Here in the Dallas area, we’ve had an unusually cold spring. But it’s about to warm up. And that means it’ll be prime season for the smokers come out to cook choice meats low and slow. The smells of mesquite, applewood, and hickory will drift across unassuming fence lines. That’s right—I’m talking about barbecuing. It’s not only a hotly debated culinary art form. It’s a great analogy for B2B marketing.
First of all, I want to help get you oriented. I’m not talking about grilling—the high temperature, fast, flame/charcoal-cooking of things like burgers and hot dogs. I’m talking about barbecuing—cooking meats like brisket, ribs and sausage for hours on end to make them impossibly tender and tasty.
So what does barbecue have to do with B2B marketing? Quite a bit.
Just because you’re a cook doesn’t mean you know anything about barbecue. Barbecue is a very specialized subset of cooking requiring unique expertise.
This is much like knowing that being a general marketer doesn’t make you a great B2B marketer. While a general marketer is equipped with the basic skills, and can learn B2B marketing, B2b marketing has a whole set of requirements, qualities and quirks that make it unique and take time to learn and master.
With barbecue, you’ve gotta cook your meats at a low temperature for a long time to get them perfectly tender and juicy, hence the phrase “low and slow.” A typical brisket can easily take 10-14 hours to cook properly. Like B2B leads, you have to warm them up over time to get the result you want.
Get impatient and raise the temperature to try to speed up the process? You’ll ruin your meat. It’ll be tough, dry and nobody will be happy.
Just like a B2B lead.
Most B2B sales are high-involvement purchases that require months to make and multiple stakeholders across diverse departments. Try to rush your prospects and you’ll just run them off altogether.
Leading content marketing experts show that on average, customers typically need 6-12 brand touch points before they’re even ready to talk to someone in sales. You don’t close deals overnight. And if you try to accelerate the timeline of this process altogether by barraging your prospects with all these touch points in quick succession, you can bet you’re going to be disappointed with the result.
Depending on whether you believe in barbecue sauce, dry rubs, or a little bit of both, one thing is certain—not all flavors work with all meats. One type of seasoning works with beef, another with pork ribs, another with pulled pork and yet another with sausage. You have to know which type of seasoning is best suited for each type and cut of meat.
B2B marketing is much the same. Marketing B2B tech products requires one flavor of marketing. Oil and gas marketing requires another. Marketing anything to the government sector may require a whole other approach.
Tone. Voice. Design. Strategies. Tactics. Industry terminology. Types of messages that resonate. In B2B marketing, these all vary from one industry to another. And that goes both for the industry that you’re marketing and the industries that you’re marketing to.
How do you know barbecue is something that requires true, unique expertise? There are people and companies that do nothing else—and make fantastic livings doing it.
The best barbecue shack isn’t one that also cooks up fried chicken, fresh lobster, tortellini and boiled crawfish. It’s a place that just does barbecue and probably has a purveyor who has devoted his or her entire life to the perfection of their craft.
Barbecue is a unique skill that’s not easy to learn and nearly impossible to master. The same can be said of B2B marketing.
There are professionals and marketing agencies devoted specifically to the unique requirements of B2B marketing. In fact, at the company where I work today, there are marketers who have worked their entire careers not just in B2B marketing, or even B2B technology marketing, but in B2B telecom marketing.
While it often pays to add new expertise and perspectives from different industries to the mix, the value of this deep expertise is hard to measure.
B2C marketing, by contrast, is like the chicken of marketing. Just about anyone can do it with minimal training. It’s not overly difficult to get started and doesn’t require any specialized skills, equipment or training. Chicken will take on just about any flavor you put on it. It doesn’t require great patience, knowledge of flavors or understanding of marbling or grain.
However, like B2C marketing, it’s really hard to stand out cooking chicken, since the market for it is oversaturated. That same low barrier to entry is what dramatically increases competition. It’s also what makes those that truly master the craft really stand out.
I won’t do it literally or figuratively. I know I’ve been talking about mouth-watering food and enviable skill sets. But there’s no need to leave your appetites unsatisfied.
To feed your biological hunger, I’ve listed below a few barbecue joints in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area that are favorites of mine or people I know (if you’ve got one you think I should add to the list, use my contact form to send me a message and I’ll consider adding it to the list). Or if we start hanging out, you might be lucky enough to score some of my famous ribs right from my back yard.
To feed your figurative hunger for masterful B2B marketing skills, contact me. If I’m not the man to meet your needs for one reason or another, I’ll be happy to try and connect you with someone who will. Not sure which skills (and seasonings) I can bring to the table? Check out this page.
Now, if you’ll kindly pardon me, I’ve got some beef to brine.
And if you’re not lucky enough to get the invite to my back yard yet, here are a few Dallas-area places where you can get some quality smoked meat: