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Diary of a first-time CMO - B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring

Hey B2B marketers

Here it is. Four years, $50m+ ARR and 200 pages later… My journey as a first-time CMO.

Covering the key learnings I've gathered in four years of leadership. This diary reveals the lessons that helped me scale Cognism from $3m to $50m ARR, build a team from 3 to 39, and transform our set-up from a classic lead gen function to a demand gen engine.

It’s my handbook for B2B marketers looking to thrive in leadership.

(especially if you’re as daunted as I was when I started out!) 

Diary of a first-time CMO by Alice De Courcy
By: Alice de Courcy
1 minute read

B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring

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If you want to stand out in the marketing game, you need to be doing things differently.

Giving your team the space and freedom to be creative is so important for this reason. It could be the difference between a new best-performing campaign and, well… the same old humdrum you always do.

But at the same time, you need to have guardrails in place that ensure people know where the boundaries are - which might sound like the opposite of creative freedom, but it’s more about maintaining your brand and output. This isn’t marketers gone wild after all.

In that vein, I like to think of my guidelines as a bit of a brand book, filled with examples to spark ideas and provide more understanding.

As a marketing organisation, we are trying to change the way B2B marketers do marketing.

We live and breathe the motto that B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring!

This means it has to become a part of the team's DNA and is ingrained in everything we do.

We challenge ourselves by asking ‘is there a better way to do this?’

Or are we just doing it because ‘it has always been done that way’?

We reward creative ideas. We reward those who can execute those creative ideas. We showcase the amazing work that is produced. And we operate with a very flat hierarchy.

I feel it’s been our competitive advantage. We’ve been able to stand out from the crowd of B2B companies because we don’t do the ‘same old same old’. We want to be the opposite of a boring B2B business.

One of the signs I’ve noticed that tells me it’s working is we’re always being tagged in posts - it's almost daily now - that call us a B2B brand doing things differently.

You certainly get the first mover advantage if you are brave and bold, trying to do things differently.

Whether that be making the jump from an MQL model, running e-books and content downloads, to rethinking the way traditional email nurtures function (think Netflix but for email nurture!)

Or taking a leaf out of Bumble’s advertising playbook and leaning into positively advertising your competition.

The amazing thing about marketing is that your work is never done and there is always a new idea out there that you can test, you just need to be able to deliver it.

Want to keep up with Alice's latest CMO advice?

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