'Gurus' & 'Ninjas' are for comics...not for B2B marketing consulting

Ed Marsh | Nov 11, 2014

What happened to competence & expertise?

There's a funny (not really!) thing that's happened as technology has infused business.  A new class of "experts" has created itself.  There's a legitimate aspect - some skills such as IT aren't native to the traditional manufacturing org chart.  And then there's an absurd element of self-promotion as folks who have even a limited technical skill set which other's don't, try to arbitrage that gap into a grand brand.

The profusion of gurus and ninjas is absurd - and as the trend has gathered steam it's even given birth to guru mashups.  Now twitter bios that used to read as some combination of "guru" and "coffee / caffeine" combine the two.  Did you realize how many coffee consumption ninjas are offering their opinions these days?

Many of these folks live in a parallel reality of sorts.  They speak a lingo and opine on topics which are designed to carefully cultivate their image as erudite sources of insight on important issues.  In reality they are caricatures of themselves.

That's OK, of course.  A virtual digital marketing commune doesn't hurt anyone, and folks should be free to do as they wish.  But there is an unfortunate downside.  Real folks that manufacturer real stuff tend to seek advice based on real experience.  And the hyper promotion of the ninjas & gurus tends to turn them off rather than mesmerize them.

Sadly that means that folks that would benefit from the message never get past the messenger.

Snappy, 125 character "laws of the universe"

Real B2B manufacturing companies need real B2B marketing consulting built on a foundation of industrial P&L experience.  They manage complicated manufacturing environments and face complex markets.  (Download our whitepaper to learn more about the difference.)

Tweets and bromides may offer captivating sound bites, but they don't provide much substance for the real world of most B2B revenue growth challenges.

Nor is it reasonably possible to distill a complex market development strategy into a few catch-all laws for consumption by too busy executives.

Successful revenue growth for industrial manufacturers is built on experience and perspective, not ninja moves.

The formula for solid B2B marketing consulting

There's no magic bullet here.  Just as you need CNC operators with real machining experience, you need revenue growth advisors with real industrial B2B experience.  Certainly they need to be conversant and expert with the latest digital tools and techniques, but those are technical levers which an be expertly maneuvered to produce results.  They're tools which must be expertly employed, and without years of machining experience they're only costly fixtures which can spit out inconsistent junk as easily as high quality parts.

But a technician who's great at commissioning or troubleshooting a CNC machine is not necessarily great at operating it at maximum efficiency.

So how does one find B2B marketing consulting and sales experience that can help deliver substantive results?  In my experience there are several common attributes of folks who can deliver.  They have:

  • personally held P&L responsibility
  • bought and sold industrial product
  • experience in industrial manufacturing environments
  • comfort with conversations at both F500 senior exec and local plant maintenance levels - and all in between
  • familiarity with business finance
  • solid technical chops
  • experience in global markets (every company's market is now global)
  • technical mastery of tactical tools
  • extraordinary strategic vision

and, appropriately on Veterans' Day, they are military veterans (a distinction which is proxy for certain key attributes.)

Collectively these represent a basis of experience and talent which enable a consultant to speak with authority on the business challenges you and your prospects face.  Without that basis there's no value of substance - and the gurus are merely charlatans.

Want to learn about the real world approach to revenue growth built on experienced B2B marketing consulting?  Download our free eBook.

New Call-to-action