Marcus Sheridan


Over the last year or so, I’ve been talking a lot about the subject of getting “buy-in” when it comes to selling this thing we call “inbound” or “content” marketing. Over this period, I’ve spent more and more time helping agencies (and even CMOs) improve the way they “talk” and “teach” about marketing in an effort to get the results they’re looking for. Throughout this period, I’ve been reminded more and more of this simple truism:

Words matter.

And the people in this industry that use the right words, the right way, generally get the buy-in they’re looking for.

But the ones stuck in “marketing speak” often flounder.

That being said, here is a simple and effective list of how you can change the way you talk about Inbound/Content Marketing and get the results you’re looking for.

  1. Stop calling tools like Hubspot/Marketo/Eloqua/Etc. “Marketing Automation.”

I’m not sure who started calling these tools “marketing automation,” but that was a massive blunder. Remember, CEOs generally don’t care about marketing.

HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, and the rest of them are SALES tools.

They are built for Sales teams.

And because they are, it makes their value to an organization dramatically higher.

  1. Start explaining what Google really is and how it works.

Most agencies never bother explaining to their prospects how Google actually works. Notwithstanding, they talk about SEO all the time.

How in the world can someone understand SEO if they don’t truly understand how Google works, what Google really cares about, and where Google is going?

By becoming a master at explaining how Google works, the whole subject of SEO and keyword targeting changes its tune.

  1. Stop talking about “Blogging”

I keep waiting for the day we all stop using this phrase.

Blogging doesn’t get sales people excited. Nor does it make management enthused.

Instead, talk about producing educational articles and videos. Talk about thought leadership. Talk about solving problems. Talk about becoming world-class teachers.

This is the essence of what “blogging” really is.

  1. Speaking of #3, use the phrases “Content Marketing” or “Inbound Marketing” as little as possible

If you’re pitching a CMO, you can use these phrases all day long.

But that’s clearly not how to pitch a CEO or someone on the Sales side of the business.

As with #3, all great content marketing is about:

  • Listening
  • Communicating
  • Teaching
  • Solving Problems
  • Engendering Trust
  1. Zero Moment of Truth

There are more and more studies coming out explaining how buyers, be it B2B or B2C, make roughly 70% of their buying decision BEFORE they actually talk to someone in an organization. This monumental shift is so incredibly important that every facet of inbound and content marketing are built upon it, and is the FIRST thing agencies should make sure their potential clients understand when going through the sales process.

  1. Speak again and again about how this will benefit Sales and the Sales Team

I’ve seen lots of agencies build rapport with the marketing side of a business but bomb with the Sales teams. And usually, these relationships don’t last long…and certainly don’t get the desired results.

If you want to be an effective marketing agency (or consultant, CMO, etc.) it is not only critical to build bridges with the Sales Department, but to help them see that your ENTIRE PURPOSE is that of:

  • More Leads
  • Better Leads
  • Better Sales Appointments
  • More Deals
  • Faster Closing Rates
  • Higher Margins
  • More Time

This is the purpose of marketing—but it all has to do with making the life of the Sales Team better.

As the old saying goes, people won’t care about you until they know how much you care about them.

  1. Stop telling them everything you want to tell them

This is possibly the hardest of all. It’s also the main subject of every workshop I’ve been teaching to agencies and the entire core to my WOW event for agencies in June. Essentially, it comes down to this:

There are 2 ways to teach. You can tell people what you want to tell them. Or you can allow people to discover for themselves exactly what you want them to know and understand.

The former is easy.

The latter makes for world-class communication.

The best agencies, when selling marketing services, have an amazing way of using questions as the entire foundation of their teaching methodology. Instead of always “talking” and “answering,” they allow their ability to ask the right questions to achieve break-through results with clients.

So there you have it folks. 7 tips that will have a major impact on your marketing company’s ability to have better, stronger, and more effective communication with your clients.

Also, what else would you add to the list? What has worked best for you and your team?


Mad Marketing #46: How to Motivate Your Employees to Produce Content

March 1, 2015

Well it’s podcast time again everyone, and in this episode of Mad Marketing we, as always, cover quite a few topics: -How Atlanta is the most paranoid “snow” state in the country. -A mistake I made speaking to an audience of 500 people this past week, and what I should have done instead -The proper […]

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How to Interview and Hire the Right Content Marketing Manager for Your Company

February 27, 2015

When it comes to content marketing, I firmly believe that, other than “buy in” from management, the most important factor that will impact your ability to have incredible success comes down to the position of “content marketing manager.” Granted, this position has many names in the business world, especially because it didn’t really exist a […]

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Why Content Marketing Never Has Been Nor Ever Will Be “Fair”

February 24, 2015

If Edgar Allen Poe had been alive during the days of the internet, would we say his lack of success was due such factors as “content shock” or “Google making us dumb?” I ask this question upon reading the recent  thoughts of two men (as well as others) I greatly respect and admire–Mark Schaefer and Seth Godin. […]

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Mad Marketing #45: Transparency, Family, and the Hidden Secret of Content Marketing

February 18, 2015

Well it’s that time again folks! In this episode of the Mad Marketing Podcast, where I record from Key West Florida in the middle of a thunder storm, we discuss a variety of subjects that have been on my mind as of late: Transparent Marketing and Advertising– Specifically, I was completely impress with what this tourism office […]

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10 Web Design Mistakes that are Guaranteed to Create a Bad First Impression

February 16, 2015

Over the past year I’ve taught around 60 or so Content Marketing Workshops to business of all shapes and sizes around the world, and during this time I’ve consistently found one of the most meaningful “Aha” moments business owners and marketing teams can have occurs the instant they see other people—especially those that have never […]

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The Big Problem with Buyer Personas in Content Marketing and What to Do About It

February 6, 2015

Before I delve into the topic of today’s little post, I find myself sitting at the airport in Copenhagen, Denmark after being here a full week and soaking in the incredible culture that is Danish life. My body has stayed on east coast time, which means it’s currently 4:30am in the morning, but as I […]

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