Why heads-up marketing is needed in B2B, and that means LIVEs

Henry Ford was talking to a production engineer when he famously said: “if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

A statement that transformed thinking and fortunes at Ford; a quote that would transcend business for decades to come.

We need to remind ourselves of this in b2b marketing, as too many organisations continue to do what they’ve done. The industry may be flush with people who have desires to be different and do different, but despite this, businesses continue to cycle their historic marketing plans, largely getting what they got.

In sports, we call for heads-up play. Heralding the reading of the game aligned with having the vision to unlock the opportunities around us. Players who can play heads-up rise to the top of their profession gracing tournaments like the recently started FIFA World Cup. Those who don’t battle to carve out a professional career. Some are successful, others not.

We need heads-up marketing.

This is not easy to do. It requires perseverance and determination from like-minded marketers to stand tall to leadership and help them realise why a step-change in thinking, approach, creativity, and deliverables is needed if organisations are to achieve their desired incremental MQLs.

Times are tough. Rising costs and a challenging economic outlook force boardrooms to focus on demand generation. Leaders default to what has worked previously. “Do more of what’s worked, and we’ll get more outcomes!” will be their direction.

Cue a flurry of social media posts declaring “we’re at stand 123, come and say hi!” or “product x delivers greater efficiency!”

Two things: 1) no one has ever attended an event and popped by stand 123 and said, I saw your post on social; I’ve come to say hi. 2) no one is thinking, ooh, just what I need right now, efficiency.

Nope, we’re scrolling past your posts because they’re boring. You’re doing the metaphorical equivalent of standing at the shop door saying, “can I help you?” – we’re all thinking “no thanks!”

Selling in social needs smarts. You need audience-first content. Stop publishing content that means something to the business, and start debating ‘what matters to our prospects?’ Consider what are their challenges and why do we solve them. Doing so will start the process of surfacing audience-first triggers that will foster attention and dwell time.

Next, consider the assets and channels needed to stand out from your target audience. This means you looking at data, not acting on your gut. Forget what you think you know, explore data evidencing what you need to know.

Earlier this month, I was presenting at our B2B Social Trailblazers event. To great reception, I delivered a presentation titled: The marketer’s guide to going live. This wasn’t just a guide to technology, but the blueprint to create truly impactful lives that deliver unprecedented attributed pipelines. I delved into human psychology using science to underpin why a change in our approach and thinking was needed. To prove our opinion was more than a hypothesis, we presented a case study evidencing how we helped to deliver a £38 million attributed pipeline for Fujitsu. Fujitsu was in the audience confirming the impact of our philosophies and works.

I led with some key statistics underpinning the critical role of LIVEs in your marketing plan. Think of your target audience and the typical age of the stakeholders buying your services. Think about the age of those who influence deals and the age of the people who sign off and buy the deal.

Now consider this:

eMarketer says 52% of live video viewers stream content through social media, with 63% of 18-34-year-olds regularly watching live video, and 34% of 35 – 54-year-olds regularly watching lives too

Nielsen says Live content accounts for almost a quarter of global viewing time

Live content generates 27% more minutes of watch time per viewing than on-demand video

When looking at data, rather than your gut, you’ll start to see that social platforms want live content. We, us, people, human beings – we want it. We’re entertained by it. We learn from it. We’re influenced by the content.

So why aren’t we publishing more of it?

Now that your attention is grabbed, but before you race off to create lives, there is another key consideration too. Start with why! Inspired by the brilliant book, written by the inspirational Simon Sinek, we took a brand-level philosophy and proved it works at all levels. What do I mean by that?

Salespeople are taught to FAB – feature, advantage, benefit. Fab’ing is a proven technique to overcome objections. Talented salespeople use it on calls and in meetings. All too often, the features within their speech focus on WHAT the business does, or WHAT the product or service is. Not WHY it unlocks business value or impact.

As Sinek’s book brilliantly evidence, starting with WHAT is wrong and will turn people off. In fact, audiences will be oblivious to your WHATs. Throughout his book, there is an abundance of proof points. Instead, we need to start with WHY.

Again, referencing my presentation, I helped our heads-up audience understand why this was the secret sauce ingredient to the success of our £38 million use case. It’s a critical game-changer to b2b marketing IF we apply it to assets and treatments that stand out.

Assuming you’re still intrigued and are one of the many like-minded heads-up marketers who are prepared to help leaders realise the error of their ways, embracing new impactful (and proven!) smarts in social, you can watch the full presentation here:

You may also be interested in some standout insight by Katy Howell, also released at The b2b social trailblazers event. You can access it here 👇

It starts with why. Your journey starts with exploring our insight and results and then helping your boardroom understand WHY things need to be done differently.

Be heads-up. Assess the environment around you. As I say in my presentation, BE MORE CHAMELEON! – that will soon make sense.

I’d love to hear how you get on. You can reach me at cj@immediatefuture.co.uk

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