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B2B Marketing Interview with Michael Brenner
B2B Marketing Q&A: Michael Brenner on Content Marketing Strategy, Empathy in Marketing and More

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 Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group and Author of Mean People Suck.

Tell us about yourself?

I’m an international keynote speaker, 3-time author, and CEO of a consulting firm Marketing Insider Group.

We help companies reach, engage, and convert new customers through content marketing and thought leadership programs that activate their employees to engage their customers through stories.

Note: Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael).

Tell us about your background in B2B marketing?

I’ve been in B2B Marketing my whole life. I started my career as a top salesperson.

When I moved into marketing, I always believed we needed to deliver measurable results that drive revenue and assist sales in closing deals. I have worked in just about every discipline in marketing except advertising and branding. My bias has always been to demonstrate results.

What’s a best practice that B2B marketers should move on from?

Many B2B brands spend a lot of their time and money trying to build the brand. And while there is certainly value in a strong brand, I believe that in today’s digital age, your employees are your brand.

So logos on stadiums and sponsorships sure are fun and they make ego-driven CEOs happy. But I’m not sure they create the value that brand marketers think they do.

Note: Read a related post by Michael, “Brand Activation: Why Blending Marketing, HR, and Empathy Is a Winning Combination.”

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

“Buyers don’t want brochures or banner ads. So let’s stop funding them.”

B2B marketers need to become storytellers who can use data not just to tell the story we want to buyers, but also to sell the story we need to executives. B2B marketers need to be able to sell the business case for their ideas. The secret to this is empathy. Buyers don’t want brochures or banner ads. So let’s stop funding them.

Executives don’t want to hear about what color our logo should be. They want to hear the value of our marketing programs.

You have a book coming out. Tell us about it!

Book Cover: "Mean People Suck" by Michael Brenner

Mean People Suck” is about why so many of us are unhappy at work.

It talks about the counter-intuitive secret of empathy that I mentioned above.

And it addresses why so many of our marketing programs don’t work: because behind every bad idea is an executive who asked for it.

We need to break the cycle of blindly listening to what our managers ask us to do.

But we also need to take accountability and choose to make an impact!

Tell us about your presentation at Content Marketing World?

I’m presenting a workshop on how to develop your own content marketing strategy.

In my session, I’ll share all my secrets that I’ve learned in developing content marketing strategies for more than 70 brands.

Having a documented strategy is one of the biggest gaps between effective and ineffective content markers. My session will remove that gap for the marketers who attend.

Note: Read a related Leadtail post on connecting B2B content marketing to business results.

Name a B2B brand that’s doing well on social media?

Adobe logo

Adobe is really engaging with their audience across so many channels in a really engaging way.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m part of the “Adobe Insider” program and an author on Adobe’s CMO.com, which is unpaid but I’m proud to be a part of it.

Note: Read a recent CMO.com piece by Michael, “Is There An Innovation Formula?

Favorite podcasts?

Marketing Book Podcast
Marketing Book Podcast by Douglas Burdett is the best!

After that, I love TedTalks.com, TED Interview and WorkLife with Adam Grant.

Related Posts
B2B Marketing Q&A: Joe Pulizzi on Content Differentiation, Removing Marketing Automation and More ( 11 Feb 2019 )
B2B Marketing Q&A: Christine Crandell on the Sales Funnel, Customer Journey Mapping and More ( 19 Feb 2019 )
B2B Marketing Q&A: Neal Schaffer on Influencer Marketing, Chatbots and More ( 25 Feb 2019 )
B2B Marketing Q&A: Todd Wilms on Listening to Customers, the Human Element in Marketing and More ( 11 Mar 2019 )
Artificial Intelligence for Everyday B2B Marketers ( 26 Mar 2019 )
Written by Dennis Shiao
Dennis Shiao
Dennis is an independent marketing consultant who works with brands on content marketing, product marketing and social media marketing. Dennis curates an email newsletter called Content Corner and publishes marketing-related content on Medium. You can find Dennis on Twitter, @dshiao.

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