Marketing in B2B: Guide on how to change perceptions internally – ep 41

You know you need a marketer. Pretty much any business on the planet does. And yet, you have a skewed perception of what marketing does.

If you’re here because you’re a marketer that needs to convince business leaders how important your job really is, or if you’re a business leader trying to change your outlook towards marketing, you’re in the right place.

In this episode of The Electric B2B Show, we discuss the woes and worries of being a marketer, why marketing’s perception needs a makeover and how you can make that happen.

So what is marketing's common role and perception?

Leaders often have half-baked ideas about what marketing really does. And it’s not their fault that things are the way they are. Marketing is an ever evolving field, so new channels, strategies and hacks keep getting added, and old ones tend to become obsolete. Ofcourse, until they come back as re-packaged, sometimes better versions of themselves.

We don’t expect leaders to keep up, (marketers themselves barely can), but it’s important to not stunt a function’s role in your company. So where does the problem really start?

Business leaders know they need marketing, and usually attribute this need to one of the following few reasons:

Need to grow revenue
Sales needs help
Everyone else is doing it

While the former two are at least somewhat fair reasons to hire marketers, having this outlook towards marketing really limits how marketing is perceived internally.

Wonder what real marketing looks like in motion?

Marketing as the bitter pill

If you think & act like it’s a bitter pill, “a necessary evil”, it will shape your reality. As marketers, it almost becomes a part of our jobs to convince the C-suite why we’re crucial to the business. And unless business leaders don’t actively try to change this mindset, marketing will keep running into roadblocks.

So, how do you bring about this mindset shift?

By understanding that marketing isn’t separate from the product, it is a part of it.

A great analogy that comes to mind here is bottled water. The bottle is so integral to the business that it is a part of it, in fact, it’s even in the name. Take the bottle out of the picture and you have no product. Similarly, marketing is part of the product. You can’t remove it from the equation.

How marketing is viewed in your business is how your product is viewed. If you think marketing is manipulative & overdone, guess what? Your customers will find your marketing overdone, and hence attach that emotion to your product(s).

The sales function in any organization is hardly ever standalone. People become your audience with marketing, customers with sales and users with customer support. It’s just that all 3 happen in succession, meaning no one function can be more important than the other.

Your product isn’t just what you sell. It’s the content that your audience consumes, the SDRs they speak to, and the after sales service they get. It is ALL of it.

Does a great product really sell itself?

In this economy? Yeah, no.

Your product can be the best on the market, but as long as you don’t tell the audience how it benefits them, they won’t buy it. Marketing isn’t about the lack of integrity, or a psychological game.

The problem here is that leaders think all marketing is in-your-face, screaming at the top of my lungs, pitch-slapping sales.

Most times, it’s just adding as many touch points as necessary to create an affinity towards your product and waiting around for them to be ready to buy. It’s the foot in the door, not the bulldozer through it.

Just think about it yourself, if you wanted to buy coffee and you had three pretty much identical looking coffee shops right in front of you, but one had a board saying “Freshly brewed and roasted to perfection, Ghanian coffee”, with all the flavours listed down, along with the ingredient list, prices, a server handing you the menu before you enter and tissues when you leave, you’d head straight to that one before anyone could count to 3.

Software companies are coffee shops. Your product is never going to be 1000x better than a competitor’s. So, you will have to use marketing. And, in the rare chance that your product actually is a 1000x better, you will still need marketing to show people that. That is what marketing does. Good marketing differentiates you. And in a competitive market, that is everything.

Moreover, if you want to keep improving your product, you will need customer insight. Because without customer insight, you have no product roadmap. And without a roadmap, you have no product and no business.

Guide on how to change perceptions internally


Ultimately, as leaders, it’s important to trust your employee’s expertise. When you walk into a Doctor’s office, you don’t walk in and list out disorders you could have. You narrate your symptoms, you tell them what’s wrong. You don’t tell them which pills to hand out, or the treatment you need. You essentially place trust in their expertise. Do the same with marketing, and you’ll soon reap rewards.

Limiting marketing’s job and putting the entire vertical in a box is doing more harm to your organization than you think. It’s time for you to rethink a few decisions.

Wonder what real marketing looks like in motion?

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