What Does ‘Marketing’ Mean to You?

lead generation - the elephant in the room

What’s the elephant in your room? In our first post that covered the full reasoning and process behind why inbound digital marketing is critical to your B2B tech company, we discussed the 2018 Mainsail Partners bootstrapped survey and specifically this chart:

Yellow shows perceived importance, blue perceived strength. What strikes me from this chart is, firstly, how Sales is perceived to be important but is actually a weakness and then, secondly, how Marketing is not perceived as important and is an even greater weakness than Sales.

Of course, the two should be inextricably linked with Marketing at least as important, if not more so, than Sales. Why? Well, as we covered in the post linked to above, and for our target market, the purchase process is now much more of a buyer’s journey than a sales cycle and efficient, effective marketing necessitates inbound techniques rather than outbound.

In terms of the chart, the reason Sales is a weakness (despite its importance) is because Marketing sucks, and Marketing sucks because its not seen as important.

Hence the post title ‘What Does Marketing Mean to You?’ Because, if it’s perceived as unimportant (as per the Mainsail Partners survey), then what do you think it actually is?

Do bootstrapped entrepreneurs view Marketing as logo creation, a nice tagline, standard PowerPoint look and feel, a flashy e-mail signature? Sort of fluffy, but nice to have? Once the business is up and running type stuff?

Here’s our definition of marketing (again, for our target market)…


Two words. If anything else is being done in the name of Marketing that doesn’t directly generate leads for you in your target market then don’t do it. Don’t spend money on it, don’t waste time on it.

So then, if marketing is ALL about lead generation, the lifeblood of your revenue growth, how can it be viewed as unimportant? Of course, it shouldn’t be.

So why the disconnect between the perceived importance of Marketing and the reality of the critical role Marketing should play?

Part of it is a lack of understanding and a perception that Marketing is just fluff and a pretty ribbon to be tied around the company once it has broken through.

Part of it will also be down to the eagerness of the founder to get out of front-line Sales and pass the task off to a ‘professional Sales person’. Hiring Sales people is difficult even for other Sales professionals, and even more so for a founder with a technical background. The desire to hand off the Sales role leads to the founder hearing what s(he) wants to hear from someone who is adept at navigating Q&A to a positive outcome.

The elephant in the room? Where are the leads going to come from? The founder thinks the Sales person has a magic rolodex (or just magic) and the Sales person isn’t motivated to dissuade from this viewpoint.

The outcome? Six to twelve months down the line, the founder thinks the Sales person is not performing, the Sales person wants to know where the leads are coming from. A Mexican stand-off ensues.

The solution? A lead generation engine to feed your Sales function. In an ideal world you should fire up that engine before making your first Sales hire. In reality, wherever you are in the process, Domino can generate those leads for you on an outsourced basis until you spin up your internal Marketing team.

So what does Marketing really do? It keeps elephants out of rooms and prevents Mexican stand-offs. Or, in two words, lead generation.

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