November 9, 2023

B2B Marketing Greatness: 10 Dares for 2024

We triple dog dare you to be more daring marketers in 2024. To be growth drivers. To stop playing it safe. In this fantastic Drew on Drew episode, the two Drews discuss how the B2B realm is overdue for a shakeup in 2024, with 10 daring marketing moves that will get you there.

This is especially pertinent in today’s current climate, with a significant number of companies eliminating the CMO role altogether as the recession continues to put pressure on budgets. Tune in to learn where to focus your time and attention to be a better strategic partner, a better marketer, and a better leader. This episode is not to be missed!

What You’ll Learn 

  • How to make your organization distinct in 2024 
  • Where to focus your time and budget 
  • How to be an even better marketer  

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 370 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned 


  • [1:26] B2B marketers, dare to be distinct!  
  • [3:09] 1. DBA: Don’t Bore Anymore 
  • [5:14] 2. Fewer events, bigger 
  • [8:31] 3. Upgrade content with GenAI  
  • [11:31] 4. Add product experts 
  • [13:50] 5. Shift dollars into program spend 
  • [17:04] 6. Have one strategic external partner 
  • [18:32] 7. Present a 3-year plan 
  • [20:34] 8. Balance leading & lagging metrics 
  • [23:02] 9. Lighten up!  
  • [25:10] 10. Find your PLUS (CMO+)

Highlighted Quotes

Dare #1: D.B.A. Don’t Bore Anymore. Do you have any kind of emotional hook with your audience?

Dare #7: Present a three-year plan versus a quarterly or annual plan. This allows you to talk about the strategic impact your marketing is going to have on the company, beyond capturing that small group that is in the market at this very second. 

Dare #8: Balance Lagging Metrics (pipeline, revenue) and Leading Metrics (reach, share of voice, awareness). 

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Drew Neisser


Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew and I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you also enjoy audiobooks. Well in that case, did you know that the audio version of renegade marketing 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands was ranked the number one B2B audio book by book authority? Kinda cool, right? You can find my book on Audible or your favorite audiobook platform or you can even read it on Kindle or in hardcopy. Now speaking of podcasts before we get into today’s show, I want to do a shout-out to the podcast professionals at Share Your Genius, I mean, there’s only so much they can do for me if I stumble over words, but we started working with them about a year ago to make this show even better, and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at and tell her Drew sent you.

Narrator:  Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew: Okay, now let’s get on with today’s episode and if you’re watching on video, you might notice that I have two microphones. So yeah, Drew, what’s up with that? Well, this is one of those manic experiences where I go back and forth asking myself questions. Cool, I guess so. But what’s the story with this episode at number 370? Let me tell you, we’re gonna talk about 10 Daring moves for 2024. So what’s up with daring moves? Why do we need to be daring this year versus last year? Well, here’s the thing. In 2023, a record number of CMO roles were eliminated. We see this in real-time on the transition team, which is a place where we support the CMOs of CMO Huddles who are between opportunities. And I’m gonna say about 30 to 40% of those folks, and we have over 100 on the transition team right now had their jobs eliminated. Now, I’m guessing that the cause for this is that CEOs in their investors lost faith in the role as a driver of growth. The way I see it, too many played it safe focusing most, if not all of their energy on capturing demand, and not enough in creating demand in a unique or distinctive fashion. Alright, so what’s the theme again, of this entire episode, yeah, it’s daring to be distinct. And I’m not just talking about your brand story, I’m talking about your go-to-market strategy, the reason you want a seat at the table, to drive strategy at your organization. Maybe there’s some opportunity to distinguish by your organizational structure, and your metrics. So we’re going to cover all 10 Daring moves for 2024.

Drew: Wow, that sounds pretty darn exciting. So what’s number one here, very top of the list?

Drew: I want you to really think about this as a different approach. So we’re gonna call it a DBA. You don’t know a DBA? Because we’re going to don’t bore anymore and then we’re going to challenge ourselves to pass a number of some boring tests like does it pass the reading and bed at night tests? Does it pass the put it on Instagram and everybody skips it test? Interesting way of knowing whether or not your content is engaging, is distinctive, is likable, is do your recruits for your company see it and say, God, I want to work there, that sounds like a great company. Or do your customers see it and sort of become envious, like, Gee, I wish our company was that distinctive? Or Gee, I wish our company was in their advertising. Do you make your customers laugh? I had a CMO on a show I’ve recorded but you haven’t heard yet, Sangeeta talked about her work at Russell Reynolds and how they wanted to lighten up a little bit and make the brand more likable. So they did a cartoon series and their customers loved it. They loved the fact that they were making fun of their industry. So the real question here with DBA, as in don’t bore anymore, is do you have any kind of emotional hook with your audience? For example, they like your brand so much they want to wear your gear. I mean, think of Nike, people want to wear that brand. So where’s the emotional hook and you say, well, this is business to business and all decision-making is rational, and yes, a certain part of decision-making is rational but ultimately, awareness because you’re carving space in the brain is kind of irrational. It’s connected, it could be something weird or different that creates an emotional hook, an anchor in the brain and so do you have an anchor in the brain?

Drew: Okay, so that’s one, we’re not going to bore anymore, we’re going to DBA, don’t bore anymore, got it, makes sense. I’m with you. So what’s number two?

Drew: Well, in the pre-pandemic period, B2B marketers spent about 50% of their budgets, on average, on events. And it seems like in 2024, that number is going to creep up again. And what I’m going to propose here, and that dare to be distinctive, is that you do fewer events, but you do them bigger. And there’s a lot of different ways of doing them bigger and combining some of the earlier thinking, first, we’re there in person to make human connections, I know you want to sell and I know we’re going to think about the revenue in the room, you’re going to book appointments in advance, you’re going to make sure your customers and prospects are there in advance. But is there something about your event and your entire theme that you’re going to market through that event? That’s interesting, distinctive, fun, entertaining, it’s amazing how far a little bit of entertainment go, I’ve seen people just give away T-shirts that are cool and have lines 100 person long at the tradeshow. Don’t underestimate just some good swag and don’t underestimate having a little fun, a little different, just something of entertainment value. Now why we’re thinking about doing fewer events bigger, really want to break it down, pre, during, and post, I want to make sure that you’re putting enough in pre, I’ll give you a couple of things to think about. One, sooner you have a booth, you can usually get the list from the event organizers and most of the time, people use those lists in one way or another but what they’re not using it for is social media advertising where you can take that list hash and see what the match is both on LinkedIn, and on Facebook and Instagram. What you’re trying to do here is top-level awareness and perhaps you might have an offer. Either way, you can test both to see which is more efficient for you. Probably you want to do a combination of those two things. So we’re going to do pre-event advertising against the folks that are coming. So we know that universe is there.

Drew: Now,  okay, well, you’ve talked about events before on the show, you want to add a little more color to this in terms of what else folks can do.

Drew: Sure, one of the great things that events can do is accelerate deals, because you get customers, you can get prospects, and you get them in the same room. Now I’m thinking of a different kind of event, I’m not thinking of a large trade show, at this point, I’m thinking about a dinner or a luncheon and something like that. And let’s say you’ve gone to the trouble of getting a great speaker and you have 100 people coming to lunch, and it’s free and they haven’t paid for it. One thing you can do, this is a great trick that I highly recommend you try if you’re having a lunch or a dinner, and you haven’t asked anybody to pay, call the people a week in advance that are the attendees and say, we have a very nice dinner plan, we want to make sure that you are coming and so you have a choice between chicken or fish and once they commit to chicken or fish, they’ve pretty much committed to your event. So watch the show-up rate go from 50 to 90%. It’s a great little tip but it’s a reminder that what you’re going to do and this is number two on our list of 10 daring moves, is do fewer events bigger and better, and a lot more interesting.

Drew: Okay, what’s number three here?

Drew: Well, I had to push Gen AI back to three, even though that’s been the topic of conversation for so many marketers, but I want you to think about it, we’re going to be distinctive with the use of Gen AI. And the biggest problem and this came up in the Forrester report is, there is going to be a flood of terrible content that was generated by Gen AI without a lot of thinking. So given that the market is going to be flooded with it, you really have to use Gen AI in a very strategic way to take your IP, your brilliant ideas, your creative thoughts, and maybe use it to accelerate the creation of it but again, it has to be highly original. Now, I also want you to think about Gen AI and its ability to help you do longer, more thorough reports, and perhaps process a lot of data. In an ideal world, each of you own an annual study that is of extreme interest to your customers, prospects, and the press and it speaks to maybe the category that you’re trying to create, or it speaks to some real serious pain point that you guys addressed better than anybody else in your category. And you put out this study every year and the study’s value increases. One of the things that Gen AI is so great at is let’s say you wrote the entire study, both this year and last year. You can upload that to Claude and have it create 2,3,4 different blog posts for you because it’s based on original IP, that’s a good use of Gen AI for blog posts, you can use it to help create the social posts. But keep in mind, it always has to be based on original IP. Now, I’ve only talked about Gen AI for print, content creation, for words and we all know that Gen AI can do so much more, and it’s going to influence everything probably in the marketing department, which means again, the marketing world will be flooded with new images created with audio that’s been artificially enhanced or actually created insane with video. So we’re going to use these tools, we’re always going to have original IP that’s at our core one big two bigs. Maybe it’s a quarterly tentpole idea. We’re going to use these tools to slice and dice and create a myriad of different ways to take advantage of the one big idea that you might do on a quarterly basis. So we’re going to use Gen AI to accelerate and upgrade content development, we’re not going to dilute it.

Drew: Okay. So thank you, Forrester, for that. And by the way, Forrester’s little insight was, we’re talking to millennials, that’s 25 to 44-year-olds, they are 50% of the decision-makers right now, in the business world, these folks like content, they also like to be entertained. Don’t forget about entertainment value, when you’re creating the content and this goes back to the very beginning of this notion, we’re going to dare to be distinct.  

Drew: Okay, so what’s number four?

Drew: Now, I already mentioned the Forrester report and I thought this insight was quite profound and so important. I want you to think about your buying experiences, particularly business buying experiences. It was salespeople calling you, and not knowing your business, and not knowing anything about you or what your needs might be. Now, conversely, let’s say you’re about to buy a product or service and you got a demo, you really enjoyed the demo, and you got some insights and go, “Oh, I want that, I could use that”. Millennials in particular, do not want to talk to salespeople and frankly, I don’t know who wants to talk to salespeople. But they do want to talk to product experts. I think it’s a huge opportunity because the tendency in B2B is, we want more sales, we’re going to add more salespeople. I think you’re going to take 10% of your sales staff, get rid of it. And you’re going to add 10% of product experts because your conversion rate is going to get so much higher. Now I don’t think you’ll ever be able to get rid of all your salespeople, because they’re helpful, they’re out there working the show floor, they’re drumming up and hunting for new business, but your customers and your prospects don’t want to talk to them. So the more product experts you have, the better. 

Drew: Now I have to interrupt you there. So what could a marketer do? This sounds like a salesperson decision. How is a marketer supposed to impact the organizational structure like this? 

Drew: It’s gonna be a competitive asset. If you have the highest ratio of product experts in your category, that’s going to be a defining, differentiating factor. So you’re going to have this conversation with the executive committee and say, “How are we differentiating? We have exactly the same percentage of salespeople as everybody else.” You’re going to argue it on a differentiation basis, and the sales team is going to say, “Okay, the rewards are going to be a higher close rate, bigger win rate, eventually, they’re gonna go, that’s pretty good. I don’t need to talk to every client, every circumstance, clients want to talk to product experts.” So my job is just to facilitate that conversation. Get out of the way. 

Drew: Alright. I think you beat that one up pretty well. Thank you for that. So more product experts, fewer salespeople. Good luck selling that in but I think it’s doable. Alright, what’s number five?

Drew: Alright, we’ve been talking about budgets a lot in CMO Huddles for the last month and a half and I feel like the budget spending is going to be about the same as it was and I’m worried sick about this and I really want to see a shift in dollars from people and tech into program spend. Let’s say your balance right now is a third in people, a third in programs, and a third in tech. There’s a real problem in that, it really means that two-thirds of your budget is not going to programs, which is not growing your pool of potential target of buyers. What I worry about is that B2B marketers aren’t just not spending enough money out there. Even the move from 50% on programs to 60%, your reach will expand dramatically, and reach matters and your voice matters. Those two things will determine how many RFPs you get, how many chances do you get it to be in this smaller group. If people don’t know you, they’re not going to hire you. It’s a fact. I know this is a hard sell. 

Drew: Okay, why do you have to stop there and why is this so hard? 

Drew: Because again, this comes down to demand capture versus demand creation and there’s a lot of pressure to put spend on-demand capture but there’s so many studies out there on how 5% of folks are in the market at any given time, but 95% of your target isn’t out there. And so you need to have some kind of balance between demand creation and demand capture but there isn’t right now. MarTech spending is mainly about demand capture. Program spending is mainly about demand capture. Content marketing is mainly about demand capture, someone’s searching for a term when they go, “Oh, there you are, you’re showing it up?” What are you doing and what are you spending on demand creation? Things like your industry study on an annual basis, this is where customer stories about ROI, and going to conferences and speaking where you’re telling the story that’s so much bigger than anybody else.

Drew: Okay, so we’re going to change your budget, how are we going to do that? How are we going to be able to get the CEO to buy in? 

Drew: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. If your spending proportions are exactly the same as last year, you can’t expect anything different to happen. So we’re gonna have to make the argument to spend our dollars differently.

Drew: Okay, is there anything within that spending, that also could be a factor?

Drew: Yeah, I really want you to think about creativity just a little bit more, because we spend so much time optimizing, and A/B testing and so forth. We’re in a realm of small ideas and you’re not getting any share of mental space because you’re not giving them any hooks to grab on to, there’s no mnemonics, there’s no creative, there’s nothing that you own visually, or orally, to help your brand stand out. Just think about Intel, there’s just so many different ways of capturing mind space and a lot of it is not programmatic, A versus B, optimizing a word here or there, it’s about having an idea.

Drew: Okay, so that’s number five, we’re going to increase program spend, and we’re going to do it in a little bit more creative way. What’s the number six? 

Drew: I’ve noticed the trend in source so much, and it feels like you can do that even more with Gen AI, you can create all your content in-house, or at least you think you can, you can do all your media optimization, and programmatic probably do that in house as well, using all sorts of different tools. But I want to make sure that every CMO listening to this has at least one strategic partner, who will push you to innovate, who will push you to have that dare to distinct thing because the problem with the internal team is they won’t push back enough, you’re their boss, you determine their paycheck, and you need a partner outside, who will say, “Hey, you have a big idea, or you don’t.” But if you have a big idea, they may be able to help you extend that big idea and if you don’t have a big idea that truly differentiates your brand, then that’s their job to help you find that to challenge you, to challenge your thinking, to even challenge you,  the way you spend your money. That’s what an outside partner can do. And maybe they’re a consultant and you only use them part-time because the more you use them, the more they’re likely to say yes. So just have this one group, this one insight partner, that will really push you.

Drew: Okay, that sounds like an interesting idea, I can buy that, I’ve seen that work in action. Of course, in the old days of Renegade, that was often the role we did, but we’re out of that business. But there’s got to be a lot of good people out there, right?

Drew: Yes, there are, by the way, we have a long list of folks who can help do that.

Drew: Okay, so what’s number seven?

Drew: Number seven. This is a daring idea. How about presenting a three-year plan? Versus a quarterly? 

Drew: Wait, did you say three-year plan? 

Drew: Yeah, I want you to talk about a three-year plan and I want you to talk about it in terms of growth objectives, and some key metrics, which we’ll talk about in the next one. And a three-year plan allows you to talk about the strategic impact your marketing is going to have on the company beyond capturing that small group that is in the market at this very second because what you want to do is capture all of the market or more than your fair share over the next three years. And this is particularly important if you have a long sales cycle. You want to make sure you can get through that six months, nine months, 12 months so that you can actually go in and figure out what were the touch points that seem to push? What were the interactions? What were the conversation? What was the net takeaway? Why did we consistently win in these kinds of circumstances and lose in those? And you don’t get to those in three months or six months or nine months. 

Drew: But I have to ask a question about that. How the heck do you sell that in? Isn’t it the CEO and the CFO who decide?

Drew: Yes, they do and as I said, this is a daring plan, and maybe your peers won’t appreciate it. But it allows you to be identified as the person who’s thinking long term. You are making markets as the marketer, you’re thinking about making markets that you get to think about three-year value of customer versus one-year value, you get to think about expansion into new territories, you get to think about line extensions and other things like that. Otherwise, the conversation is simply we’re gonna sell what we got and while that can be a big challenge, you’re the Chief Marketing Officer, you sit at the table with a board of directors, again, I know this isn’t easy, but I promise 10 daring moves and so this one feels particularly daring.

Drew: Okay, what is number eight, and you promised it would be about metrics? 

Drew: You got that right, it is about metrics, and what we’re going to try to do here is balance leading metrics and lagging metrics. So pipeline and revenue are lagging metrics. They’re six months, 12 months, 18 months down the road, particularly revenue, and even pipeline because it can take a while before you get to a genuine opportunity that sales will say, “Yep, there’s a budget, they’ve done a demo, we’ve had an appointment,” that’s a real opportunity that goes into pipeline. Anything related to pipeline is pretty much a lagging metric. 

Drew: What would a leading metric be?

Drew: So leading metrics. This is where I’m talking about brand and demand creation. How many people are you reaching with your marketing, that could be in the market for your product or service, and we put it on a three-year horizon, that’s your audience in the three to five-year horizon. So that’s pretty big reach and right now your reach is probably pretty small. So another leading metric is what’s your share of voice, not too hard to calculate, there are services out there that will help you do that. Another leading metric is awareness. People aren’t aware of you, they are not going to be able to put you on the shopping list, right? So, reach, share of voice, awareness. Now, in the B2B marketing Institute’s report, we’ll see a podcast on that coming soon, you’ll meet Peter Weinberg and some, what they call, their beyond awareness metrics. Those are important, but they talk about things like salience, and what space do you actually own. Now, it takes a while to get that, but it’s still a leading metric because if everybody’s heard of you, who could possibly buy you, you’re going to be in more RFPs than anybody else, especially if they have some kind of positive association with the brand.

Drew: Okay, so that was number eight, balanced, leading, and lagging metrics. But I have to ask you, why is that so hard?

Drew: It’s really hard because this is true for public companies, this is true for PC and PE backed companies, they’re living quarter to quarter in a year-to-year business. Again, if we’re talking about how do you increase the likelihood of longevity? Talk about longer timeframes for your metrics as well.

Drew: Okay, Drew. So what’s the number nine? 

Drew: I’ve kind of been serious so far and so I think number nine needs to be, lighten things up internally.

Drew: What do you mean, and why is that important? You may have noticed, it’s a crazy damn world out there. Things are happening, we’re out of COVID but still, I think I saw a statistic that 16,000 people maybe, in the US currently have it, which is a third of where it was three years ago but still, you got wars all over the world, you’ve got a crazy economy, you’ve got political craziness, it’s really a difficult time, socially, at least here in the US. What do you want from your work life, and marketing used to be fun, and marketing could be fun and CMOs used to be fun. So let’s find humor and bring it back, at least to our department, let’s be the fun department and lighten things up. We can take our work and large deadlines seriously but we don’t have to take ourselves seriously and I think this starts with the CMO, I think you need to have a sense of humor and find the opportunity to laugh or at least build the personal connections, the friendships, help your team bond because people don’t leave when all their friends work there. They don’t want to leave because it’s the friendships, there’s so much bonding. So as a marketer, you have an opportunity to drive things like innovation days or innovation weeks and whether you do it virtually or bringing together, you have the opportunity to make it fun to keep things light, we’re not doing brain surgery here, this isn’t life or death. You can do that and by the way, I meant to mention this very early on in point number two, but events are a great place to bring your teams together and mix up their roles a little bit and have them have some fun, make them be a salesperson per day on the sales floor, make them do some other things. So we’re going to lighten it up and we’re going to sort of rotate people, and we’re going to bring them together physically, if at all possible in 2024.

Drew: Okay, those are nine pretty daring things to do. What’s number 10? 

Drew: Number 10, find your plus as in CMO+. So the idea here is both a defense and an offense for your future. Right now, if marketing is seen as a short-term solution to our short-term problem, which is demand creation, and you’re struggling to get around that, add something else to your portfolio, I’ve seen a number of CMOs have had internal communications, or they’ve said, I’ll do our ESG Initiative, or we’ll do our DEI initiative or in some cases already commerce or all be a GM of a small skunkworks. All of this is to say, to help position you as a business person first, as a leader of the organization, and not quote, just the marketer.

Drew: Did you say just the marketer?

Drew: I said it in quotes, and I said it because that’s the perception often is that the CMO is just the marketer but if you’re driving internal comms or the employer brand, for example, you’re a lot more than the CMO. If you’re driving a major initiative to transform the company, like this strategic plan, you’re the strategist, you’re the chief of staff, suddenly, you’re more than marketing. And given the fact that marketing impacts so many areas of the organization when it’s done right, you have the opportunity as the CMO+ to bring differentiation and distinctiveness across the organization and if it doesn’t exist there, you have an obligation to do that. 

Drew: Okay, that was pretty forceful. So, we got 10 ways to dare to be as distinct, 10 daring moves for 2024. We’re gonna recap them, one DBA, as in don’t bore anymore. Two, do fewer events done bigger. Three, use Gen AI to accelerate and upgrade your IP, not to create a flooded market of stuff, you’re going to push for more product experts and fewer salespeople. You’re going to increase program spend and perhaps decrease MarTech spend or people spend, in order to expand your reach. First and foremost, don’t forget about creativity, make sure you have at least one strategic partner outside your organization who will push you to innovate. Selling a three-year plan a little long-term thinking maybe that’s connected to number 10, where you’re driving transformation. Balanced leading and lagging metrics, lighten things up internally, that’s number nine. And number 10, find your plus as in CMO+, that’s it. That’s your Drew on Drew episode number 370. I hope you got a lot of value out of this episode. If you did do me a favor hit me up on LinkedIn and say “Hey Drew, great episode, but I have a question or you forgot something? Or what’s the deal with the two microphones?” So if you’re a B2B CMO, by the way, who can share, care, and dare with the best of them? Do me a favor and check out I’m Drew Neisser, that’s your Drew on Drew episode. Peace out.

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and our B2B podcast partners Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro Voice Over is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about B2B branding, CMO Huddles, or my CMO coaching service, check out I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!