A little bit about me – I have no ‘formal’ marketing training.
For a long time, I held close a dream of directing the next major motion picture franchise. Or coaxing a Tony-awarding-winning performance out of a group of thespians in a quiet theatre auditorium.
That is to say, my passion was performing. And the university diploma for ‘Drama Studies’ hanging on my wall – which cost a cool £30,000 in tuition fees to acquire, mind you – stands as evidence of that fact.
But, like many young creatives hell-bent on changing the world through the arts, I quickly realised following my graduation that a passion is all it would ever be. It wasn’t going to put food on the table for me.
So I landed a sales job for a small video streaming technology consultancy which was my gateway to a career in marketing. And I’m very grateful for it.
All of this is to say that over the last decade or so that I’ve earned my bread from this wonderful craft, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes through trial and error. And this week, I’d like to share one of the biggest ones I made at the beginning of my career.
Here we go!
Doing It All and Losing Focus
If you’re a company that wants to make some sales, you need a website. And if you have a website, you should have a blog you’re updating regularly. But 59% of B2B marketers say email marketing is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation, so let’s get that setup as well. Oh, and LinkedIn is a no-brainer for B2B. And Twitter. And PPC. And a podcast. And there’s this new Clubhouse thing?
Salesforce is doing much of the above and more. But they’re a company with 25,000 marketers and a marketing budget just shy of $8 billion.
Most of you reading this are not, I’d wager.
It is so easy to believe you have to be everywhere, all the time, to be effective. After all, a lot of people preach it as gospel. But this line of thinking is almost as damaging to a growing marketing team as the message “we must be all things to all people.”
Without adequate funding and enough pairs of hands in your team, trying to activate every channel is the fastest way to dilute the effectiveness of your efforts. You’ll spread yourself too thin and burn out.
My 60/20/20 Rule
My rule of thumb is this. Dedicate 60% of your energy to building a following in one place. It should be where you know customers do their research for your type of product.
This could be email marketing. Owning a piece of inbox real estate with your customers is always a good thing – especially if they’ve opted-in to give it to you in exchange for the goods you’re putting out, be it a newsletter or otherwise.
One example of a company that has nailed its email strategy – going from 0 to 10,000 subscribers – is Crossbeam. I interviewed their Director of Content, Sean Blanda, on how they did it a few months ago for my podcast. Check it out here.
The next 20% of your bandwidth should be used repurposing that original piece of hero content across other channels.
Say you’re writing a long-form piece for your blog each week. Spend a day breaking it down into a series of LinkedIn posts, Twitter threads, Instagram Stories, emails for your sales team, audio snippets and anything else you can think of.
Reposting the same content across platforms is lazy. Recreating the same content natively across platforms is the distribution hack that will put you above 95% of your competition.
Finally, use the remaining 20% activating what I call a ‘left field’ channel. A place where few of your competitors – ideally none of your competitors – spend any time.
There are no rules, other than it needs to be a place where you can be a big fish in a small pond.
Don’t fall into the trap of discounting a channel that doesn’t ‘feel B2B’. Remember, the lines between professional and personal lives for buyers are increasingly blurred. They may be reading a tech spec one second before jumping into a Twitch stream the next.
If you’re the only one delivering value on the platform where buyers spend their downtime, you’ll immediately be memorable by virtue of the fact.
Trying to do it all in B2B marketing, just like in life, is the fastest road to failure especially without adequate funding or human resources. When building content or social media marketing strategy from scratch, it is almost always a better idea to double down on a single channel that matters, focus on content that can be easily repurposed and look for the spaces where you can be the sole player.