4 min read

What are things I like and don't like about 8 years in B2B marketing?

I turned 30 just a month ago.

And that made me reflect on quite a few things in life. 30 years, is basically 1/3, umm, 1.2/3rd of my life done, right?

And naturally, like other folks around me, I too felt:

  • Did I do well in these 30 years?
  • Especially, the last 10 years? Did I use my 20s to build out a good life for myself?
  • Do I agree with what my parents told me about growing up?
  • Am I happy here?
  • What did I learn and how did I grow professionally?

Umm, hold up a second.

If I write about all these things, we are going to go way off topic.

Probably the former bit could be a blog in itself. Let's focus on the 8 years I've put into marketing after college and how was the journey.

Whatever we are going to talk about here, it is mostly relevant for a marketer who hails from India, and works there as well catering to global and local audiences in the B2B ecosystem.

Lesson #1 - Empathy and Kindness go a long way

In 8 years, empathy and Kindness rank at the top of my learning.

The world has gone to shit. Let's not debate this.

And it's probably worst when it comes to the professional side of things.

I have had the chance to work with a few of the most generous, understanding, kind, and empathetic leaders, and I have also had the honor of working with a rare breed of a-holes.

And your immediate team or manager can make a whole lot of difference in your career based on how they treat you.

We aren't in the line of business where if we don't deliver people are going to die. So why do we think that being under pressure is the only way to get work done.

In fact, putting pressure, and being toxic will only lead to the downfall of your brand, cue – Activision Blizzard.

Whereas the leaders and team which even on their worst days had my back, I've gone to war with them and have never regretted one bit of staying with them.

Lesson #2 - Always be flexible, and yet always remember you can say NO.

Covid changed the way we worked for good!

We truly understood –

  • What being flexible is about?
  • How transition can either liberate you or break you
  • Is your workplace truly inclusive or it was a veil for the inbred toxicity?
  • The myth around work-life balance.

During Covid, I worked on both spectrums, a place that was toxic as hell. Another place that was inclusive as hell.

I noticed that flexibility was the need of the hour. Your role flexibility is one thing but due to remote work, it opened up doors for us.

I was finally able to work at late hours instead of my usual 9-5 time because we were remote. See my creativity peaked in late hours and I always felt that my copy was way better at 1 am.

But, but, but...

Working late hours meant being late to show up at work, and then putting in additional hours and getting no appreciation in return.  

But with Covid, nothing mattered but deadlines. No matter if the deadline is 10 days or 2 days from today, I just had to get it done, and the working hours were around my accord.

As long as you deliver we don't care! That's how Slintel worked and boy was it fun.

On the other end being too flexible took a toll on me. I also worked a remote role where the expectation was to work over the weekend because of aggressive sales targets and bandwidth crunch.

I should have said no, but I didn't. Result – A burnout that took me out of the job market for 5 months.

So say NO or leave the place that doesn't value you. If you have 2 years of experience, people will rehire you. Take that chance, which brings me to my next point.

Lesson #3 - Look at alternative ways in Marketing

B2B marketing has a safety net around it that B2C doesn't offer. At least that's what I feel.

B2C requires you to burn money, be constantly creative, always be the first one to use a new idea, and more.

  • The OnePlus invite-based phone orders
  • The  Apple iPad advert - What is a computer?
  • The exclusivity of Blackberry Messenger

I can go on and on.

Similarly even with the safety net of B2B business which still runs via:

  • Ads
  • Content
  • Product Marketing
  • Videos
  • Webinars

There are companies that disrupt the market by cleverly utilizing these channels to create a new form of marketing.

Like --

  • Slack's full-page newspaper ads congratulating the behemoth Microsoft entering the comms space with Microsoft Teams.
  • Intercom's extremely new design language made the website look like it's from a different era.
  • Buffer's efforts to educate people about remote work even though their product is nowhere near managing remote work.  
  • HubSpot free marketing and sales courses that brought them tons of customers.

All these tactics and strategies are not your usual playbooks and are risky, and yet today these brands are growing at a crazy rate (Ok, not sure about HubSpot).

And that's the whole point, take risks.

In my time, I've created off-shelf products or spin-offs too for my role to create demand for the products I am promoting.

Remember, if you are creating or writing to actually help people with expecting nothing in return other than sweet messages and thank you notes, you are bound to evolve and pull in people.

Lesson #4 - You can always learn new skills

My golden rule for hiring:

Does it seem like this person will pick up new things?

If the answer is yes. The probability to hire goes above 70% in my books.

If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can always pick new skills. See I am writing after an 8-hour long workday, post 3 hours of heavy weight lifting sessions.

If you have the zeal, you'll be able to learn new skills and apply them.

And if you're hiring, remember this, always go out and hire people who show the zeal to catch on to new things even if they don't have plenty of experience.

Because they are driven and probably clever enough to work on new projects. They just need a bit of guidance.