This article was originally a talk at the B2B Marketing Festival.
I'm so excited to kick off with my favorite topic: owning your marketing superpower. First of all, let me thank you for taking the time to read this article. There are so many things you could be doing today, but you chose to be here, and that’s super cool.
Why should you listen to me? Well, I've been a marketing practitioner since 2004, and I have some side projects, including working as a mentor to marketing graduates and executives. I love to talk about brand marketing. On top of that, I'm a mom of two daughters. They're three and six this year, so I have a handful at home as well as at work. I'm also a writer. Originally, I'm from Malaysia, I’ve lived in Australia, and now I’m in Stockholm, Sweden.
Today I'm working as Chief Brand Officer at Oneflow. I've been with the company for almost five years. When I started, we were just 13 people. We just went public this year, and now we number more than 100 employees in seven countries. We also have customers in 25-plus countries.
Oneflow is a B2B SaaS company providing a complete platform for automating contracts. Our mission is to remove all the friction associated with contracts so that you can feel the contract magic, as we like to put it.
You’ve probably heard about e-signatures before, with companies like DocuSign, for instance. What we want to do is not just automate the signing step, but also the pre-sign and post-sign. We digitalize the entire contract workflow so you can create, collaborate, sign, archive, and manage all in one platform.
- What is brand?
- The power of world-class copywriting
- How marketing helps win the wars faced by every B2B company
- The evolution of brand marketing
- Winning the war for talent
- Typical B2B marketing orgs
- CMOs are being set up to fail
- The evolution of the CMO role
- How strong brands influence buying decisions
- The rise of multitasking CMOs in B2B
- We can’t be good at everything
What is brand?
That was my shameless plug for the day. Now let's talk about marketing and brand. So what is brand? My go-to definition combines the wisdom of Jeff Bezos and Seth Godin, the father of marketing: Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room, which influences their decision to choose you over your substitutes.
Now, brace yourself for my first outrageous statement of the day: every brand has a substitute. It's a war out there. As B2B marketers, our job is to change the culture, build the audience, do outbound at scale, and be top of mind when our audience is ready to buy.
We all know how B2B buyers behave today: they don't like to be sold to; they want to make the decision to buy. However, most of marketing's job is ultimately to turn our words, designs, and messaging into cash.
The power of world-class copywriting
The first battle you need to win is the battle for attention, and you can do this through powerful copy. The highest-paid copywriter in history is Gary Halbert. His legendary sales letters generated over $1 billion in revenue. That’s the difference between good copy and world-class copy: sales.
World-class copywriting means knowing what a potential customer needs to hear in order to be sold to and how it needs to be said. Does your copywriter understand your customers? Can they get into the customer’s shoes and speak their language? Do you know what good copy looks like?
A simple test to determine if your copy is good is to show it to a target customer. If they say, “Oh, it looks good,” that's not a good ad. What we want them to say is, “Wow! Where can I get that?” A good ad produces sales, not compliments or awards. As David Oglivy said, “If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative.”
How marketing helps win the wars faced by every B2B company
B2B companies are facing two different wars – every single one of us. First, there’s the war for talent. Research shows that 78% of candidates rank a clear, articulate brand purpose as one of the top considerations they would evaluate when choosing a potential employer. Then, of course, there’s the war of innovation. Anybody can copy a good product, so the pace of innovation that is happening today makes marketing even more important.
We can win these two wars by winning the battle of attention, winning the battle of trust, and winning the battle of preference.
Despite all the war talk, what we ultimately want to do is to create love. I believe that love is the ultimate growth strategy. When you fall in love for the first time, you always remember the surroundings, the sound, the feel, the smell, and everything that was around you during those magical moments.
We feel all of this because of the chemicals released in our brains when we fall in love. There’s adrenaline, which gives us a kick and makes us want more. Then you have oxytocin, which is the hormone that new moms produce when they breastfeed their newborns. Why? Because it makes them feel safe. Finally, there’s dopamine, the memory booster.
What we want is for people to fall in love with our brands and our products. These hormones will make them want more, they’ll make them trust you, and they’ll make them remember you. On top of that, with love comes referrals. According to a study by Accenture, 55% of buyers would recommend B2B brands that they love to their friends and family.