Diary of a Wimpy Kid: B2B Marketing Lessons from the Runaway Bestseller with Founder of Furmanov Marketing Consulting, Anna Furmanov

In this episode, we’re talking about Diary of a Wimpy Kid with Founder of Furmanov Marketing Consulting, Anna Furmanov. Together, we talk about making a comic, entertaining before educating, and writing in your audience’s language.

Episode Summary

It doesn’t take magic to make content that resonates. You just have to be real.

Show your audience that you “get” them by catering to their cares, frustrations, and the reality of their day-to-day lives.

But to do this, you really have to know your audience and their lived experience.

Just like how Jeff Kinney wrote a runaway hit inspired by his lived experience as a boy. The key is that though the main character, Greg, wasn’t a hero, he was believable…and maybe a bit wimpy at times.

That’s right, we’re talking about Diary of a Wimpy Kid today with Founder of Furmanov Marketing Consulting, Anna Furmanov. Together, we talk about making a comic, entertaining before educating, and writing in your audience’s language.

About our guest, Anna Furmanov

Anna Furmanov is Founder of Furmanov Marketing Consulting, aka the Marie Kondo of startup marketing, helping clean up early stage startups. She has more than 12 years of marketing experience at big name brands like Groupon, Blistex, Del Monte Foods, and startups. She has also led marketing at two venture-backed Series A/B tech startups. She is the host of the Modern Startup Marketing podcast.

About Furmanov Marketing Consulting

At Furmanov Marketing Consulting, Anna acts as a Fractional Head of Marketing, helping VC-backed early stage startup founders and marketing leaders implement marketing programs that drive revenue. She helps startups in industries like  e-commerce, ed tech, higher ed tech, food tech, security tech, sales tech, martech, innovation tech, developer tech and more.

About Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a children’s book series about a boy named Greg Heffley. It’s his journal about navigating middle school and his relationships with his friends and family. It was created by Jeff Kinney based on his own experience growing up.

Jeff Kinney started working on Diary of a Wimpy Kid in 1998 as a nostalgic book for adults. And it wasn’t until 2006 when he brought a sample manuscript to New York ComicCon when it was picked up by the publishing company Abrams. He signed a multi-book deal with them for a series and the first one was published in 2007.

Now there are 17 books in 84 editions and it’s been translated into 69 languages. More than 275 million copies have been sold globally. There are three spin-off books within the Awesome Friendly Kid series, four live action films, two animated films on Disney+, and a musical as well as tons of licensed products. There are even emojis and a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon of Greg.

Key Takeaways

What B2B Companies Can Learn From Diary of a Wimpy Kid:

  • Make a comic. Literally just turn your next blog post or ad into a comic. The style says anything BUT boring B2B marketing. Anna says, “This could really flip blog posts on their heads, right? Or case studies. If we would mimic something like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and how they lay things out with words and pictures to tell a story, that's essentially what Diary of a Wimpy Kid is. You could mimic that and create something that looks so different from a typical blog post or case study or any long form content. Because that's the beauty of marketing, right? It's about trying out new ideas and seeing what sticks.”
  • Entertain, then educate. Prioritize sharing content tailored to your audience’s interests, attitudes, and values. It shows that you “get” them. And your audience is more likely to re-share it.  Anna says, “A lot of content strategies are focused on educating and not as many are focused on entertaining. Kids want to get entertained. Adults want to get entertained, too. So don't forget about the entertaining side when you think about the purpose of your content. Like the absurdity of sales, the absurdity of marketing, the absurdity of your target buyer’s workday experience. That could be entertaining, too. It could be funny. It hooks you in. It keeps you coming back.”
  • Write like your audience talks. Use “wanna” and “gonna” instead of “want to” and “going to.” Show that there’s a human behind the content by writing like you talk. At least in the formats that allow for a casual tone, like on LinkedIn or on your blog. Anna says, “You're not here to just be fake. You're here to be real. Creating a space for other people to be real with you. Which creates connection, which creates likability. So I use “wanna,” and “gonna,” and I think people connect to me much easier because of that. They like the posts I put out on LinkedIn, and I use those words when I post on LinkedIn. Sometimes I use it in my monthly newsletter. I never use that in my client contracts because I think that's going too far. But in my content, I'm going to use words like “wanna,” and “gonna,” because I think there's a place and a space to do that, and I pick that as my vibe. And Ian adds, “the message is not necessarily that you should use conversational language all the time. It's that you should use the conversational language of who you're selling to.”

*”I've seen a lot of case studies that just look the same. They're boring. How can you weave more emotion into case studies? I know it's possible. Because one of the questions I like to ask in my Voice of Customer research work is, ‘How has this tool, platform, whatever, changed your life?’ And that's a big deal. That's emotional. When you hear the answers, maybe it's something that you can blow up a little bit more, make people laugh, make people cry. Overall, how can you make people feel more connected over the emotional stuff?” - Anna Furmanov

*”What is your personality? What's your vibe? A security startup might not want to use “wanna” or “gonna”. That's fine, but at least figure it out so that you have a direction and a roadmap for what you want your content to look like, sound like, feel like, because it's a package. You put it together, and the way that you show up online is a package of who you are and whether people will want to connect with that or not.” - Anna Furmanov

*”When you live with children, you're in those moments and I think it's easier to write about. But tying back to B2B though, you don't live with your target buyer, right? But somehow you have to mimic that knowledge of what they're feeling, what they're frustrated about. So that's why it's so important to check in with them and to have these Voice of Customer research conversations. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to do that. You can't write a book about something from that perspective if you're not in it. You can't write content if you're not in some way in it, right? And super in the community, talking to people, understanding their goals and challenges and emotions and frustrations and what they're worried about and what they're excited about. You just can't. So since you don't live with them, you have to kind of artificially create that.” - Anna Furmanov

*”Start with the foundational stuff like voice of customer research. Having these conversations with five to ten of your customers or prospects, understanding them, understanding how they relate to you, why they picked you, what's your differentiated value, all that is really important. And then tie that back into your content strategy.” - Anna Furmanov

*”What's my wedge? What is my point of view? What point of view will I own? What's that unique insight that only I have, or very few people have, very few people are talking about? What are the stories that are not being told yet that should be told?” - Anna Furmanov

Episode Highlights


Read Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Subscribe to the Modern Startup Marketing podcast

Connect with Anna on LinkedIn

Learn more about Furmanov Marketing Consulting

About Remarkable!

Remarkable! is created by the team at Caspian Studios, the premier B2B Podcast-as-a-Service company. Caspian creates both nonfiction and fiction series for B2B companies. If you want a fiction series check out our new offering - The Business Thriller - Hollywood style storytelling for B2B. Learn more at

In today’s episode, you heard from Ian Faison (CEO of Caspian Studios) and Meredith Gooderham (Senior Producer). Remarkable was produced this week by Meredith Gooderham, mixed by Scott Goodrich, and our theme song is “Solomon” by FALAK.

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