Five useful B2B marketing tips in a time of stress
September 16, 2022
Yup, I'm a geek. The backdrop of my office, for all those video-call meetings, usually looks a little more like a well-curated comic book store than a workplace. Among the creative-focused crew, though, it's not that weird.
Nor was it weird when I popped up and said that I'd found a link between what we do in the B2B tech marketing trade and the Force. Or, less intangibly, some "lessons" (and inspirations) we can take away from Star Wars.
In marketing, we are accustomed to inflating the emotional impact or scale of things for dramatic effect. It's what we do. Your story doesn't have to be as epic as "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away," but telling it is key to establishing a relatable brand identity.
That emotion and scale enhancement doesn't have to be on a galactic scale, but there's always a story to tell. Harness the power of storytelling and use your content to weave engaging yarns that captivate your audience while expressing your subject-matter expertise.
We love stories. Our species is hardwired to resonate with them. So tell yours. Name the villain, present the hero, and explain the plot. Even if the villain is simply a bad UI and the hero is your design team, saving the world from the scourge of confusing web navigation and horrible color combinations, one page at a time.
Don't forget the classic Jedi mind trick of persuasion. To convince the audience to consider your firm as the go-to master of your craft, B2B marketers need to be persuasive in their messaging and value proposition. Storytelling is a fantastic way to do that. From your brand story, to company history, to the biographies of your leaders to—yes—your blog.
Everyone is fighting a battle on some scale, even if it is just in the quest for better cloud storage or a robust edge server. Don't be afraid to name the enemy (lackluster cloud, outdated server...) and lay out how your resources can be part of the fleet when the customer launches their heroic, problem-solving offensive.
When faced with a formidable enemy like the Empire, the Rebel Alliance remain committed to the effort to save the galaxy and for the Jedi to restore balance to the Force. Similarly, B2B marketers should stay focused on their mission. Generically, that might be "to create meaningful experiences that deliver value to customers." Perhaps it is something more "spiritual" about changing the world.
Whatever the mantra is—whatever banner your business-tribe is organizing under—the key is commitment. If you've decided the brand color is red, then everything is red. If you've chosen to make a play on words for a product name, then make sure everyone is in on the gag and repeating it consistently. If you've decided you'll send a cupcake to every client who closes a deal, then you better have the bakery on speed-dial.
Big brand ideas and goals mean nothing if everyone doesn't swear fealty to the same aims. There is a lot of noise around you, but focus and determination are the constant you can use to bring clarity when you're making your trench run.
Stay focused, keep your eyes on the prize, and prove your mettle with consistency. When you deliver explosive success, the galaxy will notice. And then they'll all be asking for cupcakes. Maybe with little Yoda ears.
Okay, confession time. Anyone and any organization who is worth their spice is playing with AI. If they tell you they're not, they're either fibbing or missing out on much-needed awareness of emerging tech. To that end, I am obligated to inform you that about 2% of this blog was written by an AI tool. I consulted said resource to help organize a few of the notions expressed here and then started outlining, drafting, and fleshing out my content from there. It truly helped give me the Force Push needed to dive into this publication.
With so many tools at our fingertips, we should always be willing to seek ways for technology to automate time-consuming tasks, enhance your human efforts, expand your reach, and demonstrate your dedication to your own offerings. Perhaps it's marketing automation helping to push customers along your buying journey without human error possibly slowing things down. Maybe it's a simple AI tool that will augment your hands-on work in the same way an exosuit might help with a heavy lift.
Perhaps you're simply trying to grow the breadth of your audience while also drilling into more depth via customized content. Or maybe you have a platform or tool you sell to your own clients that would gain more credibility and enhance internal knowledge bases if you were utilizing it yourself.
In whatever way meets your needs and aligns with your goals and values, embrace the available smart technologies. More often than not, you're not going to face an angry uprising of synthetic counterparts if you manage such resources appropriately and keep the human element involved intimately.
You need an expert marksman, ace pilot, big fuzzy lug who can tear off arms and a virtuoso with a laser sword. But are they already onboard your star cruiser?
Smart marketers encourage collaboration across various disciplines and specialties. The same goes for relationships between marketing and other teams. Tear down silos and involve sales in the conversation about assets and enablement. Ask HR what communication and culture efforts need marketing support internally. Since the brand touches every aspect of the company, it makes sense for marketing to do that every day. There are countless cases in which challenges might be solved by simply looking around the cantina for the right talent for the mission.
Which brings us to the tool to consider: a database of auxiliary talent. Regardless of job title or the skills presumed to come with it, most of us have skills or talents not made obvious by our email signatures. Most people are much more than their stated role implies, and you never know when the Force is strong in folks who have simply not been trained to harness it yet.
In a previous role, I discovered that our gentleman at the front desk was also an experienced photographer and one of our account reps had a lucrative moonlighting career in radio and podcast hosting with excellent voiceover talent. Learn what auxiliary skills your immediate team and other groups in your organization bring to the table. This might involve your people and culture department, an internal company survey, or simply a little LinkedIn snooping concerning your peers' work history.
Whatever method you use, you'll be surprised at how much an invitation to get involved can boost morale and earn loyalty outside the marketing wing. You just never know unless you ask.
Don't forget, though, to include your entire alliance in the spoils. Be sure everyone who contributes is present for the medal ceremony (or pizza party or happy hour).
The saga is ongoing for marketers, and these ideas are just a few you can borrow from one of the most enduring and epic tales in pop culture for enhanced success. It might seem unserious to blend space fiction with business fact, but whatever it is that inspires your work, makes it more fun, and better connects your teams to understanding brandcraft, lean into it.
This is the way.
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