More Frugal, Less Filling


Talking to a client today, I quoted the cliché of only being able to choose two of three attributes when buying anything: fast, cheap or good. Nothing is all three.

Unfortunately, many, many, many companies looking to market something – anything – are both in a rush and without adequate budget for the impact they want to make. Quality is rarely the attribute that gets the love. And you can tell. Look around. B to B marketing is truly the most boring content on earth. I’d legitimately rather read the tax code because at least the tax code is just about guaranteed to provide some illumination or knowledge. B to B marketing? Not so much.  

So why do we keep making it? Because no matter how cheap or quickly you might be able to get it, what’s the point of doing it at all if it doesn’t help you achieve your objectives? If it actually looks and reads so bad that it works against you? It would probably be more interesting at this point if a company took some stance to avoid all marketing rather than putting up another ugly site with the same bullshit as everybody else. At least that would be a story worth telling. 

But, alas, the average organization cuts marketing off at the knees by making it about one thing and one thing only: lead generation. Not thought leadership. Not brand identity. Not any of the stuff that actually builds pipeline – but is hard to commit to and even harder to quantify. After all, making it about lead gen is the most frugal way to handle things. If marketing only works to enable sales – then you can get a lot of noncreatives for relatively cheaply and put them in a room taking orders from sales guys. Cheaper than dirt!

But…quoi? Is that a problem I see? Let’s ask the Harvard Business Review, who writes “Traditional sales methods are increasingly unproductive. In fact, aggressive sales styles and product-focused selling are now so outdated that some customers are simply refusing to meet with salespeople using these techniques.”  

Soooo…product-based marketing. Aggressive sales styles. What you’re saying is, customers want to consume information about the brand and how it will work with the customers – not just its products. And they want to consume it on their own terms, not have it forced down their throats. But…but? We cut marketing’s budget and have our sales guys leading the charge! 

Here’s the takeaway: Without inbound marketing efforts, and nuanced, thoughtful content that sends a message without reading like an instruction booklet, customers aren’t going to care and aren’t going to listen. Go ahead, test it out. Cut your marketing experts, lose perspective on the entire worth and value of the practice, and push all the budget into sales and sales enablement.

 Give it a few years and report back. We’ll wait.