Ideas, musings and inspirations.

ellie-b2b-marketing-inspirationTwo months ago, I brought home an eight-week-old miniature schnauzer named Ellie. She only weighed four pounds. She needed to go outside in the wee hours of the morning. She prompted me to ask myself, “What have I done? How will I get through this? Will this get any easier?”

Since this little bundle of cuteness is consuming a lot of my time, it’s only natural that she’d be the inspiration for my blog post. After all, I am sure there are many professionals – from owners of smart manufacturing companies to newly hired marketing directors – who occasionally ask themselves the same questions I mentioned in the above paragraph.

With Ellie as my marketing muse, here’s some food (or kibble) for thought.

Be yourself. If you search Google images for miniature schnauzers, you will find adorable dogs who are black, gray or salt and pepper. As you can see, Ellie is brown and white. She is called a liver parti miniature schnauzer and is rather rare. While she’s only been to the veterinarian a few times, I am now known as the woman-with-the-brown-and-white-schnauzer. Period. They don’t remember my name. But, they cannot forget this dog’s captivating, yet unusual, good looks.

What does this mean for B2B marketers? Embrace your differences. Make sure your brand is authentic and celebrates what sets you apart. Ask your team: What are our strengths? What claims can we make? What do we do better than anyone else? Then, share what makes you better than your competition.

Be consistent. To get our attention, Ellie liked to nip at our toes. Obviously, this was quite an annoying way to get noticed. To stop the behavior, our dog trainer suggested that we say either “Off” or “Leave It”. Pick one command and use it consistently, we were told. Now, when she attempts to lunge for my feet, I give the command and she instantly sits as still as a bronze statue. She gets the message loud and clear.

B2B marketers should realize that everything – your print collateral, trade show booths, marketing premiums, advertisements and your website – should share the same messaging. By using consistent words, photos and design elements across all of your offline and online channels, prospective and current clients will know exactly what you stand for.

Be nimble. Miniature schnauzers are known to be a very smart breed, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Yes, at a very young age she’s learned quite an impressive array of tricks. Sit. Down. Come. Leave it. Drop it. And, when we say, “opossum,” my daughter trained her to roll on her back and freeze. But she’s also learning how to escape the baby gate, outsmart her handlers for another treat or buy a little more time in the yard, even if it is 4 a.m. As we learn more about her and how she thinks, we’ve been able to stay one step ahead and anticipate her next move.

B2B marketers must adapt quickly as business conditions can change in the blink of an eye. You need to be able to stay ahead of trends, head off problems and meet the changing needs of your customers and your market. Do you know what your customers are thinking? Social media makes it easy to keep tabs on what their customers are saying and join the conversation.

Be playful. Ellie brought the laughter and sense of wonder back into my house. She’s a constant reminder that life should be fun and the world is ours to explore.

B2B marketers should plan for a little ‘fun money’ in their yearly budget to try out new marketing terrain. You already plan for the most successful marketing endeavors each year. But, how will you know if a Pay-Per-Click campaign will help your business unless try it?

In just 60 days, Ellie has not just become a full-fledged member of the family, but an inspiration. Who says you can’t teach old dog new tricks? She’s taught me that every day is a new adventure and I shouldn’t be afraid to learn a few new tricks.

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