The Core B2B Marketing Skill is Not Design

It combines research, analytics, writing…and ethics

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

Fast forward to SEO, then content marketing

By the time this really took hold I was firmly on the management side of B2B marketing, more specifically, enterprise SaaS software. I liked the focus on facts, based on actually understanding what people were looking for and why, via analytics. We had a window into behavior before a buying decision was made. This was exciting for a writer, as we were tasked with getting those answers out.

A juggernaut is an unstoppable force

The core message of this film is that our social world, including Medium, feeds a huge data machine with very specific information about all of us. Literally all our behavior is traceable. And the reality is that we have exactly no control over this. The suggested cure was basically regulate, regulate, regulate. Except this business hates regulation and was basically designed to bypass it.

I’m not a technologist, nor did I set out to be one

These days I am a hired gun, a writer who, given a mission, has enough knowledge to help accomplish it. The research and analytics people know what they need and I try to provide it in human terms and a voice that won’t scare buyers away. Essentially the role of marketing writers is to serve as an information interface between the data defining the target and the human nature of that target.

Companies are groups of humans, not entities, regardless of corporate law

As I’ve written about previously, we do not sell to businesses, we sell to people in those businesses, people who have multiple interests including their own. So the voice we develop must be more than a bunch of information targeting the known interests and preferences of the intended reader.

AI understands sets of data but may still not understand human nature

I was tempted to add the word ‘yet’ to the end of that h2 subhead, because it gets closer to being able to match measurable behavior to preferences and then use that knowledge to feed us info it knows we are attracted to. That is the core message of that film which shows a phone addicted teen being manipulated into more and more online interaction.

Wading into ethics is easier if you set ground rules

My ground rules include not doing things I’m uncomfortable with or something overtly unethical. I’ve avoided allowing clients to use my name (few want to) because I have no control over what they do with it. When SEO was mainly a bunch of attempts to clumsily hack search algorithms, I would not sacrifice the quality of my writing to cram more key phrases in.

Reputation is a cornerstone of marketing and yours is crucial to your success

The permanent record is more permanent than ever before. People review other people in places like LinkedIn. Companies review people. These reviews are findable. For any freelancer, referrals are the absolute most powerful marketing tool, just as testimonials are for a product or service business. These reputational elements can make or break you. So I’d advise creating a few personal ground rules you can live with for a long time. They will serve you well.

Former software marketer. Former musician. Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!

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