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April 21, 2020

We Need Another Industrial Revolution — In Marketing

GUEST: James Soto, Founder and CEO at Industrial Strength MarketingB2B_Revenue_Executive_Experience_James_Soto_Title-1

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If you’ve been within earshot of a classroom over the past century or two, you know the Industrial Revolution is what kicked off modernity.

Everything that makes our modern world, well, modern is literally built on the fruits of industry.

So, when it comes to marketing, why does the industrial space lag so far behind?

In our latest episode, I caught up with James Soto, Founder and CEO at Industrial Strength Marketing to find out.

James is on a mission to bring the industrial sector back into the modernity it started. And we had a chance to see what the problems were and what the future holds for industrial marketing.

He went over:

  • Why industrial B2B leaders don’t put enough stock in marketing
  • Why the lack of proper metrics are making it hard to fix this
  • How the primitive brain can be hacked by intrepid marketers
  • Why stories are what will save marketing

Industrial B2B business leaders don’t put enough stock in marketing

James noticed something missing in the industrial sector, especially when it comes to the B2B space: Marketing.

Across the board, manufacturers and their leaders don’t put enough stock in marketing.


When it gets technical — when it gets industrial — for the most part, marketing as a key distinguishing function of a business is literally missing, mismanaged or misunderstood.”


How can you tell?

Because they don’t take it out either.

Most billion-dollar businesses, manufacturers and distributors literally don’t have marketing stock. It’s crazy and hard to believe, but it’s true.

When it comes to industrial, there is an overwhelming lack of readiness for marketing.

And if you need more convincing, a quick tour of the C-level ranks for some of the biggest players in the space will reveal something else is missing: There isn’t a CMO in sight.

All of this underscores a fundamental problem in the industrial world — there is not enough belief in marketing. Maybe I’m biased — although,  if you’re reading this, you probably are too — but doesn’t this seem insane in this day and age?

And James is on a mission to create believers. After all, tons of companies in the industrial sector — which, let’s face it, has a reputation for lagging behind — managed to do digital transformation, so how hard can it be?

Well, even for the budding converts in the industry, it’s not easy.

You need to know where you are to know where you’re going

James has a marketing readiness assessment he gives out. It’s pretty simple; it’s only about 40 questions.

It asks some of the things you would expect on key critical performance metrics. Things like: What do/don’t you know about sales? Positioning your organization? The financial operations and numbers around sales or marketing?

Simple, right?

Well, time and time again, CEOs and other executives struggle to answer these questions and the following:

  • What is the lifetime value of a customer?
  • What is your customer acquisition costs? 
  • What is the customer acquisition cost to lifetime ratio?

Giving out these assessments, James has realized the marketing readiness, or lack thereof, extends all the way from the C-suite down through marketing, sales and even channel partner organizations.

If you don't know where you’ve started, you can't have the context to measure where someone or something took you.”

And this lack of preparedness has fostered distrust and skepticism between marketers and the level.

Luckily, there are some executives and B2B marketers out there who are setting aside their differences and really putting in a serious effort to advance their marketing.

But with so much content out there competing for attention, how do they cut through the noise?

The primitive brain and marketing

Have you ever been in a room with what seems like 10,000 voices all layering on top of each other into a cacophonous din — but then someone says your name? You hear it perfectly, right? And the rabble of the crowd just fades into the background while you listen to the person who said it.

Yeah, that’s called the cocktail party effect — and it’s an example of the primitive brain in action.

And it’s one of the secrets to good marketing.

The ultimate hack is to really focus on the things that speak to us at a very basic level. It's the fundamental truth of how we process information.”


James’ advice to any marketer out there is to actively tap into, and harness, the primitive brain in those we are trying to reach, shortcutting their cerebellum and cutting through the noise of content available.

And one of the best ways to do this is through storytelling. 

Storytelling will save marketing

The most primal impulse shared by all humans is the compulsive need to seek out good stories.

Stories are so fundamental to our species that our brains are wired for them — and this is the primitive brain hack we already talked about.

A good story lights up a part of our brain called the reticular activating system, which releases oxytocin. Without getting too technical, let’s just call it “the good chemical.” It's what makes you empathetic and comfortable.

And it makes sense: Stories are how we used to warn people about sabre-toothed tigers lurking in caves. Stories are why books were invented before rollerblades. Stories are why you’re reading this; they’re why people listen to our podcasts.

Stories are, at the most fundamental level, what it means to be human.

Story is what brings us in. Story and the empathy it builds will save marketing and will help us sell better.”

And good marketing is really just good storytelling.

So, if you want to thrive in marketing, you need to ask yourself: Am I telling great stories?

This blogpost includes highlights of our podcast interview with James Soto, Founder and CEO at Industrial Strength Marketing.

Subscribe to hear this episode and many more like it. For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.