Should We Be Thinking ‘Challenger Marketing’


There is a growing trend in the technology sector to adopt the ‘Challenger Selling’ approach, to use the advantage of understanding the potential client’s business to challenge the status-quo, disrupt thinking and to create that compelling event.

According to CEB research of over 6.000 sales people, out of all of the approaches taken, the Challenger approach is the most successful.

How can marketing support Challenger Selling?

If there has been one bad side effect of solution/consultative selling it has been to make B2B marketing ‘wishy-washy’. What do I mean by this? Just read the home pages of a random sample of technology companies. “We help you to optimise performance,” “We transform the customer experience,” “We connect your business.” All grand statements that mean absolutely nothing.

This is ‘Meaningless Marketing.’ It neither offends nor challenges; it tries to say everything, but in fact it says absolutely nothing at all.

Would your marketing message make you sit up and take note?

I’m a great believer in a simple test. Read your marketing statement and ask yourself, if I was the prospective client, would this make me sit up and take note? The other test is to simply replace your company’s name with some other random company and see if the statement is still valid – if it is, then how can it be differentiating you?

You would not set a company objective without it being aligned 100% to what you do and for it to be both achievable and measurable. So why is a senior leader going to take note of something they have read a million times before and tells them absolutely nothing? Harsh, but true.

So, is it time for Challenger Marketing?

Most certainly. Last year I wrote a blog with the argument to ‘Be More Dog.’ It played on the theme of the successful O2 promotion and basically talked about being more direct and challenging in marketing.

This has never been as relevant as it is today. As organisations look to Challenger Selling to grow their business, they need to be adopting ‘Challenger Marketing’ to set themselves apart from the competition and to gain the attention of those they want to engage with.

In my world ‘Challenger Marketing’ takes the best parts of traditional marketing and account-based marketing and merges them together with a healthy injection of ‘being more dog’. It does not pay lip service to personas, but it focuses on clusters of target organisations that have the same challenges. It delivers a very focused message that is bold and challenging – it states the issue, is clear on how this is addressed and outlines the benefits in contrast to doing nothing. It gets attention.

“Challenger Marketing will deliver at a minimum twice the amount of meetings you secure from your current marketing approach, and what is more, these meetings will be with the right people.”

Gary is the Managing Director of Cremarc, a specialist B2B marketing company that helps organisations to deliver effective marketing through storytelling, marketing automation and cleverly designed ‘challenger marketing’.