Tuesday 2¢: Is that a McMansion you are building?

This Tuesday I’m wondering; If are you building your content marketing inside out, what does it look like from the curb?


This week I am inspired by a recent podcast episode by Seth Godin, in which he discussed architects and architecture and how we’ve ended up with glass skyscrapers and “McMansions” the derogatory term for new, big tasteless US homes (he quotes from the rather entertaining McMansion Hell website).

Seth is obviously making a more significant point about society than I will make here. The point he made that piqued my interest is that ugly houses are built when they are designed inside out, which seemed to be an analogy for B2B content marketing to me.

Seth talks about how a homeowner inspired by the HGTV channel (a home improvement channel in the US) insists on having gabled ceilings in the kitchen and all sorts of internal features that an architect needs to make into a structurally sound house.

Keen for the work and building to a budget, the architect focuses on these client requirements, ignores their architectural training and sensibilities, and focuses on giving the homeowner the internal rooms they want.

The result is that the house they design and build might meet the owner’s needs but ends up looking a bit odd from the outside.

A McMansion.

As a B2B marketer, how often do you feel like that architect?

Yep, you have the research, the knowledge of the space, the buyer’s needs, the competitor insight, and you know the external story you want to tell. A pure, clear idea of how you’d like your house to look to your audience.

But you have to fit in that gabled kitchen, or an opportunistic acquisition that needs to fit the story, a product feature (or 12) that an executive insists are highlighted, a ‘strategic’ partnership that must be mentioned, an insistence that a buzzword is added to the copy (you know; cloud, AI or Agile) or the last loss report someone heard from sales.

Then, as the B2B content marketing architect, you need to turn this into a functioning, coherent B2B story.

You build a house, designed from the inside, that may make the people that live there (the interal stakeholders) happy , or at least you’ve stopped them bickering long enough to sigh off some copy.

But, seen from the curb, you’ve built a McMansion.