Drew Neisser
November 25, 2022

B2B Brand Strategy Lessons for 2023

Guest: Drew Neisser - Founder & CEO, Renegade & CMO Huddles

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What should the coolest, most CATS-est of marketers be thinking about for 2023? (CATS standing for courageous, artful, thoughtful, and scientific). Tune into this episode with Drew as he reflects on some of the standout lessons of 2022 when it comes to building an unbeatable B2B brand strategy.  

What You’ll Learn  

  • 2023 marketing lessons from Renegade Marketers Unite 
  • B2B brand strategy lessons from 2022 

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 320 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned 

Highlights 

  • [1:21] Enhancing your B2B brand building framework for 2023  
  • [2:09] Clear away the clutter   
  • [4:03] Dare to be distinct   
  • [9:29] Pounce on your purpose   
  • [12:27] Ad: Join CMO Huddles!   
  • [13:18] Welcome we  
  • [18:24] Perfect pithy   
  • [22:28] Delight by design   
  • [25:40] Engage employees first  
  • [28:29] Cultivate customer champions   
  • [30:24] Ad: B2B Market Research at Renegade  
  • [31:19] Sell through service  
  • [33:39] Measure what matters  
  • [35:48] Automate attentively  
  • [37:36] Test to triumph

Highlighted Quotes  

“The shortest distance to demand gen is a clarity of promise.” —@DrewNeisser Click To Tweet 

“Your employees do want to weigh in. They do want to have pride in the organization.” —@DrewNeisser Click To Tweet

“You have to go out on a limb a little bit and do something that's different.” —@DrewNeisser Click To Tweet 

“If culture isn't built at the office, you really have to be thinking about how you're going to build it otherwise.” —@DrewNeisser Click To Tweet “Consistency is going to be more important than ever. We need to perfect pithy now.” —@DrewNeisser Click To Tweet

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Drew Neisser

  

Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you also enjoy audiobooks. I know I do. Well, in that case, did you know that the audio version of Renegade Marketing: 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands, was recently ranked the #1 B2B audio book of 2022 by Book Authority? It’s kind of cool, right? You can find my book on Audible or your favorite audio book platform.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers. Well, it’s episode 320 and you know, every time I hit a milestone, I want to record a Drew-on-Drew episode. That 2 mic thing was a little complicated last time. So it’s gonna be one, mic, but I promise to challenge myself. And what we have in this episode is an eye on 2023 and 12 steps to building a better brand in 2023.

Enhancing your B2B brand building framework for 2023 

The framework for this is the same framework that I use for the article that I wrote 4 years ago. The same framework for the book that came out a couple of years ago. What I wanted to do was take all the recent podcasts that I’ve done and the learnings from CMO Huddles and make sure that, one, these steps still applied, and two, enhance them and say, “Well, here’s some things that I might have changed. Or if I were writing the book today, what would be a little bit different.”

So you may remember the 4 sections of the book CATS. I talk about it all the time on this show: Courageous strategy, Artful ideation, Thoughtful execution, and Scientific method. But for this episode, I’m just going to focus on the 12 steps. So what do you say Drew? Should we get going?

Clear away the clutter

Okay, yes, we are. So step number one is clear away the clutter. And I was on a podcast just the other day and someone said, “So why bother starting there? Shouldn’t you just jump right in?” The lament that I’ve expressed on this show, and with CMOs, and what I’ve really noticed in in the last 2 years, frankly, is that during the pandemic, we stopped commuting, but we didn’t stop working those hours of the commute. In fact, instead of taking time to sort of use a commute to decompress, you don’t have to any of that time, instead you just put it back in work. So when I talk about clear away in the clutter, first thing I want to do is clear away the clutter in your brain and in your schedule.

We did an episode on time management with Kory Kogan—that was episode 312—and you remember, there were a lot of different steps specifically that Kory recommended. I highly recommend her book, I listened to it, then I bought it. But as we think about this, and let’s say that you’re a CMO, in your current job, the thing you want to really be thinking about is how many hours a day are you in meetings? How many hours a day are you focusing on the few magical priorities that are going to transform you and your organization? So we’re going to clear away the clutter that way, by really thinking about time management. And that doesn’t change. That is going to be an ongoing challenge that you’re going to work on and get better and better at. And it’s a perfect time of the year to commit to that. But you need a methodology, whether it’s Kory Kogan’s or someone elses, get to the point where you’re spending less time on email, less time in meetings, more time, either relaxing and breathing and sharpening your saw or focus on your priorities.

Now, if you’re a new CMO who just got the job you want to define what CMO do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? So if you’re not in the position right now, but you’re about to, there are  two things you want to be thinking about? Who do you want to work for? It’s going to be a CEO, who either really understands the power of marketing, or is least willing to learn and work with you to get there. So clear away the clutter, that ending story that I want you to think about is what is the CMO you want to be? And I’m going to give you a thought. Imagine for a moment you had to write the resume. You’re writing your resume—you’re in the job now, but you’re writing your resume as if you’re going to be looking for another one. What are the accomplishments that you’re going to talk about? What are the 3 big things that you made happen this quarter, this half, this year? Because those are the things that you want to focus on. And we’re going to clear away the clutter to allow you to focus on a few things.

Again, I highly recommend you listen to episode 312 and read Kory Kogan’s book.

Dare to be distinct 

Okay, we’re now going to go to daring to be distinct. And it is daring—remember, this is all under the umbrella of courageous—and I would say that of the outcomes in the last 2 years that I’m probably most disappointed in is the lack of daring and the resulting lack of distinctiveness. And so there’s a couple of things I want you to be thinking about right now to get there. You got to audit your brand. You got to look at your positionings, your products, your targets, your channels and say, “Is there anything in all of this that is truly distinctive.”—and by the way, I’m not even pushing you to be unique. At this point, I’ll take distinct any day of the week.

So here’s a simple way to get to distinct, pick an enemy. And this was really clear in the episode that I did with Daniel Benrard of SentinelOne. And what they decided to do when he came on—I think, a couple of years ago—was to focus on one enemy. And that enemy was CrowdStrike—which subsequently was bought by Microsoft—and CrowdStrike was a lot lot bigger than they were. This is sort of what Avis did years ago, going after Hertz. Avis was barely number 2, but they used the, “We try harder” campaign as a way of saying, “That’s the enemy, we’re gonna go after them and be a different & better brand relative to them.” SentinelOne has done that and it’s really an interesting episode, because you get to hear the steps they took to differentiate their brand.

Another way of differentiating is by thinking about your audience and who you serve. And rather than trying to expand—and this is what I hear all the time of the CMOs, “Well, we were focused on small business, but now we’re going to enterprise.” And next thing you know, you’re not the best at small business and you’re not the best at enterprise. You’re this deluded offering and your sales force is struggling. So I want you to listen to the episode with Narine Galstian of SADA. What was so interesting in that episode—and this is a phenomenal case, that’s really going to take courage to make—they said, “There are 4 cloud platforms out there that we could support and currently support. One of them is Google, one of them is Amazon, one of them is Microsoft, one of them’s IBM. I have a big idea, let’s only support one of them.” Wait, what? they literally took more than half of the market off the table and said, “Today, we only support Google.” Now here’s a phenomenal thing about daring to be distinct, that takes tremendous courage. But the result was they were able to double their business, because they’re now a much bigger fish in a pond they own. And they can argue there’s nobody better in the world than they are at servicing your Google Cloud.

It’s so interesting. But what you’re trying to get to in all of this is a place that you can own that you will be distinctive. And if you are all things to all people to all targets in all markets, you’re nothing, you are not distinctive.

Another way to be thinking about distinctive—we talked a little bit about in this case, being SADA and Google—but I also want to refer you to Episode 314, with Josh Machiz. Who was over at NASDAQ and then moved to a venture capital firm. And what I thought was so interesting about Josh’s approach was he was all in on content. But he was really looking at a very younger target entrepreneurs. And probably one of the first VCs on Tik Tok, making it work, creating content with creators that already had some reputation. And we’re in the world of financial investments, but he’s getting traction there. Talk about daring. You go into a venture capital firm and you’re going to do that.

They also have a lot of fun building content. Whether it’s podcasts, which are just so different. I would say they are unique in the industry in terms of the kinds of content they’re creating for a younger audience.

Another way of daring to be distinct is upping your content game. And the episode that I did with Kipp Bodnar, from HubSpot. They bought a media company because they realize they’re not going to be able to do the better media that they want to do. And so the dare was alright, well, let’s just admit we can’t create as well as a media company.

Lastly—and we’ll get there—but the shortest distance to demand gen is a clarity of promise, and we’ll talk about that in a second.

Pounce on your purpose

Okay, so we’ve cleared away the clutter, we’ve got your calendar under control, we’ve got your objectives under control, you’re working for someone you want to work for, and that person is allowing you to be distinct. They’re sharing the challenge of being distinct, they’re committing to it. So now we get to step 3, which is pounce on your purpose. And I really spend a lot of time thinking about this wondering, is purpose going to matter? Is it gonna matter more in a downtime or less. You know, people often vote with their pocketbooks and things like purpose give way when suddenly we don’t have enough money to spend. But we’ve talked about this in Episode 302 with Peter Neiman and Julia Goebel. Purpose is more important than ever. First of all purpose is a way of differentiating your brand when your products and services very difficult to differentiate. Peter Neiman is at Amalgamated Bank and he talked about—well they are the bank—again talking about reducing your target—they are the bank for causes and for of the Democratic Party. And you could say they’re the liberal bank. That gives them an interesting position to have in the marketplace where recognizing—again, going back to an episode I did with Bank of the West, you know, your money has agency and they care about not only who they take the money from, but what they invest the money in.

And what both Peter and Julia talked about is how the purpose really gives the organization a North Star. If you don’t have a purpose, you need to get agreement with your CEO and the C suite that we need to stand for something. You could say our purpose is to make money. And that’s fine. But good luck with the millennials in the target audience, that younger recruits and selling that the only reason they’re coming to work is to help shareholders and make money.

And this really came clear—and I’m gonna read a quote to you from Suzanne Kounkel, who is the CMO of Deloitte. We had a really good talk. I mean, they hired 156,000, people in 2022. I mean talk about incredible. And here’s what Suzanne said, “I do believe that all workers today want to make a difference with the work they’re doing. And I think they want to believe in the company and what the company stands for.” And I think I misread that quote a little bit. So basically, what she concludes within the way the impact of that work is done. I think making sure that you share those messages internally is as important if not more important than what you share externally. So what she’s saying is purpose really matters to your younger audience. Purpose really matters and it’s more important that you have your employees. Particularly—obviously—if you’re a Deloitte and you have hundreds of 1000s employees, and you want them to believe in your brand. My feeling and I think we’re going to see it is purpose led brands are going to be stronger in a downturn. Because the level of commitment that they have from employees and from their customers is going to be stronger. Everybody else is going to compete on price.

Okay, I think that’s a pretty good section, a point where we can take a quick break.

Ad Break: Get Your CMO Huddles Guest Pass

I’m going to take a second and talk about CMO Huddles. Launched in 2020, CMO Huddles is an invitation only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. It’s been so interesting in the last few months in CMO Huddles, more and more folks are talking about this as a cross between an expert workshop and a therapy session at a time when CMOs really need some therapy. There’s also amazing content that’s getting shared and ideas that are getting shared all across our community. If you’re a B2B CMO that can share, care, and dare with the best of them, visit CMOHuddles.com. Or hit me up on LinkedIn to see if you qualify for a guest pass.

Welcome we 

Okay, we’re back. In summary, so far, we’ve went through our courageous strategy, we really cleared away the clutter, we’ve got agreement with a management to dare to be distinct, we figured out how we’re going to be distinct. One of the ways that we want to be distinct is by pouncing on our purpose and really differentiating. Which is something that’s going to matter to younger audience, that younger audience is more important than ever. It turns out that millennials are now the number one buyer at enterprise level companies. So we’re pouncing on our purpose. Having done all of our courageous, strategic work, we can now move on to artful ideation. When we talk about artful ideation, I just want to remind you, I’m not saying you need to be an artist, but I am saying, as a CMO, as a marketer, you need to be artful. And this was so interesting, I’m going back to our conversation with Suzanne Konkel, from Deloitte because she had been a consultant at Deloitte for 23 years before taking over the role. And one of the first things that she realized is this idea of welcoming we. And suddenly how on being a consultant she needed to bring a group of people along with her. And here’s the quote that I love, “I laugh frequently with my clients, because I say that the role I’m in is penance, for all the times I was frustrated with them. Or I said to them things like, ‘It’s not that hard. Just do it. Why is this taking so long?’ And now I’m sitting in that seat, and I’m like, ‘Okay, I get why it is hard. It takes quite some time, but you have to kind of keep agitating around it.'” And this is the next part that she talks about that I’m just going to quote, “I actually think that one of the most profound things that will come out of COVID that people overlook, is that I believe that leadership paradigm changed dramatically in COVID. Because of how rapidly the environment was changing. So I’m really proud of our leaders and our executives at Deloitte. I was never prouder than during COVID When Joe, our US CEO, said quote, ‘Let me tell you why I’m making the decision I’m making based on the facts I have today, and I want you to understand why because if the facts move tomorrow, I will make a different decision. And I only know what I know today.'” And that’s a very different leadership paradigm, which was the leader as omniscient. He or she knows everything. And I wanted to share that quote, because the CEO is essentially saying, “I want you involved, I want you to understand why I’m making this decision, I want to help the organization move forward, I could change my mind, because the information will change. As I used to say quite a bit, I was wrong before, I’m smarter now. And that is part of this welcome we idea is that you are bringing employees into your thought process.

And that’s a wonderful thing about marketing is just remind yourself that actually people really like marketing in general, they think it’s a fun, creative area. And so your employees do want to weigh in, they do want to have pride in the organization. So cultivating that pride and welcoming we—and again, this is a fine line here. I am not suggesting that you create your ideas and your big brand ideas through a committee where, you know, there’s all sorts of layers of approval. Nothing great happens that way. Nobody gets to be distinct through a committee. But I am saying that you’re going to have to involve your employees. So get your employee surveys out there. They cost you nothing and they create tremendous opportunities for employees to participate in the process. But also, so you know how bad things are. So if you find that employees are not proud of: A.) the company that you work for OR B.), they’re not proud of the marketing… You’ve got an issue. Because if employees aren’t feeling it, if they aren’t feeling the love, you’ve got a real problem. That’s going to show up in customer service, that’s going to show up in product development, that’s going to show up in sales. Because they’re just not going to believe in what it is you’re doing.

So it’s so easy to get employees involved in the beginning of any kind of major marketing or strategic initiative. Don’t forget that. Just welcome we. Recognize no matter how we’d like it to be—as Suzanne realized—you’ve got to bring them on, you got to involve them. And the same thing goes, if you’re CMO and you’re not besties, with your CRO and your CFO, you’re gonna have a hard time. And that’s something that isn’t going to change at all, it’s going to be just as bad in 2023. And let’s imagine for a moment that 23 is a downturn, your relationship with your CRO is going to be even that much more important. You guys have got to be aligned and if the market is declining, it’s going to be harder and harder to increase your share and to grow the business. So you got to have full alignment because otherwise the blame game is gonna come and it’s gonna come quick.

Okay, I won’t beat that one too hard. But welcome we very much a part of this artful process.

Perfect pithy

Next step. And this is one I think, is probably among the most important things that I would say perfect pithy may be the single most important part of this episode. Now, why do you say that Drew? Well, several things. First of all, in 2023, as we look ahead, we may be fighting for share. And whenever you’re fighting for share, you are even fighting for mindspace even more so. And so you need to own something in the brain. And I want you to listen to episode 319 with Lindsey Pederson on how the brain works and why we need to be able to keep things simple.

Another great example that I’m going to point you to for perfecting pithy is my interview with Kipp Bodner episode 298. If you look at the ad campaign that they ran with the pirates, the takeaway was grow better. Two words. Grow. Better. You talk about perfecting pithy. And even in terms of the campaign idea, a smooth CRM for rough seas. Just amazing concentration of language. When we look at the Deloitte episode, Suzanne Kounkel must have mentioned impact that matters 4 or 5 times. That’s their North Star having an impact that matters. And in that perfect pithy part impact that matters, that’s an internal program, and it’s an external program. It’s the way they think about it. So here’s a quote from her, “It is amazing because there are things that you learn as a consultant. A big tenant of our brand is this whole notion of impact that matters. So when we do consulting projects, we’re pretty maniacally focused on doing what matters and what will make a difference. So I try to keep that same mentality in place when thinking about marketing.” Impact that matters. 3 words to define a company that does a million different things with hundreds and 1000s of employees.

Okay, we need to perfect pithy probably because you might have less dollars to work with. I know that sounds depressing and so fourth. But it’s quite possible you’ll have less dollars to work with. And I guarantee what’s going to happen is this, if you are on a calendar year, your budget, what they’re going to do is they’re going to backload it. And they’re going to try to keep you constrained in the first half because they don’t know what the second half is going to be. And they want to be able to pull money off the table if it happens. If you’re going to make everything work as hard as possible, particularly if you have a smaller budget, you need to have some singular idea that you’re reinforcing. Why? Well, all right, consider one fact that came up in a recent bonus huddle with Forrester analysts. 27 touches after an opportunity has been identified. Not before, after. If those touches are not in some way reinforcing the big brand idea. If they’re giving different ideas, it will not have a cumulative effect. It will be different little tiny things. But if it’s consistent, you have a chance. So consistency is going to be important, probably more important than ever, and that’s why we need to perfect pithy.

I want to refer you to another episode with Daniel Bernard of SentinelOne. What he said was being able to break really, really complicated technology down into something that’s understandable and simple. That’s the role of the CMO. That’s the first part of figuring out who you are. So we’re going to perfect pithy, we’re going to take this complicated technology down to something that is understandable and simple.

Okay, so we’re welcome we, were bringing in the community, we’re perfecting pithy because we’re narrowing our whole big brand idea to eight words or less. So many different ways of getting there. I don’t care about the process as long as it involves the executive folks up top, you have to get those folks on board because they have to use this language too. And bottom up in that you have to make employees feel like they are part of the process, they got you there that’s why we welcomed we, and then you got to put it on swag.

Delight by design

Okay, step number 6 is delight by design. So let’s say you’ve got a really distinct position. But you look like everybody else. Well, that’s not going to cut through is it? No, because they call it the wall of shame, where you put your brand website versus your competitors brand website and the promise is the same, the visual look and feel is the same. Hey, we’re going to include people with a mobile phone in their hand, right? With the same stock photos that your competitors are using. That is not going to delight either employees or prospects or analysts, they’re not going to see anything distinctive. There’s nothing artful there. A look and feel that distinguishes your brand is hard, it’s why you probably you might be able to have an in house group that does it. But this is a case where bringing in an agency or design firm to help you find a distinct look and feel. And look put all the brands up on a wall and put your brand next to it both the promise and the visual look and feel. If you’re using the same colors, if you’re using the same words, you are not delighting by design, you are boring by design. I don’t need to dwell on this, but I will tell you, I think this is probably where most brands come up short. And it’s such an easy one to do. Are you creating a visual language as well as a voice that is delightful for your employees, customers, and prospects. Where they go, “Oh, my God, I love how this looks. It’s so different. It’s so cool.” Again, you don’t get there by committee, if everybody likes it. But you want to get to a point where some core group of people are really passionate about it. You can’t revert to the mean, you can’t—in this case—try to please everybody. You have to go out on a limb a little bit and do something that’s different. So we’re going back to courageous strategy, but now we’re in artful ideation. And we’re gonna think about how can we differentiate our look and feel. If I have 10 booths at a trade show, am I going to find yours? If the answer is no, you’re not delighting by design.

Okay, that’s that segment. We’ve now moved from ideation and it’s time to get for thoughtful execution. Now, why is that thoughtful execution even part of this conversation? Well, we are still—nothing’s changed here—we are in the gift to get economy. We’ve got Google giving us access to all the data and information in the world. And we’re giving them the eyeballs. We have social networks that give us all sorts of entertainment and we give them our eyeballs. So we’re in this give to get economy. And we’re also in a self serve economy. And think about when is the last time you called a travel agent. Maybe if you’re doing an international trip. But for domestic trip—unless you have an in house something—you’re booking them selves. Restaurants, you know, you’re going online to OpenTable. Everything has been pretty much disintermediated. Particularly the younger you are you want to go in and you want to check things out on your own. That’s why we need to be thinking about thoughtful. I don’t want to talk to a salesperson, if I can help it. I only want to talk to an expert, I want to be thinking about thoughtful execution.

Engage employees first 

Alright, so the 3 parts of thoughtful execution, and let me bring those into 2023. As with everything in this thing, remember, the Renegade Marketer flips the funnel and says, “My most important audience is employees. My second most important audience is customers. And my third is prospects and everybody else.” By the way, that’s even more important next time. Employees first because you might have fewer employees, so we got to got to make sure that they love the brand. I mean, you may have layoffs, and that’s gonna be painful. So we’re gonna need to be able to bring them together virtually and physically. I think one of the unfortunate things about a down economy is that the trend that I saw in 2022 where a lot of CMOs, who had remote teams, we’re bringing them together either on a quarterly basis, semiannual, or annual basis. And I’m worried that those things are going to get cut, which is a bummer. If you can’t bring them together—because I do think that’s an important thing—then you’re going to have to be go back to your original early COVID playbook and figure out how do we create virtual bonding. It’s so hard. This is why so many employees that were hired in COVID, where they were working remotely, never bonded with the company. Because culture was built at the office. So if culture isn’t built at the office, you really have to be thinking about how you’re gonna build culture otherwise.

So one way to think about this is you’re probably still going to invest in events. And now that events are back, I have to tell you, there’s so much excitement and CMO Huddles about events. Not necessarily huge events, but using events as a way to bring customers together, using events as a way of bringing customers and prospects together to accelerate, deal close, and maybe get some prospects to self identify. But what I want you to think about because we’re talking about engaging employees versus maybe you can use those same events, which have a lot of revenue in the room to bring some employees together. Bringing employees together physically, the bonds, what keeps you at a company is the people that you work with.

So you’re going to engage employees first. Folks are looking at advocacy programs. Again, they sort of went on pause, I would say 2 years ago. There were a lot of complaints about things like [unintelligable]. But I’ve just heard a couple of CMOs who have launched it again, and making it work. Because the nice thing about engaging employees, you’re already paying them if they want to advocate on your behalf, and they feel great about the brand. That’s all a lot of free reach. So we’re going to engage employees first, because if they don’t believe in the brand, you’re probably not going to be successful, but two because they can also generate tremendous amount of reach for that. So I’m gonna quote Suzanne Kounkel and she says, “You have to talk to your employees a lot about why you’re doing things versus what you’re doing.” Why you’re doing things. So we’re engaging employees first building off of our why.

Cultivate customer champions  

Okay, moving on. Step number 8, cultivating customer champions. One of the things that was interesting is several CMOs in huddles in the last month have said, “Big events really aren’t working for us, we’re spending, we’re spending a huge amount of money sending a lot of people on exhibit space and travel costs and their way up.” But what they are using those big events for is creating smaller events around them, like having a customer dinner, or breakfast or lunch, or creating a space nearby that their customers can use. All of this is about cultivating customer champions. So what does it customer champion look like? This is the person that absolutely without prompting will refer your product service or organization to appear. This is the person who will be absolutely thrilled to be on your customer advisory board. And will welcome the opportunity to provide input into your roadmap. I want to mention one other thing that I heard a CMO talk about. They were at a huge event. I think it was in Vegas—I can’t remember the market—and they used that opportunity to call every customer that was in Nevada and said, “Hey, we’re all going to be in your neck of the woods. Why don’t you come and we’ll have dinner.” Wherever you’re going for your ultimate goal of getting more prospects, think about how you can add a little brightness to the day of your customers.

And lastly, when it comes to this—I talked about this in the book—I think it’s more important than ever CMOs need to have direct lines with customers. I love executive sponsor programs, I think they’re going to be more important in 2023 than they were before. You need to be able to start sentences like this, “I was talking to a customer the other day.” Again, that is the magic sentence that you could say in any board meeting, with any peer and you need to have that. You need to own that.

Okay, let’s take a break and we’ll come back and talk about selling through service.

Ad Break: B2B Market Research at Renegade

Have you thought about doing some market research but didn’t have the manpower or expertise on your team to make sure your research was methodologically valid, insight rich, and newsworthy. Research that can be a tentpole for an entire quarters, or maybe even a year’s worth of marketing activities. Research that your SDRs can use to help move a lead into a genuine opportunity. It’s a lot to ask for market research. But this is why more and more CMOs, B2B marketers are coming to Renegade for help in this area. Renegade will help you craft the questionnaire, field the research, analyze the results, and even write up and design the report if your in house team is too busy. If you’re a B2B CMO even thinking about market research, do yourself a favor, visit renegade.com and set up a time for us to chat.

Sell through service 

Okay, we’re now in thoughtful execution. We’ve engaged employees first, we brought them together at an event, we’ve cultivated customer champions, you the CMO have a direct line to the customers, we’re taking advantage of events to bring them together. We still need net new customers, right? How are we going to get them? Well, we’re going to sell through service. And man is that even more important than ever. Part of this, I want you to listen to episode 315 with Brent Adamson. We need to give our buyers confidence that they’re making the right decision. And in order to do that, we need to understand every possible part of their buying process. And we need to give them the information to make it easy for them to buy and make them confident that they’re making the right decision. That means thinking about your content in a very different way. What content is creating confidence. I’m gonna rant for a second, we’re ditching gates, we don’t have gates. Unless you have a book that is worth paying for or you have a movie that you would pay for in a movie theater. Why are you putting up a gate? Do you really think that that lead, that name is going to make a difference? If you give them all the information that they need in order to get to the point where they can put your name into the hat as a possible vendor partner, they’ll call you. They’ll call you. They’ll say, “Hey, I need a demo, I need a proof of concept.” When we think about selling through service, go back to that episode with Kip Bodner. Think about why they bought a media company. They bought a media company so they could do better and better content, and that by presenting that content, they would be helping their prospects and customers, if you will, grow better.

Lastly, in sell through service market research. I gotta tell you, I’m such a believer in this, I see it working. It never goes out of style. If you listen to episode 308 with Dan Lowden and Denise Vu Broady, you will hear how they used market research to help sell through service. Because what market research can do is help present the problem that your product solves in a fresh way. It can get data to identify something that customers or your prospects never really thought about. Just don’t underestimate the power of a really well crafted market research study.

Measure what matters 

Next, we get to move on to the scientific methods. So we’re courageous in terms of strategy, we’re artful in terms of our ideation, were thoughtful in terms of the execution. Now we get to this place of measuring what matters. And this is one if I were to rewrite the book today, this is probably the chapter that I would rewrite the most. It’s evolved the most. In the book, I mentioned marketing sourced leads or opportunities as a metric that CMOs can lean on. And they do by the way, and they still won’t go away. But I think it’s a trap. And that’s the thing I want you to be thinking about. I want you to rather than say, “Marketing sourced.” I want you to put your company’s name in there and say it’s company sourced opportunities. Company sourced opportunities, because you and the salespeople, a salesperson, the CRO are equally committed to closing that opportunity. The minute is a marketing source, then the the salespeople say, “Well, I want sales source leads, because I want higher margins on those or whatever.” Who cares where the source came from? If I’m the CEO, I don’t care. If I’m the CFO or the board, I don’t care. And at the end of the day, I know you want to defend your budget. And I’m not saying you’re not trying to track marketing influence you can still have those metrics. But what’s the Northstar for you? Marketing sourced opportunities. But we’re going to rename them we’re going to call them company sourced opportunities. Because it’s a mindset that says, “We live and die together next year.”

Lastly, on the measuring what matters I still don’t see a lot of movement in this area where CMOs are saying, “I want to defend marketing’s value with employees, customers, prospects, and brand. Really where they’re defending it and spending most of their energy in terms of measurement is on—we’ll call it the sourced opportunities. We gotta get beyond that. You need to defend the power of marketing to employees, to customers, and prospects. It’s not that hard. And it’s going to be that much more important because we got to get more out of our employees next year, because we might have fewer. We got to get more out of our customers, because we need more testimonials to close.

Automate attentively 

Which gets to this next area. Automate attentively. We had several huddles in October where we actually went through everybody’s budgets and where they spent their money. And it was shocking to see how much money. In some cases 33% of the budget was going to technology, 33% to people, and 33% to programs. You think about it programs are the marketing—for the most part—programs are the marketing. People are the people who help you get the marketing done. And technology is the stuff that you use to get it out there. If you’re spending 33%, you’ve got a problem. So you need to audit. I talk about auditing in the book. You need to lay that out. I think it’s also in the article on renegade.com. You’ve got to really look at it. And several CMOs have talked about this in huddles how they are getting out of contracts, right and left. Any contract that they have, where they can’t actually show business value, they’re just ditching it. And so what happened is in the last 5 years is you build up a stack, because you had a lot of nice things. And you felt good, because budgets were growing, you could keep spending. Any contract that you can get out of really look seriously at it. There’s a lot of consolidation opportunities right now. Where you could—instead of having 4 vendors, you might have 1 vendor and save a lot of money. You’ve got to be thinking about taking money out of technology—unless it’s a technology that is actually going to save you time. And there are some of those. Some CMOs point to things like Asana that have helped them be a lot more efficient. Some have pointed to conversation marketing type tools that help them manage inbound better. Fine! But there’s a lot of content, there’s a lot of technology that you’re paying for that is not making you more efficient. But it’s giving you information that’s not nice to have. So we’re automating attendance.

Test to triumph

And finally, test to triumph. This is still a really important part of what we’re talking about. Why are we thinking about testing when we don’t have enough budget? Because we don’t have enough budget. And we can use the tests. And boy in Huddles there are so many interesting tests that are going on right now. Whether looking at different ways of segmentation, but looking at different messaging strategies, looking at different product configurations, looking at different proof of concepts, get some tests 10-20% of your budget. But the tests need to be tests you agree on what the CFO. What the results would be and if they’re successful, you would invest more there and take other money off the table.

Interesting. Right now, there’s a lot of folks saying that Google isn’t working for them. Okay, take it off the table. If it’s not working for you, why are you continuing to invest in it? So we’re going to take that money that isn’t working, we’re going to put some of it in the stuff that is working, and then we’re going to take 10% and try an alternative. So we’re testing to triumph.

Which brings me to the end. And I want to just mention that I’m so thankful. We’re in a business that is never static, never boring, and always creates the opportunity to make your company—if not the planet—a better place. I am wishing you all tremendous success and thankful for your attention and time and your energy to make your company better. And maybe even the planet.

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me. Audio production is by Sam Beck. Show notes are written by Melissa Caffrey. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceover is Linda Cornelius.

To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about my new book and Renegade visit renegade.com. I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.

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