Judo: it’s just like B2B marketing, apparently

October 23, 2015

I’ve written in the past about what we can learn from various sporting events – Wimbledon, the Rugby World Cup, etc. But never before have I read anything about B2B marketers taking tips from judo experts. That is, until I saw that Salesforce of Pardot’s Adam Blitzer had compared the two. 

And he should know: before co-founding Pardot, he practiced judo at a competitive level for 20 years – four of which he spent in Japan (where it’s a national sport). Blitzer admits that his love of judo is what inspired him to develop the marketing automation products in Pardot. Naturally, I was intrigued and read on…

Firstly, he says in an article he wrote for Venture Beat, it’s because the word ‘judo’ literally translates to ‘flexible way’ – and that’s just how B2B marketers should act: constantly adapting to the opponent’s next move. Every buyer requires a unique approach.

In judo, you’re always thinking about the opponent’s previous moves – essentially gathering ‘data’ on them to make the best decisions. In the B2B world, it’s just as crucial to use big data to garner insights – insights that will help you make decisions in terms of demographics, buyer activities and interests. 

Although you’re reflecting on past behaviour, you need to react in the present. Reacting in ‘real-time’ is essential – and buyers now expect marketers to react to their needs and personalise their interactions (78% of buyers are of this viewpoint, according to a recent report from IDC). In today’s world, tailored content is now considered the holy grail of marketing.

Finally, it’s about looking ahead and preparing for the future. It’s important in judo to be flexible, but it’s just as crucial to be predictive. Anticipating the next move is key to a successful career – both in judo and in B2B marketing. 

Who knew the two were so alike?

Jessica Ellis - Business Development Director