I had the great pleasure recently to sit down with Linda Fanaras, who, like me, wears many different hats. Linda is CEO/Strategist at the Millennium Agency, whose business is primarily B2B, and she also manages entities active in marketing in both the cannabis and beauty verticals.
I wanted to quiz Linda about her experience marketing in the cannabis industry, which until very recently was so tightly regulated that marketing within it was very difficult and get her take on some pressing B2B marketing issues, including how B2B marketing has evolved pre- and post-pandemic. We chat about the pent-up demand for in-person marketing events and talk about the continuing relevance of direct mail.
We explore the question of why too many B2B firms fail to properly score their leads and also fail to consider that major corporate decisions are often made these days not by a single individual, but by committees. As Linda notes, “You have to understand who the players are. And then once you understand who the players are, getting them in the room and getting them together, you may need an initial meeting or two. But on the other hand, it’s also important to get those other people in as quickly as possible so you can start to build a rapport with them and start to explain your process and how you’re different and why they should work with you versus someone else.”
Linda and I discuss the importance of context when crafting B2B messaging for multiple channels. As Linda observes, it’s crucial to “change hats” when crafting creative so that one can put oneself in the intended audience’s shoes. Then we chat about the difficulties that B2B marketing firms face when their prospects grow fearful of a recessionary macroenvironment. We then tackle the issue of why it’s important for marketers to continue to devote at least some reasonable percentage of their budgets to experimental R&D projects.
Wearing her agency hat, Linda stresses the importance of maintaining good relationships with clients, even when economic storms appear to be gathering. “If you don’t hang on to and solidify those current relationships, it will become even more challenging because, if… the whole sales cycle is getting delayed because of one reason or another, and then the strategies are not quite on par, you have a challenge. And then on top of that, you’re looking at potential economic uncertainties. So then you have to realize it’s time to really think about who we have for clients. How do we keep them happy? And how do we retain them during the ups and downs of the economy?”
Our interview closes with a brief discussion of the relevance of AI to marketing in general and B2B marketing in particular.