page title icon Stand-Out Marketing: How to Distinguish Yourself in a Sea of Sameness

B2B Digital Marketer
B2B Digital Marketer
Stand-Out Marketing: How to Distinguish Yourself in a Sea of Sameness

Customers are lost in a sea of sameness because when everybody is saying the same thing, the customer doesn’t know what to do. True differentiation has to lie within the company, and everybody in the company has to believe in that.

Stand-out marketing is all about being differentiated and distinguished by your customers. 

In our world today, customers are constantly facing a bombardment of different marketing messages. They all sound the same and have very little value in them. Customers are lost and are unable to make the right decision. They are left with very little value and find no solution to their problems.

How do you stand out from the competition? How do you get your message across and deliver value to the people you care about the most?

In this episode, Stacey Danheiser, explains to us this common phenomenon of the sea of sameness. She shares to us the necessary steps to overcome this problem and find a solution to stand out from the rest.

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Stacey Danheiser is the CEO and founder of SHAKE Marketing Group, based in South Florida and the co-author of Stand Out Marketing and Value-ology. After nearly 15 years in marketing leadership at various Fortune 500 companies, Stacey started SHAKE Marketing Group to help B2B organizations shift from product-pushing to customer-focused.

Since then, SHAKE has worked with B2B clients in a variety of industries such as Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Software, Hardware, Professional Services and Financial Services to develop and implement customer-focused programs that force a major shift in thinking and prioritization.

SHAKE’s goal is to create an experience that provides only actionable advice and recommendations (no unproven theories or impossible-to-execute ideas).

Podcast Timestamps/Outline

01:10 – Introduction

02:56 – What is the sea of sameness?

07:43 – What does a B2B digital marketer need to be asking themselves today?

10:21 – The VALUE Framework

15:09 – The difference between competencies and skills

16:51 – The difference between differentiation and distinctiveness

20:54 – Reinforcing value to the customer

25:36 – The 5 elements of the visionary competency

35:10 – Things that B2B Digital Marketers should stop doing

38:28 – Budget reallocation

40:35 – Connect with Stacey Danheiser

Memorable Quotes

“We are all smart consumers now. We are bombarded constantly with marketing messages and so our cynicism goes up a little bit and the radar goes on, is this really true?”

“Customers are lost in a sea of sameness because when everybody is saying the same thing, the customer doesn’t know what to do.”

“True differentiation has to lie within the company, and everybody in the company has to believe in that.”

“The true purpose of a company is to add value, not only to their customers, but also to their employees, to their community, and to their partners.”

Episode Links and Resources

Stacey’s LinkedIn: 

Stacey’s website: 

Digital activity ROI assessment:

More episodes related to standing out from your competitors:  

Episode Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):
Okay, B2B DM gang. I’m excited today because we’re going to have, have a fantastic discussion, helping you to understand a little bit more about what it truly means to stand out. And I’m not talking about from a product perspective I’m talking about from you as an individual marker, and then subsequently how that will affect the value in differentiation and ability for your organization to stand out. Cause I had Stacy Dan Houser with me, who is the author of stand out marketing. Now I’ve heard stand out a lot, you know, and Stacy, so I’m looking forward to our discussion, but welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. Uh, Stacy is also, uh, a coauthor of value ology and the founder of shake marketing, uh, which is a B2B marketing and sales practice. Um, and so she has experience with big brands, some smaller organizations, but then also doing some individual coaching to help build competencies.
Jim Rembach (00:54):
And that’s really what we’re talking about today is the competencies that a B2B marketer needs to have in order to be successful. Is that correct? Yes, absolutely. Okay. So when we start talking about standout, will you start talking about the sea of sameness? And I think it’s really important. I’ve been talking about the sea of sameness in a lot of different ways because when I look at the statistics associated with what B2B marketers are doing, where they’re, um, investing, where they’re outsourcing some of the things that they’re doing, I see some of the same things being done again and again, but yet they’re wondering why their sales funnel isn’t being filled when, you know, it seems like their competitors are so tell us exactly what does it mean by the sea of sameness?
Stacey Danheiser (01:46):
Yes. Okay. So this came about probably like three or four years ago. We did some research because we started noticing this trend. Um, specifically we looked at the telecom industry to start, uh, we took, uh, a website and Twitter scrape of the top 30 global companies operating in the telecom industry. And what we found was that everybody was telling the exact same story. They were using the same words over and over. They were there. Why S story? The essence of that was basically the same, the problems that they solve were the same. And that makes sense to me, it’s a commodity, there’s something, you know, internet connectivity or telephone connectivity. And so that in and of itself is a commodity. Um, but what we, we, we uncovered kind of with that process is that we, we saw three things really stand out. One was, um, the overuse of words that were generic business or technology terms.
Stacey Danheiser (02:36):
So services, for example, was mentioned, you know, in the top 10 business or, um, because it’s technology network or connectivity or security. So these things were just being overused over and over and over. Um, the second thing we noticed is that there, a lot of the statements start with we, or our, not really what you as the customer can do. Um, you know, that’s just kind of a marketing language thing, but the majority of it’s we do this, we have 24 by seven service. We have great footprint. We have, you know, expansion, we have a hundred years of experience. And then third was that there was a lack of proof points. So, you know, especially it’s interesting, I think even beforehand, before the whole COVID pandemic, but there was this big sort of trend toward digital transformation. So what we were seeing on telecom websites in particular is we can transform your business, help you.
Stacey Danheiser (03:30):
We can help you digitally transform, transform, transform, transform. And when you would peel back the onion, you realized, how, how can you help me transform? Because that’s a pretty lofty promise. It was, you know, by our service, by our connectivity, you know, by getting good in our data centers. And there was, you know, what we said is the bridge from here to there was really weak. So they’re kind of taking somebody on this transformation journey and with no proof points or case studies or real life examples, people are just left wondering, you know, is this really true? And we’re all really, we’re all really smart consumers. Now we see we’re bombarded constantly with marketing messages. So of course, you know, our cynicism goes up a little bit and we, and the radar goes on of, well, is this really true? Let me dig into this. I don’t know if I believe you. So we noticed those three things and we called this, you know, every customers are lost in a sea of sameness because when everybody’s saying the same thing, the customer doesn’t know what to do. They either choose the solution then with the lowest price or they choose the one that was first in responding to them, or in some cases they don’t, they don’t make a decision at all. They just keep with the status quo and keep doing what they’re doing, because they’re not compelled to make a change yet.
Jim Rembach (04:40):
Well, and as you’re talking, I start thinking about a lot of factors that go in to the seat of sameness that I think, I think you have to kind of look at what we need to do from, for example, a, a search perspective. Like, so, so we have to use some of this same terminology, because if, if people are looking for us, if we don’t use those same terminologies, we’re not going to be found depending on where they are in there by stage and by cycle, uh, their journey. So then it’s, then it gets into, you know, how do we look at, you know, some things that we’re doing internally that may differentiate us from a culture and an organizational perspective or product perspective and all of that. Uh, and then therefore weave that in. So it’s not a simple answer, isn’t it?
Stacey Danheiser (05:28):
No, you know, exactly. And it’s, it is something that what, you know, what we have found. It’s not, it’s not just a marketing problem, either. True differentiation has to lie within the, the company and everybody at the company has to believe in that and, and be behind that, whether it’s a product that’s completely different, whether it’s a customer service approach, whether it’s even an accounting or billing, unique approach. I mean, there’s something that’s, you know, beyond just the marketing. Um, so, so there a difference yeah. Between true differentiation and then distinctiveness, which is more about how are you standing out in marketing? How are you saying it in communications? How are you kind of breaking through the clutter to create awareness and get some stickiness there? So,
Jim Rembach (06:13):
Well, I, I, um, okay, so talking about the complexity, you know, ultimately we have to start being able to figure out a way forward. Right. Um, so the question that I like to ask that I’m going to ask you, I ask everybody is, you know, what does a B2B marketer need to be asking themselves today?
Stacey Danheiser (06:33):
Well, exactly. I think, I think the first one is, um, has to do with standing out, right? I mean, we have to understand what the stages that we’re at. There is this complete overwhelm of digital bombardment because of COVID everybody rushed online and now you have fatigue, real fatigue with zoom calls, with emails, with, you know, uh, social media. So people are getting really, um, sick of it and it to stand out in that way, kind of that that’s number one, what can we be doing differently to, to break through the clutter digitally? Um, and then I think the other piece is, is about really understanding the customer. What, what could we do? That’s different that our customers would find useful or valuable, and it’s not just a matter of copying and pasting and well, our competitors are doing a webinar. We must do webinars, Oh, they’re starting a podcast.
Stacey Danheiser (07:24):
Let’s go start a podcast. You know, it’s, the question is, um, how in tune are we with our customers? And do we really understand what they would find useful or valuable? So there’s a couple of examples that was, um, there was one I like kind of in the early days of the pandemic would just pout Palo Alto networks. Um, and so what they did was they started a whole sort of hub educational hub, where they were pulling and talking to some of their own executives. So they were providing a unique perspective to their customers by way of what they were doing internally in their own organizations. So saying, okay, you know, we’re here with the head of human resources, talking about, you know, how to equip employees and what to be prepared for kind of during these early days. So I think that was an interesting and kind of unique way. It wasn’t just focused on their languages, which is it security. They expanded that to understand, okay, customers, their customers are thinking about more than just that one little sliver and how can they add value in and be useful beyond that?
Jim Rembach (08:26):
That is unique. I mean, that is very, very much handout. And so even though I may be doing in using, uh, some type of delivery mechanism, Sam podcast, um, you know, who’s on that podcast and our discussion, you know, isn’t about, you know, the, the PR the product per se, and continuing to bombard people with that particular message. I mean, that’s a great example. Okay. So what you really talk about in the book to help with the standing out is to build core competencies in a framework, you know, for B2B digital marketers, and you had the acronym for that particular model is value, and that helps them to stand out in this sea of sameness. So if you could just run us through what the frameworks and what those acronyms in the value models stand for.
Stacey Danheiser (09:12):
Yes. Okay. So we, we did a lot of research. Um, let me just say that first, we, we ended up talking to dozens of one-on-one interviews with marketing leaders, business leaders, sales leaders, across most of the U S in the UK, and these were representative of a bunch of different industries. So, um, so that was kind of first and foremost, then we did a survey because we wanted to also validate some of this information, getting, getting from the, um, the perspective of the individual marketing and sales practitioners. Um, and then of course our sea of sameness research, we ended up doing the telecom industry. Then we expanded it to do data center and UK universities. Um, and so what we found was there was basically a competency gap. The reason that we believe sea of sameness is happening is because marketing and sales leaders don’t actually have all of the competencies well-rounded either in their own selves or on their teams.
Stacey Danheiser (10:06):
So, you know, just to caveat that, that the model is meant to be, you know, if you are an individual and you’re the lone marketer or the lone salesperson, you can absolutely develop all of these, but if you are a part of a team, then it’s even more imperative that somebody on your team is representing each of these, these competencies, probably at a deeper level of expertise. Um, so the, the framework is called value and we love that word because we believe, you know, in essence, what’s the true purpose of a company it’s to add value to not only customers, but employees to their community, to the partners. Um, and so we love just thinking of, and reminding ourselves that we are here to create value for other people. So the first is, um, stands for V value is visionary. Um, and that’s the ability really to just look ahead, to see what’s happening in the landscape and to kind of zoom out in this, um, 50,000 foot view, but then zoom in as to what this means for your own industry or your customer’s industry.
Stacey Danheiser (11:10):
Um, so strategy, if you will, you know, a lot of like some of this stuff it’s in the visionary is, is really akin to how P how companies end up developing their strategy. Um, the, a stands then for the other side of that, which is activator, um, and marketers will rate themselves really highly, usually on this one of, you know, it’s execution. And I’m really good at that, but it’s, it’s a little bit more than just execution. This is the ability to activate, to actually get the, the forces that you need and the team of people that you need to be successful in executing and to get the buy-in to drive your initiatives forward. So that’s activator, um, the L stands for learner, and I think, you know, 2020 was a great example of why this one’s important that everything is always changing. And just when, you know, our marketing plans are approved at the beginning of 2020, and then six weeks into the year, the whole thing gets thrown out the window and we have to start over.
Stacey Danheiser (12:00):
So this is just having the pulse and, and, um, a mindset to constantly be learning. Um, the U stands for usefulness, and this is the ability to connect the dots between what your company does and why a customer would care about it, and kind of being the bridge between those two and explaining that, um, and then finally the E is evaluator. And this one is, you know, very prevalent in a lot of conversations happening right now, which is proving marketing ROI and, you know, the impatience that people are having around, um, marketing impact and, and how do we know if it’s working or not? And so this is really having the integrity to look at your programs, you know, through a, a set of data. Um, but also just being able to analyze information that’s coming in. I mean, we, we have no shortage of information. I think what’s lacking in the ability to analyze that information and then to make decisions based on that. So this is, um, that’s the value framework.
Jim Rembach (12:58):
Well, and, and, and I think it’s really important, uh, for us to really understand, because even, you know, so I have, um, you know, one of my passion projects, you and I talked about this before we started recording, uh, is I have an online leadership Academy for frontline supervisors in contact centers because I, I that’s the industry and space that I’ve worked in for a long time. And I just have this passion for helping young leaders to be more successful. And I developed, uh, there’s, um, blended learning Academy. And within that blended learning Academy, one of the things that we talk a lot about is the difference between competencies and skills, because unless you’re in the adult learning space, you really don’t understand what the differences are, those two and how one is essentially a bedrock foundation that enables another to occur. So if you could tell us a little bit about what is the difference between a B2B marketing competency in a B2B marketing skill?
Stacey Danheiser (13:59):
Yes, well, I’d like to think of it as, um, skills are what we need to learn to be successful in our jobs. So as a, as a digital marketer, for example, that would be things like, you know, how to build, um, ads in Facebook or Google, you know, how to do keyword searches, um, how to, how to set up and manage, you know, an email system or a website. So those are kind of the skills elements that can be learned, um, on, on what you need to do to be successful. The competencies then are, are more about how you do your job. So now that you know how to build a website, you know, how do you actually, um, get the leadership team on board, for example, how do you get the information that you need so that you can get really strong copy? Um, and this is more about how you’re showing up to, um, influence the behaviors and implement the knowledge that you, that you now have to kind of get everybody aligned.
Jim Rembach (14:58):
I think that’s a really good simplistic, uh, uh, explanation. And for me, I’m, I’m not, I’m going to borrow that from you for me. I also talk about it, you know, um, we, we have to have the competencies in order to have the skill, to have the value and to, to be something that’s going to have, you know, the ability for us to stand out and differentiate. Uh, you also talk about a difference between being differentiated and differentiation and distinctiveness. So if you could, in a, from, from you thinking about from a B2B marketer perspective, help us understand what is the difference between differentiation and distinctiveness.
Stacey Danheiser (15:40):
Yes. Well, yeah, so we touched on this a little bit, but differentiation is, is essentially, um, more at sort of that company level. It’s either at the product, the, um, the approach, it’s something that’s not very easily copyable. And so, you know, I like that, there’s a lot of consumer examples, more so than B2B because, um, you know, that’s, they’re, they tend to come to life a little bit more in that way, but, you know, Southwest airlines, at least in the United States, isn’t, it is an example where they are fanatical about the customer centric approach. And they go so far that it’s not just marketing, you know, language. They go so far as to have practices on how they’re hiring people and empathy tests that they require, you know, potential candidates to go through, um, before they’re even hired so that they can test, is this going to be a good cultural fit?
Stacey Danheiser (16:34):
Are you going to be able to embody our culture and bring this thing to life in a unique way? And so that’s not easily copyable. Um, and, and, and, you know, another organization could say that we’re, you know, customer centric, which a lot of them do, but then the question is, well, what are we doing to prove that? So, you know, I, I like to look, you know, I, I like to think of it as like an onion or there’s an outer layer. And some of these claims that companies are making and can, can you peel back the layer, you know, and go five or six or seven layers deep to see how this is really being embodied, then that becomes sort of that true differentiation. Um, on the other hand is distinctiveness, and this is more about breaking through, on marketing and advertising. So how clever are we being and how creative are we being to, to get through, um, all of the noise that’s out there and to communicate with people in a unique way.
Stacey Danheiser (17:30):
And, and that might be enough. We’re not really even saying that every single company out there is going to be truly differentiated. I mean, there’s, there’s few and far between of those examples that are living sort of that, that true differentiation, um, distinctiveness is, is a lot more likely, um, for companies to achieve. And I think that’s exciting as a marketer and as a salesperson that you can influence that and that it may be your marketing and your sales approach and the way you’re communicating with customers and the way that you’re adding value there is, is actually the reason that people work with you. And so, um, that could be, you know, versus the, the sort of bigger picture of like the product or, or a unique customer service approach, which, which tends to expand. Like I mentioned before, beyond just marketing and sales it’s now this is a, a CEO company driven, um, initiative to, if you want to truly be differentiated.
Jim Rembach (18:27):
And as you’re saying that I, I started visualizing in my head that one is about, you know, the attractiveness and about obtaining a customer. And then the other one is about retaining the customer. That, I mean, to me, that’s how I saw those two things go together when you were talking about it. Is that true?
Stacey Danheiser (18:45):
Yeah. I mean, I think that that actually gets to what, um, so our first book value ology, we talk about value and what are you actually, what does that mean? And so in essence, um, there’s two parts to that equation. The first part is you are selling a promise value is not actually, um, seen until the product is in use and implemented. And so essentially people are buying a promise. Well, you said it was going to help my business grow. And you said it was going to help me be more productive. I trust you. I believe you, I’m willing to give you my money because that’s, that’s the premise, that’s the exchange, but I don’t actually experience an increase in productivity or an increase in growth until I implement that tool or that approach, um, you know, and that could be months or years down, down the line. And so there’s kind of two parts to that equation, which is, are we going back to, you know, we set all this stuff on the front end, are we going back to check to make sure that we’re actually delivering that
Jim Rembach (19:44):
Know that you bring up that example? I mean, I had this discussion with a CEO of an organization and I asked him this question, and the question was, you know, what do people say? And this was just put this in context. This is a software company, it’s a SAS based software company. And I said, what, what are your customers saying? You know, immediately once they sign the contract and buy your product, he immediately jumps into, well, it gives them greater, you know, um, you know, gains on this. It helps them to improve. I said, no, no, no, no. That’s after they’ve already experienced an implemented the product, I want to know what they feel about the fact that they’ve just signed this agreement and have not had any realization of the value of your product. And he was, he was, that was a question he had never had asked. And that was a question for him that he couldn’t even answer.
Stacey Danheiser (20:37):
Yeah. I’m not surprised, right? Yes. Many. Yeah. I work with a lot of B2B organizations and I have found, um, there is a gap in customer customer knowledge. I mean, that’s, that’s unfortunate. Um, but a lot of marketing budgets are going to support more of the execution and not sort of that front end knowledge gathering stage.
Jim Rembach (21:02):
And so for me, when I started thinking about, well, if I want to attract even more customers, that’s being information, that’s the golden nuggets, because I want to ensure that we’re heightening and highlighting, you know, that feeling of, I just made the decision to choose you and to do work with you. And this is why. And so we have more people making that decision. Um, but it was strange that, that, that, that was not even part of the thought process. Um, cause it’s part of, I don’t have, I just, that’s strange.
Stacey Danheiser (21:34):
No, I think that’s great. I think that’s really insightful. And, um, capitalizing, you know, trying to bottle up whatever that feeling is, right. People are excited and they’re in the moment and you, and I think that it brings up a really good point, um, that, you know, another thing I’m seeing, which is marketers are, are we spend so much energy and time on the creating awareness and creating demand and trying to get the conversation that we forget about that immediate feeling of buyer’s remorse that most of us have upon signing a deal or giving our credit card or, you know, paying for something that we were, there’s a moment there’s, there’s a fearful moment where we are all saying, is that, is this really going to be the answer, is this thing really going to do what it said it’s going to do? And you know, and we have to recognize that. And so, you know, I like to, um, go through sort of that full customer life cycle and journey to say what’s happening at that moment, that you can send something that makes them feel really good, but just is reinforcing that they made a good decision and reinforcing the, the, um, the value they’re about to receive because they haven’t gotten it yet. And you have to, you know, be there knowing that they’re feeling this, this remorse because we all have it.
Jim Rembach (22:51):
And we all do. I mean, so for me, it’s, uh, I think that there’s a lot of uniqueness and opportunity that exists there, uh, so that we can get some of the things that you said are so important, and that is the transformation piece, right? You have some, you know, creating the bridge start getting into, and I know the work that needs to be done the transformation process because, you know, like for many of us and we see it over and again, it’s, you know, we like the idea of what the possibilities are, but you know, how to actually get there is what are the struggle often. And that goes into that whole organizational piece. Okay. Now the, I really want to get a little bit deeper into the value competency aspects of the framework, uh, because I, I think for me, it was very enlightening to read, uh, the, the examples and, and read, uh, the different elements within that.
Jim Rembach (23:42):
And so in that visionary competency, you actually highlight there’s five elements that we need to be able to, um, you know, build our capabilities in. And that’s outside in far sight, zooming, predicting and imagining. And if you could please, um, you and I had the discussion prior to our recording about an example of, of an organization, how, you know, different pieces, um, of that organization talking about verticals and things like that, um, impacted the ability for people who are doing the work, uh, to be able to actually build competencies in these areas and it kind of stifled them. So if you could elaborate a little bit about on this visionary competency and those five elements.
Stacey Danheiser (24:26):
Yes. Okay. So let’s see, um, the visionary competency. So as we talked about, I mean, I like to think of this as the one that you know is looking far ahead and can see things that other people cannot, and you know, how, if the question is, well, how do we, how do we do that? So, number one, is this sort of outside in concept, you know, I have worked with a lot of organizations where most of the information that that is received is based on sort of an internal perspective. And there’s a lot of knowledge that’s being passed down. For example, from the sales team representing what are, what do our customers think let’s just ask our salespeople and that becomes, you know, quote, customer research. And so, so there’s, but this is really an interesting sort of dynamic, you know, to consider that, you know, I’ve, I’ve, have you ever sat in a meeting really there where people are speculating about what the customer wants or what the customer needs, and you may have some people that are so strongly opinionated that they are convincing everybody else that what they’re saying is true and nobody really questions it.
Stacey Danheiser (25:35):
But if you take a step back and think about for one second, wait a minute, is that person who just said that our target customer, I mean, chances are, unless you’re selling something really basic like toothpaste, or, you know, a toothbrush that customer, that person who’s representing the product team or the sales team or the finance team even is not the ideal target customer that you’re trying to go after. So, you know, just take that for a grain of salt. It’s like, that is one person’s opinion. It’s not necessarily the only opinion. Um, so this is, this one is really, um, I feel passionate about because, um, it’s something that marketers can absolutely influence and impact, which is how much, how much of our energy are we going to spend just speculating internally. Versus we, we went and commissioned a piece of research, and now we have real data from our real customers because we talked to them and now we have this sort of outside in view.
Stacey Danheiser (26:32):
Um, so that’s kind of number one, number two is far sight, and this is really just the ability to, to look down the road. So, um, interestingly we have I’ve found, and I’ve worked in, in a lot of large organizations, fortune 500 companies where there would, there would be a separate, you know, strategy department. And the goal of the strategy department is really to look several years out, three to five years out while the rest of the organization tends to be very, short-term focused. You know, how are we closing deals this month? What are we doing this quarter? How are we going to meet our number this, this year? And I have to do a quarterly report or a quarterly earnings, and I gotta go talk to the shareholders, what am I saying this quarter? And so that’s a very sort of short-term focus versus that, you know, having somebody that’s looking far far out to see what’s happening, um, in, in the landscape, not just, not just at, in the industry that they are operating in, but in their customer’s industries as well.
Stacey Danheiser (27:28):
And I think, you know, COVID is a perfect example of this, where we have seen some industries like, you know, 10 X their growth because of what they were, their product happened to be the right thing that people needed, um, and other, but, but they’re not experiencing that growth equally across all the industries that they serve. So, you know, they’re having to really, um, digest that and say, Oh, that’s interesting retail, you know, had, there was a big, a big pause on retail and, um, tourism. So if I was selling it to retail and tourism, then my approach is going to be very different than if I’m selling into telecom or, or some other software service that everybody, all of a sudden needed, like zoom. So that’s, um, Pharsight zooming then is like really the opposite of that. And it’s kind of like being able to take all of that information, everything that’s going in, like an Eagle who scans the landscape and then boom hones in, on the praise and, and is able to kind of just zoom in and focus on that one thing.
Stacey Danheiser (28:29):
Um, and so that’s, this is part of the visionary where it’s, it’s, um, the ability to dissect that information, right. And analyze that information to make sure that it’s kind of relevant to that particular business, because there’s all these things we could do all the time. Well, we could do this or we could do this, or we could do this. And so we need somebody that’s, you know, gonna help you make that decision and kind of zoom in on that. Um, that was number three. What was number four? Oh, the predicting. So, you know, this is interesting, like just the ability to, um,
Stacey Danheiser (29:04):
Figure out kind of looking at past experiences, right. And talking to people across the business and to be able to make some educated guesses about, about what may or may not occur and what may or may not happen. And so, um, we, none of us have a crystal ball. So this one is a skill essentially that, um, is the ability to put all those pieces of information that seemed disparate and to say, okay, based on, you know, history repeating itself, if we believe that here’s some things that might happen, here’s some, some possible scenarios or hypothesis kind of like that, you know, scientific experimentation method. Um, and then finally is imagining, and this is, you know, maybe when we think of a traditional visionary, we think, Oh, it’s this daydreamer, who’s always, you know, imagining a different, a different world, but I think this is really an interesting sort of skill set.
Stacey Danheiser (29:55):
And we see this in a lot of companies that, um, value for example, innovation. Um, and so the question is, well, how, how much time and energy are you spending sort of just thinking about, you know, what could be and what if scenarios that, that are positive and kind of playing out different realities if you will. And so this, you know, I think of, I have, I have two kids and I think of, you know, I, and they’re now in middle school, but this was when they were younger. You know, always imagine you always, you know, very, very imagined. And some, somewhere along the way, we just kind of lose that. We go into, you know, logical school mode and no, I just have to memorize things. And I don’t, I’m not supposed to use my imagination unless I’m in art class, you know, or, or music or something.
Stacey Danheiser (30:39):
Um, but it’s, it is really, uh, it’s definitely a skill that can be developed. And, and really the funny thing is I think for, for myself, at least that I have found my most imaginative moments have been when I’m not doing any work. I’m not sitting in front of a computer. I’m not distracting myself with anything, but I’m, you know, out on a walk or in the shower or, you know, something that is just like mindless where your mind can kind of wander free for a little bit and where you can kind of imagine, imagine all these different scenarios. So,
Jim Rembach (31:11):
And I think it’s important for us to point out that in a much, much larger organizations, you know, you could be in a particular role where, you know, the visioning piece isn’t, as, you know, as, as important, you know, because I am handed handling, you know, a particular, you know, daily or weekly task or monthly task. However, if you’re in a smaller organization, this absolutely becomes more important. Uh, if you want to take on, you know, a role at a higher level, it becomes more important. And so for, for me in the Academy that I was talking about, we talk about business acumen, which aligns to this quite a bit. And one of the most areas of greatest deficiency, you know, for people who are looking to move up to higher levels of responsibility and create more value and stuff, it is this, it is business acumen.
Jim Rembach (31:59):
It is the visionary piece. And we have to be self-aware, you know, to know that, Hey, I need help in this area. Um, this means I have to be a continuous learner. Um, this means I have to be willing to test, uh, this means I have to be willing to challenge in an effective way. Uh, I’ll there’s a lot of elements that go into this that make this whole VPs, you know, such a very important part of this framework. And I’m glad to see it at the beginning and why I wanted to go deeper into it.
Stacey Danheiser (32:29):
Yeah. And I would just say like at one, a how to, or, you know, one thing that people can do, um, to start developing this is just reading about you subscribe to one newsletter that is relevant to either your industry or to, you want to get to the customer segments that you serve so that you can start to get up to speed with what’s happening because there’s a depth of knowledge really required to end. And the way to go deeper is to just start consuming this information, to get an appreciation and understanding of, of how different industries are impacted by world events, for example, and one, do you even know world events, what world events are happening? And so it’s kind of having, you know, staying, staying up to speed and on pulse with that,
Jim Rembach (33:14):
I think that’s a really important point. And there’s a lot of things that you’re doing in this particular to help, you know, um, both individuals and teams and organizations, to be able to build a lot of these skills. And, and that’s something that, you know, a lot of people are in need of, I mean, because of the rapidness of change, the sea of sameness is continuing to get over overcrowded. Um, I talk about the whole blue ocean and red ocean thing, and there’s a whole lot of red ocean areas for B2B people that they’re just missing out and not able to see, you know, the blue ocean opportunities that will help them be differentiated and distinctive. Um, and so when I think about, you know, things that we used to do, or maybe that we’re stuck doing as a B2B marketer, what’s something that we probably should be stopping.
Speaker 3 (34:00):
Stacey Danheiser (34:03):
Hm. Okay. So I would say so many things, let me narrow it down to one. Um, I w a trend that I have seen is just, you know, what I would call blind execution, um, you know, a lot like, like we were just talking about this visionary piece and really it’s understanding why we are doing certain things. So I would say, let’s stop the blind execution and ask ourselves, do we know what, what, what does good look like for this program? What are we trying to get out of it? And how do we know if it’s working or not? And, and to be able to really just kind of dissect in there, because there’s so much, I mean, I, I get called into a lot of companies. And the first thing I do is an audit. And I like to look at what, what are all the activities that you’re doing?
Stacey Danheiser (34:49):
And what’s stressing you out, what’s working. And typically what I found is that there’s no connection. There’s no golden thread throughout all of the programs. Everything is treated like a separate thing, a separate silo. And when, when that is the case, that gets very overwhelming very quickly. Um, and so then I say, okay, let’s what, what are some things that we can stop or put on hold for right now? That’s just not, we don’t think they’re making a big impact. And, you know, there’s a lot of activity, a lot of campaigns and a lot of, um, ideas, frankly, that are coming from non marketers across the organization that the marketing team feels responsible for executing. Well, the CEO had an idea. He saw a white paper that was published by one of our competitors. And all of a sudden we have to go write a white paper, not realizing that that’s like an eight week and we have to go find a subject matter expert, you know, and if we want to do this really well, it’s not a marketing brochure. It’s actually deep thought leadership and research that, that needs to go into this. Um, but there is like this, you know, there’s a blind execution of like, I feel like I have to go execute every idea and everything that people are coming up with,
Jim Rembach (35:58):
Especially when they’re four levels above, right?
Stacey Danheiser (36:00):
Yes. Yeah. And this is, I mean, this is why it’s, so this, that’s why we love this framework, because I’ve actually seen this come to life where, you know, you can shut down opinions and ideas that don’t have anything to do with your strategy because you go through and methodically building the strategy, and everybody gets on board and it’s this, you know, miraculous thing where they, you know, all of a sudden there’s a relief. Like marketing has a plan. I know exactly what we’re trying to do. And not only did they just tell me the execution piece. Yes. I always understood that they, they gave me the context to the bookends, why we’re doing it, why we think this is going to work, you know, make me feel good that you’ve done some customer research. And then tell me about your plans to go execute.
Jim Rembach (36:45):
Okay. So that, that helps me get into the point to where, and you even mentioned in the book, it’s an, all these things are great, but without action it’s, you know, pretty much, um, um, uh, it’s all a moot point. Um, so if I’m thinking about, you know, I’ll B2B marketer, I’m looking at, you know, my budget and I’m doing things that I shouldn’t be doing. There’s some things that I should be doing that I’m not, you know, where, where do I need to focus my resources, maybe reallocate some funds and what do I need to be doing today? What does a B2B marketer need to do today to get rid of this sea of sameness?
Stacey Danheiser (37:19):
Yeah. So the first and foremost, I mean, we’ve talked about it a few times, but I’ll just reemphasize it. Here is customer research. You have to have an element of your budget that is dedicated to, to conducting some real customer research. Um, so that, I feel very passionate about that because I’ve seen sort of the light bulb go off when, when we present real customer research. When I talk to a lot of, um, do a lot of one-on-one interviews and going back and asking internally, what do you think, what do you think your customer is going to say? What do you, what are your customers, um, how do they view you? Where do you think you’re adding value and then getting real feedback from customers and presenting that back? I mean, I can tell you in one only in one case where those 100% aligned and the other 99% of them, uh, were they’re missing some elements.
Stacey Danheiser (38:15):
So it’s a great way to bring people together and to get, to start gaining alignment on not only programs and campaigns, but it just gives us added boost of confidence. Um, not only for the organization, but for the marketer to be able to present this back and to say, you guys, we know what we know what our customers want. We know what our customers need, and now we have a plan. We can go start to deliver against some of these things. Um, so I would say, you know, first and foremost, it’s, it’s definitely reallocating making sure that there’s, um, budget for customer research. Um, just so that you also have the confidence to say no to some of those, you know, great ideas that come across your desk on a daily basis from, from the rest of the organization. So that would be, that would be what I would say,
Jim Rembach (39:01):
Stacy Dan Houser. Um, I’m fine. I’m glad we finally had the opportunity to chat. And I see us having, uh, some more discussions in the future because you had mentioned something that is so true that you’ve done tons of research. There is so much depth to this book. Um, uh, so much insight. Um, I’m, I’m really excited about having further discussions, but before we do that, how does the B2B DM gang get in touch with you?
Stacey Danheiser (39:25):
Yes. Well, I would love to connect on LinkedIn, um, Stacy dam, Heiser, um, and then my website is shaked, M K T I’m in the process of launching a brand new marketing community as well, that I would love to have everyone join and you can get more information on my website, www dot shake, M K T,
Jim Rembach (39:45):
Stacy Dan Heizer. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, and we wish you the very best.

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