With over 25 years of marketing experience, Carro Ford has seen our field evolve to what it is today. This experience has allowed her to curate an incredible mix of both marketing and PR tactics in her latest book, “The Smartass Marketer’s Handbook: A Guide to B2B Marketing with Attitude.” Together, these tactics represent a power-packed toolbox for today’s hybrid-marketer.
While this book isn’t written for CMOs, per se, it can serve as a blueprint for what the rest of the marketing department should be doing. It’s about tactics, not strategy. It’s a culmination of some tried and true traditional tactics mixed with some of the hottest ones marketers are clamoring about today – presented with a smartass attitude, too, which makes it a fun read.
Ford starts with a basic tactic that all too often gets ignored in our industry – put your customers on your marketing team. She’s not suggesting to literally put them on the team, but to interview them as frequently as possible in order to make their success the focal point of your stories. She suggests making a customer plan and not a marketing one. Some customer-centric examples include:
She suggests your B2B marketing “wardrobe” should start with the basics: whitepapers, case studies, blogging and press releases. Then accessorize with things like LinkedIn posts, webinars, email campaigns and other prudent tactics.
The book makes it clear that Ford is a staunch supporter of content marketing and its many facets. She considers herself a copywriter, as well as a marketer, so she spends a little extra time writing about the nuances of copywriting.
Media and influencer relations are really hot content promotion tactics these days. It’s clear she has lots of experience putting together and executing these types of campaigns. Prior to reading her book, I had no idea how helpful conference websites could be in both influencer and media relations.
Not only should you add the speakers to your list, but the sponsors may be a treasure trove of influencers, too. She recommends requesting the media list from the event, as well. Next, the book takes a detailed look at analyst relations, an often under-executed outreach target for marketers and communications professionals.
Ford is a staunch supporter of press releases. In fact, she says there’s only one good reason not to write them – when you only plan to do just one. The book also goes into 15 ways to get the most out of an industry award.
All-in-all, the book has 13 actionable chapters on various marketing and PR tactics. The above represent some of my favorites from the book, however, there are many more. As marketers we can sometimes get caught up in our everyday tactical hustle and get tunnel vision.
This is problematic because we often don’t recognize or even see the value in adding different or more traditional tactics to our current mix. Ford’s book forces us to break the tunnel vision and take a wider view on what we do on a regular basis. For experienced marketers this book represents a valuable tune-up and health check. For newer marketers this book is a must-read. In fact, my entry level new hires will be given a copy on their first day.