Does this sound like something you or your boss would say? If so, this book is for you. When I meet company owners for the first time and tell them that I run a B2B strategy and marketing business, I often hear statements like the one above. Many B2B leaders have had bad experiences with marketing and many others have no experience at all.

As a result, they’re skeptical about marketing and feel it isn’t relevant to their business, or that it’s too complicated to bother with. And that’s a terrible thing. The most successful B2B companies in the world use marketing to dominate their industries and deliver enviable profits. Warren Buffett considers marketing experience pivotal in his decision to purchase a company, whether it’s an insurance company (GEICO) or a railway (BNSF).

Buffett says marketing strategy (he focuses on competitive advantage, a critical component of marketing 2 Lisa Shepherd strategy) is key to his investment decisions, “The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.”

In short, B2B companies need to get smart about marketing. They have the opportunity—and increasingly, the necessity—to put marketing to work for their business success. When B2B companies use marketing effectively they raise awareness of their products and services, enhance the profile of their brands, attract potential customers, and increase their profits.

More and more B2B companies are getting smart about marketing—are you? Unfortunately for many B2B companies, successful versus unsuccessful marketing is a mystery. The mystery between the two lies in the approach.

Successful B2B marketers understand the importance of having a strategy, choosing and implementing the right tactics, and evolving their marketing programs as their businesses grow. Unsuccessful marketers doubt the value of a plan, dabble in marketing with a flavor-of-the-month approach, and don’t tackle the challenge of measuring their results.


In my two decades of working with organizations that range from privately held B2B companies to Fortune 500 firms to not-for-profit associations, I’ve seen a wide variety of B2B marketing. Some of it is great, much of it is bad. Through that experience, I’ve identified the most common reasons that marketing fails in B2B companies.

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