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Dave Gerhardt's 3 Tenets of B2B Marketing

Lindsay McGuire
November 22, 2021
Min Read

Hello, B2B marketer! 

Are you sick and tired of hearing how boring B2B can be? 

Do you ever get jealous of the fun things your B2C marketing friends get to pull off? 

Is it time to convince your manager that your B2B brand can push the envelope? 

Dave Gerhardt is here to support you. 

Dave is on a mission to educate B2B marketers across the world through his marketing community DGMG. He’s held marketing roles at leading tech companies like Constant Contact, HubSpot, and Privy, and he is now Chief Brand Officer at Drift. He knows a thing or two about developing unique and creative B2B marketing campaigns. 

In a recent Ripple Effect podcast episode, Dave shared some of his B2B marketing tenets. 

Below we dig into a few of the marketing tenets he shared during his interview. From breaking out of the “boring” stereotype of B2B marketing to understanding how to use failure to fuel success, Dave’s tips and insights will resonate with marketers at any level. 

Rather listen? Check out the full Ripple Effect episode Unlocking B2B Marketing Success with Dave Gerhardt now! 

1. B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring.

Dave begins the episode with a bold statement that marketers continually debate:

Dave Gerhardt B2B marketing quote

He believes that B2B and B2C have more in common than not. To Dave, all marketing should focus on the same foundational concepts: capturing attention, educating audiences, and converting prospects into customers. 

All of this can be done in fun, creative, and compelling ways, regardless if you’re a B2C or B2B marketer. At the end of the day, marketing is supposed to build, captivate, and retain an audience, no matter what you are selling. To be successful, B2B and B2C marketers must be creative and put out materials that break through the noise. 

If you want to see some examples of how B2B can be fun, fresh, and anything but boring, check out Dave’s swipe file. You’ll find inspiration for every channel, from email and social media to outdoor and television. 

Learn More: Why Resonance Matters More Than Reach: Rethinking Marketing with Jay Acunzo

2. Failing is OK as long as you have an explanation.

Many professionals (marketers included) try to avoid failure at all costs. But Dave points out that failure is completely OK as long as you can break down the failure, understand why it happened, and learn from it. He calls this process the five whys. 

Marketing is all about experimenting, learning, and adapting. If you miss a goal, it’s not the end of the world as long as you learn from the experience. Dave encourages his teams to try new things, but he’s adamant that if it results in failure, it’s not a total loss: 

“Let’s say you create a marketing campaign and it doesn't work. Is that a failure or did you now just learn that this type of campaign didn't work for some particular reason? Now you've eliminated one decision. The next time you have it easier because you know that doesn't work.”

Related: Learn How Failing Makes Good Leaders Great 

3. Marketing teams must have strong guardrails. 

This tenet goes hand in hand with the one above. When marketing teams have strong guardrails guiding their work, the failures hurt less. Why? Because you have operating principles and goals that drive your decisions. 

Setting strong guardrails ensures all team members understand what is most important to your team and the business. These may span an entire year or reset each quarter. The guardrails your team decides on depend on your business initiatives and overarching goals, but they could include things like trials, leads, MQLs, form conversions, video views, pageviews, or email opens. 

Dave Gerhardt B2B marketing quote

If goals and guardrails are not set into place, projects can creep in that do not align with business objectives. Setting clear goals can give you the insight needed to make informed and well-educated decisions on which projects are worth moving forward. They can also provide important reasoning to others on why a project may not be worth pursuing at the moment. 

Go forth and conquer B2B marketing!

One of the best takeaways from Dave’s Ripple Effect interview is to focus on your personal growth. As he often says, nobody goes to school for B2B marketing. It’s up to you to find the time to learn, develop, and grow. Hopefully the tips above (and his full episode) provide you some excellent marketing tenets to live by. 

Listen to Dave’s full episode, Unlocking B2B Marketing Success with Dave Gerhardt, to discover even more marketing tips that can propel your career forward. 


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Lindsay McGuire
Lindsay is the Content Marketing Manager at Formstack, splitting her time between creating blog content, writing reports, and hosting Formstack's Practically Genius podcast. She's a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism (MIZ!) and loves connecting with others on LinkedIn.
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