Ep. 74 – Interview w/ Mark Raffan

How To Get Buy-In To Invest In Content Marketing

It’s a challenge that many B2B marketers have experienced and can relate to – getting a decision maker’s buy-in to invest in content marketing. The good news is that there is a solution to this challenge.

On this week’s episode, B2B content marketer and negotiations expert Mark Raffan (Founder/CEO at Content Callout and Negotiations Ninja) talks to us about why marketers face pushback, what mistakes to avoid, and how thought leadership content can directly influence revenue. He also elaborates on how to get buy-in from decision makers: What arguments to present, what data to show, how the ROI question should be answered, and what “low hanging fruit” can be leveraged.

Play Video about B2B Marketers on a Mission EP 74 - Mark Raffan

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Mark explains why there is so much pushback from the C-Suite when it comes to content marketing and how to tackle it. [1:56]
  • The common mistakes that B2B marketers make when it comes to getting approval for content marketing. [9:10]
  • Mark breaks down the process of getting buy-in from the C-Suite and how to answer the ROI question. [21:47]
  • Mark explains how thought leadership content can directly influence revenue. [31:00]
  • Mark shares 3 major trends that he believes B2B marketers should be paying attention to: [34:43]
    • The use of influencers
    • AI for content production and scaling
    • The use of NFTs and the metaverse

Companies & links mentioned in this episode:



Christian Klepp, Mark Raffan

Christian Klepp  00:00

Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discussed our thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK, Consulting, Christian Klepp. Okay, welcome everyone to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. This is your host, Christian Klepp. And today I am joined by someone who is on a critical mission, I’m going to say, to develop B2B content that speaks directly to your customers, and establishes your business and you as an industry thought leader. So coming to us from Calgary, Canada, Mr. Mark Raffan. Welcome to the show, sir.

Mark Raffan  00:52

Thanks for having me. Dude, I’m so happy to be here. And I’m so glad to be talking to your listeners today. I’m really excited.

Christian Klepp  00:59

Likewise, likewise, it was fantastic to be connected Mark. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Because as we just said before I hit record, it’s that time of year, right, like, people are getting budgets approved, they’re getting their plants approved. Some of them are experiencing pushback. So this is a very pertinent topic. All right!

Mark Raffan  01:18

We’re gonna have a ton of fun, there’s gonna be a lot of value for your listeners.

Christian Klepp  01:21

Absolutely. So let’s, let’s dive right in. So, you know, Mark, you’re a world renowned expert in B2B content, persuasion and negotiation. But for the purpose of this conversation, let’s just narrow down a little bit on a topic, as I said, is extremely relevant for B2B marketers everywhere, here comes, get ready, how to get a decision makers buy-in to invest in content marketing, right, to get them to a yes, and to get them to sign off. So talk to us about why you believe there’s so much pushback from the C-suite when it comes to content marketing?

Mark Raffan  01:56

I think for the most part, Christian, most leaders don’t, especially if you don’t have like a CMO as part of your organization. If you’re just talking straight to an executive who has no marketing background, most leaders don’t understand why it’s so important. Right? And so when you say, hey, we need to invest in more content marketing, they say, What are you talking about? Like you’ve already got a budget for marketing, that is the budget, right? And continue to do the things that are working? And you say, no, no, we need more money, for content marketing. They just don’t understand why it’s important. And I think that’s not necessarily a fault of the leaders. It’s a fault of ours. Because as content marketers, we need to do a better job of showing leaders – What it is content marketing is; why it’s so valuable. And we don’t do a great job in that conversation with them, of getting them the evidence and tying their emotion to a decision. And when you’re in marketing, you believe there seems to be this prevailing misconception that people understand marketing, but they don’t.

And I like to think of this when you’re having a conversation with a leader within your organization in three parts. And this is not a new idea. It’s an idea that Aristotle came up with, like 2000 years ago, but to any kind of argument that you make to someone to get them to move in your direction, you have to have three things. You have to have logos, pathos, and ethos, or in our modern way of saying it, we you have to have logic, right, there has to be a logical reason of why we should make this decision. There needs to be an emotional appeal, right? I have to be able to tie your emotion to that logical decision. And then ethos is ethical credibility, or in our case, just brand credibility, what’s our personal brand? Do we have the credibility to be able to carry that kind of a decision forward? And so when we think in terms of that context, and when we asked for that kind of a budget, we really have the building blocks for what we need to do to make a good business case internally within the organization to help someone to make a decision.

Now, the first part to that is obviously dealing with the logic, right, so the logos, as Aristotle calls it. So what do I mean by that? Why should someone logically make a decision to invest in content marketing? Well, here are the facts. Content marketing is 62% less costly than traditional advertising, but can deliver three times more leads and significantly more traffic. Content marketing is also critical for developing a solid sales funnel. When you think of the sale and all executive leaders can relate to this. They may not be able to relate to sort of the marketing funnel or maybe our derivatives of it, but they can relate to the sales funnel. The sales funnel is discovery, consideration and purchase. How is someone going to go through discovery and consideration if there is no content for them to consume. And this is even more compelling when you realize that 83% of typical B2B decisions are made by researching solutions and ranking options and benchmarking pricing and consuming content before a buyer even engages with a provider with a seller that’s from Gartner. That’s not my number. Gartner did this research study to show that 83% of the buying decision is made before you even talk to them. So your discovery and consideration stage are, the content for that is required you it’s not even a “it would be nice to have”, it’s a requirement now. Otherwise, you’re not even going to be in the conversation. Because if 83% of the conversation takes place, or the discovery takes place before you speak to someone and you have no content, guess who’s gonna win, the company that has the most targeted, precise and quality content that speaks to the buyer need. Not only that, but 74% of companies say that content marketing enhances the quality of their leads. So as they go through that decision making framework, they’re actually building a better quality lead. Why? Because they’re eliminating leads that won’t fit. So all of your outbound sales strategy becomes better as a result of it. And then obviously, there’s everything else that we talk about usually, right where we say, hey, content marketing improves your search rankings, you can position yourself as a trusted authority or a thought leader, it inspires customer advocacy and loyalty. But those are sort of like the feeling based things. There needs to be data to be able to help an executive support a decision. And so that kind of data is clear. The results are there, the research is done. And so you can bring that data logically to a thought leader, or sorry, to an executive within the business to show them that this is the right decision. And that’s the logos argument. Once you get that piece down, then building the emotional appeal, and the ethical credibility becomes a lot easier. But I’m gonna pause there and just see if that sort of resonated. Does that kind of make sense?

Christian Klepp  07:27

Yeah, no, that totally makes sense. And I think you brought up something which, you know, really struck a chord with me, it’s it’s about making that case, right. It’s making that case in a way that the C-suite will understand what it is you’re talking about, I think more often than not, there are some marketers out there that just are struggling always to what I call “package” what it is that they’re trying to get approval for. Right. I mean, to your point, like, they may not understand necessarily the nuts and bolts of content marketing, but they will certainly understand that it will help to generate more business. And that business will flow through the pipeline, and in turn, it will help them to close the sale. That’s the kind of language that the senior manager would understand.

Mark Raffan  08:05

Yeah, absolutely. And I think what’s important for people to try and get out of the mindset of especially those content marketers that are trying to get budget, or those marketers that are trying to get budget for content marketing, it’s not an either or conversation, right? Like, I’m not trying to say you should be replacing, you know, your PPC strategy. I’m not saying that you should be replacing your out of home strategy. What I am saying is you also need your content, because those strategies become more powerful when there is content to consume. So not only does the content marketing work itself, but it enhances every other kind of advertising that you’re doing.

Christian Klepp  08:48

Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. You brought up this buzzword earlier, which was a beautiful segue into the next question. It’s about misconceptions, but also about common mistakes. Highlight again, for us what those common mistakes and misconceptions are that B2B marketers make when it comes to getting approval for content marketing, and what they should be doing to address those.

Mark Raffan  09:10

Yeah, I think the biggest mistakes that marketers make when they’re going to get budget for anything, is they think like a marketer, which I know that sounds like a crazy thing to say like, obviously you think like a marketer, but remember who you’re speaking to, … who is your audience, your audience is an executive that doesn’t necessarily have the same level of understanding of marketing as you do. So when you go and you speak to your CMO about, hey, we need more budget for content marketing. You can do away with a lot of the conversation about why content marketing is effective. They get it already probably right. But if you don’t have that level to be able to speak to. If you are the CMO, if you’re a one person show, and you think you want to create more content for your organization, remember who your audience is, what do they care about? What is the leader of the organization cares about? They care about EBITDA, right, they care about profitability, and they care about growth. And they care about brand and reputation. So when we think of it from that perspective, we’ve got to be showing them about how this could positively affect each of those three areas. And when we think of growth, when we think of profitability, when we think of brand, the message has to be related to that. Now, earlier on, we spoke about all of the incredible stats about like, why you should invest in content marketing, that’s going to support that argument a lot.

But there needs to be that emotional appeal that I was talking about earlier, because most executives, in fact, all of us don’t make decisions based purely on logic, right. So even if you have a logical argument, you’re not spock, right, you’re not going to make a decision based purely on logic, there is going to be an emotional component to it. So I have to be able to tie your emotion to making a positive decision in my favor. And so when we think of how someone makes decisions using emotion, it’s usually with two things. And this is going to get super Freudian, but this is really important. There’s pain, and pleasure.

So we as good marketing people need to be able to tie our message to our executives to each of those two things by saying, Hey, mister, or miss executive, if you do this thing, you will get all of this amazing stuff. That’s the pleasure side of the argument, right? Here’s the opportunity to get something, here’s how the business will grow. Here’s how all of this will happen. What we really suck at is the pain side of the argument, we’re not able to draw out the pain that someone could experience by not making a decision in that area. So let me give you an example. If we make this decision, if we don’t make this decision, you will miss out on… what are we trying to do, we’re trying to increase the fear of missing out. And that fear of missing out is substantial. In fact, research shows that people are twice as likely to make a decision based on fear of loss, rather than the opportunity to get something. And we try to remain positive and say, Hey, this is all the stuff that you’re going to get. But we need to leverage fear in that conversation. Not saying that we need to dwell on it, or it needs to be the main focus of our conversation. But there needs to be some component of fear of missing out on that. So for example, if you were an executive, and I was having a conversation with you about this, and I said, Look, what happens if we don’t have content. And we know by the numbers that 83% of the buying decision is made before we have the conversation. What does that mean for the amount of leads that we’re missing out on? Are you willing to continue to make this mistake? Right, like, we know now, we know that people make 83% of their buying decision before we have a conversation. And if we’re not controlling that online conversation where the content is being consumed, and we’re not putting out content that influences the buyer, persuades the buyer in the direction of using us using that content, then we’re making a critical error, we’re losing out on so much lost opportunity. So wouldn’t it makes sense for us to invest in more content marketing.

So now I’m tying your emotion to that decision making a lot easier for me to get you to make a decision in my favor. And this is like as marketing people listen to this, they’re gonna be like, ah, of course. Right? Like, why am I not thinking in a way to persuade? I’d like I think about that with everything else about how I approached the market about how I approached the funnel, about how I approached my ICP. Executive is still a customer, he’s your or she is your customer. So you still have to apply the same principles.

Christian Klepp  14:03

No, absolutely, man. I mean, like you, you brought up a couple of points, which I thought were really like spot on. I mean, for starters, the whole you know, thinking like a marketer and and, you know, treating the C-suite like your internal customers. That is so critical. And I think you brought up something which I thought is so important. It’s kind of like content marketing, you’ve got to think about who you’re talking to, right. In this case. They’re the target audience.

Mark Raffan  14:25

Yes. Yeah, that’s entirely correct. As if you don’t think of who they are and what they’re doing. You’re gonna miss it. We think it’s just a conversation, right? Like, that’s, we come in with this presupposition that we’re getting alignment on something. But what does that actually mean? It means persuading something, someone off something. That’s your job, you should be doing that, right? So think about what they need to get out of it. That’s your customers, speak to their needs.

Christian Klepp  14:54

Absolutely. And another point that you brought up, which I thought was so critical, and this is not to be negative, but it’s that amplification of the pain of what is going to happen. Yes. If they don’t seize this opportunity, and they let the ship sail past, right, or was it the fear of missing out or FOMO, right, as they, as they like to call it, right? Absolutely. This next question is going to give you an opportunity to showcase some of the success that you guys have had. So just talk to us about a challenge that you and your team have managed to solve in the past 12 months.

Mark Raffan  15:27

So I’m going to speak specifically to a situation where we were able to help a company basically leverage their existing content and build new content to bring in new leads. And I won’t name names or anything like that. But we, we were fortunate enough to have a conversation with a young woman that was leading a marketing at a startup, seed company, pre Series A. And at so many of these companies, there’s really only one person managing the marketing. And so she had been searching for a really long time about what to do and how to use the content and how to leverage it. But as you know, as a one person show, managing that level of complexity became really, really challenging for her. But she couldn’t do everything, right, because she was doing events. She was doing content. She was doing outbound lead gen. She was like all of these things included, and it’s chaos. You can’t do that as one person.

Christian Klepp  16:24

Well, she was a media production house, right?

Mark Raffan  16:26

Yes, she basically, right, like, so she, she needed a content partner who could help show her and like put a strategy in place to be able to do that, because of the content that we produced. And because of the stuff that we’ve done, she stumbled upon us. Of course. And when we had that conversation, it was like, we immediately clicked. And I like to think of her as Ray in the new Star Wars movie, you know, where someone’s lost on a planet. And they, they know that there’s something better out there for them. And they’ve been searching and searching and searching. And all they need is the opportunity. And so we were able to have this conversation and put a strategy in place that was able to dramatically increase the volume of content that we produced for that organization, but not just the volume, the quality of the content increased, and the quality of the leads increased. And the quality of the brand increased as a result. Why? because we were able to get significantly more amplification out of what they were doing, leveraging the founder within that organization, to be able to amplify that message, leveraging the marketing person themselves, leveraging the brand, and then using social media to be able to amplify that message. Now, without us being able to do that they would not have been able to achieve the significant increase in leads and significant increase in sales. Why? Because she’s the one person show, she needed that support to be able to do that. And without having a partner to be able to support you through that it. It can sometimes feel like a insurmountable task, like you’re at the bottom of avarice, thinking, how am I going to get up this thing? Once that partner is there to guide you, and help you along the way, everything changes. Now, there’s a lot of great marketing agencies out there, we’re not the only one. So I would be remiss and I would be arrogant to say that we’re the only ones that can do this. The goal here for you, if you’re in this kind of a position is to find the right partner for you. Find out who they are, find out what they do, find out how they can support you, find out what kind of expertise they have in your industry, find out what kind of industry connections they have in your industry, and work with that partner as an extension of your own marketing team. And once you can start working together like that, it changes everything.

Christian Klepp  18:50

Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, that’s an incredible achievement. And, you know, I can totally relate to what this person this individual was going through because you know, these, these marketing department of one, let’s call these individuals what they are, right? They they are, they are struggling because they’ve got so much on their plate. They are mandated to deliver on so many different fronts, but at the same time, they don’t actually have a team that can support them with it.

Mark Raffan  19:17

Right. Yeah, it’s a challenging situation for so many people to be in. I mean, even if you’re a team of three, right, the amount that you’re expected to do, as one person in a small startup is bananas. And for you to be successful, you need someone to be able to help you. Now the benefit is that if you bring in a partner like us doesn’t have to be us, but someone like us, they could help you or should be able to help you build the business case, they should be able to help you get the budget, they should be able to help you, show you the strategy of how this is going to work, they should be able to lay out the content of like, okay, this is what’s gonna resonate based on your audience, here are the keywords that you need to start ranking for. These are the people and influencers that you need to be in touch with on an ongoing basis. And that’s becoming more prevalent as well as the use of influencers in B2B marketing as well. It’s, it’s crazy, the way things are going there. Anyway, the goal here is to try and find the right partner for you. It’s got to be a unique thing, not just a “can they do the job”, but also a culture fit.

Christian Klepp  20:17

Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, you know, at the end of the day, whether people choose to accept that or not, marketing is a team sport.

Mark Raffan  20:23

Oh, absolutely.

Christian Klepp  20:24

Right. And they always they always, I mean, I’d like to compare it to like a game of football, I guess. Sorry, soccer. Football is the European term. But if you’ve got somebody on the team that doesn’t pass the ball, I mean, yeah. This is not gonna work. Yeah, this is not gonna work.

Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.

All right. Um, we are going to get to, I’m going to say, the highlight of this conversation, and I’m only going to call it the highlight, because it’s so crucial, right? But like, break it down for us here at Mark. Um, how can B2B marketers get buy in from the decision makers? And let me add on a few more questions. And that’s really just to set this up, just to show the folks who are listening to this at home, that we mean business. Okay, so what arguments should they be presenting to the C-suite? What data should they be showing? How should they answer… oh here comes ready? How should they answer the ROI question? And lastly, what low hanging fruit can they leverage? Off you go!

Mark Raffan  21:47

All right. So this is big, this is a big topic, we might not be able to cover it all in one go. But we’ll give it the best shot that we can. When we’re thinking about the kind of work that you’re doing. And when we’re thinking about the kind of effort that you’re putting into building your content marketing strategy, all of those things that Christian just talked about are critically important to ensuring that you have the right structure. So the first thing that I want you to focus on is getting the right structure in place and building your business case, according to that structure. Because like any writing endeavor, it’s always easier when you have your sub headings in place to be able to do it. Then think about what is it that I’m trying to achieve, I’m trying to achieve getting budget from this particular party, I’m trying to get money from this person, and they think about certain things that are going to help me get that money.

First thing I want you to do is ask them, ask them what they need from you to be able to secure the budget that you need for content marketing, what are the things that they care about, to give you the money, that’s gonna help flavor the conversation that you have with them. And when you show them the evidence, the logos that we were talking about earlier, there’s that logical argument of what you know, this is better 83% of the purchasing decision, all that kind of stuff that we spoke about earlier. And you also should be adding about what kind of results could we expect as a result of doing content marketing? Now, here’s the shitty parts, there’s no way to know for sure. So what I would recommend for you is to do some research based on your industry, to be able to determine what kind of reach you could experience as a result of investing in content marketing. And when we think of the reach, don’t just think of the production of the content. Think also about the distribution of that content. And this is what so many people miss when it comes to content marketing. It’s not just about producing the blog. It’s not just about producing the case study, your influence. And your ability to get people to consume content is a function of two things, producing the content and the eyes on that content. Because the saying of “if you build it, they will come” is not necessarily true at the beginning. That only takes… that takes time to build in SEO and you’re thinking of like a six month payoff in terms of traffic, that first six months your executive is going to be needing to see results in terms of engagement and consumption and all of that kind of stuff on the content that you’re producing. So you also have to as part of your budget request, not just a budget for production, but a budget for distribution. Now that distribution takes two parts number one is paid distribution, through all the channels that we’re familiar with, right? Whether it’s social, whether it’s on Google, whether it’s on Amazon, however you want to distribute that is totally up to you. And based on your industry, we’re not going to pre define that for you. But there’s also organic distribution. And this is where you need to not only be using organic social, but the organic social of the thought leaders that exist within your business, and the thought leaders that exist outside of your business. So then the question naturally becomes how do we distribute through that.

First, obviously, you have to have buy in internally, for the leaders in the business to be able to distribute this kind of content, usually, that’s kind of a no brainer, because those people just end up looking better at the end of the day, and it helps the organization. And I say that with intention, because on average, and we’re going to focus specifically on LinkedIn, because we’re B2B, generally speaking, on average, you get 4x the reach, and that’s on the low end 4x the reach on a personal profile, versus a company page. So it only makes sense for you to be able to use the existing people within the organization. So there, you can start making the business case for the no brainer stuff, like the reach the awareness, the impressions, all that kind of stuff, you can do the math to be able to build the business case there, then you can start to do the math around website traffic. And there’s a bunch of resources around this too, that could show you what a potential increase could look like. Like you could go to SEMrush, or you could go to another organization like that, to get an understanding of what could be seen in terms of website traffic growth, if you start producing SEO driven and individual driven content. That also relates to the conversation around on page engagement, like how much are they actually consuming? What are they actually consuming on social? And then you can start getting into the conversation of like, how is this going to improve lead quality, and then hopefully, what you’re doing as the last step is tying it to attribution, you’ve got to be able to attribute your content to a decision being made. So whether that decision is to sign up for the email list, whether that decision is to have a conversation to book a meeting, whether that conversation is to go into the chat and have a conversation with someone in chat, there needs to be attribution in the piece of content going to that.

Now, this is going to take work. There’s no hard and fast and easy way to do this. You you’re just going to have to put in the effort to do the math to show how the attribution is going to work. And you can get averages online to show what the conversion rate from content to booking could be. That will help you to build your business case on what ROI could be, which is the last part of the conversation. That ROI conversation happens as a result of you doing all the math with attribution to a booking decision. So you can’t have the ROI conversation until you do the math beforehand. And there should be a very clear through line from production, to traffic, to booking to sale, for you to be able to support that business case. Now, here’s the kicker, you actually have to deliver that. You can’t, you can’t just build the business case and show all of this work without actually building that into the program. The good thing is, is if you’ve built your proposal well enough, you are building in time, because the website traffic is not going to kick in until 3, 6, 9 months from now, when SEO usually gets in. But if you built in your PPC to distribute that and your social to distribute that you’re going to start getting results a lot faster. I hope that answered your question. It was kind of like a long drawn out answer, but I think it did.

Christian Klepp  29:05

No, it absolutely does. And I think you know, you broke it down so beautifully. And I know it was a lot like getting although a lot of questions. There’s a lot of detail in there. And obviously, there’s a process, right, there’s several steps, several factors that have to be taken into consideration. Now, I suppose as a follow up question is like, is this an approach that companies can take, even if they’re like, a smaller size with limited budgets?

Mark Raffan  29:29

I think so. Because I think what’s gonna end up happening is if you have a limited budget, you may not necessarily be utilizing an agency like me, you’re going to be utilizing yourself and maybe a freelancer, here and there. Right. So we’re not a fit, for example, for a small business earning less than a million dollars a year. We’re only a fit for sort of larger type small businesses that earn in excess of that that actually have a marketing budget set aside and then we can get a piece of that marketing budget to show you how you can leverage content. If you’re a much smaller business and you’re sub one mill in terms of revenue, you can cobble together a lot of this stuff on your own by utilizing freelancers. But the downside to that is just recognize, it’s going to take significantly longer, right, the amount of effort that you’re going to have to put into manage freelancers, to manage the writing, to do the editing, to build out the strategy, that’s all on you now. You don’t get someone like us to be able to help you support that. So just build in more time into that process. Because if you go into thinking you’re going to be able to achieve those same results as like a series A company with money that’s just raised money. Well, you won’t. So just recognize that going in.

Christian Klepp  30:549

Yeah, well, that’s fair enough. That’s fair enough. On the topic of content, right. So from your experience, how can thought leadership content directly influence revenue.

Mark Raffan  31:00

That’s like my favorite topic, thought leadership content is required. And you need to have someone within your organization or a few people within your organization, that you are positioning to the market as thought leaders. And that’s really, really important because there was a recent study done by Edelman and LinkedIn that said 63% of decision makers say that thought leadership is an important way to provide proof to them that an organization genuinely understands or can solve their business problems. So when you think about that, and you think about all of the thought leaders in your industry, there’s probably three, maybe four people that pop out at the top of your head of like, who would I go to, whose work would I read online? Who would I follow, to be able to get insights about the challenges that may exist within my type of business? What a lot of companies will start to do and have already started doing is they will start buying thought leaders. Which sounds like a weird thing to say, but like the same way, DTC company would buy the use of an influencer, right, they would use an influencer to sell product. What I’m seeing a lot of is B2B businesses hire thought leaders within the industry, and position them on social as such to develop the thought leadership position of that organization. And the examples of this are many I mean, you’ve seen this online with marketing. You’ve seen this, even within industries, like procurement and accounting, and all of these types of businesses. They’re, they’re hiring, thought leaders, right, respected industry professionals that have a great reputation, that speak at events that are really well known, and positioning them as the thought leader within that business to level up the perceived level of thought leadership of the firm that is working.

Christian Klepp  33:07

Yeah, indeed. And I’ve seen that across the board. Like, I think I’ve recently seen that like, a couple of weeks ago with a contact of mine, who I also interviewed for this podcast, and they’re in the testing safety and certification industry. Alright, so that’s, that’s very, it can get quite niche, I’m gonna say, but they brought in a guest speaker was from a completely different industry, still B2B. But who had a respectable like reputation. Right.

Mark Raffan  33:32

Yeah. Downside to that is if you’re like, if you’re a firm that’s hiring that thought leader, and that thought leader is going to be posting on social, you got to be comfortable letting them post, because they’re gonna say some wacky shit from time to time. And you’ve got to be okay with that, because they’re building your brand in the process. So as long as you’re comfortable with that, I’m a big believer in that, by the way, I’m like, free social, in my opinion. But a lot of more conservative type businesses struggle with that concept. And if you’re going to struggle with that concept, this is going to be a difficult hill for you to climb.

Christian Klepp  34:16

Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. Oh, you’re probably not going to have any problem answering this question. But as we all know, content marketing for B2B has evolved over time, not necessarily because of what’s I’m not gonna say it but the current state of affairs of the world. But what are some of these major trends that you’ve seen or observed that you think that B2B marketers should be paying attention to?

Mark Raffan  34:43

Yeah, great question. I think there’s going to be massive moves in three big areas. The Influencers thing that we spoke about, that’s going to be a thing. And I think you’ll see a lot more businesses moving in that direction. The advent of AI and using AI to produce content and scale content, I think is going to become more and more important. We’re not there yet. But if you look at like GPT-3, the AI engine, the natural language processing engine, it’s amazing what that machine is doing right now, with the ability to produce legible writing. And that’s amazing and also a little bit scary. So I think you’ll see a lot more of that. I don’t think it’ll move into B2B until maybe the next two to five years. And then I think the last thing that you’ll notice a lot of is the use of NFTs and the Metaverse. I think Metaverse is going to play a big deal and a lot of DTC stuff, which means and DTC is always ahead of B2B. So I think you’re gonna see a lot more community based work done in the Metaverse and the use of NFTs in that process. Like we saw a little bit at the end of ’21, where we saw kind of like blending between virtual and physical conferences. What I think you’ll start to notice more of is that that line becomes more blurred as things go along. And there’s going to be a lot more augmented reality and the use of NFTs to be able to level up rewards and engagement and all that kind of stuff, too.

Christian Klepp  36:27

Are you are you referring to like, I suppose it’s like hybrid, right?

Mark Raffan  36:31

Very much hybrid.

Christian Klepp  36:33

Or whatever they want to call it. Phygital was I think that term being used? What are your thoughts on AI and B2B content marketing? Yeah, talk to us about that.

Mark Raffan  36:44

And I think it’ll help a lot in DTC first, B2B still to come. I think. The only thing that I’m concerned about when it comes to AI, is that AI is based, the at least for the engines that I’ve seen so far, the content is based on the SERPs that already exists. So a lot of that is pulling ideas from like the first search 10 rankings, that you would have to produce a piece of content, which is great in terms of the existing keywords, but it does nothing in terms of the creation of categories. And I think what we’ll start seeing is more and more people moving into, I don’t want to say more and more, but there’s going to be at least more prevalence of people creating categories instead of competing on the existing SERP. So you’ve seen it with like, revenue intelligence that Gong did right or amplified marketing that Casted did or inbound marketing that HubSpot did right. Like  those created categories, I think you’ll start to see more and more of that so that they can start competing in blue ocean sort of strategy stuff, versus competing in the same SERP that already exists.

Christian Klepp  37:58

Okay. Okay, that’s fair enough. So I’m gonna throw in this question, give you an opportunity to get up on your soapbox, but a status quo in your area of expertise that you passionately disagree with? And why?

Mark Raffan  38:14

Perfection over speed. That drives me absolutely bananas. Because…

Christian Klepp  38:25

I can tell (laugh)

Mark Raffan  38:26

You are dealing with a an ever changing environment all the time, and everything is moving so quickly, for you to wait until something is absolutely perfect. is bonkers. Instead, I would rather have you have the like the DevOps mindset where you’re constantly iterating, put it out, doesn’t work, change something, but that again, doesn’t work, change something, be faster in your production, be faster in your content, because that relevancy counts, right? The faster that we put it out there, the better that we’re able to see what’s changing in the marketplace, according to customer needs and moving. If we wait until everything is perfect, we’ll never get anything done. And so, the whole concept, this is especially true if you’re dealing with like, executives that are not super comfortable with marketing to begin with. They want everything to be absolutely perfect, but we cannot operate in that kind of an environment. We need to move faster.

Christian Klepp  39:31

Yeah, no, that’s, that’s, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. Um, it almost some strikes me as being something that like a tech startup would do, right?

Mark Raffan  39:39

Yes, very much. So very much tech startup mindset. Like let’s just go, we got to go.

Christian Klepp  39:52

Right, develop the product. Launch. Continuously iterate. Launch again. I think I’ve had one guest on that, that really hit the nail on the head when he said, if you’re going to wait until your product is perfect, and you waited too long,

Mark Raffan  40:01

Yeah, yeah, I think that was that’s like a that’s a Reid Hoffman quote, I think, where he’s where he’s, you’ve waited too long. You’re too it’s too late. It’s over.

Christian Klepp  40:10

Absolutely. Absolutely. All right, I’m going to throw in this bonus question for you, sir. And, and this can be applicable to your business or you can, you know, think about this as being something like, you know, for your clients, right? If you had 10 times the marketing budget that you have right now, what would you spend it on? And why?

Mark Raffan  40:33

It’s like creating my fantasy right now. I would spend it on high quality comedy content, that’s all video. And I would create a series that’s comedic for the industry that I’m working with. Because I think comedy is the ultimate type of content. And I think a lot of people are afraid to dive into comedy as a source of attraction. And because it’s, it can sometimes be controversial. And I want to play in that space. So if I had the ability, if I had the money, I’d be doing a lot more with comedy.

Christian Klepp  41:15

Yeah, no, that’s, that’s very interesting. Well, I mean, I’m all for it. I’m, I’m quite sure there’s many, especially in the B2B space out there that would be very hesitant to do so. (lauh)

Mark Raffan  41:26

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Listen, we and we, that’s why we’re choosing it. Because no one else is willing to do it. So I’ll play in the fire. That’s cool.

Christian Klepp  41:35

Yeah. Yeah, no, they just don’t want to take the risk.

Mark Raffan  41:39


Christian Klepp  41:41

Fantastic. All right. Mark, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your expertise and insights with the audience. So it was an absolute pleasure. It was an absolute pleasure. So please do us the honor of telling us a little bit about yourself, and how folks out there can get in touch with you.

Mark Raffan  41:57

Easiest way to get in touch with me is to connect with me on LinkedIn, let me know that you listen to this amazing podcast, connect with me on LinkedIn. Would love to have a conversation with you about content marketing, if you are interested at all about finding out more about the agency that I run. It’s called Content Callout, you can go to contentcallout.com. That’s the easiest place to go. We’ve got a bunch of free resources on there, as you would expect. We have a podcast called the content callout podcast as well. So we’d love for you to listen to that as well. And we’ve got a few guides that will help you along the way to becoming a better content marketer.

Christian Klepp  42:30

Fantastic. Fantastic. Mark. Once again, thank you so much for your time. This was an incredibly insightful, provoking conversation and I really hope the listeners get a lot of value out of this.

Mark Raffan  42:42

Thank you so much, and I hope they do as well.

Christian Klepp  42:47

All right, take care. Stay safe and talk to you soon. Bye now.

Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.


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