The Questions We All Want Answered | Original Research


We spoke with 100 marketing leaders and asked "If you could ask one question to 100 of your peers in B2B marketing leadership, what question would you ask them?" In this roundtable discussion Benji, James, Dan, and Logan breakdown the findings.  

Discussed in this episode: 

  • The most common questions marketers want answered
  • Why & how to share behind the scenes content from your organization
  • Turning questions into pillar content  


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Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is B two B growth. Hey, friends, Benji here, and James and Dan are joining me for today's original research episode. And guys, I wanna you to just kind of maybe close your eyes and imagine something as we start this episode. Imagine you are with in in a room with a hundred marketing leaders that you admire. There are all these great individuals we've had the privilege maybe of getting to chat with even here on B two B growth, and we gather them all in a room. You're invited, you get to walk up to a mix that's in the center of the room and you get to pose one question at the room and they're all gonna give you their advice, they're all going to get to chime in and help you, but you have one question. What would the question be? Dan, I'm throwing this to you first. What do you got? We've done so much original research that I actually have a lot of great answers to the most important questions. But honestly, there's one question that I don't think we've asked well enough, and that this would be the one question I would ask the crowd. Is, what are you the most excited about when it comes to marketing right now, just to get a sense of what's captured my peers imaginations, what's giving them hope right now, because we know their struggles, but what's keeping them in the game, that's got them the most excited about right now? It would be interesting to hear their collective responses and group them into a few categories as far as like, what are they hoping to achieve over the next like year or two at least? What they'd like to even if they can't do it because their boss thinks it's done. Like what do they want to do? I like that too, because excitement gives you fuel. So then you like you get that hope in you and you're like, Oh yeah, that could be cool, or I imagine this future now because they said this like that would just be a great momentum exercise. If you want to leave like ready to run through a wall, James, what about you? What would be the question you'd ask? I think it would be a question that we've asked in our original research, but because the timing for when we did this was was, you know, back in one and this stuff is always evolving, I just think knowing who is influencing their work the most. I think that's something that I probably would want to have a finger on the pulse of. Every six months or so, we know we're going to hear the Dave gearharts, the Chris Walkers of the world, you're gonna hear Seth Godin, but figuring out who is actually influencing our buyer a room full of B two B marketers as we start to develop, like how can we do? How can we do creative collaborations through B two B growth with those creators? What can we learn from how they're creating content? Are there ways for us to to pay them for their time to create content for how can we partner and collaborate with those folks that who already have the attention of the folks that we're trying to reach? I think that's always going to be a really highly leveraged question when we get in scenarios like that. That's a fun question to ask, as I've been doing original research even for this next round, and you hear a lot of also like peer you know, I bounced this off of this person that I met at this networking event that's become a good friend of mine it's like there's some interesting angles there and then there's obviously those individuals that are just like incredible thought leaders and they're doing an amazing creative work. So the question I would ask is very it's it's just timely to things I've been thinking about lately and it also springs off of a couple of B two B growth episode interviews I've had done recently. I'm very interested in how product and marketing work together. So the question that I wrote it down as how have you created alignment and momentum between product and marketing, because, especially as you scale the mess, do you...

...want to tell people versus what you're actually offering? All these things like it's in very interesting relationship and it could be, I think, a massive catalyst for organizational growth, but it's also one of those things you's just like constantly managing. What does it look like to have that relationship really survive? And so that's that's where I I go with it to give quick context to all of our listeners. In real life we did ask a hundred marketing leaders fifteen questions and one of them was this exact question. So we're like hey, what would you want to ask a hundred of your your peers and uh, we've also asked several other questions and we've done episodes just like this that you can go back in the feed and find. We asked questions like the marketing channel. You can't overlook who's the marketing influencer. You're most influenced by. What's the most overrated trend in B two B marketing? So you can go back in in the feed and you can find all those episodes and take a listen. But when we asked question, if you could ask one question to a hundred of your peers in B Two b marketing leadership, what question would you ask? Here's what our survey results found. Before I give you the three most common let me give you just the one off questions that were posed that I think are excellent and I'd love to hear them discussed more by marketing leadership. But these are I would say there's some success questions and some internal marketing and evolution questions. So how do you spend your day? People just want to know straight up, like how do you spend your time and how do you define success? Like paint the picture of the wind for me. How does your CEO define success? In fact, James, we included this one when we started original research for the second round. You wanted that question included because knowing what they measure, what the CEO measures, is super important. How would you how would you answer that, James, like how do you define marketing success right now? I think I define marketing success by like, are we building affinity, and so are we seeing things like people post about the content we're creating on Linkedin? Are there sharing this stuff we're doing on our self reported attribution? When they come inbound, are they talking about how much they love are our paid ads or our brand or whatever it is that brought them in? Those affinity keywords for me. So that's that's a softer way of looking at it. Ultimately, you know, it's are we driving pipeline? I mean, we don't have an outbound shop here, we don't have an outbound motion, so everything that we get is coming to US inbound, and so is that inbound deal flow accelerating and are those deals moving through our pipeline in a timely manner that we need them to? So those are some of the more quantitative things, but qualitatively I'm really looking at signs from the market that we're building affinity. Yeah, it's interesting because we asked and the answer to that question was pipeline. So then we had to go back in the next round of original research and go like, okay, but how does your organization define qualified pipeline like that conversation has been really interesting and well I'm sure we'll talk about that in the future original research episode. We also had a lot of questions come in. Marketers want to know like essentially internal marketing questions. How do you execute internal marketing? How would you align the entire organizations to your message? How do you get feedback from customers? Where are you spending your money most effectively? That would be a great one. I love just breakdowns of campaigns that are really working, the the R O I people are getting from those things. How do you best support your sales team? So again, there's just like so many questions here that people have, and then the three most common. This is what I wanted to ultimately drive us to. I would say, if you're bucketing this, it's priorities, it's attribution and it's content. That's what people have questions about. So the most common question was what do you prioritize what's working with regards to channel strategies and tools, and then we heard a lot of questions around attribution.

What do you actually measure and how do you think about what? You attribute it to? M Q LS, SQL type stuff, and then several answers around content. Well, it's funny because they're not answers their questions. Several questions around content. So when you hear that James Bucketing it into priorities, attribution, content, anything that really sticks out at you right away. So I think as I look through these, people love to know what's working. And so when we've talked before about like what's what's working for us on Linkedin, Nick Biddett, we just did an episode with him or about him. We've done one with him recently and then we did one about him a few days ago that just dropped in our Echo Chamber series where we talked about how he got roasted on Linkedin for talking about this tactic that he deployed. But I think people people loved it because he shared something very, very tactical. He was sharing something that he did to drive a lot of g two reviews for for their product and some people would say, you know, got loud and said that it wasn't ethical what he did. We did an episode about it. I don't think that what he did was unethical at all, but because he actually shared what he was doing, the post blew up and people love that kind of tactical what is actually working, and that's supported here in the research that we did. People want to know what their peers are doing, what is specifically working and not working, so that they can learn from those mistakes, because we're all just out here, seemingly on an island, trying to figure it out for ourselves, and we don't have to be Yep, even when you take get outside of B two B for a second, think of like artists that you like, music that you enjoy, someone like a Charlie Peuth or Seawan Mendez, like they show like behind the scenes stuff on Tiktok, specifically Charlie puth. He does videos where he's literally like, Oh, I turned on a light switch and now I'm making a whole song using the sound from the switch, and people eat up the tiktok video because it's the behind the scenes content that people really love. So you can build entire like linked in videos and posts and all these like organic posts that you want to create around what's working for you right now? What's the problem you had before that this helped solve? Like bringing that all to the table and allowing some vulnerability is a really important thing. And I don't even say as we've done interviews, I often ask like if you were going to start a show, what would it be about? People want to know what failures other marketers have experienced, what campaigns totally flopped. Those are the recurring conversations people want, because marketing can be so shiny that if we never do behind the scenes type content, we people are like, Oh, all right, well, it looks like they're doing, you know, great stuff over there and really working on it. It's just like it's this okay, cool, you're you're so shiny that I can't relate and I love that. It's like, Oh yeah, we're gonna share what's working. We're also gonna just share real life, like behind the scenes content. People will will eat that up. I think I love going back and looking. I did this exercise a few weeks ago. I went I went back and I just started looking at all of Dave Gerhart's linkedin posts because it seemed like everything I saw in my feed from him had like thousands of engagements and I was like, what the what is in this guy's water that everything he posts is just going viral? And I looked back and that was not the story at all. Like when you actually go back into as activity and he's just posting a lot. He's put I think at the time that I looked he was posting like two or three, sometimes four times a day and a lot of his content had little to no engagement. But the stuff that I obviously saw my feed had a ton of it. And so he's just throwing a lot of bait into the water consistently, and when you're putting more bait into the water, you're gonna catch more fish. And so it's no wonder that he is now a masked I think I think he's over a hundred and fifty thousand followers on Linkedin. Now you're just putting a whole lot of bait in the water and some stuff...

...sticks, some stuff doesn't. But it was actually really encouraging to me to go and look at that, to go not every single thing that I post needs to pop off. I just gotta put more out there. Yep, yeah, and it's it's that being curious and like what you were. You weren't even doing that, James, by going and researching what worked for him. You know that curiosity. Having a list of questions you're currently asking to become a better marketer, to be better at your job. That's such a soft skill of curiosity is vital. That's why I love asking marketers. What questions are you asking right now? B Two, B growth will be right back. There are a lot of questions on marketers minds right now, and analyzing the latest trends can be a full time job in itself. Can an a R filter really improved brand awareness? Why are streaming ads so allowed? What do viewers really think about shoppable ads? Marketing Brew Does the hard work for you, dropping a quick to read need free newsletter in your inbox every weekday, covering essential topics, from influencers and advertising to social media and more. Marketing Group never misses a beat. Get The answers you've been looking for, along with the ones you haven't even thought of yet. Upgrade your game alongside a growing community of over two hundred and sixty five thousand marketing professionals. Check it out by clicking the link in our show notes. Right now, the soft skill of curiosity is vital. That's why I love asking marketers what questions are you asking right now? Another thing that came up quite a bit that I thought was interesting is just people want to know about internal dynamics. There's just like okay, so how do you relate as a marketing leader to the C suite? What are those conversations like? How do you prove your value? How do you prove your words like? That's why attribution comes up quite a bit too, is because it's one of the things that you report up to the C suite and they want to know what channels are working, what strateg gs are working with campaigns, how that's being driven by the marketing department, and so if you can share, whether it's in personal just conversation, you can do so. I'm just like, Hey, this is some of the meetings that work best for us, but knowing what other organizations are doing between marketing in the C suite. People love want to know market other marketing. UH companies want to want to know. So that was that was a big, big one that that stood out to me. Dan, how about you? Another thing people are asking a lot about is what other marketers doing around attribution, because again it comes back to that theme of what works. Marketers want to know what's works. So they want to know what other marketers are doing for marketing attribution. And it's sad, and we cover this a lot in the last episode, like how I view attribution, because to me it's kind of like, Oh, yeah, you talk to customers, you survey customers and you use marketing attribution to tell you kind of all the pieces of the story for you to inform your your choices. But I think a lot of people are looking for like how do you craft something to kind of give you this silver bullet, like how do you know empirically that it's going to work? I think people are looking for and it's probably because marketers are being asked that I've known. I've had a CFO stare me in the face and be like show me with empirical evidence. It's very CFO word right. It's where I got it from, that this is the thing that's going to work. Marketers are being asked tough questions from C suite officers in order to know that it's going to drive the results they want. The problem is it's never a perfect game. To me, a much more interesting question is what's could be working that we're not even doing. That's much harder to figure out. Like what's the process other marketers are using in order to test new things, in order to find where you haven't even dug for oil yet, you know because what's working? It's it's as simple. That's just going to talking new customers that sign up and putting out some like where'd you hear about as fields on your forms? Like that's that's much easier to set up some systems for them to constantly glean that information. But finding out what could be working but you're not currently doing. Oh, that's what I like to know...

...from other marketers. One of the things that I think about, Benji is, as as we're looking at this, a lot of people I had questions around. They wanted to know what other marketers were doing to create quality content. That that qualitative angle of it. It's like we know how to do it, we know the tools that you know. I think a lot of people know the tools that they need to be able to create some of the stuff, but how do you how do you know if it's actually good? And so some of the responses we got were like, how do you keep your marketing from being average? How are you ensuring that you're creating empathetic thought leadership content? What makes great content? What content do you want to watch? So those are some of the responses that we got to this. This is something that we have struggled with as well, because we're, you know, for the longest time you're on this hamster, will have just you gotta put out more content, more content, more content, more content, and you lose sight of man, is the stuff we're putting out there actually good? And so one of the things that kind of a mental shift that I had to make for myself was I need to be more involved in vetting whether something is good or not, like me as the CEO of the company, and I think that there's not a lot of organizations, unfortunately, where the CEO is willing to prioritize that. But it doesn't necessarily have to be the CEO. It can be the subject matter expert that in your organization is kind of the persona for the person that you're wanting your content to resonate with. So for us, we take Dan's opinion very seriously. At sweet fish on. Hey, is this going to actually resonate with marketers? Because Dan was our buyer at another at another organization prior to joining Sweet Fish. So his subject matter expertise is huge in determining whether something is good enough for us to post it. But it's a matter of building. For us, it was a matter of building a system that allowed the person that you're trying to connect with, who is that person in your orger, get their eyes on it, get their ears on it and let them vet whether it's going to be good or not and then give them make it okay for them to say no. So this is easy for me, is the CEO, but like it was, it was still easier, I guess I should say, because it was still tough. I mean, the first time we really started getting into the rhythm of making a lot of these micro videos, I did one or two episodes. We had a flurry of new micro clips come in for me to approve and at first I just approved all of them and I was posting all of them and I was like more and more and more and more and more, and then I just started realizing, like man, I'm I'm watering down, like I'm putting out stuff that I'm not proud to put out, and so I had to go back and get a lot more serious about saying no to stuff. And it's not the end of the world. Like I just heard Gary v Actually yesterday talking about how he goes through and and it's, I think, the majority of the stuff that comes across his plate he says no to. He's like, Nope, the post production team missed the context there, they didn't emphasize the right point in that video, and he throws out the lions share of what his massive post production team is producing for him. And that that was really affirming for me, because we're just now starting to do that, to be okay with saying nope, that clip didn't nail it, so we're not going to share it. But because we're posting, because we have rhythms and systems for creating a lot of content, we can still we're still able to post daily from multiple people's profiles because of the volume of we we can still say no to a lot and still post daily, and so I think for us that's that's what's worked for us and I think can work for a lot of other organizations as well. I'm glad that you said that, because I think that the rat race can feel very real in content creation, where it's just like, okay, we gotta figure out the next video that we have to like, and it's just endless. If you have rhythms where pillar content is going to be created, something is gonna come from that, that's good. But like trying to make a content calendar where it's like we're definitely gonna get six clips from this that will be shared on these days, I really think that's what leads to commodity content. You...

...will end up in a space where you're like, well, I guess I just have to share this because this is what we pulled from it, and that's just not a great feeling, because you're not gonna hit all home runs. There's no way that you're batting a thousand in content, especially in video and in podcasting. What's Nice is it's a conversation, so the three of us are on a long form, you know, conversation right now, and that's why people are engaging with the podcast. They want some of this back and forth. But when you're editing it into like small clips, only going with what actually adds value is absolutely important. So I'm glad you said that. And it's tough for us man, I mean as a service provider, a podcast agency. We're having to really look at like how do we re Orient our packages are service offering, because if we say hey, you're gonna get five micro videos and you're paying for those five micro videos, but the long form episode that we got, there's not enough good content to make up five micro videos. So we're really starting to examine, like how do we package up what we do for our clients to keep us from putting out commodity content on their behalf? Because so that's a challenge that I'm intimately aware of on two different fronts, for for our own stuff, as we market sweet fish, but then also for the work that we're doing for clients. And you had posed that question previously of like pick a subject matter expert. You know in your space that you want to admire your content, like how would they think of this right, like how would they interact with it? Would they talk about it at lunch because your content you're putting out is that kind of quality, like they want to go share it with their peers? When you think that way, it really does change like Oh, should we just put out a blog again this Friday, like, like how you think about it, how you're educating the market, what the use of that content pieces? And again it's that curiosity asking the questions and going to people that you really admiring content and like what's working for you guys right now, like how can we learn from that? That's why I think this question was great, because a lot of people are asking that exact thing. Dan, anything else here that that stands out to you? As we start to wrap up, and I've almost become a collector of good questions, I have a whole ever note section, sorry, not ever note section of notion, where I categorize and collect fantastic questions. But the best, some of the best questions, I'm starting to find actually, are the questions your ideal buyers are asking themselves, because with those questions you can form answers for it over and over again. And one way I found out recently that you can go even deeper because after a while you'll find a core group of questions and kind of have your point of view on answering them and you can turn that point of view into a bunch of different say a bunch of different ways. So that it sinks in, some people still won't take your advice even if they agree with it. So what I'm starting to think about now is, even though we have our strong points of view and we're communicating them frequently and often and people are agreeing, and yet it's still not taking action. Why? It's like a whole another set of questions that's beyond what's working for you or what's what's causing you the most pain in your job right now. If they know the answer and are still not executing on it, why aren't they executing on it? Is it a fear? Is it insecurity? Is there something that's causing them to hold back finding the answer? Using those questions to go one level deeper and then addressing those, even though it probably at that point will sound a little bit more motivational speechie at the end of the day is probably one of the best ways you can serve your ideal buyers is to get to the root of the issue why they're not successful. I think that's that's why Gary V is blowing up continues to blow up, is because he's pressing harder and harder into those things. And you had mentioned it before we started recording. But it's like that's why he's starting to sound more and more like a motivational speaker, because he's pressing more into why is someone not taking the advice that I'm saying, like, why are they not putting out seventy two pieces of content a day? Oh, it's because they're insecure because of the way they were...

...raised, or that they got told that they were fat until they were twelve years old, and so that, like he's starting to press into like the real emotional stuff which comes across very much motivation, e. But it's because he's figured out that, like, I can give you all the right answers and if you're not going to do it, then why am I continuing to give you all the right answers? I need to get to the core and help solve some of those core things so that you can actually do themself. And then he develops his own points of view and things around it. Right is and like I can hear it in my eyes, like I'm going to suffocate your excuses. It's the language he's developed around those, those talking points, which I think is smart and I think we can all do that for individual and industries. Yeah, that's kind of where I was gonna wrap us up, is because I do think when I was looking over all these questions, like man, all of these are great content pieces, great episode premises for Podcasts, like and not because you want one of these questions to just stay at the surf this level and go like, all right, Dann, how do you spend your day? But like when you dive a layer deeper, like you guys are saying, that's when you start to get to the good stuff of like, okay, when it comes to content, when it comes to attribution, what's like, the underlying fear you're experiencing? What? And we can do that and B Two b. But again, like that's why emotional marketing comes up even in B two B, is because I think there is a general fear there of how you will come off. I respect Gary v's approach because he gave us very good marketing advice, first because he's showing he's an expert, and then now he's going, okay, if you want to be like this, here's also the soft skills that are necessary in order to get there. So when you can tie them together, the felt need and then what's underlying, that's when you start to hit some gold, and I think that that's a big deal for me when I look at all these questions like this. Is Great for content and it's great for going a layer deeper with people and and exposing some things and working on something so fun episode. Stay curious. That's the main takeaway from me from this is. Like Dan, I'm glad you said keep a list of questions. I do the exact same thing. I I love having questions that you can refer back to ask yourself, even like a you know, for me I have weekly questions I go back to and, uh, just ways of stay on top of things by asking good questions staying curious. So again, you can connect with James, with Dan, with myself over on Linkedin. Talk about marketing, business life over there, and I would love to hear from you. Keep doing work that matters. We'll be back real soon with another episode of B Two B growth. If you enjoy today's show, hit subscribe for more marketing goodness and if you really enjoy today's show, take a second to rate and review the podcast on the platform you're listening to it on right now. If you really really enjoyed this episode, share the love by texting it to a friend who would find it insightful. Thanks for listening and thanks for sharing. m.

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