On Optimizing Marketing to 10X Results
Brendan: Tell me about a time you saw a B2B organization dramatically improve top-of-funnel awareness – what did they do?
Brian: A great example that comes to mind is when Alan O’Rourke of WorkCompass increased lead volume by 300% - but wrote less content. So, the story is, Alan was having a hard time getting his content marketing efforts to pay off – but what he quickly figured out what that more content isn’t better. It was just more. The reach wasn’t growing.
Instead, he focused 70% of his teams effort on promotion and 30% on creation. It all focused on one month micro marketing plans. They would create an anchor piece of content – then publish it everywhere. I think you can probably see a theme developing here: a key for success is to make sure you get the most mileage from everything you create.
Brendan: You do a lot of optimization at MarketingSherpa – can you tell me about a time where you found an insight that is particularly surprising or compelling?
Brian: So – marketers intuition is often really bad. We often get surprised. Largely because we’re thinking about “what’s it going to cost to get people to buy” rather than “what’s the most helpful to my customer?”
This is where testing becomes critical. Yes, you test to get a lift. But more importantly, you test to get a learning – but the key is to test correctly.
Here’s a great story from Mary Abramson of Ferguson Enterprises to bring this to life.
*Editors Note: Check out the case study for the details on this one – warning: science ahead!
On The Importance of Authenticity
Brendan: In your book, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale, your mention the importance of “being people with people.” How can organizations bring more human-ness to their marketing?
Brian: The important thing to remember is that people buy based on emotion, and then backfill with logic. The only difference in B2B is that there’s more people involved – and no one wants to make a bad decision. The safest thing is then to do nothing. Most sales don’t close simply because people don’t buy at all – not because they bought from someone else.
Realize that at the core, what you’re doing is helping to facilitate change. How can you help the champion make change happen? So don’t think about marketing as a campaign. Think about marketing as building relationships. Instead of being interesting – be interested.
On Mastering Your Craft
Brendan: What are your go-to sources of information for marketing?
Brendan: What’s the one book you would recommend to a marketer to help them succeed? (Hint: It doesn’t need to be about marketing.)
Brian: I’ve got a couple favorites.
- The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker: Reason being, the book teaches personal leadership. The second chapter reminds us to ask “What’s the single biggest contribution I can make to my company right now?” To achieve more, we must not only manage our time and budget, but learn how to manage our energy.
- The Corporate Athlete: How to Achieve Maximal Performance in Business and Life, by Jack Groppel, Ph.D.: Too often rather than focusing on critical projects, we schedule meetings. We don’t manage our maximal energy. This book shows you how. (Editors Note: Here’s a great summary on the Harvard Business Review).
On Where Marketing is Headed
Brian: One final idea I’d like to share with readers is the notion of servant marketing. Doing marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing. The results, when done right, are astounding.
Editors Note: For more on this topic read Brian’s article: What is Servant Marketing and 7 Steps to Achieve It
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