The Interview Series

Dave Gerhardt

Our first guest is Dave Gerhardt, CMO at Privy.com and founder of DGMG, where 2800+ marketers engage in his private group.
Top three things for successful brand positioning?
  1. Your story is your strategy – Let me give you my brand, DGMG, as an example. I boiled my story down to one sentence: “No one goes to school for B2B marketing.” I base all of my content around filling that void and giving people the B2B marketing education they never got.
  2. Pick a deadline and commit to it – You can debate positioning forever — it will never be perfect. Make a decision, pick a date to ship it, and ship it. It’s better to have tested and failed than to have never tested at all. I think Shakespeare said that.
  3. Positioning is an on-going process – Your positioning will never be static. As your market, customers, products, etc change so will your positioning strategy. Don’t fight it. It’s normal.
Thoughts on the current state of creativity in B2B?
I’m seeing a lot of brands try to go more out of the box with creativity, which is awesome. I’ve always said the arms race for the biggest tech stack is overrated. More technology will never replace great creativity. You have to be careful though. Creativity for the sake of creativity is pointless. Always provide value. Entertainment and education aren’t mutually exclusive.
Favorite brand, and why?

Shopify right now for sure. They’re unbelievable storytellers and have a clearly defined and SIMPLE brand vision:
“We are the entrepreneurship company. We enable people to achieve their own unique version of success” – Harley Finkelstein, President, Shopify
In just a couple lines, Harley sets the strategy for what Shopify builds, how they communicate, the things they invest in, and the type of marketing they do. Unreal.

What advice would you give to marketers working with creatives and vice versa?

It’s a symbiotic relationship.

Marketers, you need creatives to give color (sometimes literally) to your campaigns so work closely with them to come up with something that respects their vision but still aligns to your objectives.

Creatives, I understand the passion. When you go full blood, sweat, and tears into a project it’s hard not to get attached. Just be willing to compromise and work with marketers to make sure you’re still serving their demand gen goals. We gotta keep the lights on at the end of the day.

What makes you roll your eyes every time you hear it (in Marketing)?
“It’s not perfect so we can’t ship it yet.” Just ship the thing and make adjustments as feedback comes in. Also the word “synergy” bugs me. Talk like a person.
Bonus question: What’s the most ridiculous thing you have spent money on?
Billboards. Absolutely love em. When I was at Drift, a book I co-authored was featured on the NASDAQ virtual billboard in Times Square. It was pretty cool.

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