Why Marketers Should Be Customer Advocates
In this episode of the B2B Digital Marketer Podcast, Mike Gospe shares the importance on why marketers should also be leaders and why advocating the customer is important. This episode will surely hit you with a curved ball as Mike shares a lot of insights in building a REAL strategy for your B2B digital marketing.
Mike Gospe is a B2B marketing strategist with 30 years of experience and a passion for inspiring CXOs and leadership teams to become more customer-focused.
He grew up in HP and Sun and advanced to senior marketing leadership positions at several start-ups before co-founding KickStart Alliance, a customer advisory and customer success leadership consulting team in 2002.
Mike follows a key mantra: whoever understands the customer best wins. To achieve this, he’s built a reputation of teaching marketers a variety of best practices, including how to build effective, well-rounded buyer personas, craft-focused positioning statements, and create customer-ready messaging.
He’s also the author of eight marketing best-practices books, including Marketing Campaign Development and The Marketing High Ground. To become a truly market-focused company, executives need to know how to talk with their customers so they can validate that their business strategies are aligned with the ever-changing customer needs and expectations.
Over the past two decades, Mike has become a well-respected facilitator of Customer Advisory Boards and Partner Advisory Councils. He’s helped more than 100 innovative companies harness the power of their advisory boards to define and sustain their competitive advantage. His teachings on advisory boards can be found on his CAB Resource Center. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.
01:25 – Mike’s passion for B2B digital marketing
02:52 – How COVID-19 brought a huge spotlight on digital marketing
05:20 – Having a REAL digital marketing strategy
07:10 – True account-based marketing
08:42 – Aligning sales and marketing objectives
10:43 – Alignment case study: COVID-19
11:44 – Pivoting your marketing program to help customers and becoming customer advocates
13:09 – Putting spotlight on customer experience and customer success
15:37 – Why the shiny object syndrome is overrated
17:43 – The importance of culture and systems in your digital marketing strategy
20:01 – Training marketers to be leaders in the company
23:34 – Investing in a customer advisory board program
28:07 – Determining where you’re failing in your marketing efforts
30:26 – The one question every b2b digital marketer should ask themselves
34:42 – Connect with Mike Gospe
“As a digital marketer, now is the perfect time to reflect on how we can bond with our customers and deliver more value to them.”
“Digital marketers need to be aware of what the landscape is, but they must not lose sight on the larger, integrated marketing strategy.”
“One of the best things a marketing leader can do is hire people who are smarter than they are.”
“What is it that you do and why do you do it? As a digital marketer, what value do you provide to a company?”
Links and Resources
Mike’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikegospe
Mike’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikegospe/
Mike’s website: https://www.kickstartall.com/
The Marketing High Ground: https://amzn.to/308zXMf
Show TranscriptClick to access unedited transcript
Jim Rembach (00:00):
Okay, B2B DM gang. I have somebody on the show today and we’re going to have a fantastic conversation. And for those of you who are familiar with baseball, um, and if you are not aware, I love the game. Um, I’m actually a certified pitching coach. I coach at the middle school level. Um, for me, that’s my retirement plan. When I don’t have to work anymore, then I’m going to be a college coach. That’s what I want to do. Um, so I don’t, I’m just sharing that with you, but it’s important because that’s a strategy, right? And the person who’s on the show today, who’s going to throw you, they’re going to throw you some curve balls, probably about your B2B DM strategy that you need to be aware of. And Mike Gospe is actually a B2B marketing better and strategist. Uh, he is also the co founder of the kickstart Alliance and he’s an author of eight books. And the one that we’re really gonna be focusing in on today is the marketing high ground. Mike Gospe. Thanks for joining me. And if you could share us a little bit about your passion for B2B DM.
Mike Gospe (00:56):
Yeah. Thank you, Jim. I’m delighted to be here and to be with your audience. Yes. I do have a passion for digital marketing, but I’m going to take a step back to it because I think today all marketing is digital digital marketing in the past. Used to be kind of a, a precise, discreet kind of niche. Nowadays. I struggled to find, well, what element of marketing doesn’t have a digital element to it? Actually, they all do. And they all should. So my passion as a marketing strategist is about forming that integrated marketing strategy that follows the buyer’s journey and their digital elements to all of it.
Jim Rembach (01:36):
You know, it’s interesting that you say that. Um, I would also say that we probably would have even addressed that a little bit differently four or five months ago when we started talking about all of it being digital. Because I think to me, there’s a lot of things that have become more aware of being digital that we probably didn’t think about before. Like somebody was even chatting earlier about the whole LinkedIn messaging type of thing, you know? Well, that’s now a digital strategy. That’s extremely important for a lot of B2B marketers. And so how you go about that is vitally important. So how are some of these things that you’re seeing, you know, become automatically important, forced transformation? Um, you know, I mean, what are you seeing?
Mike Gospe (02:15):
Yeah, so, you know, Jim, you’re raising an excellent point because the COVID-19 and the lockdown has brought a huge spotlight on marketing and digital marketing elements. So from a personal perspective, let me share the short, short story. So we’re maybe, uh, six weeks into lockdown. And I happen to notice, I was looking at all my email that I’m getting, and I’m getting a ton of tone, deaf email marketing. I’m Ben, my company leases cars. So I get these emails from dealerships going, Hey, come on down to the dealership and check out our cars. It’s like really we’re in week four of lockdown and you want me to come? Or I got emails from a company trying to sell me a new payroll systems like, Hey, I run a small business. I have to deal with furloughing for loaning, uh, furloughing employees. And you want me to buy a, a payroll system?
Mike Gospe (03:14):
So, no, it’s not that the marketers were doing something intentionally bad, but what the spotlight’s on as these programs, I’m willing to bet, you know, dollars to donuts. These were automated before the lockdown digitized. And so, and then I go to my spam filter, Oh my God. Over the course of 10 weeks, I probably have a thousand of emails and I’m not talking about the Viagra’s over the Rolex watches. I’m talking about reputable companies from seasoned marketer, sending messages that just are out of touch. And so the, as a strategist, not only do we need to think clearly about what the buyer’s journey is and the right touch points and how to digitize those, but when, and as conditions change and as they change so quickly and they were changing all the time, even before COVID-19, but now with COVID-19, there was this lag of fat leg effect.
Mike Gospe (04:07):
So, and then you mentioned kind of LinkedIn new channels coming up, how people are communicating. Let’s talk about zoom and everybody now on the zoom overload, right? There’s this new dimension to our world, all of its digital, all of it has marketing implications, but we need to rethink what that strategy is. So what, as far as for me, my message to digital marketers is we need to be better. We need to be more attuned to what’s going on. We need to be more reflective and we need to rethink what that strategy is. And there are four dimensions of what the strategy is for today. And I call this about having a marketing program that’s real R E a L real, your strategy must be relevant and timely for the people we’re talking about. It’s the middle of COVID. Do you want to be talking to me about coming into a dealership or, or selling a payroll system?
Mike Gospe (05:04):
That’s not exactly timely. It needs to be empathetic to the situation, the buyer and the companies are going through a right now, there’s a huge lack of empathy in many marketing messages that are going on. Um, it needs to be authentic where we say what we mean, and we mean what we say, and then it needs to be legitimate in that, uh, get rid of the hyperbole. Let’s how use trustworthy evidence to support our claim. So as this marketing strategy in this new digital world, uh, where all the pieces are moving fast, I think marketers need to be driven to be real relevant, uh, empathetic, authentic, legitimate.
Jim Rembach (05:49):
Well, as you’re talking, I started thinking about, um, some of the things that have also changed from a strategy perspective. And I think your examples kind of point out a little bit, and that is we have to be careful about digital and the automation elements, and then therefore causing or creating invisibility. So in other words, I’m sure that those people that set all of those things up, like you’re talking about, yes, it probably I’m sure it was before, um, you know, all of this occurred, but now it was automated and it’s out of sight out of mind and this thing started running. Yeah, you can’t, and now I can’t pull it back. Cause I just went out to, you know, X many or whatever like that. So I think we have to probably do a better job when we start thinking about strategy of having visibility into all of our activities and all of our automations.
Mike Gospe (06:34):
Absolutely. And it’s not. So within a marketing community, boy, there’s huge visibility and emphasis on the whole funnel on the lead generation funnel and that’s and rightly so because companies need to kind of monitor that, but there’s been a lack of visibility about what’s really going on out in the real world. And I take, I take this issue with so many marketing teams that I deal with and I coach where they’re looking at what is driving them as an individual. I need to run 500 new leads per month. And I don’t care where I get them. And if I don’t get my funnel, I’m going to be in trouble. Meanwhile, what’s going on in the rest of the world. And have you addressed the right message by the way, this plays into this whole coach notion of account based marketing. Now account based marketing has been around for 20 years.
Mike Gospe (07:24):
And one of the pet peeves I have is that there are people out there who will say, Oh, it’s a brand new thing. No, it’s not a brand new thing, but the trick, uh, an account based marketing is not target marketing, target account marketing. You build your list and you go, Oh yes, I’m targeting these accounts. True account based marketing is understanding what the true issues are that the people you wanting to sell to are going through and being empathetic and then matching your messaging and your digital elements to them. It takes, you know, serious thought process to sketch those out and flow chose us. That’s the level of vigilance that we’ve not had nearly as much as what we need to have as a marketing community.
Jim Rembach (08:06):
Well, I, okay. So you and I had this discussion about what you do and what I do. And, you know, I work in the contact center and customer experience space with a lot of different solution providers. And one of the things that they always have as a major barrier is that relevance component. So for me, I was actually in operations, in a contact center, uh, you know, I supervised and managed and contact centers. And so I lifted, I know it. Uh, and when you start really talking about a lot of these companies who are trying to sell solutions, they don’t have that context. So relevance for them is really difficult. And so what ends up occurring is that we have marketing message and then a sales activity and in transition or handover that has a huge break and disconnect and a lot of, you know, mayhem for them to be able
Mike Gospe (08:56):
To close their funnel, have conversions. Yeah. And in fact, in, uh, the, the meetings that I’m most enjoyed and valued when in my career as a, either senior marketing director or VP of marketing was when we got together for sales and marketing summits. And these would happen on a, sometimes a quarterly basis at at least once a year, if not twice a year. And these meetings had a specific purpose of aligning with the sales objectives were and what the marketing objectives were to help support kind of sales and making sure that we had that story. We understood what a good qualified lead was. Many companies I had worked with us 10 different people. What do you think a good quality lead is? You get 10 different answers and no wonder that there’s there’s problems with that. But I think alignment and collaboration on this visibility element that I talked about starts there.
Mike Gospe (09:53):
It shouldn’t start before, but that should be a catch. All the saying, you know what? Let’s make sure that we’re, we’re aligned and we’re in sync with the story that we want to tell. We need to tell, especially now let’s, let’s take it now with the whole COVID-19 thing. Now, what so early on, uh, you know, four weeks into lockdown, EV lots of tone, deaf messages, lots of lack of alignment. And then afterwards, everybody started to get onto the obligatory during these difficult times. And now that’s kind of, I don’t want to say it’s backfired, but now it’s kind of, it doesn’t have the same effect as it had before. So instead of trying to play catch up for that, we need to start aligning with what comes next. How do we help the companies come out? And I’ve been delivering a hard message to companies.
Mike Gospe (10:43):
I said, unless you’re Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and a small handful of other companies, you’re not going to make your quarterly numbers. You’re not going to make your year numbers. You’ve lost too much revenue during this shutdown. And so instead of panicking, Oh, let’s throw more energy into marketing and sales and get any lead that, that breathe. We’ll do that. What if we didn’t do that? What if we shifted our marketing programs to be of service to customers, how can we actually help them make the best of the investments that they’ve already made with us? How can we help them solve problems and pivot their own business? What that essentially means is what if we all become customer advocates in marketing and sales, and we align our messages and our value from that, undoubtedly people will still want to buy and we’ll gladly sell to them.
Mike Gospe (11:36):
But I think that has a huge impact on how we treat marketing Kia, digital marketing, the stories that we tell the alignment with sales and marketing, and ultimately it will strengthen the relationships we have with the customers. So when get better, you’ll grow faster. And for anybody who is thinking, maybe I’m making this up, all you have to do is go back to 2008. When we had the great recession where a lot of the same things were happening, completely different situation, but businesses were shutting down marketing and sales. There were stagnation and programs, but those companies that kept a little bit of a lifeline on into understanding the customer journey and being there, if only to listen, help, they learned a ton about their customers that impacted their marketing programs. And they grew faster when times got better. So I think we’re, we’re dealing with a similar kind of opportunity.
Jim Rembach (12:33):
I would agree with that. And it’s a really good point. Uh, one of the things also I run into from a strategy perspective, as I talk to organizations about the, you know, before, during, and the after sale process and what you were talking about there is really what I know is client success customers, right? So you’re talking about taking those marketing people and now having them be part of your client success team. While the downside that I see is there’s a lot of organizations that I’ll talk to and I’m like, okay, let’s talk about your marketing is talk to your sales. And they’re like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then I say, okay, let’s talk about your client’s success. And they’re like, what? What’s that?
Mike Gospe (13:09):
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s true. I, you know, if anything, again, talk about shining the spotlight on areas in digital marketing is a magnet for that. Cause it’s a hot topic and people are talking about this, but there are implications that go beyond that. And your notion of customer experience and customer success is exactly right. Because what if the future, what if the only customers you win this year are customers you already have? So, and everybody knows the saying is true. It’s lot easier to keep a current customer than to get new ones, but what does that mean for how we operate and where we go? So I, I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek. Uh who’s right. And as a strategist for Apple and many others, one of the things that he says a lot is take time to reflect on what you do and why you do it.
Mike Gospe (14:00):
And I think as marketers, and I don’t mean this as an existential question, although that has value in it of itself. But let’s say as a marketer, as a digital marketer, as a company executive moving to the future, I think now with all that’s going on in our crazy world is a perfect time to reflect on what do we do individually and as a company and why do we do it? And what’s that message. What’s that bond that we can have with our customers that will help them solve their problems, deliver more value to them. And if we can kind of get our finger on the pulse of that, our digital marketing programs are going to be more carefully defined. There’ll be more visible, more, more real right. Relevant, empathetic, authentic, legitimate. And I think that’s where the opportunity for leadership and marketing development is coming out of this pandemic. If that makes sense,
Jim Rembach (15:00):
It does make sense. So then I would dare to say with those types of, uh, you know, philosophies and, and, and opinions and strong emotions associated with all of this is that you probably have a lot of, uh, thoughts around things that are just overrated. So what do you think is B2B digital marketing?
Mike Gospe (15:16):
Yeah. You know what? I think that’s a great, great question. What is overrated? And I’m going to, uh, ne give you a generic reaction. It’s the shiny object syndrome. And I saw this happen when I give you an example, when Marquetto first came out and everybody thought Marquetto was going to be the silver, silver bullet to marketing campaigns, Oh, we’re going to automate all this stuff. It only became clear that if you automate garbage in, you’re going to get garbage out. And the tool in and of itself does not make the difference. So what I think is overrated is whatever is hot in the moment as Oh, Instagram, everybody’s moving to Instagram. It’s like, it’s, it’s a, it’s the hot thing of the day. Or just like Facebook was, or now people are thinking of, Oh, LinkedIn and different capacity. Yes. Digital marketers need to be aware of what the landscape is, but don’t lose sight about what the strategy is that integrated strategy of where do your buyers go to get information?
Mike Gospe (16:14):
What information do they use to make better decisions, purchase decisions, what information do they need? What content all of that plays in. And what I fear, what I’ve seen so often is a marketing organization is segmented. I’ve got somebody who deals with the website and they’re over here. I had somebody working on social media and they’re over here. Somebody is doing something and they’re just not, not connected. And so I think, Oh, those things are great, but they’re only great until they become obsolete. And what doesn’t become obsolete is this strategy. So I think pay attention to the larger landscape, but every marketer, I don’t care if you’re a, you’re a new hire you’re working on social media or website. Everybody needs to have one eye on the larger marketing strategy. That’s where we need the better investment.
Jim Rembach (17:08):
Well, and to add on to that, um, I was just reading something and I can’t recall it off the top of my head. I’m sorry. But, uh, it was, it was saying how, in order to be more resilient in times, you know, of, you know, the volatile and all of that stuff. And by the way, this is how it’s going to be going forward. And I mean, I think it’s, it’s the new reality, right? So we do have to be learn how to be more resilient and be galvanized and, and all of that. And as they talk about, there’s two things that you need to have that are vitally important. And I talked about culture and then systems. And so for me, when you’re talking strategy, I think that falls into both camps. You know, um, I need to have the proper culture, um, strategy, and then I need to have the proper systems. And when they’re saying systems, they’re not talking about tech, you know, they’re, they’re talking about, you know, how things operate in a systematic way, more holistic.
Mike Gospe (18:03):
Exactly. And so I can give you a perfect kid. I totally agree with what you’re saying, Jim, when, uh, I was a VP of marketing and, uh, with my current customers, uh, I’m a big fan of creating playbooks and a playbook covers both. Now, the culture comes out of that, but system realize we’re not talking about how do you, how are you using your salesforce.com system, do your utmost advantage, which has huge issues. Cause everybody’s not, but if you can blueprint out and I literally mean it like, uh, an expanded flow chart of how the pieces fit together and who does what, and what systems are tied in is huge. And so one, one client I worked with, we developed, you know, four or five different playbooks for different elements. And it was amazing because everybody had a fairly large marketing team. They would look at these and immediately they know what role they needed to play. It’s like, Oh, we’re going to go on the football field and play football. What, where do I need to stand? It’s like, Oh, now you know what position you’re going to play. So many companies don’t have this and this really helps. And you’re right. Future is not the past and we’re going to need new playbooks coming out of this.
Jim Rembach (19:14):
That’s a great point. Okay. So then I don’t want to answer this question for you. I want to make sure that it’s your perspective, although I think I know what I’m going to hear. Uh, so if I started talking about, um, you know, areas where a digital marketer can really be a disruptor and today, where is that?
Mike Gospe (19:33):
Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a good question. I’ve given a lot of thought, a lot of thought to this and it ties into what we were talking about earlier in that I don’t, I’m not a big fan of shiny object syndrome as being the, uh, the, the end all be all deal. I think there’s a, a strategy element of that, that people need to embrace a little bit more. So what does that actually look like? How does, how does that happen? I see if you were to ask me, um, where would I spend some additional money to help my marketing marketing team? There’s, there’s two areas that I would have them invest in. When we talked about earlier, was this alignment with sales and marketing. But the other is in training and marketing training of marketers, not only to be better marketers, but to be better leaders across the company.
Mike Gospe (20:22):
And so when there is training and let’s take salesforce.com as an example, and there are tons of resources available out there to get more skilled on how to use salesforce.com and the many plugins and the tying in with this, that, and the other system, many companies, sadly, I think don’t take advantage of that. And either because training is an naughty, it’s like, well, Jim, I hired you to do that. I expect you to go figure that out. It’s like, no, you know what? I think one of the best things a marketing leader can do is hire people who are smarter than they are. So this is what I would do as a VP of marketing. I would hire somebody who’s smarter than I am and website design and SEO and Facebook, and even so, because technology is changing so fast, I would have a little bit better, the budget set aside, so they could go attend a course, get some additional teaching learning so they can become even better at that.
Mike Gospe (21:20):
So that would be number one, but there’s the flip side of that. And this is the longer term side is how do you build marketing bench strength to kind of grow as your business grows? Well, you need to invest not only training in understanding your products and how the products fit into the market landscape, but how to be a good customer, how to be a good corporate leader, a skilled in communications. One of my bosses, old bosses at the time said, it’s ironic that we, as marketers are not better communicators. And this was said in context of internal communications of sharing with sales and the leadership team, what exactly it is that we’re doing, and that doesn’t come naturally, you need some political savviness to figure this out, but you also need to understand the right ways in which to communicate internally or to build leadership skills or to, uh, uh, uh, expand and extend your curiosity.
Mike Gospe (22:26):
And to other parts of the organization, marketing should know what sales is doing, engineering customer service support, and they should know what marketing is done. And I see that as being kind of a, kind of a gap. So to invest in those kinds of areas, I think has not only opportunities to help a company, but to grow better marketers and right. That’s the next generation of leaders. So I, I’m not sure if I answered your question directly, but these are some of the things that I’m thinking about. Uh, you know, when I think about where we invest in and how do we get better.
Jim Rembach (22:58):
So I mean, how you did, I mean, so for me as an individual, if I’m looking at how can I actually make it that big difference, it’s doing the things that you’re talking about. And from an organizational perspective, you were talking about minor shifts. Let’s, let’s take, let’s take all the constraints off. So you’ve been given unlimited budget. You can do whatever you want, where are you going to invest your money?
Mike Gospe (23:18):
Yeah. That’s well, so we’d come back to the, I think in order to answer that, uh, first I would double down on making sure I’m understanding what the company’s value proposition is and where the growth opportunities, where we can provide the most, most value. And if we don’t know that I’d invest to figure that out, and it’s not just about, well, let me take a step back. I’m a big believer in having become the customer advocate and what I mean by the customer advocate, meaning that you’re the resources that actually know the trends and drivers driving your customer’s business better than anybody else. And it’s not that, Oh, what, when my gospel, my gospel knows all the answers I’m therefore Mike is going to dictate the answer. No, that’s not what I’m talking about, but what a customer advocate knows the right questions to ask and the way to bring in some of that knowledge.
Mike Gospe (24:11):
So one of the things that I would invest in, and one of the things that I currently advocate strongly with my customers is, do you have a customer advisory board program? Do you know, can you gather your customers to understand how they’re thinking about how their business is evolving, how their buying process is likely to evolve, uh, and what kind of information they need to solve their problems. All of that then impacts what our marketing engine needs to look like. So the last thing I’m going to do is jump to attack, stick without confirming and understanding completely kind of where we’re going. I’m making sure that we’re in alignment. So some of that money customer advisory board, which are being reshaped now because of COVID-19, that’s a great investment for that. I’ve look at other, I have a voice of the customer model that just briefly there it’s a pyramid model and there are three levels of customer engagement.
Mike Gospe (25:08):
All of this impacts digital marketing hugely at the Y access to the model are tactical topics at the bottom. I had a bad experience on Tuesday. What are you going to do to fix it to strategic at the top, which is how’s, COVID-19 affecting your business. And what is it going to look like by 2023 different questions that get asked to different people at different times at the base of the pyramid, which is the widest. There are many people in your company talking to many customers at any given time on tactical and operational, uh, elements and marketing must have an investment. Digital marketing is huge here to pay attention to customer survey forms, customer sat and PS scores, real time monitoring of social media need to make sure that there’s an investment in that that’s appropriately fit. So that’s part of where I’d spend my money, the middle level, it’s called product direction.
Mike Gospe (26:00):
You want to get feedback, that’s going to impact your medium term roadmaps, uh, six to 18 months out. You know, I’ve got my product here. I want to know if it’s tuned appropriately. Do I need to change some things, but largely the product is baked. You need to have some product, uh, uh, feedback and user groups as a traditional item here at the top of the pyramid is where the customer advisory board fits. This is where you get a dozen of your senior decision maker, customers to meet with your CEO and executive team to talk about the future and how their business is evolving and ultimately how your company tends support that as a marketer, where I make my investment is I need to make sure that every part of that model has an level of investment for both the systems. And you talked about systems and culture earlier, Jim, and you’re exactly right.
Mike Gospe (26:51):
The culture has to be set by the CEO who says, you know what? Understanding customers is really important. I’m dedicated to it. I expect my team to be dedicated to it because the more we know can help us be more empathetic. So there, there are a variety of tactics at each of those three levels, and it would become clear what those investments need to be based on that bit of analysis. So I would take I’d slowed down before I spend anything to take a little bit, to understand this picture and then put together a plan on how to use that money. And I think it’d become clear.
Jim Rembach (27:30):
Well, thanks for sharing that. I mean, for me, there are so many things that came out that are so vitally important, you know, first is the listening element, but there’s also the contextual element, but there’s a whole lot of wisdom that needs to be put in place there that you’re gaining from your customer because Hey, let’s face it. I mean, a lot of people who are in a, in a, you know, marketing position, you know, may not have had the opportunity to have the longterm exposure that I’ve had in my industry. Right. I think that’s really critical.
Mike Gospe (27:59):
So that, there’s, there’s a flip side to the question that you did. So you asked me, what would I do if I had a million bucks suspend, the flip side is, um, what do I think about the investment I’m currently spending? So let’s say I’m spending a million dollars and there’s this old saying that says, I, you know, I know half of my marketing budget is misspent. I just don’t know which half actually I can tell you which half, it’s pretty easy to find out what you have. All you have to do is take your marketing tactic, whatever it is, and take a step back and say, what’s the strategy behind this? Do I know who I’m targeting? Do it? What’s the persona. What’s my positioning statement. What’s the story. I’m trying to tell nine times out of 10, you look at that and it becomes clear, well, you’re wasting money here.
Mike Gospe (28:45):
Cause you don’t know who you’re talking to. You’re trying to be all things to all people, or like we talked about earlier in the episode about all these emails I’m getting that are tone deaf and out of sync with what, you know, no, I don’t want to go to a dealership or buy a payroll system. The timing is wrong. So there is a way, and I think through some gentle self-assessment and reflection, I’ve done this with marketing teams. They say, you know what? Let’s, let’s take over lunch. Let’s get together. Let’s, let’s put up on a wall, all the marketing tactics that are going on right now, let’s kind of look at them and see if they sync up and, and it becomes clear. Do you don’t have a persona? The messaging is all wrong, et cetera. This, by the way, was the reason why I wrote my book, the marketing high ground, because those marketers who understand the customers, Beth, it’s like, you’re climbing a mountain. And your view of market is so much better than if you’re down at the weeds and you don’t understand or see how the pictures pieces fit together.
Jim Rembach (29:50):
Man, I’ll tell you, Mike, I think you foreshadowed a lot of my questions, my friends. So I’ll tell you because ultimately it comes down to you. We have to stop and take some assessment and some inventory and ask ourselves the question, you know, what, what should, what should I be looking at? What is the question I should be asking myself as a B2B digital marketer. And I think you already hit it, but
Mike Gospe (30:11):
Yeah. So let me, let me try to be, um, practical and pragmatic on this for everybody. So I, I think there are, there are a couple of things that all of us are humans, humans are dealing with right now in COVID-19. And I think it’s important to recognize how stressful and the future is not going to be what we thought it was a lot of what we’re taking for granted yesterday. Doesn’t apply. So I’m thinking as a, for anybody, but let’s say as a digital marketer, the first question I think is a good opportunity. Maybe it’s over a glass of wine when the evening, just to reflect on what is it that you do personally and why do you do it? What, what do, what do I, as a digital marketer? What’s the value that I want to provide to a company? What’s the expertise that I want to invest in and to be really clear on that, uh, you know, sometimes we all fall into jobs kind of by chance.
Mike Gospe (31:12):
And I think because so much, you know, what a lot of what’s happening in the world is broken and it needs to be fixed. And I think what a great opportunity for us to kind of say, yeah, you know what I want to, I’m seeing marketing in a new light and I think there’s new value that I can add. So I think number one, personal assessment, no matter where you are. So number two, as a digital marketer, I think it would be good. Not only are you good in your current craft. And I think it’s really important cause we do need specific experts in that. And if you’ve got something you’re passionate about, technology-wise stick with it at the same time, I would say, give yourself a broader awareness of the pieces that surround you now. So I’ll give you, this is not a digital exercise, but this is where I personally was hit in the kidneys several times early in my career.
Mike Gospe (32:10):
And it’s the difference between advertising and press relations. So I worked for a large company, my buddy and colleague manage the advertising programs. I manage press and we had an upcoming launch that was coming new product introduction. We were all very excited about this. And at running the press, I had to drive the editorial community. I had to write the press releases and I wanted to get that great cover shot on you E times or whatever the magazine was to showcase our product. And I had negotiated with the, uh, the editor, this great photo. We were going to be on the cover. And I had told all the executives about this, and we’re going to be super excited about this. The day of the launch comes, the magazine hits. We’re not on the cover. So I’m going, Oh my God, what happened? So I call the editor and he tells me, he says, well, Mike, I thought this was going to be brand new news, but you been advertising this product for the last week and I’m going, Oh my God, what?
Mike Gospe (33:14):
So the ad and the ad guy, he sits bloody right next to me. And yet we didn’t synchronize. So he and I both got taken to the woodshed kind of thing, but it was a great learning experience. So let’s, let’s translate to the digital now and whether it’s search engine optimization, it’s Facebook ads, it’s YouTube channels, it’s LinkedIn, it’s whatever, it’s the salesforce.com apps, whatever you’re working on, make sure you understand how it fits with the broader, you know, landscape of the things pieces that connect together that’s worth taking the time. Not only will you become more attuned yourself, you’ll become a better asset to your company because you’ll be able to understand the implications that ripple throughout the marketing process. That’s my advice.
Jim Rembach (34:06):
As I told you, B2B DM guy gang, you’re going to have somebody who’s going to throw you a curve ball or two in regards to your strategy and Mike, you absolutely delivered. So Mike Gospe, how can the B2B DM gang get in touch with you?
Mike Gospe (34:20):
I, uh, so I run a kickstart Alliance. Uh we’re uh, and I’m available onto the site. We’ve got email. You can email me also directly at [email protected] Uh, we’ve got a, a number of blogs. I’m also very, uh, somewhat verbose on LinkedIn. So if you go, I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. You’ll find out more of the best practices and the articles that I’ve written. And of course you can contact me directly through that as well. I am absolutely happy to answer any questions and even, you know, sit down and just brainstorm freely with my marketing colleagues at any time. So don’t be shy. Send me an email. We’ll set up a little time to chat.
Jim Rembach (35:06):
Mike Gospe, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, and we wish you the very best.
Mike Gospe (35:10):
It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much, Jim.