In B2B Marketing: Tomorrow’s Best Practices Today, we feature expert interviews about the state of B2B Marketing and what the future holds. In this post, I interview Andrew Davis, keynote speaker and best-selling author.

Tell us about yourself?

I am a writer and keynote speaker and spend my days traveling the world trying to help people create and craft experiences that use the customers they’ve got to get the customers they want.

Learn more about Andrew:

Before that, I worked in the television business and the entertainment world. I worked for the Jim Henson Company: Muppets, Sesame Street and Bear in the Big Blue House, Muppets From Space, Elmo, Grouchland and all sorts of other fun stuff. I used to write and produce for The Today Show and wrote for Charles Kuralt, one of the greatest storytellers of all time.

And that prepared me to move into the Marketing world. I built an agency in 2001 with my business partner and we sold it in 2012. Right now I’m working on a new book called The Loyalty Loop and shooting a YouTube series.

I’m excited about the future, it should be fun.

Note: Follow Andrew on Twitter (@DrewDavisHere). Also, follow The Muppets’ verified accounts!

Tell us about your background in B2B marketing?

As part of the agency I built called Tipping Point Labs, I spent a lot of time marketing for brands that range from Dell to companies selling video streaming hardware.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the B2B world and how do you stand out and empathize with the customer? How do you build a real relationship with the customers and clients you’ve got and build an experience that that really sets you apart, so that people understand how you’re different.

Along with those B2B brands, I’ve worked with lots of consumer brands as well. But the whole goal was to create content that increased demand for the products they sold. The goal was to get people excited, especially about new technology.

Tell us a best practice of tomorrow that B2B marketers should be doing today?

In B2B, it’s very easy to create an experience for prospects that is a commodity experience. There are so many webinars, free trials and demos. The process to sell to a B2B buyer is the same across different markets.

I think the best opportunity we have is to build the customer experience that shows how we’re different instead of telling people that we’re different. So we need to think about even the most basic things.

If somebody gives you an email address to set up an appointment, what are you doing to make that appointment, the expectations of that appointment and even the anticipation for that appointment feel different?

Build a real experience and you’ll really create a Loyalty Loop, a never-ending cycle of new customers and repeat business.

Watch Andrew’s “Loyalty Loop” channel:

What’s the secret to creating a compelling video?

The secret to creating compelling video is to plan and script better. Video is an unbelievably powerful medium, but you’ve got to focus on raising the stakes and ensuring that you understand your customers, clients or prospects.

You have to immediately address their crucial concern: what are they concerned about? Then, raise the stakes and show them how a brand can transform that experience and turn it into something wonderful.

A lot of people treat case studies and testimonials, as interviews and documentaries, and they just don’t work that way unless you really think like a television producer. Rethink the way you’re creating content and focus on empathizing with the customer and less about your brand.

I think that’s the secret.

Note: Speaking of thinking like a TV producer, here’s a tweet from a talk Andrew gave at Content Marketing World:

For those who aspire to be a keynote speaker, what’s the first thing they should do?

If you’re going to be a keynote speaker, build a speech around the answer to a question that Google cannot answer.

If you want to be a keynote speaker, the first thing you should do is get out of Expertville, where you’re teaching people tips and tricks. Those are commodity experiences and they don’t necessarily fit well on the big stage because there are lots of people who deliver tips and tricks.

So the idea is to become a visionary.

That means you have to challenge traditional thinking and really go big with your idea. I like to challenge people with one simple question:

If you’re going to be a keynote speaker, build a speech around the answer to a question that Google cannot answer.

That will get you into the visionary space, or at least thinking that way. And then the goal is to come up with a hypothesis and solve that problem.

Tell us about the most unexpected situation you experienced as a keynote speaker and how you adapted to it?

I was speaking in Estonia a few years ago and the power in the auditorium went out. It was a 500-600 person event. And so it went pitch black and obviously your slides don’t come up and there’s no audio.

I learned very quickly that I need to always be prepared for that. At the time, I didn’t have what I call a set list: an index card on which I write down all the things I’m going to do in the presentation.

So that next time if the power goes out, I have a backup plan. I recovered OK in Estonia, but it took me by surprise and it took me a little while to get my head right and remember what my presentation was about (i.e., it took about 20 minutes for everything to power back).

My tip there is to always be prepared for the technology failing.

You worked as a product manager earlier in your career. How were those roles similar and different from what you do today?

On the similar side, being a product manager and a marketer require a ton of empathy for the customer you’re working with. So you need to clearly understand their feelings, goals and ambitions. You have to help foster that aspiration.

You also need to understand it deeply and feel their pain. And you can’t be successful in either of those roles unless you actually have empathy. Extreme empathy is the goal.

How are the two roles different?

I’m not sure they’re that different, to be honest. Even when it comes to speaking today, you need to really look at your speech as a product because people buy the speech. Unless you’re unbelievably famous, like Ellen DeGeneres or Magic Johnson.

People buy the speech, which means you need to make sure the speech — that is, the product you’re developing, directly answers a question for the audience. So I don’t I don’t think there’s much difference.

You worked for the Muppets and wrote for Charles Kuralt. How did that experience inform your current work?

Charles Kuralt taught me everything I know about storytelling. When I worked on the show called An American Moment, I was constantly challenged to tell stories in a compelling way, a way that brought people on a journey that they never expected and found themselves engrossed and emotionally invested in the story we were telling.

And that couldn’t be more relevant today.

From the Jim Henson Company, I learned that great content like Sesame Street or Bear in the Big Blue House, can increase demand for a product or service that people never knew they needed.

You don’t need a Tickle Me Elmo doll or Bear in the Big Blue House interactive toy, unless you fall in love with the characters and the content first. And so content-first strategy that’s designed to build a relationship with the audience is unbelievably powerful.

And you can increase demand for any product in the marketplace.

Note: See the trailer for Andrew’s most-booked speech for 2020: