How to Stand Out in a Specialized B2B Industry
It’s a challenge that many marketers in specialized B2B industries are confronted with: The sameness and “play it safe” approach. Using everyone else’s playbook will not help B2B companies to be one step ahead of the competition. They need to stand out in a way that they are more visible, seen as different, and are unforgettable.
Join us as we talk to arguably the “Only Marketing Chemist” on LinkedIn Jason Westgeest (Marketing and Innovation Manager, Guardian Chemicals) about what it takes to stand out in a specialized B2B industry. During our conversation, Jason talks about why many companies use a risk-averse approach in their marketing, what mistakes to avoid, and how to get buy-in from senior management. Jason also provides actionable tips to help B2B marketers to improve their marketing in a way that gets noticed, is unique, and delivers the right results.
Topics discussed in episode
Companies and links mentioned
Jason Westgeest, Christian Klepp
Christian Klepp 00:03
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for changemakers where we question the conventional, debunk marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp.
Okay, folks, welcome to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today I’m joined by someone on a mission to help his B2B company to be seen, be different, and be unforgettable. So coming to us from Alberta, Canada, Mr. Jason Westgeest, also known as Vanilla Ice, or Taylor Swift. More to that in a second. Welcome to the show.
Jason Westgeest 01:13
Hey, Christian, thanks very much. Happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Christian Klepp 01:17
Thank you so much for your time, and great to be connected. Jason, I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Because it’s a pertinent topic, your background story should be an incredible inspiration to those B2B marketers out there that are still hesitating to stand out, which I think is the topic of conversation for today’s interview. So you have a unique positioning on your LinkedIn profile, I’m going to say, well, that’s the only one I’ve come across anyway, the only marketing chemist. So as I said, today’s topic of conversation will be how to stand out and be different in a specialized B2B industry. So let’s kick off this conversation with two questions. Jason, so it’s a two-pronged approach. Why do you think B2B industries have this reputation that their marketing is boring? Number one, and number two, what factors do you think have caused this?
Jason Westgeest 02:12
I think, first of all, you know, just to frame the conversation. You know, I think I think it’s more kind of specialized B2B industries, kind of industrial, B2B industries that really have this reputation. I think B2B SaaS is really moving away from it, at least, you know, everything that I see there, they’re starting to engage more with, you know, consumer type of advertising, but those industrialized, specialized companies are still dragging behind. You know, I think I see it, as, you know, they see the world and bullet points and PowerPoints, they want to talk simply about features, you know, if they can only add one more feature to the list, they’re going to capture that niche that they want to speak to. But that’s even another part of it. I don’t think they’ve, a lot of these companies have niched down there, they’re too afraid to do that they haven’t really done the segmentation, targeting and positioning exercise. They think that if they do that, they’re, they’re going to narrow their focus too much. And, you know, they’re actually sell less rather than more. You know, I’ve seen it even in the industry that I work for the chemical industry, we have a lot of people just wanting to list all the features of the products that they have, what they do what they’re capable of doing. And they don’t necessarily speak to that outcome that the customer is trying to achieve. And, you know, I think that’s one of the elements of standing out is really speaking to that, that outcome. It doesn’t have to be, you know, it doesn’t have to be all flash or, or something that, you know, seems outrageous in order to stand out, but it has to resonate with your target. And when you, when you speak to all these different features, it’s really hard for them to understand how that’s helping them. It’s really portraying the company more as the hero like we have this, and this is what it does, rather than, you know, this is what it’ll help you do. So I think that’s part of the problem as to why they have this reputation for being boring. And kind of going back to a little bit of your introduction about me, reflecting on this question, I thought about it. You know, in the matters, you know, I’m an introvert, most people aren’t gonna believe that based on my LinkedIn feed, but I think a lot of B2B companies, if you think of them as having personalities, they’re introverts too, right? They’re afraid to speak up. They’re afraid to stand out, they’re afraid that if they stand out and they put a message out there that some people aren’t going to choose them. Some people are going to be against them because that’s what happens when you stand out, you know, and have a voice and they’re not realizing that, then they’ll become you know, they’ll make more fans as to the people that they are trying to attract and they’ll be able to make that message resonate more with them. So I think they feel the need to really look professional, they’re afraid to take a risk afraid to make a mistake. A lot of the subjects they view as technical and dry, but they don’t necessarily have to be. And I think that’s just because they’re, you know, so into it, that that’s all they see, you know, myself as a chemist, you know, chemistry does seem like a dry topic, certainly, you know, thinking back to my days at university, you know, studying everything over and over again, it did seem dry, but to me at the time, it wasn’t dry, because I had a passion for it, I wanted to learn it, right. And I think that you have to portray that passion for your audience. You know, so I think that’s really what it comes down to, they haven’t done the targeting, positioning and segmenting exercise, they’re afraid to niche down, you know, pick a, pick an audience, you know, to really speak to them. And, you know, I look at them as being more introverted, just like I, you know, for a long time looked at myself. And, you know, one of the things that I think I’ll add there is, you know, Seth Godin in his book, Purple Cow, you know, he says, Why isn’t everyone a Purple Cow? It’s because they’re too afraid. If you’re remarkable, chances are some people won’t like you. Nobody gets unanimous praise, criticism comes to those who stand out. And those companies are afraid of that criticism because they’re introverted, and they think it’s going to stop them from doing better, not help them.
Christian Klepp 06:22
That’s absolutely right. Um, thanks for sharing that. Those are really some incredibly insightful points that you raised there. I would go back and say,… would you say that it’s also linked somehow to this whole culture of, well, let’s just play it safe and not rock the boat?
Jason Westgeest 06:42
Yeah, absolutely. 100%. You know, they’re, they’re afraid to look different from their competitors. So it’s easy just to do what they’re doing and, and not rock the boat. For sure. I agree with you. 100%.
Christian Klepp 06:56
Absolutely. And, I think it’s also coupled with a little bit of like, for lack of a better description, some kind of resistance to change. I mean, how often have we heard this phrase? Oh, well, but that’s like Jason, we’ve been doing it that way for 20 years. Like, why? Why do we need to change it now? Right? Or I’m not sure if this is pertinent to your company. But I’ve certainly heard this in some of the specialized B2B industries that I used to work with, well, we’ve grown this company for the past three decades without a marketing function. So why would we need one now? Right?
Jason Westgeest 07:33
Yeah, no, you make a great point, Christian, and even, you know, just using the company that I worked for, Guardian Chemicals, as an example. You know, people are resistant initially to change for sure. And as you stated about why do we even need a marketing function? Well, I’m the only marketing chemist, because I’m also the only marketer we’ve ever had. For now, yeah. And they felt that it was easier to train somebody to become a marketer than it was to train somebody to learn all the ins and outs of the business, the customers and the products themselves. So you know, that’s really what made me take the leap into this area, is the fact that they wanted to change and start doing marketing in order to grow the business.
Christian Klepp 08:19
Right. Right. Right, which is, I would say, an indication of progress. It’s a step in the right direction, but it probably needs to be… there needs to be more of that. Right.
Jason Westgeest 08:30
Yeah, absolutely. But it’s all steps, right? It’s all steps in the process and all steps in growth, and moving forward.
Christian Klepp 08:36
Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s such a great segue into the next question, which is about mistakes and misconceptions, that you’ve seen that lead B2B companies to use a me-too approach in their marketing, and what should be done to address those.
Jason Westgeest 08:54
I think, you know, as you said, you kind of lead into it there with the fact that you know, they’re afraid to stand out. So it’s easy to just look like the competitor, you know, to have the same kind of approach. You throw some articles on LinkedIn, you put together some case studies. And you know, I think the thinking there is also that if it’s working for the competitor to work for us. You know, one of the issues I find with me too, though, is and when you really think about it, is if you take away the logo, if you take away the tagline, do you look any different, you know, slap somebody else’s logo or tagline there, and you look the same. So I think the mistake of taking the “me too” approach is – How does your customer differentiate you from your competitors If you look the same? How do they make the decision to choose you rather than somebody else? One of the things that I read a few months back that really leads to this as you know, in a lot of industries, you end up with this competitive herding, right where everybody thinks they’re being a little bit different by adding another feature or oh, you know, so and so’s got that feature, I need to add that to my product. But instead of trying to be different, what they end up doing is they end up, you know, all looking the same and forming this, you know, industrial herd, where people on the outside can’t really tell the difference, you might be able to when you’re immersed in it, but people on the outside that are actually, you know, making the buying decisions, they can’t figure that out. And so, you know, I think to address these things, what you need to start with is, well, knowing your competition is important, I think you need to start by, you know, just kind of putting them to the periphery, and focusing on yourself and your customers. So first would be kind of to think about what makes you different, you know, what messages, you think you have that make your company different, make your products different. But then to take that out there and to talk to customers to talk to, you know, prospects to try and get an idea from their perspective, you know, what you’ve been doing that’s been resonating with them. And then to really focus in on those specific things and kind of let the other stuff, you know, slide. Right. You know, it might be important, you might need to still include that in some of your marketing material. But it shouldn’t be the leading message.
Christian Klepp 11:11
Absolutely, absolutely. Um, I wanted to go back to something you said earlier, Jason, that’s so true. And I’m not sure if you’ve ever read the book, How to build a story brand by Donald Miller, right. But to go back to the point you raised earlier, like do not make yourself or your company, the hero of the story. That’s not, right, the customer is the hero of the story, and you are the guide, or you, you being the company that said service provider, etc., right? And more often than not, like you see, companies doing this time and time again, where they’re, well, if I’m going to use a colloquial term, toot their own horn a little bit too much, and talk about how great they are and how great their services are. I’m like, hang on a second, guys. I think you’re, that’s not the objective of the exercise here. Right. And I think that’s going back to like, what you brought up earlier.
Jason Westgeest 12:02
Yeah, no, I think that’s, I think that’s a very good point, Christian. You know, I think a lot of companies do want to look at themselves as the hero and, and that’s definitely not the case, you want to make your customer the hero. You know, we were guilty of it initially, too. And we’re still moving away from that. But, you know, our website used to be, I’ve said, very self-serving, in that it spoke mostly about us, and not about, you know, not about our customers and how we can, how we can really truly help them. And so, you know, it’s all steps in the process, it’s all steps to moving forward. And, you know, right now, that’s what we’re doing is we’re putting out articles and case studies to really help show the customer what we can do for them and to speak to them and, you know, provide that value that you spoke about. You know, it’s not necessarily about talking about yourself, it’s more about, you know, giving that value to the customer so they can find the solution for them if you’re the solution for them, great. If you’re not, you know, at least you’ve educated them and help them, you know, hopefully, make progress.
Christian Klepp 13:03
Exactly, exactly. Speaking of getting to know the customer better, and having a deeper understanding of the customer, talk to us about the role that market research, and having the right strategy play in having some kind of higher degree of differentiation as a B2B brand, or a B2B company.
Jason Westgeest 13:24
Yeah, I think, you know, first of all, research, you know, it really helps to… it helps you find focus. I think a lot of companies, you know, especially in B2B, they, they feel they need to be everywhere and do everything to everyone, you know, for everyone all at once. You know, certainly when I, when I first took this role a year and a half ago, I was overwhelmed. That’s what I felt like I needed to, I needed to be on LinkedIn, I needed to be on you know, Tik Tok, I needed to write articles, case studies. I needed to, you know, run different campaigns and just be everywhere. And I think it’s normal to be overwhelmed. And to kind of think that at first, but you need to take a step back. And I think research helps you take that step back. And you need to focus on building that foundation to inform your strategy. You know, without research, you don’t really know who you’re for, you don’t know the messages that identify with those people. And you don’t know the channels that they out at, you know, you don’t know what to prioritize. So you really need that research to build that foundation. And you need it also to help you learn what’s unique about you, right? Because customers really, you know, and give you that message, whether it’s the service you provide, whether it’s a specific feature about your product that nobody else has that helps them accomplish what they want, you know, and you need to find that out and that’s where you can work where the research comes in, in my opinion. And then once you have that, then you can work on putting out the right message in the right place at the right time, and most importantly, repeating it over and over and over and over again, you know, to build up that brand awareness and to continue to be present in the mind of, of your consumers just as Byron Sharp teaches.
Christian Klepp 15:13
Exactly, exactly. I have the pleasure of seeing him live and unplugged on stage.
Jason Westgeest 15:18
Christian Klepp 15:19
In 2012. Yeah. Byron Sharp. Professor Byron Sharp. Very, very dynamic, very knowledgeable, Australian branding guy. But I love how you brought up. I’m not sure if you were implying that movie that came up recently, they got all the awards at the Oscars, everything everywhere all at once. But it kind of sounded like you did. But um, you brought up such a great point. And I like to always compare it to somehow like the, I call it a Lego approach, right? So if you if anybody out there is a Lego builder, if you buy one of those sets that has like 2000 pieces, and you open it up, and you’re like, Oh, my goodness, where do I start? Right? Unfortunately, there are different sets of instruction manuals, and they’re all numbered, and so are the bags. And then you start that way, right? You start with a smaller components and you build your way up, right. And for those of you out there that are overwhelmed. I mean, I think that was a great piece of advice, Jason. Just yeah. I like to call it compartmentalize the problem or the challenges, Right.
Jason Westgeest 16:22
Yeah, I like that. I like that.
Christian Klepp 16:24
Take it in small spurts.
Jason Westgeest 16:25
Christian Klepp 16:27
Okay. Hold on to your seats, because this next question is not only extremely relevant, but not one that’s always easy to answer. Right. So implementing B2B marketing campaigns and initiatives that are designed to stand up and be different in specialized B2B industries requires buy in from the leadership of the organization. So we all know that that isn’t a walk in the park. So based on your own experience, Jason, what steps would you say B2B marketers can take to help them get to that, get to that approval, get to that finish line? Because that’s no small feat.
Jason Westgeest 17:07
Yeah, no. I think, you know, in my experience, I think the first step is really just to be passionate. Like, you need to be passionate about what you’re doing, you need to be passionate about what you’re proposing. You know, don’t be wishy-washy about it, just absolutely believe in it. 100%, and that it’s the right path for you. Because obviously, it’s not, you know, your money that you’re spending is not your reputation necessarily that you’re, you know, building or affecting. So I think you really need to be passionate about it. You need to take that passion to leadership when you want to, you know, bring up you know, different approaches. You know, you need to truly believe in the campaigns and the initiatives that you’re bringing forward. And I think also, it’s worthwhile if you can do little tests ahead of time, to kind of get some signals to determine whether, you know, it’s going to work, and then you can use the results of those tests to inform leadership. One of the examples that I’ll use is, you might have seen a couple of weeks ago, I put out a post about a guy named Gordy. So Gordy the Guardian was our brand logo, I think, from 1967 until 1994-95. And, you know, it was something it was more distinct, right, kind of thinking of going back to Byron Sharp. Thinking of, you know, distinctive brand assets. And so, you know, thinking about this, this Gordy character, you know, we’ve, we’ve made him the author of all the articles on our website, you know, what I’m thinking of maybe repurposing that into perhaps a podcast or into audio form, but also to do some segments where we have, you know, Gordy come into the picture, you know, and talk about chemistry with, with, you know, some experts from our lab. You know, and I’ve taken that to leadership, and I think we’ve got some fun things in store in the next few months that we could do, you know, just kind of help stop the scroll, but in a way to try and keep it professional as well. So, you know, taking that experience, I think, again, you know, you have to have that passion, I think, you know, that’s what helps me talk to leadership about the things that I want to you know, test. And if you have a place to test it, like in my case, I can use my personal LinkedIn to test some things rather than put it out directly on the brand, especially because I’m connected to at least 2000 of our customers or potential customers. So, you know, I can see what does or doesn’t resonate and ask questions kind of on the periphery. When you do, you know, before you do take that step of taking it to leadership, though, I think it’s important that you refine it a little bit in your own head, that you take it to trusted colleagues and discuss it with them, you bounce it off of them, you know, and in my case, I don’t really have anybody else in marketing and I think that’s a good thing. Because, you know, we come at it from a different lens, than somebody else if you can even talk to customers, but even some other internal staff that you have, that aren’t marketing and they bring a different, you know, perspective to the situation. So, you know, I think you can, they help to refine your good ideas. And they help you to reject the bad ones too. So I think that’s, you know, that’s something that you should do before you take it to leadership. But just in my case, I think, you know, really testing and refining those ideas, but bringing them forward with a passion. If you don’t show that passion. You know, it’s hard for them to get behind it.
Christian Klepp 20:23
Yeah, that’s some excellent advice. And yes, I did see that LinkedIn post about Gordy. I believe I even commented, a little bit. I was kind of insisting that you should be wearing that Gordy outfit with every video that you’ve put out there. (laugh)
Jason Westgeest 20:40
We’re going to be pricing it out. Christian, we’re gonna be pricing it out.
Christian Klepp 20:43
All right. All right. All right. You’re on. You’re on. Fantastic points. I did have two follow-up questions for you, Jason. Because I think what you brought up are, you know, is incredibly interesting. But how do you answer… here it goes. How do you answer the ROI question when you get asked that, like, you know, you present something, you present an idea, you present some initiatives and activities. And then somebody on the board looks at that and says, Well, how do we measure the ROI on that? Or what’s, you know, what is the outcome most likely gonna look like?
Jason Westgeest 21:22
I think for the ROI question, you know, not everything can be measured? Certainly, not immediately, I think you have to give some things a chance to really be able to see that. As far as, you know, what that looks like, and what was the second part of the question you asked, Christian?
Christian Klepp 21:41
No problem, no problem. So how do you answer the ROI question and for somebody that that’s sitting on the board, and you’re doing that presentation to them? Where you’re saying, Okay, this is, this is the marketing plan. And they say, Well, okay, but what’s the ROI on that? Like, what are the results gonna look like? And when I say results, it’s most likely going to be converted sales, right, is most likely going to be their question.
Jason Westgeest 22:06
Yeah. So I think I think, you know, a lot of these campaigns where you’re trying to stand out, I think initially, you can’t answer that question, I think you need to, you need to, you know, a lot of them don’t have to be large investments to begin with, either. So I think you lead in with the fact that you know, you have an idea of what it’s going to cost. You don’t necessarily even have to, you know, buy advertising in order to do some of these things. You can do it organically and see what the effect is. But in order to answer that ROI question, you really need to have some idea as to whether you think is going to drive leads. And I think the more important thing is, you know, you shouldn’t be bringing forward ideas that the goal is simply to stand out. Because if you stand out and you have no substance, people are just going to tune you out. So I think answering that question is easier if you show that there’s, you know, something behind it. And that the idea, you know, you need to know what the end goal is. So, in a lot of cases, obviously, that’s leads, and you should be able to say that you believe that will bring more leads, but they have to give it time to be able to see that, which is you know, there’s got to be a trust factor there for sure. And you can see the signals based on some of the things that you’ve done, you know, whether, you know, it’s brand awareness, whether you’re getting more direct hits to the website, you know, whether you’re getting more engagement on the channels where you’re putting out those campaigns to stand out. So I think it’s hard to completely answer that ROI question without having some signals, right, you need some signals to be able to answer it. And so that comes from the tests that you do.
Christian Klepp 23:39
Absolutely, absolutely. Okay, so that was the first follow-up question. Now, here comes the second follow-up question. And I know that you’ve probably done this before. So, you shouldn’t have any trouble answering this question. How important is it that when you’re trying to get buy-in from senior management, other members of the organization, how important is it for you to understand who it is you’re presenting to?
Jason Westgeest 24:05
It’s definitely very important, because your audience, you know, dictates the manner in which you present it. You know, if you’re talking to senior leadership, don’t get lost in all the metrics and, you know, a long slideshow presentation, you know, get to the point, show them what it’s going to do. You know, versus somebody else that might be more technical, and you do need to show them that information. So definitely, your audience plays a lot into the approach you take. I think I even suggested that and one of the LinkedIn posts that I put out, related to one of the Raps that I did, where I felt that I could get away with some language because I knew my audience, right? It’s not something I normally would do, but I knew that they would appreciate that. And so I think you really have to know like you said, the audience that you’re presenting to because it dictates the information that you present not that you’re withholding information, just that you’re framing it in a manner that’s digestible for them, just like you need to do for your customer.
Christian Klepp 25:09
Absolutely, absolutely. And where possible, leave out all the marketing jargon and acronyms and what not.
Jason Westgeest 25:16
Christian Klepp 25:18
That’s a surefire way to lose their attention.
Jason Westgeest 25:21
Christian Klepp 25:22
Okay, fantastic. Right. So Jason, we get to the point in the interview, where we’re talking about actionable tips, right? So let’s appreciate and you know, where I’m going with this, let’s appreciate that you can’t do all of this stuff in one day. And we all know, like, you haven’t, I haven’t, right? If somebody were listening to this conversation that you and I are having right now, what are like, say three to five things you would recommend that they do? Right after listening to this conversation? What are the three to five things that they can do right now to help their B2B company to stand out in a way that’s original, that’s memorable, but also relevant to their customers?
Jason Westgeest 26:05
I think the first thing is to find something related to what you’re trying to do that you’re passionate about. Because if you’re passionate about it, you’re gonna do it better. You know, I think passion creates better marketing. So, you know, yes, you need to know the channels that your customers are hanging out at. And you need to find a way to deliver content to them that, you know, shows the passion that you have for the product, for the company, and for the customer. You know, I think that’s one of the most important things in my opinion, if you’re not passionate about putting out LinkedIn posts, you know, that are 20 lines long and, and, or writing articles, then don’t do that. Maybe there’s a better way, right. So because I think if you don’t have that passion for what you’re doing, I think people see through it, and they ignore it. So that’s kind of one of the steps that I’d say. The second kind of going back to the beginning of our interview here was, you know, perform that STP exercise really know who you’re for, and then double down on those folks and the messages that resonate. And to do that, they need to, you know, do the customer research. Without that customer research, they can’t inform, you know, their messages, they can’t inform their strategy. And you know, they don’t have that to take the leadership to get the buy-in either. So that’s, that’s definitely something if they haven’t done that I’d recommend. I do suggest that they look at their competitors, but they keep that on the periphery, I think it’s important to know what they’re doing. But not to copy them, to know what they’re doing so that you can be different from them. And I guess the last thing that I would suggest is just to come up with ideas, right, good or bad, write them all down, riff on them for a while, talk to your colleagues, you know, use the customer insights that you’ve gathered in order to inform those, you know, ideas and to take them forward. And, you know, when they’re consuming good marketing, look at what catches their eye, what stops their scroll, what kinds of things do they take value from? If they really immerse themselves in it, I think they’ll come up with an endless number of ideas that they could possibly do to differentiate themselves as well.
Christian Klepp 28:20
Those are some really great tips. And I love that last one, because I think, at least from my experience, working with specialized B2B industries, the organization itself is structured in a way that it doesn’t leave much room to allow their teams to do experimentation. Right? And, you know, take that risk, take that calculated risk, right, and try new things out and experiment. If it doesn’t work, then, you know, fail quickly iterate and move on. And I don’t know, do you? Have you seen any of that? Because I feel at least in specialized industries, that tends to be the norm that people don’t do that.
Jason Westgeest 29:00
Yeah, I think you’re right, I don’t think that they take many risks at all. And doing that testing definitely is important. I think. The fear is that, you know, if they do things like that, they might make a mistake, and that that mistake is going to harm the brand seriously. But I think like most things in life, the things that you’re afraid of, often don’t come to pass, or were never as bad as you first feared.
Christian Klepp 29:28
Absolutely. All right. So Jason, give us an example, if you can, preferably from your own professional experience, to highlight how B2B companies can differentiate themselves in specialized industries, through their marketing initiatives.
Jason Westgeest 29:46
Yeah, a couple of really good examples that I’ve seen in specialized space in the last few months. There’s a company called Vilpe out of I believe, Finland, or you know, they’re, they’re engaging their audience on Tik Tok, and you wouldn’t think that You know, a ventilation company would find an audience of over 100,000 followers on Tik Tok. But, they’ve done it. And they’ve done it in a way that they’ve really humanized their business. So they have a lot of engaging content with different employees at the organization, I believe they actually have one employee who himself has gone viral on most of their videos, people just absolutely love the guy. And, you know, if they hadn’t tried that approach, they wouldn’t have, you know, found that and I believe they’ve taken that, you know, testing approach that we’ve talked about where they, they tested a number of different videos and found the kinds of things that engage their audience. And, now I think they have endless content just by replying to comments. It has given them tremendous exposure, I mean, 100,000 followers for an industrial company, you know, just seems ridiculous. That’s, you know, influencer status, right. And I think the interesting thing there is that, you know, most people aren’t consuming things on Tik Tok when they’re at work. So they’re actually reaching potential customers when they’re at home, which is a much greater reach than you would think they could achieve. Another one, and it’s a Tik Tok example, as well is a company called I believe it’s Silvi Materials who believe they’re Philadelphia concrete company, and you wouldn’t think concrete, you know, is sexy, or something that people are going to latch on to.
Christian Klepp 31:22
I think concrete is pretty sexy. (laugh)
Jason Westgeest 31:28
But they’ve also found a way to connect with their audience. And it’s through that kind of informative, but entertaining approach, right, where they’re, where they’re teaching in an entertaining manner to show potential people how concrete is poured, the equipment that’s used. How things work. You know, it’s it’s a really interesting perspective. And I think, you know, it’s that, you know, going back to what we talked about earlier, where people think, you know, their industry is dry, you know, that it’s too technical. You know, I think that these kinds of examples show that it doesn’t have to be, right. We make it dry, by using all the jargon by, you know, thinking, you know, in a certain way. And we need to kind of take more of like a child’s perspective where, you know, you’re really interested in learning things. And, and if we can do that, and then teach them in the way that they want to consume it, I think that’s great. A couple of other examples that I thought of is really brilliant. You humanize your business, right? Because people relate to people. They don’t relate necessarily to companies, unless they’re Apple or Nike, but most B2B specialty companies are not on that level, right? So you know, if you can find an employee or employees that that really, you know, are willing to put themselves out there and to help humanize the business, a couple that I can think of there, they’re not really from the B2B space, but well, I guess the one is Refined labs, Chris Walker’s really put himself out there a lot. You know, he’s known on LinkedIn, obviously, in other areas. And probably entertaining level, you know, there’s Travis Tyler from Panda Doc, you know, he’s really putting himself out there and, and humanizing that business. And I think that, you know, people engage with that, because people relate to people. So…
Christian Klepp 33:15
You brought up some really great examples, and I just wanted to go back to the first one, I think it was Vilpe. Yeah. User-generated content, in my opinion, is one of these, like, it’s still this largely untapped opportunity in B2B, whether it’s Tik Tok or any other channel, but like putting it to the audience or putting it to the users and asking them to contribute. I mean, like, how powerful is that? Right? And, and also how, how amazing is it to get the would-be customers or the target audience engaged with your brand, in a way that resonates with them. So it’s not the company putting out all this like very salesy content, and look how awesome our products are. Right? It’s the reverse. It’s the target audience coming back to them with feedback and answers and stories and what have you. I mean, I think that’s absolutely incredible.
Jason Westgeest 34:11
Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right. And I think that kind of goes back to one of those things that we talked about, right, there’s a fear. And with user-generated content, you don’t… you’re not in control. So there’s definitely a fear around that. But, it creates more opportunity for engagement, that creates a conversation right? You can learn a lot more from your audience that way. So is it good points, Christian.
Christian Klepp 34:34
Exactly, exactly. All right. The next question, love it or hate it, metrics. Right? So and you are right to point that out earlier in the conversation. Jason, some things are just really hard to measure, especially when it comes to standing out in a specialized B2B industry segment. But what particular metrics would you say B2B marketers should be paying attention to when it comes to standing out?
Jason Westgeest 35:00
I think the first thing is before they look at the metrics, they need to give it time, right? Because anytime you try to do something, you’re not going to have necessarily an immediate response. People don’t just typically go viral. You know, so if you’ve done your tests, and you’re testing and you’re kind of incrementally improving that, I think, you know, the first thing you do is you look at the engagement metrics, wherever you’re putting out the content that you’re trying to stand out with. So whether it’s LinkedIn, whether it’s Tik Tok, whichever platform you’re using, you know, look at those engagement metrics, are you getting likes? Are you getting shares? Are you getting comments? You know, are people reshare your content? If that’s happening, that I think that’s, you know, that’s a really powerful indicator that it’s resonating more and that people are hesitant to share content from a brand versus a person. So if you’re getting content shared from a brand, I think that’s a really powerful indicator that you’re starting to stand out. And as time goes on, then you want to start looking at other brand awareness metrics, like, say, direct web traffic, you know, are people coming to your website without doing a search? Are they coming to your website direct from the channels where you’re trying to stand out? And I think if you see positive growth in those areas, then those are metrics you can use to tell whether your approach to standing out is resonating with your audience.
Christian Klepp 36:22
Fantastic, fantastic. No, I love it. I love it. But that certainly is an indicator, isn’t it? If you get through direct web traffic, from people who are not finding you through search engines, they’re finding you through social media, through dark social, recommendations from people in the industry. I mean, there’s, there’s so many ways you can go with that. You’re absolutely right. Okay, I kind of have a feeling you’ve already been on your soapbox, but stay up there a little bit longer, right? A status quo in your area of expertise that you passionately disagree with, and why.
Jason Westgeest 37:04
I think that, you know, that everything has to be professional and bland all the time, that you have to just focus on the technical, only speak to your features, you know, completely, completely, really ignore the customer, and ignore finding a way to connect with them even to find an emotional connection. I think there’s a belief that if you just list one more feature that will capture another niche, right, you need to list that other feature, because you know, that might represent 10 people that are going to buy from you and you don’t want to lose those 10 people. Whereas if you didn’t list it, and you stuck to just a handful, you know, you could resonate with, you know, 1000s more. So, you know, I definitely disagree with just listing your features and thinking that’s going to do the marketing for you. And I think that’s probably the biggest problem in specialized B2B industries. You go to their websites, and that’s all they speak about. And I think the other thing that I really disagree with is that, once you do it once, you’re done. I think if you look at a lot of specialized B2B websites, you know, they’ve…., how old are they? When was the last time they checked their messaging? Right? I think they feel like they just put it out once. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I’ve seen a few of those for sure. Yeah, I think they really need to embrace a much stronger approach and, you know, really start to inform themselves as to best marketing practices. So I definitely disagree with the fact that they don’t need marketing and that it just has to be about features.
Christian Klepp 38:43
Amen to that. Amen. Fantastic. Jason, thank you so much for coming on the show and for sharing your experience and expertise of the audience. So quick introduction of yourself and how folks out there can get in touch with you.
Jason Westgeest 38:58
Well, Christian, I think probably now’s a good time to introduce, you know, the folks in your audience to my alter ego.
Christian Klepp 39:05
Oh, there we go. You have been warned, ladies and gentlemen.
Jason Westgeest 39:10
Christian Klepp 39:13
Off you go.
Jason Westgeest 39:14
Let me start at the start, then take it away. My name is Science, DJ, that’s capital D, followed by J, then SCIE, NCE. That’s me. Introductions aside, let’s move right along. You can all sing along at the sound of the gun. Once upon a time about two months ago, Christian Klepp asked me to be on his show. alarms were ringing in my head was swimming B2B Marketers on a Mission. He wanted to talk about how to stand out and what DJ science was all about. So here’s a summary for you. Keep moving forward, keep making progress. Your goal is to stand out in the process. But you can’t just stand and shout you need substance too no doubt. To get attention with intention. You need to be intentional to show your passion teach them something new. Now for me, here’s what I do. Real name’s Jason Westgeest. I’m the only marketing chemist. Find me on LinkedIn by the way. Thanks, Christian for your time today. Happy to be here. This was fun. Now back to work. I’ve got to run.
Christian Klepp 40:15
Mic drop. Thank you so much for that. And, folks, if you’re looking for somebody that can help you, with your B2B marketing campaigns with a rap song, please reach out to Jason. He’s on LinkedIn. Jason once again, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thanks again for your time. Take care. Stay safe and talk to you soon.
Jason Westgeest 40:40
Thanks, Christian. This has been great.
Christian Klepp 40:42
Bye for now.
Jason Westgeest 40:43
Take care. Bye.
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