Top 3 Lessons for B2B Marketing in 2021

There is a lot of B2B marketing wisdom out there. And, there is more every day.

You probably know these already, but here are 3 of the most obvious lessons for B2B marketing.


In other words, lessons from the Liquid Marketer’s Dragon Scrolls

Once upon a time, years ago, a colleague dropped by my desk. I was busy with quite a few things and didn’t have much time to chat.

It turned out he didn’t have much to say.

“Learn Salesforce!” he said, and left. He made impressive career moves over the next few years. I assume his knowledge of Salesforce helped.

I filed that piece of wisdom away and never did anything about it. I still haven’t ‘learnt’ Salesforce.

Have you watched Kung Fu Panda? (If you haven’t, stop reading and watch it.)

Po and Shifu pin their hopes on the legendary Dragon Scroll so that Po becomes powerful enough to defeat Tai Lung in battle.

B2B marketing is a challenging beast, just like Tai Lung. But the beast can be tamed. And liquid marketers, the Pos, do so better than others.

While there is no secret sauce to becoming one, this dragon scroll is not empty. It’s not all you. Here are the three lessons from the Liquid Marketer’s dragon scrolls. (Read them in Oogway’s voice for better results.)

3 simple lessons for B2B Marketing
3 simple lessons for B2B Marketing

Dragon Scroll Lesson 1: The solids matter in B2B marketing

What should your wardrobe hold? I’m sure we’ve all wondered about this at one point or the other.

A good rule of the thumb:

Have all the bling you want. But, don’t skimp on the solids. Those solid colors – the blacks, whites, blues, and greys – are the staple.

The solids guarantee you’ll never go to a party (with an undocumented dress code) and stick out like Slick Rick in a James Bond movie. You might be considered boring but you’ll be solid (bad pun, I know)!

In marketing, the solids are your skills; a variety of them, in fact.

What are the marketing solids? Audience, research, content, analytics, learning!

Liquid marketers invest in the solids. Why? Because, whatever change may come, the solids will still matter.

Dragon Scroll Lesson 2: Don’t marry a tool

Ignore the pun, please.

Till a few years ago, my own résumé used to read like a litany of marketing tools and platforms. I wrote of my prowess with Power Point, waxed eloquent about Eloqua, and owed my allegiance to Google Analytics.

There are jobs where tools and technologies are the holy grail. Marketing isn’t one of them.

Don’t hang your career on a tool or platform that may not be around next year, or in 5 years. Marketing technology has changed at an impressive clip in the last decade. There is no reason to assume things will change.

Take a look at the following graphic:

Tools, tools, tools. (C)

Tools come. Tools go. Some stay. Many don’t.

Never marry a tool.

That leads me to the next, somewhat paradoxical, idea:

Dragon Scroll Lesson 3: Experiment, analyze, learn

B2B marketing is different from B2C marketing – it’s less agile and less romantic. A lot changes when you don’t get 10,000 visitors every day and there is no BUY NOW or ADD TO CART on your website.

Sure, your target has been the CTO of that Fortune 500 oil giant forever, right? Why change? B2B marketing tends to gravitate towards a cookie cutter approach. Business-as-usual is the enemy of experimentation and change.

A liquid marketer will recognize inertia and actively challenge the status quo.

Whether your solution or business changes or not, the world around you is changing. Your customer is changing. The tool set is evolving. Channels fizzle out. New ones emerge. Your competitor is doing something different. There is a new competitor.

If you truly research, you’ll find that there is always a novel approach to try. It may or may not work for your business.

Experiment. Don’t be indifferent to the new.

Now, go out into the world and be like Po.

What are your tips for a robust B2B marketing plan? Let us know in the comments. If you would like me to take a look at your plan, I would be delighted to do so. You can get in touch with me.

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