Marketers are opinionated people. And Marcus Sheridan is full of opinions, whether he's calling out marketers who think of themselves as special (except they're not), referring to "Call us for a quote" as the "middle finger of the internet," or insisting that B2B marketing can be just as sexy as swimming pools.

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And he has good reason for it, too: "When you're teaching and communicating and you're selling at the same time, people expect you to be biased," he says on Episode 547 of Marketing Smarts. "You have to say something early on in the conversation that throws them off, almost makes them flinch and say, 'What? I can't believe you said that.'"

Such disarmament abounds in his conversation with our host George B. Thomas. It helps that they've known each other for a long time, because they bring that into the commentary.

"George, you and I were basically picking people up by their shirts, begging them to do video years ago, before it was cool," Marcus says. "It's funny, you have prediction posts at the beginning of every year. I swear, since basically 2014, it's been, this is going to be the year of video! What the heck is going on? We're on a 10-year run that this is the year of video."

It's really going to stick this year, though. Especially vertical format short video, which is Marcus's pick for the best way to get noticed nowadays.

"You do not have to have heavy editing. You don't even have to have heavy skills," he explains. "If somebody said to me in 2023, 'What's the quickest way to get awareness'—not necessarily to make sales, but awareness for my brand—it would absolutely be [video] shorts."

Check out the episode for more strong—and valuable!—opinions. You can listen to the entire show from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.

"Marketing Smarts" theme music composed by Juanito Pascual of Signature Tones.

Full Transcript: World-Class Case Studies; They Ask, You Answer; and Building Trust on the Internet

George B. Thomas: Today, I get to bring back a good friend of mine, somebody that I've worked with for years, Mr. Marcus Sheridan. You'll get to hear a conversation around world-class case studies, They Ask, You Answer, and building trust on the Internet. I also ask Marcus what keeps him up at night, the hurdles along the way, common myths that he wants to bust, and of course, we talk about the book and all things related.

If you don't know, Marcus Sheridan is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker, known for his unique ability to excite, engage, and motivate audiences. In 2017, Forbes named Marcus one of the 20 speakers you don't want to miss. He has been dubbed a web marketing guru by The New York Times, and featured in Inc, The Globe, Forbes, and many more.

As an owner of Impact, Marcus has established one of the most successful digital sales and marketing agencies in the country. Within his speaking company, Marcus Sheridan International Inc., he gives more than 70 global keynotes annually, where he inspires audiences in the areas of sales, marketing, leadership, and communication. Mashable rated his book They Ask, You Answer the No.1 marketing book, and Forbes listed it as one of the 11 marketing books every CMO should read, and I would say B2B marketer should read if you have not yet.

Buckle up, this is a little bit of a different conversation. Marcus Sheridan, world-class case studies, They Ask, You Answer, building trust on the Internet, and what you as a B2B marketer should be thinking about. Let's get into the good stuff. I'm super excited because today we're sitting down with the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Marcus Sheridan.

Marcus, I love to start these interviews with a very interesting question. This is specifically to B2B marketers, although I know you, you know me, we'll probably talk about all types of marketers in this podcast episode. When you think about marketers, what the heck keeps you up at night?

Marcus Sheridan: I think about the amount that truly believe they're different and special when they're not. I'm really specifically referring to, we have this tendency to overcomplicate marketing dramatically. There are a lot of reasons why we do it, but fundamentally, if we're being very honest, I think we want to feel smart, we want to feel special, we want to feel like we're in a unique situation with unique challenges. These are the things that we say and do.

By the way, this isn't going to get me any friends, but I don't really care about that. I care about creating world-class case studies. That's what I really care about. I go after stories. I want to see unbelievable case studies in every industry. What I've seen over and over again, the ones that boil it down to the most simple of truths in business are the ones that are having the most success. That, of course, for me has always been, we're in the business of trust, no matter what we sell.

You go to any B2B company, service or product, doesn't matter, and you say, "Is trust going to be fundamental to your business in five years," they're going to say yes. In 10 years? Yes. In 20 years? Yes. That's the one thing we know to be true. We don't know what's going to happen next with all of this other stuff. We don't even know if we're going to have websites in 20 years. Let's be honest, we don't know that, especially at the rate of change right now. What we know is that trust is fundamental.

When I say they're not special, what I mean is if we listen to someone or read something that is novel, that is new, that challenges our thoughts, and immediately we think to ourselves, "That doesn't apply to me because I'm different," and this is the most prolific in the B2B service space and in the SaaS space, then we're going to hold ourselves back from doing something really exceptional.

George: We should always be trying to do something exceptional, especially as marketers. I want to get back to trust in a little bit. I don't want to lose sight of that before we finish up this podcast episode. You said something and I know what you mean, you know what you mean, and that is you used the words world-class studies. A B2B marketer might hear case studies and think they know what we mean, but when you say world-class case studies, what exactly do you mean? Define that, what's in it, what are you trying to achieve, what are you trying to show, how does that build trust, unpack all of that for us.

Marcus: This boils down to if someone in an industry does a survey amongst companies or amongst people that are very engaged with that industry and says, "Who is the go-to source of information in this space," what do they say? Let me give you an example.

If I'm with an audience and I say, "Let's say a kid or a loved one gets sick. What's the first website you go to?" The majority of people are going to say WebMD. That's just what they say, it's a natural go-to. If you talk to anybody in the swimming pool space, which by the way we're a B2B2C company because we manufacture and we sell to dealers who sell to the end user with our fiberglass swimming pools, everybody is going to say River Pools is the go-to source in that space. What's cool is I think there are opportunities always for more than one go-to source, there's always more room on top.

That's what I mean by world-class case study, where you're doing things in your space that everybody is talking about. In fact, many of your competitors are complaining because they're like that's not fair, you can't do that. That's what we want them saying, because we're pushing the envelope, we're forcing everyone else to be more honest, more transparent, more real, give more on the front end. That's what I mean. That's a world-class case study.

Usually, it boils down to essentially three things. You have to be willing to talk about what others in your space aren't willing to talk about. You have to be willing to show what others in your space aren't willing to show. You have to be willing to sell in a way that others in your space aren't willing to sell. Those three things. If you do those three things, you're going to become the voice of trust, you're going to lead your industry, everybody is going to be talking about you, the marketplace, the competitors, etcetera.

George: You just listed out three things, talk, show, sell. When you think about that kind of matrix that we're throwing out there, is one more important than the other? Kind of like when you're running a race, you have to get to point A to point B to point C. Which way should B2B marketers run on that trifecta of things that they should be doing to garnish more trust and build a better world as they go?

Marcus: We have tell, show, and sell. Those are the three majors. I would say that this likely could vary depending on the niche, but that's always where you start. Oftentimes, right now, this is where we're seeing industries turn on their head. Most often, we're seeing it with the way we sell. A recent study by Gartner said that 33% of all B2B buyers would prefer to have a seller-free sales experience. For Millennials, that's 44%. You might hear that and freak out, and some salespeople might freak out, but this is reality, this is where we are.

The companies that don't fight against the tide but rather embrace it and say our buyers want a seller-free buying experience, what does that really mean? It doesn't mean they hate salespeople. They just don't want to talk to a salesperson until they feel like they are ready, until they feel like they are informed and they're not going to make a mistake.

Let's say you're the first person in your space to have a pricing calculator. You're a B2B service-based business, and you're the first one to put a pricing calculator on your website. Immediately, a whole bunch of people say, "You don't understand, Marcus." Whereas there's a select few that say, "I bet there is a way. Maybe we do a range for our pricing calculator." Maybe that's the output. That's what we did as a manufacturer that doesn't set the pricing, and we had the first pricing calculator as a manufacturer in our industry. That's an example of selling differently, but also showing something that no one has shown, talking about something that others aren't talking about. Classic example, pricing calculators. It's all three of them.

Most people listening to this right now, I guarantee you, 99.9% of the folks listening to this right now do not have a pricing calculator of any degree on their website. This is not me ragging on everyone. This is me saying opportunity knocks so loud if we're just willing to do the little things that no one else is willing to do because it hasn't been done in the space.

George: If you're a B2B marketer listening to this, you know right now. If we don't have that thing, can we make that thing happen? If we're not telling, showing, or selling in a different way than our competitors, you have action items.

I want to circle back to when you mentioned the word trust. It's interesting because so many times I hear people talk about trust and it feels like they think it's the beginning, where I actually think it's the outcome, it's the thing that happens because of other things. What are some other key elements, mentalities, I hate to say strategies, but just so we can get in the right vein here, that B2B marketers should be paying attention to that actually output the trust that they need?

Marcus: There's a few of these. Of course, you have the basics that you read about in They Ask, You Answer, which I've been pounding that drum, as have you, for many years now. We have what's called the big five, the five subjects that everybody wants to research. This is absolutely definitively proven to be true in the B2B space.

Buyers want to understand cost-based questions. They want to understand negatives or problems, how could this go wrong, how could this blow up in my face. That's a major one that nobody likes to talk about. Comparisons, but comparisons that are honest. Your product versus another product, your brand versus another brand, your method versus another method, it just goes on and on, but once again, honest. Honest guys show both sides of the coin.

Reviews. The thing about reviews is we want to see the good, the bad, and the ugly, we don't want just the positives. Finally, number five; best, most, top, all of those. That's what runs the economy of search, and has for over 10 years. It's amazing. It doesn't go away. It's not stopping anytime soon.

What's great for me in my business model is most still aren't talking about it. I'm going to die talking about the big five. Lucky me, right? Because still people are going to resist this really important truth. There are other principles, though, or strategies.

One major one is what we call disarmament or disarming the reader or the listener. When you're teaching and communicating and you're selling at the same time, people expect you to be biased. You have to say something early on in the conversation that throws them off, almost makes them flinch and say, "What? I can't believe you said that."

Let's say you're selling a SaaS product. I'm just going to act like I'm HubSpot for a second. Let's say I was doing a video, and this video is something like HubSpot for small business something. I might start that video with, "Let's assume you're a small business and you're looking for a marketing automation platform, and you're saying, 'Is HubSpot the best fit for me?' Well, even though I'm here at HubSpot, I'm going to be the first to tell you that it might not be the best fit for you. In fact, there could be other options that are more viable for your business. What this video is going to do is talk about the pros and the cons of HubSpot, how it works for small businesses. By the end, hopefully, you'll be able to decide if it's the right fit for you."

That's incredibly disarming. But how many companies really communicate like that? Not a lot. Not a lot come out of the gate and say we might not be the best fit for you. By saying it and truly meaning it, now all of a sudden, everybody is like, "Wow. I can't believe you said that." That skill is very rare in the marketplace, but it's all based and rooted in psychology.

George: Love it so much. I'm glad that you mentioned They Ask, You Answer. I agree with you, we'll be talking about that until the day we die. Everybody wants to talk about that. There's a couple of things. If by some strange circumstance there is a B2B marketer listening to this and they're like, "What? They what?" How can people get started, how do you get people to go on a journey of They Ask, You Answer, is there a right way to go, is it just grab the book? Talk to the listeners about that for a second.

Marcus: I'm going to disarm right now. I'm going to disarm first, because it's natural for me. Here's how you know if They Ask, You Answer aligns with you. If you're thinking to yourself, "I want to become the most trusted voice in my space," if that's where you fall, then you should pick up the book. If that is not an obsession of yours, don't pick up the book.

How it works is it's a literal framework. It's not a bunch of theoretical, here's a good idea for you. It's an actual framework by which you can become that voice of trust on the marketing side and on the sales side of your business. As I mentioned, we know that there are five fundamental subjects that everybody wants to research before they reach out to the salesperson.

Remember how we talked about seller-free, I don't want to talk to a salesperson until I feel like I'm informed, until I feel like I'm not going to make a mistake. That's why we want to understand things like budget, we want to understand things like comparisons, so we get a sense for what's available in the market, the competition, the pricing, all that. These are the things we want to understand because there's a lot riding on a B2B buying decision. It's my job, it's my livelihood, it affects my entire company.

Sometimes we think, "I'm not sure if they're going to do the research." It's crazy how much content B2B buyers will consume if it's the right stuff. Our typical B2B client, because we help companies go through this They Ask, You Answer journey, that's really what our business is built upon, typically for most B2B businesses that we work with; the average customer, once they've done They Ask, You Answer, reads 20 to 30 pages of the website.

That's the average. Think about that. Yet, you talk to most folks in the B2B space and say, "How many pages of your website do you think your typical buyer would be willing to read before they buy," they're going to say two or three. It's actually 10 times that much, except you have to have the stuff that they actually care about and not just bloviate about your product or service.

George: So good. I want to ask a question. This is a little bit of a personal question, but I think that the listeners will get value out of this, because we have been doing They Ask You Answer for almost a decade, which is crazy, since before it was a book. Talking about it, teaching people about it, making it work with HubSpot. I love that you played HubSpot there for a minute.

Over the decade, is there a common myth that rose its head around the They Ask You Answer or the big five that you're like, "I need to debunk this myth publicly," because people are thinking this way or do this thing, is there something that's happened that you didn't expect?

Marcus: Not to beat a dead horse here, but I feel like it's stunning to me how misinterpreted the pricing conversation is. You mention pricing and everybody thinks immediately, "He's saying I have to put a fixed price on my website." I have never once said that in the history of the world. All I've said over and over again is if you create a pricing page on your website, especially if you're a SaaS…

Look at what SaaS companies do. About 50% of SaaS companies, from what I've seen, put pricing on their website. The other 50% don't, they say call to get a quote. That, by the way, is the middle finger of the Internet, "call to get a quote," but that's beside the point. Let's say they actually put it on there. They're like, "Yeah, we put it on there." No. Here's what you do. You put this good, better, best, small, medium, large, three-tier pricing option, and that's your pricing page and you think you've done something. That actually sucks. If you want to commoditize something, do that.

What you should be doing is you should be explaining very clearly how value is defined in the marketplace. Let me give you an example. If I was HubSpot, and I'm not because I haven't done this, but if I was HubSpot, I would, for example, have a really definitive explanation of how pricing structures look in the marketing automation space.

In other words, if you look at most industries, especially in tech, there are different tiers. Let's say we do have three tiers. Explain what those three tiers look like. What's in that lower tier? What's usually included? What is the average price range for all of the options in the marketplace in that tier? What's the next tier up? Once again, what are the typical features you find there? What are the typical price ranges you find there?

By doing all of these things, we're defining value in the marketplace. The other way to explain this, there are two different ways to look at it. You can look at it from a tiered approach, or you can look at it from just five fundamental areas of a pricing page. Number one, what drives costs up in your industry? Number two, what drives costs down? Number three, why are some companies more expensive than others? Number four, why are some companies cheaper than others? Number five, where do you fall?

If you do a great pricing page, only 20% of it should be about you and your business, 80% is about the industry. This is the part that everybody tends to still screw up. I'm telling you, I just said that, and people are still going to take from this conversation, "He said I have to put a fixed price." I don't know what to do at this point.

George: That's funny. What I take out of that is if you're not paying attention to your pricing page, adding value and educating folks, and doing everything that Marcus said, if your page doesn't do that now, again, action items out of this podcast. That's what we're looking for.

I want to circle back around. You were playing HubSpot for a minute, and you said I might start the video like this. I just want to touch on the point, how important is video in this tell, show, sell matrix that we talked about a little bit ago?

Marcus: Talk about just beating drums for long periods of time. Once again, George, you and I were basically picking people up by their shirts, begging them to do video years ago, before it was cool. It's funny, you have prediction posts at the beginning of every year. I swear, since basically 2014, it's been this is going to be the year of video. What the heck is going on? We're on a 10-year run that this is the year of video.

I can't stress its importance enough. Most people listening to this right now should have an in-house videographer. You should as a company be producing at least two videos a week. If you're not producing at least two videos a week as a company, I feel like either you don't get it or you're lazy, it's one of those two things. The companies that are doing that are crushing it. It's just not even close. 2023, in so many ways, is the year of the short vertical style video. I'm all in on them. I think the algorithm loves it.

The economy to scale, you could take one 60-second vertical short style video, you can upload it on YouTube Shorts, you can post it on Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, you can post it on TikTok. The beauty is not only do the algorithms love it and the people love it, a couple other benefits come from it. YouTube Shorts actually show up in search engine results. So, it's not just this one-hit wonder. It's not like you're slapping it on Twitter and people are never going to see it after seven seconds. This is going to be potentially the gift that keeps on giving.

The other really cool thing about any type of vertical style video is it's incredibly economical to do. You do not have to have heavy editing. You don't even have to have heavy skills. If I may, let me just say there are three fundamental keys of a world-class short video. If you nail these three keys, you're going to crush with it.

Number one, far and away, is you have to create a curiosity gap. A curiosity gap is when someone says, "How does this end? I just want to know what's the payoff here." That's why we sit around and watch stupid videos until the end. Sometimes we get mad, sometimes we get happy, but we are waiting for the payoff. That's the curiosity gap from the beginning. It starts with your title, and then it occurs with other elements of the video.

The second rule is what we call the five second rule, which is you should have a cut every five seconds when you're producing short style video, if you can. Think three to five seconds, new scene, three to five seconds, new scene. It's very cool like that. Each scene is like a chapter in the story that you're showing, whatever that thing is. Every three to five seconds, you want to have a cut.

The third rule of great short style video is overcoming the curse of knowledge. The curse of knowledge is you have all these things that you do in your business that you take for granted, we all do, and you think the whole world just knows what they are, but they don't. Let me give you a simple example of how this worked for me.

I have an offshore fishing company in North Carolina where George lives, and a YouTube channel where we do offshore fishing videos. I created a video that was how do you get a 500-pound bluefin tuna into the boat. Now, you're already thinking to yourself, "I want to know how this ends, I want to see how they get it into the boat. It's a big fish. How do you get into the boat?" You're seeing the process of me pulling it into the boat, and you have these different components of how it's happening. You're watching the fish one second, and then you're watching the guys pull levers to pull it in, and then you're watching another person jump on the rope to wiggle the fish through the door, and all these things are happening.

It's like, "Wow, that's amazing." Then boom, across all four of the channels that I mentioned earlier, that got about 5,000,000 views. That's the power of shorts, you can get incredible gains. If somebody said to me in 2023, "What's the quickest way to get awareness," not necessarily to make sales, but awareness for my brand, it would absolutely be shorts. In the B2B space still nobody, for the most part, is doing them. That's really great.

The reason for that is in the B2B space what happens is we say things like, "It's not a very visual product. It's kind of boring what we do." This is what we tell ourselves, this is a lie. Because of that, we think we don't have this really cool thing to show. That's magic. I just love it when people say, "Our industry is too boring." They used to say all the time to me swimming pools aren't very sexy. I'm like what's more sexy than a swimming pool? This is the home of the bikini, of course it's sexy. But that's what I heard for years from people, and it just didn't make any sense to me.

When people are spending their money, it's a very sexy industry, period. You just have to learn to show it better, tell the story, show the story.

George: I love that so much. Just the amount of people that aren't doing it. Marketing Smarts listeners, if you do it, knowing that not many are doing it, you're going to be able to be more successful with it because the space isn't saturated yet.

I want to circle back around to They Ask, You Answer for a hot second. I hear day in and day out, "Content is difficult. It's hard to do content." It is difficult. So, when you think about producing content, whether it be textual, video, audio, around the They Ask You Answer topics, are there any tips, tricks, templates, hacks that you and the team have come up with over the years to help people make it be easier to create that content?

Marcus: When we say something is hard or easy, it's so relative because what's hard for one person might be easy for the next. For example, there are many organizations right now where you have great writers that could easily produce a piece of content, but the subject matter experts stink up the joint.

They either don't engage the marketing team or they're not availing themselves to the marketing team, and because of that, it's like pulling teeth to get content. Is the content difficult? No. It's the team, we have a buy-in problem. If you have a buy-in problem, that means you have a leadership problem. It means leadership hasn't expressed very clearly the clear priority of sales and marketing or subject matter experts and marketing working together. That's actually the most common thing that we see.

The other one that see out there is too many companies think that a piece of content is like the Declaration of Independence and they have to beat it to death in order to publish the thing. Thomas Jefferson cried after he wrote the Declaration of Independence because they changed it so very much. What we see today wasn't where it started. That's oftentimes what companies do, they're just looking for things to pick apart about the content, which is utterly ridiculous and sad.

You can't have that mindset. You have to have a very good enough mindset. Is this easily understood? Does this answer the question? We're not trying to sound smart. We're trying to reach communion with our audience.

These are major areas. I think another hack, if you will, you have to have people that are writers on staff, not people that can write. There's a difference. Writers. It's one of those things where you can sit there and you can pull teeth, you can have the CEO or somebody on the leadership team or the sales manager try to pop out content, or you can just stick them in front of somebody that's asking them questions and 20 minutes later they have a great piece of content because now they've dumped what's in their head and given it to the person that can go out there and produce it because they have a journalistic skillset. I think we still undersell that, and that's problematic.

With AI, ChatGPT, there has never been an easier time to create content. Of course, you still have to humanize it. You have to add that personal tone, you have to do it in a first-person style, you have to add those personal experiences and stories, company stories, experience of customer stories. I just don't think there is any excuse at this point not to be producing content as an organization.

I think we should be doing more, not less. I think it's quality and quantity. It's very possible to do, it's not an either or. This, though, is why most companies still just want to throw money at a thing and feel good about it and just continue to do paid and all of this stuff. I'm fine with paid advertising, but great content is the gift that keeps on giving. A great video, a great article, or whatever the thing is can continue to sell for you, work for you, and develop trust for you five and 10 years down the road, literally. It's beautiful. It's amazing. Keep that in mind.

I still think most companies, 90%, aren't doing content nearly like they should be.

George: I totally agree with that. It's interesting because when you talk about creating content and years and years of payoff, you talked about we started creating video back in 2014, which is why on a daily basis you get people saying things like you have thousands of videos on the Internet. I don't have thousands, but that's the perception, and perception is a very key piece of that trust building.

We've talked about a lot of things. We've talked about world-class case studies; the big five; They Ask, You Answer; content; even down to video shorts and a little bit of a rubric that you gave people there. All of this is cool, and we should probably do it all, but how the heck do we know what success looks like on any of these topics? What are we looking for where we can wake up in the morning and feel like we're doing it?

Marcus: I'll tell you what it's not by, impressions. That's the stupidest metric in the history of the world. I was reading this thing this morning where it was these content awards or something like that, and I was reading what was the case study, what had they done that got them the award, and it was like generated 9.7 million impressions. I'm like, yeah, and you could still get fired tomorrow if you weren't generating revenue for your organization. You have to get leads and you have to get sales.

I think for marketing we have to be more responsible overall in terms of recognizing that we've become a revenue-based department. If we as marketers want to get raises, which we deserve, I believe, if we want to get paid what we should be paid, valued how we should be valued, resourced like we should be resourced, we have to prove our value to the organization. I know sometimes that's easier said than done. You might lack the tools or whatever. Part of being a great marketer is communicating in a clear way that leadership really understands the value.

Too many marketers talk like marketers. If you want to be an incredibly successful marketer, you have to speak the language of leadership when you're with your leadership team, you have to speak the language of sales when you're with the sales team. I think this is the one thing that has helped me so very much. I've owned my own businesses. I started as a sales guy, for the most part, and I got into marketing later on. So, I will switch the language at any point in time depending on who I'm talking to, and this way it resonates.

Again, we're never trying to sound smart, we're not trying to distance ourselves. It's dumb not to dumb it down. The smartest marketers in the world know this. We're not trying to sound smart. I'm not trying to look smart on video. I'm not trying to sound smart in an article. I'm not trying to sound smart today as we're having this conversation. You do this, you're very good at this. I pride myself in this. We're just trying to be understood. That's the essence of great marketing.

You asked a question at the beginning of this, I don't even remember what it was because I went on a little bit of a tangent there. These are strong feelings that I have. I think if you want to separate yourself from your peers, you have to remember these points.

George: I think you actually answered the question. It was what does success look like, how do you know that you're actually doing it, and that was a great answer. Marcus, as we land the plane here, I started with what keeps you up at night, and I like to end with the words of wisdom. This could be about life, or this could be about the topics at hand that we've been talking about. What are the words of wisdom that you would want to share with the Marketing Smarts listeners today?

Marcus: I look back at some of the mistakes that I've made and also some of the good decisions that I've made. I think the most influential business book I ever read was Good to Great by Collins. The reason why Good to Great really hit me is it emphasized this silly analogy of the hedgehog concept.

Of course, hedgehogs don't do many things well at all, but what they do really well is they roll up in a ball and they protect themselves, so therefore, they live a long time. That's the hedgehog. I started seeing everything from a what can I have as my hedgehog? The hedgehog is essentially what can you be the best in the world at.

You still have to enjoy it and love it, but essentially what can you be the best in the world at that can drive your economic engine? From a marketing perspective, we should have our hedgehogs. You have to ask yourself as a marketer, "What can we, in terms of our marketing department with our particular organization, brand, etcetera, what can we be the best in the world at?"

Back in the day at River Pools, at first I said I can be the best in the world at producing written content about fiberglass swimming pools. I didn't do anything with social media at all, if you can believe that. I was just producing written content. Then I said we're rolling here, we're crushing it, let's add video. So, we started adding video. It was just to YouTube. We still weren't doing social media, we weren't messing with that. We were clearly just focused in on what could we be the best in the world at.

We had a particular style. That's what we were doing. We weren't trying to be all things to everyone. If you try to be a jack of all marketing trades, there's a very good chance that you're going to be a master of none. Say, "What can we be a master of one with," first, and let's master that, let's become great at it, and then let's move to the next thing.

That's one recommendation. Make sure you read Good to Great by Jim Collins. It's one of those that you should read probably once a year if you're in business.

George: Marketing Smarts listeners, did you take lots of notes? I have to ask, what is your one thing, your number one execution opportunity after this podcast episode? Make sure you reach out and let us know in my inbox or on Twitter using the hashtag #MPB2B.

I also have to ask are you a free member of the MarketingProfs community yet? If not, head over to You won't regret the additional B2B marketing education that you'll be adding to your life.

We'd like it if you could leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast app, but we'd love it if you would share this episode with a coworker or friend. Until we meet in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast where we talk with Chris Carr about ChatGPT, marketing dream or marketing disaster, I hope you do just a couple of things. One, reach out and let us know what conversation you'd like to listen in on next. Two, focus on getting 1% better at your craft each and every day. Finally, remember to be a happy, helpful, humble B2B marketing human. We'll see you in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast.

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