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Nine Marketing Lessons To Optimize Your B2B Marketing Strategy

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Ready for a marketing brain dump? I’m going to share with you 9 simple marketing lessons that have shaped my perspective on marketing. 

These are the ideas I wish I was taught in school and might go back when I’m 64, retired and teach at a local university… Wait… That’s not going to work because by the time I’m 64 these ideas will be dated. Scratch that. These are ideas that I wish I had time to teach at schools around the globe RIGHT now and that I wish I had when I graduated. Dive in. Grab a coffee and be sure to FWD this one to a friend who needs it (aka your entire team).

1. B2B Marketing Is More Similar To B2C Than Most People Think

It might not always feel as sexy as selling Yeezys or the latest Fenty line but at the end of the day — You’re still selling to people. People with emotions. People who have complex lives. People who have different motivations from one another. 

Smart B2B brands today are intentional about connecting with people on a human level. They see the value in not just running an ad and optimizing for clicks but optimizing for memorability. You don’t want to blend in. In a world where almost every SaaS website looks the same and uses the same illustrator to create their visuals — it’s the brands who dare to be different that are talked about and remembered. This is the same perspective that has allowed B2C brands to develop a strong rapport with their customers and lifelong relationships.

2. Top Of Funnel Marketing Isn’t Always Needed To Create A Massive Company

Some marketers will hate me for this BUT… It’s true. Top of the funnel marketing is great but it’s not always necessary. I know businesses that make a ton of money on the back of just sales teams & a good product that fills a need. You don’t always need to publish 200 blog posts, 3,000 monthly tweets and have 500 YouTube videos driving people to your product. Could it help? No doubt. But you have to start from a basic understanding that not all businesses are the same. 

Some businesses just don’t have the expertise or resources (time or money) to invest in a high quality marketing engine that leads to top of funnel results. You have to invest in the channels that make sense for you and your organization’s DNA. Some organizations’ DNA is not rooted in good marketing. Some organizations’ DNA is rooted in sales, product, design, engineering and/or distribution… Find what’s best for you and focus on that. 

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3. Boring Content Can Drive More Results Than Your Digital PR Idea

I love the rise of Digital PR but sometimes the boring content can drive 20x ROI.

I’ve seen case studies earn millions. Testimonial videos generate tons of pipeline and partner / referral decks change a company. Boring content can move the needle significantly but it’s rarely talked about at marketing conferences and on the viral TikToks giving marketing guidance. The key is understanding the fundamentals that go into creating an asset that is aligned with your goals and helps you accomplish it. 

As an example, let’s say your brand helped a company achieve something IMPRESSIVE… Let’s say it’s a CRM tool that helped a company close $50M in net new revenue. You’re not just going to publish this piece of content and title it “The CRM and ACME Case Study” and distribute it to your mailing list. No. That’s not what you’re going to do at all (yet, it is what most brands do). Instead, you’re going to call it something that is click-friendly and more likely to get amplified and distributed by your audience. You’re going to call it: Three Ways [ACME] Increased Their Sales By $50M Without Adding Headcount

Sounds like a pretty compelling story right? 

Inside of that article (or case study if you will) you’re not just going to break it up by problem, solution, outcome… Nope. You’re going to tell a story. You’re going to take the reader on a journey. And on that journey, the reader is going to learn everything there is to know not just about how your CRM can help them but also a few techniques and strategies that have nothing to do with your CRM. This is the type of content that is ‘boring by nature’ but compelling in the field. It’s the kind of content that turns heads and ultimately makes the cash register ring.

4. Creating Content Is Good But Distributing That Content Is Great

Gurus have preached that content is king for years now. It’s tired. It’s overstated. And incorrect. If you create it — They will not come.

You have to distribute your content. This is how you win. Content distribution is what happens after you press publish on a piece of content. It’s the outreach. It’s the paid efforts. It’s the tweets. It’s the submissions on Reddit. It’s the plugs in a Quora answer. You know my saying: 

Create once. Distribute forever.

If you’re looking to learn more about content distribution — This video is a great place to start. It’s a bit of a masterclass on content distribution. If you’re a distribution geek like me — This Twitter thread is also something you will want to bookmark and come back to.

5. SEO Isn’t Just About Getting Backlinks, It’s Much More Than That

Backlinks are great but they aren’t the end all be all in SEO.

You have to understand search intent, you have to structure on-site content appropriately, you have to have your technical house in order. Brands can create 40 landing pages in a single year and earn 400,000 visits a year just 3-4 years after creating the pages. The key?

6. Viewing content & SEO as an investment and not an expense

One of my favorite examples of this is when Hootsuite wrote a post back in 2016 called “The Best Time To Post On Facebook and Twitter”. This post was published once but has earned more than 21 million visits since then… If just .05% of the visitors of this blog post turned into customers that would be more than 10,000 customers. All from publishing one blog post. 

Build now. Thrive later.

Here’s a few examples of other brands that have done this well: 

7. Lead Magnets Aren’t Dead

I don’t care what you heard at the conference. I don’t care what you read on Twitter. Lead magnets still work when you do them right.

What’s right?

Well… Remember: 

You can publish valuable content publicly and gate other valuable content inside of a lead magnet at the same time. You can go above and beyond creating something that people love and share it publicly. This content can be so good that it leaves your audience happy. It leaves your audience satisfied. But within it, you have a few call to actions telling people that you’re able to add them even more value if they give you their email. You will give them a PDF version of this article. You will give them some bonus insights and tips. You will give them a video walk through or webinar series to go with the article. 

In a nutshell… You’re giving them a few extra sprinkles to go with the already delicious sundae that you offered up for free in the main article. It’s not that this lead magnet is going to make or break whether or not the reader views the content as valuable or not. This lead magnet is just something that they will see as an extra value add being provided IF they’re willing to give up an email. That’s how you do lead magnets the right way. 

8. No One Gets Fired For Hiring IBM, Salesforce, Stripe Or HubSpot

Build a trusted brand.

It’s not going to happen overnight but you need to recognize that brand equity is real and building it can give you an unfair advantage. I talked about this a bit in a short video (1 minute) on YouTube. 

Be consistent. Aim to stand out.

9. Study The Greats & Learn From Them On The Regular

Don’t make the mistake of trying to be the next Steve Jobs. You don’t have a reality distortion field.

Study the best and steal their ideas.

Here’s a few great B2B case studies you can start with:

1) How Masterclass thrives on SEO

2) Stripe’s brilliant content strategy

3) ShipBob’s Billion-Dollar Social Proof Formula

4) Coursera’s B2B Brilliance Unlocked 

Stay up to date with all of our latest findings by subscribing to our newsletter today. Signing up also gives you early access to Ross’ Tuesday essay full of exclusive industry insights.

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