually going to be sales for 18 months in most cases, in many cases. Or 12 months. And by the time it gets there, was it the lead? Was it the marketing that you did along the way? Was it the great demo that either helped you win it or lose it? Was it the relationship? Was it a referral that or a recommendation that closed the sale?

Yes, marketing needs to build awareness, no doubt about it and share of voice matters, so I would say to you, think about measures that include some kind of awareness, whether it’s share of voice or site traffic, something to do with lead generation, but I want it to be based on quality leads, not just leads. Right. Some kind of quality lead. So if you want to do what they call SQLs, fine. And then somewhere along the way, there needs to be a close measure. Revenue at the other end of it.

We’re going to measure what matters. That’s probably the weakest part of this section if I’m honest. The reason it’s weak is it varies by company, but I just want to get you the mindset that you’re not going to create a dashboard with 300 different measures. Try to get to some blended metrics that your CFO will agree on. You can modify them over time, but the goal is to simplify the metrics, so when you go stand in front of the board of directors and say “We are making progress against these three or these four measures and these are the ones that matter because we’ve got consensus on that.”

Next up, and this is a huge issue: automate attentively. Marketing technology, martech, is only as good as the staff that uses it. Master one before adding another and keep the fully baked cost of these things 10% or less of marketing. The reason why this is so important is Forrester did a study where they looked at the marketing technology investments that a number of companies had made and realized that they had over-invested. I think it was something to the tune of $16 billion and they said if they took that money, it would generate an incremental $10 billion in revenue. What that means is people are over-investing in technology when, if you took that same amount of money and said, “Oh, we could have added another salesperson, or we could have added a lot more media.”

This is the problem with marketing technology. It’s not media. It doesn’t drive exposure. It doesn’t create awareness. It doesn’t even necessarily generate leads. What it allows you to do is track and if you put an overemphasis on tracking, you’re going to put an under-emphasis on the things that will create actions that you want to track. Look at your marketing technology budget fully loaded. Look at how many people you have assigned to it and make sure you’re taking advantage of your marketing technology and not adding new things or bells and whistles. Think about sunsetting technology that you’re not using to its maximum value.

Okay, the last part of this thing, this whole 12 steps, ridiculously simple steps, is test to triumph. Build a culture of experimentation. I’m going to say something really crazy here. Reserve 10% of your budget for category busting tests. Celebrate failures, too. There’s a lot concentrated in there. Building a culture of experimentation and testing to triumph is as simple as it gets when you’re a CMO. Basically, what it’s saying is, “Hey, 70% of our budget is working. We’ve used it. We’ve done this before. We’re spending our money on events because we know that’s where our leads come from, but we’re going to take 10% of our dollars and we’re going to try new things.” We’re going to test, perhaps we’re going to need to test an entirely new messaging platform. That may be true. We’re going to test a new channel. We’re going to test a new target. We’re going to test up something crazy. Whatever it is, you’re going to build that into your plan.

There are several reasons for doing this. One is often that’s what’s going to make a significant difference in when you look at things next year. But you, as the marketer, are delivering on a promise to your organization that you are the source of innovation. You are the folks that have the ideas that are going to drive the company into the future. By testing the triumph, you are setting your organization and yourselves up for success. And that’s, my friends, what we’re trying to do here. Set you up for success.

All right. You have now gotten 40 minutes of how to wield the wisdom of over 300 CMOs. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. If you have, do me a favor and review us on your favorite podcast channel. Share the episode with a friend. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.

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