B2B marketers have gotten lazy | Mark Evans, Marketing Spark

What’s the one marketing trend that you wholeheartedly disagree with?

This may sound kind of strange given I spend so much time building a personal brand. But I totally disagree with the idea that you need to build a personal brand.

You see so many posts on LinkedIn about the importance of building a personal brand in a really concerted way. And I think it’s like trying to force a round peg into a square hole. Is that doesn’t happen by having a personal branding strategy.

It happens by just being yourself being authentic, offering value engaging with people being generous with your time and advice. And when you do that kind of thing. The dividend is you build a stronger and more visible personal brand.

And I think that there’s a lot of people who are making a lot of money by offering to help people build their personal brands, but I think it’s, it’s a business as opposed to anything else.

I think people just need to do the right thing. Be honest, friendly, accessible. And in time, you will build a stronger personal brand.
Now, you can be strategic about it. And you can spend time on LinkedIn and other platforms to build that kind of reputation. But you just do it a natural way. You don’t have to force it. It doesn’t have to be a plan of attack, I’m going to do step one, step two, step three, I think it has to be more natural and more organic.

If you could talk to all B2B revenue leaders in the world for 1 minute, what would you say?

If I could talk to all b2b revenue leaders in the world for a minute, I would tell them that they really need to focus on their positioning and messaging.

I’m obviously biassed, because this is something I completely and wholeheartedly believe in, I believe in the power of messaging and positioning.

And I believe that if you’re going to underpin your marketing and sales, and if you’re going to attract and engage prospects need to be clear about four things, what you do, who you serve, why what you do matters to the people that you serve, and how you’re unique, different and or better.

And a lot of companies struggle, because they go to market with tactics, they lead with product, they lead with brute force when it comes to marketing tactics and sales. And then they drop the ball when it comes to actually coming to market with a clear and concise message.

The reality is, you’re competing with hundreds, if not 1000s of companies that sell the same products at the same prices and offer the same benefits and features. So how do you stand apart from the crowd? How do you position yourself as being something that’s worth someone’s attention and ultimately position yourself as being the only option for customers looking to do something to solve their problems or create better experiences.

Positioning is, is seen as a nice to have as a need instead of a need to have. And I think that’s a fatal mistake. Particularly now, like, in good times. But we’ve had over the last like three to five years in the b2b SaaS, world.

Marketing has been easy sales have been easy. The rising tide has lifted all ships. So we’ve gotten lazy. We’ve just relied on marketing, Google ads, LinkedIn to attract the leads.

But now we’re in tougher times, it’s tougher to generate leads, you see a lot of desperation in the marketplace. So a lot of companies are doing two things they’re pulling back, or they’re just trying to be all things to all people. And that’s fine. And that may work.
But I think that amid more difficult economic conditions, they need to step back and need to ask themselves, do we have the right positioning? Do we have the right messaging to connect with the people that matter to us? So my advice is, think about your positioning? Is it effective? Is it clear? Is it compelling? Is it engaging the people that matter to you?

You can tell this when you do sales presentations, or demos, or run advertising campaigns, and you can get a sense of whether people get what you do and why it matters, or whether they just go mad, don’t understand it and they move on.

What’s the most important character trait that helps you succeed in your career? Why?

Number one is curiosity.

When you’re curious about the world, and you’re always looking for answers, or you’re always looking for more information, then it makes life more interesting. And it allows you to surface questions a lot of people have.

This goes back to my days as a newspaper reporter.

When I had all kinds of story opportunities in front of me and I had to pick the ones that I thought were the most interesting, but I was curious in a lot of things. So I wouldn’t focus on a few topics I focus on lots of topics, because I was curious about different things and different people and different trends.

And that allowed me to identify the things that I’ve thought were the most interesting and bring that to my audience.

I think you have to have that trait when you’re going into the world. And you’re thinking about what would be interesting, what would be intriguing what would be compelling to other people. So curiosity is a is a very important thing, because it allows it, it opens up your world to all kinds of possibilities and opportunities.

And number two would be listening.

Because I think we like to talk. And with the advent of social media, we like to talk a lot. And we’ve got more platforms than ever, to tell people what we think and how they should do things.

In the process, I think we’ve forgotten the importance of listening and listening is really is an amazing thing, because people will tell you what you need to know if you listen to them.

So for example, I encourage all my customer, all my clients and talk to their customers on a repeated basis, because they’ll tell you what their problems are the channels that they use, the messaging and position that resonates, what they like about the product, what they don’t like about the product, and you can just suck in all that information, and update your marketing your sales, your product.
The problem is, is that we’re so busy talking that we don’t spend enough time listening.

And, you know, that’s a that’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face. And one of the really interesting things about listening is that when you’re talking to customers, you’re doing a demo, you’re doing a sales pitch, is that you don’t have to be asking them questions repeatedly, you can let them answer a question.

Then what it’s what I call the silent pause with a pregnant pause.

You don’t say anything for a few seconds. And what happens is people get uncomfortable, they don’t like silence. So they’ll keep on talking and they’ll tell you things that they wouldn’t have told you otherwise. And that’s just a listening hack.

I think that everybody should embrace because there’s a lot people want to tell you. You just have to create a way for them to bring it to the surface.

So all in all, I would say curiosity about the world around you, and listening are two very powerful characteristic traits for succeeding in business and in life.

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