There’s a moment in every infomercial when someone struggling with something—that no one actually struggles with—decides enough is enough.

“There’s got to be a better way!”

Of course, the “better way” is usually just a silly solution to a problem that didn’t exist a couple days earlier. But that’s advertising’s age-old “we ran out of ideas” idea.

Not to be outdone, I think we savvy iMarketers have found our non-idea idea, and the title of this post is the basic format. Recognize the structure?

10 [Keyword] to improve your [Keyword]

In an effort to be thought leaders, every marketing company has decided it needs to tell every marketer about the X number of best things to improve their thingy. I hope the tail end of that sentence confused you. We should all be confused right now.

Recently, I did an audit of some of our demand gen agency brethren. The project involved visiting websites, downloading whitepapers, watching videos/webinars, etc.

I came away with one major surprise. Everyone is saying the exact same thing. There is little-to-no variation when it comes to thought-leadership content. On one hand, that can be comforting—seeing the same thing over and over again sort of proves that it’s a “best practice.” Maybe. But God, it’s boring.

We’ve been doing it here, too.

Nearly every demand gen agency has the same two to three whitepapers about lead scoring, lead nurturing, and best practices, and pretty much all are identical. There’s got to be a better way, indeed.

So what makes anyone different?

Results.

But what are we spending so much of our time writing, sharing, amplifying, and repurposing? Ten things to thing your thingy.

It’s meaningless. It’s time-wasting. And we’re not in the business of wasting time. We’re in the business of getting the best results possible.

In light of this awakening, we at ID are going to do something a little different in our industry—tell the complete truth.

Dear marketers,

We know you want to feed Sales a hefty plate of leads with their wallets open. We know what’s at stake if you cannot do it, and we know how much of a hero you’ll be if you do.

In your mad dash to do your job as best as possible, you’ve been on a content binge. Some of that content might have been helpful—most, not so much.

The truth is, modern-day marketing is extremely complicated when you separate all the interlocking components of a successful, measurable campaign that takes place largely over the Internet.

If you know you have the bandwidth and expertise in-house to get it done, then congratulations and go get ‘em, Tiger.

If you’re not sure—and trying to answer that question based, in part, on the thought-leadership content you are aggressively gobbling up—we need to talk for a second.

It’s likely not going to happen like that.

You might not have the in-house resources and expertise to achieve the results you need in the timeframe you need them.

Can you learn this stuff? Absolutely!

The best way to learn is by working alongside a partner that does it really well—collaboratively, with you and your team. Ask a ton of questions, get in deep and stay there. Immerse yourself in how the campaign comes together and how it’s performing when it’s in market. Read tons of books about it.

This stuff isn’t rocket science, but, unfortunately, it takes a launch pad made out of prohibitively expensive materials and involves a new kind of math that can make your eyes hurt.

Now, a moment on revenue heroes.

Successful revenue heroes know when they are outgunned. They call their superhero friends, and get Joss Whedon to write them a screenplay.

People trying to be heroes take on armies alone. They might be considered a hero in the sense that they were brave, but they sure didn’t live to enjoy the admiration.

You want to be a revenue hero and enjoy the raise, bonus, better parking spot, larger slice of cake during company birthdays, etc.

You do not want to be someone who stretched departmental resources down to the thinness of filo dough and hinged success on strategy that was based on a cursory understanding of a very complex marketing process.

Read the above sentence out loud in one breath. It’s a metaphor.

You’re not going to be able to go from “not knowing” to “expert online marketer” in one neat step by reading blog posts, whitepapers or case studies.

We’re sorry. It’s the truth.

Again, we’re not saying you can’t learn, but you need to understand that it’s a slow learning process.

We should know.

It’s all we do. We don’t have to juggle product meetings, meetings about what was said in those product meetings, HR seminars, quarterly reports, management changes, etc. All we do is figure out how to improve our clients’ revenue. That’s it. Every day.

We’ve been a living laboratory ever since we started ID. We’ve experimented, been disappointed, successful, confused, frustrated, elated, intoxicated—and it has resulted in us being pretty good at knowing how to improve revenue. That didn’t happen by only reading the right book, whitepaper, blog post, even listening to the right expert consultant (We do homework regularly, too—all the time). It happened from trying, testing, and adjusting—by making strategies, content, technologies and best practices prove themselves in the real world.

Nothing’s stopping you from going out and trying things as well. But it’s been our experience that the typical company needs results—fast. And they tend to appreciate a hybrid approach that balances learning with expert guidance.

If you want to learn this stuff, and you want to be a revenue hero, then we can help.

Honestly, a lot of agencies have the expertise and resources to help.

Just make sure they are talking to you like an adult.

Make sure you’re not getting fed “Ten Ways To Spend Your Money With Us” unless it begins and ends with significant, repeatable and lasting revenue improvement.

Love,

Intelligent Demand

(To other demand gen agencies: If you read this, were outraged, and thought, “How dare they? We’re telling the truth everyday in our content!” We meant no disrespect. If you’re ever in Denver, I’ll buy you a beer. The point of this was to challenge everyone in our industry, especially us, to do better.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theo Romeo

Author Theo Romeo

More posts by Theo Romeo

Theo oversees ID’s Creative Department. His team, made up of people more talented and smarter than he, is on a crusade to make B2B creative more compelling and engaging. You can routinely find Theo standing in front of a whiteboard, arguing on behalf of storytelling and challenging the sacred cows of B2B content marketing. Once the culprits responsible for all the high-volume, low-performing content flooding everyone’s desktop and mobile devices are vanquished, you will find Theo quietly staring out onto the waters of the pacific northwest, calm, fulfilled. But in the meantime, when Theo’s not chasing windmills or trying to find less patronizing ways to tell his team how amazingly proud he is of them, you can find him making croissants for his wife and daughter, while listening to black metal and sipping a Sazerac. His personal motto: “Empathy is the shortest path to happiness.”

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