The Confident Marketer Playbook: Step 1
You're reading this because you want to be a better B2B marketer. You want to be relevant, persuasive, and effective. I've come up with a nine-step process (The Confident Marketer Playbook) to help you become all these things. Marketing strategies change, customer behavior changes, and companies change. After the pandemic, we all know that big changes can happen overnight.
The key to staying in the game is confidence. In this article, I'm going to cover the first step to becoming a confident marketer. This step is something that nobody talks about, but it can make or break your career as a marketing leader.
Marketing is more than just know-how. Most people can do a little research and incorporate well-known marketing skills into their plans. To be a great B2B marketer, however, takes more than just marketing knowledge. In my book, Stand-Out Marketing, I cover five key competencies that marketers need to help differentiate their organization and deliver value to their customers. In fact, the competencies spell out the word VALUE.
A visionary paints a picture of the future. Imagination and creativity work together with business knowledge to see things from a new perspective. Visionaries tap into what's going on outside the organization, figuring out what changes are occurring in the market and customer base.
Your marketing strategy won't go anywhere if you can't get the rest of the organization to buy into your plan. An activator understands the various departments in the organization and shows them how the marketing plan will benefit them.
Learning about your customers and what they are experiencing and thinking is an ongoing process. A learner's job is never finished. Learners dig deep and ask why certain things are happening, or why certain customers are responding the way they are.
How useful is your marketing strategy? A useful marketer will understand how to make their product practical and helpful for customers. Useful marketing tactics, such as podcasts or blogs, are especially important to understand. You don't want to pursue a podcast if none of your target audience listens to podcasts.
Evaluators assess and interpret data. It's a step beyond collecting data. Once the data is collected, you need to evaluate it to gain insight and understanding into what's working and what isn't in your marketing program.Your marketing competencies help differentiate your company from the competition. More and more businesses are turning to the marketing department to understand customer behavior. Developing these five key competencies will ensure you are prepared when you are in the spotlight.But wait, there's more! Beyond competencies, marketers need to have the right mindset.
A mindset is an established set of attitudes that someone has. Your mindset determines how you make sense of everything around you. For example, someone with a control mindset will utilize many rules and procedures to get work accomplished. Someone with a caring mindset puts a higher value on relationships and empathy while working.There are so many different mindsets you can have, from a growth mindset to a confident mindset to a political mindset. You may think it's difficult to control your own mindset, and that may be true, but I believe it is possible to change your mindset to benefit your marketing strategies.
Marketing is a highly scrutinized position. Everyone has an opinion about what you do and how you do it! The wrong mindset could lead you to quit too soon, give up your good ideas, or feel unconfident in yourself when you encounter opposition.
Let's take a closer look at the mindset of a highly successful B2B marketer. You may be surprised at the different aspects!
When you are constantly seeking customer feedback, you can't help but make your marketing decisions with customers in mind. Customers and customer behavior changes frequently, so you have to stay in tune with them.Who are your customers? I'm talking about your external customers who buy your product AND the internal stakeholders who buy into your marketing plan. You need to understand both to make a successful strategy and get it off the ground.
The field of marketing is in a constant state of flux. You can't depend on it staying the same, so it's best to develop a learning mindset that accepts the changes and can adjust strategies when necessary. Choose to be always learning. This keeps you humble and ensures you are staying in the game. The "always learning" mindset is similar to a growth mindset, which allows you to say, "I don't know why this is happening, but I'm going to find out."
There is no "one size fits all" in marketing. Be willing to try new things without fear of failure.If you are concerned about the risk involved in trying something completely new, consider starting with a pilot program. Pilot programs provide a low-risk environment for your marketing experimentation. Be sure to keep the "always learning" mindset while you are busy experimenting. With these two mindsets, you never lose. You either win or you learn. If the experiment fails, then you have an opportunity to say no and change tactics to benefit your customer.
Are you laughing at this mindset? Laugh all you want, but know that I am being serious. Nobody has to deal with more opinions than the marketing department. If you take everything personally, you'll end up defeated, packing your personal items into a cardboard box, and eating ice cream alone in your bedroom. When people react to the way you are marketing, choose to be confident. This was your idea, and you thought it was a good idea. Have a little faith in your own ingenuity! At the same time, don't be stubborn and become too attached to your ideas. Your goal is to seek to understand multiple perspectives. Remember the first mindset on this list? You need to be customer-focused, not self-focused. A brilliant marketer remains humble and wise throughout the process.
On the note of humility, use your marketing position as a way to give to others instead of taking their money. Concentrate on service and building strong, healthy relationships. For example, market your product's overall value to the customer. How will your product make your customer's life better? How will it educate them, give them something innovative to use, or help them gain deeper insight? When you have a genuine desire to help others, then your marketing strategy will tend to be more natural, friendly, and positive. Your customer should never feel like they are being forced to buy. Instead, help them feel enlightened and blessed by the new opportunity. Similarly, build relationships with your sales department. Seek to learn the seller's mindset out of a real interest and desire to be on the same page as them. You will probably gain their support throughout the process. This is key to gaining credibility in your company and successfully executing your strategy.
Never sell yourself short. If you are not impressed with your product, why should your customer be impressed? Give yourself time to truly evaluate the product and determine whether it is actually a good thing. If your product is a piece of junk, if you find yourself resorting to gimmicks, lies, half-truths or tricks to get your customer to buy, then you should get out as fast as you can. Personal integrity is important. You can leave a shady company and find a new job, but you can't always fix a broken reputation.
Many times, marketers put the cart before the horse. They are excited to create something new, and so they may skip boring activities (like research and planning). More often than not, this results in products, programs, and content that nobody wants. To avoid this definite lack of success, develop a mindset for strategizing and planning ahead. Define what success looks like to you, and then carefully build a marketing roadmap that aligns to business goals. If you put in the thought before you spend time and money on the execution, you will definitely gain more customer insight, learn more about your product and your target audience, and you will have a greater chance at long-term success.
Once your strategy is thought out, it's time to shift into execution stage. Stay committed to your ultimate goal, and don't let negative feedback from others put you in a constant loop of revising your strategy. Conducting an effective marketing audit is one way you can evaluate your strategy to find gaps and opportunities for improvement, and this is also Step 2 of my 9-step process to becoming a confident marketer.
I'm so glad! Start looking at your marketing strategies through the lens of these mindsets, and you will find yourself growing in confidence and achieving more success. Remember, mindset is only ONE of the four key areas we look at in our free Confident Marketer scorecard.
→ Read Step 2: 8 steps to Reveal Gaps and Opportunities in Your Marketing Strategy