Reader mailbag: bridge-building

A reader writes that his purpose is not to sell a skillset, but to create a bridge between where his clients are and where his clients’ customers are

Recently I wrote that an effective approach for creating messaging is to write a letter.

That’s not just an ideation hack. That’s actually the essence of B2B marketing for niche tech and digital firms – a letter speaks to just one person, naturally, in as little or as much detail as needed.

How pleased I was with the feedback I got from offering that perspective.

This is from reader Brant (thanks Brant!), shared with his permission:


Then it hit me like a cardboard cutout of a blue elephant, I’m not selling my skill set. I’m not selling a set of tools, or even really a process! What I am selling people is solutions in the form of a bridge between where they are and where their clients are. It doesn’t matter how Business A connects to their client pool if they aren’t getting the conversions they need to keep their doors open. What matters is what Business A can do to harpoon clients and pull them out of the water, in droves. When I’m considering a web project for a client I need to view it more like picking them up by the scruff of the neck and changing them from Frumpy Lumpy with a broken kazoo into the Pied Piper for their industry!


This really nails it – each of us can aspire to sell, ultimately, that bridge. [yes, insert joke here].

To repeat:

“What I am selling people is solutions in the form of a bridge between where they are and where their clients are”

Maybe your customers are Frumpy Lumpy or Grumpy Stumpy, but if they are not the Pied Piper, then you better help them build a bridge by which their customers can find them.

And you need that bridge by which your own customers can find you, too.

What is that second bridge made out of?

Philip Morgan has remarked that the default state of marketing is failure.

He has also remarked that most B2B lead generation advice is terrible. 

I’d add that most B2B lead cultivation advice is quite bad too, though not as.

Why are all three things true?

Because most marketing advice consists of letting you off the hook. The hook is what you’re on when you commit to content marketing.

Building an excellent content marketing program is just as hard as building an excellent software program. But people don’t buy that.

A couple years ago I wrote that:

  • 95% of your blogs fail
  • you have to invest at least 30k a year in your blog – or risk failure
  • a simpler alternative is a news feed. But this still requires a 5k/year investment

So pick your metaphor here – bridge, signpost, pan flute – whatever it is, you need it. And it’s a serious investment.

Which is why bridge is the best metaphor. Or bridges, plural.

The bridges we build FROM US to our customers are made of things like email outreach, Upwork, paid advertisements, networking/referrals, and more. And those can all be great things.

But the bridges TO US are made of content marketing.

This takes long-term thinking and patience. So you have to supplement your content marketing with other lead generation approaches.

There are many, many kinds of marketing and business development. There are software products that facilitate methods of marketing which most marketers don’t even know of, just because there are too many of them to know of.

In fact, there are literally 10’s of thousands of sales, marketing, and advertising software products (“martech”). Not one person on this planet who can name them all, although someone aggregates them into this infographic each year:

So there’s a lot of confusion.

Here’s what you do in the face of that confusion – keep two things in mind:

  • a structured and strategic approach to creating valuable content is the form of lead generation that you can most rely on in the long term
  • thinking of this content creation work as a long-term (years) ideation exercise will give it the best chance of success

Happy bridge-building,

Rowan

 


FOOTNOTES

[1] The question becomes “what kind of content”, which I talked about in my most recent post. It should also be caveated that content