The sunny Scottsdale was descended by a 1000+ Marketers for the 8th edition of the B2B Marketing Exchange by Demand Gen Report. The three-day agenda was divided into six tracks that focus on many of the top core disciplines of B2B marketing: Content Strategy, Demand Gen, Sales Enablement, Digital Strategy, Channel Strategy and Account-Based Marketing.
This year was no exception! As the previous years, the conference witnessed the unveil of a multitude of new marketing trends, engagement channels, best practices, buyer preferences and challenges that marketers should tackle with gusto. As opening keynote speaker, David Lewis, CEO DemandGen International noted that positioning yourself as an agent of change within a business to focus more on customer experience is the ultimate deciding factor in future success.
If you missed the B2BMX this year, here are the top 10 key takeaways:
1. Marketing Can Save The World
Carlos Abler, Leader of Content Marketing & Strategy at 3M shared ways marketing can save the world; where B2B marketers can approach marketing differently to increase their impact on customers, prospects and the world.
# Making the world better through sustainable development goals, which include achieving affordable and clean energy, promoting good health and addressing gender inequality.
#Marketers as Publishers. B2B marketers are oftentimes too focused on their own business objectives, rather than customer needs and pain points. Hence it is important to be innovative with your content. Evolve your content strategy by finding out what keeps your buyers up at night.
#Brands should look outside of business for inspiration. It will become inevitable that brands learn social entrepreneurship and how it can help guide their business.
Carlos offered a new lens for marketers to overcome their innovation challenges, by looking to non-profits, start-ups and other social entrepreneurship groups for inspiration.
2. How To Win With Empathy, Creativity… And A Little Humor
“Give your customers the gift of laughter. Not everything needs a CTA to be successful” said Tim Washer, a former B2B marketer, comedian and keynote speaker, leading an interactive and lively session featuring some group exercises, real-world examples of humanizing even the world’s most boring B2B brands.
“When a brand doesn’t take itself too seriously all the time, it builds trust.” His message was to start with a customer’s pain point; explore what would happen if there was no solution to that problem; and exaggerate that to the nth degree.
3. Social Media Done Authentically Enables More Handshakes
“Marketing becomes a lot easier when the people that love your brand are helping to do the marketing for you.” said Brian Fanzo, Millennial Business Keynote Speaker on How To Market, Collaborate & Connect With Digital Natives.
73% of Millennials believe they play a critical role in the B2B purchasing decisions made within their company. But are B2B Marketers optimizing marketing to the right audience? It is essential to understand that a millennial mindset is not restricted to employees of a certain age.
Transparency in B2B doesn’t guarantee trust and authenticity, but when leveraged strategically it is the key to growing a community and being relatable. Here are Brian’s four guidelines for modern B2B marketing:
- Disruption and change are the new normal
- Community is the future of business
- The future of innovation is collaboration
- The future of marketing is relatability
4. Fandom Is About Shared Emotion
“In order to build true fandom, great brands need to lose control and let their fans take over” said Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker, David Scott. He explored the idea of looking at customers as more than simply B2B buyers and what it would take to turn them into actual fans of an enterprise brand:
- Expand communities by breaking down the gates and making content and thought leadership easily accessible
- Lead with authenticity by being a true thought leader, and scrapping generic messaging and imagery
- Build relevance and context with innovative new content formats, channels and personalization practices.
5. B2B Buyers Increasingly Expect B2C-Like Experiences
B2B buyers with budgets are no longer just Baby Boomers and Gen Xers – they’re millennials who do everything online.
“The best brands help prospects help themselves. Focus on content consumption and discovery. Remove friction from the buying process.” said Forrester analyst Steve Casey. B2B marketers need to engage the B2B consumer in an empathetic manner at the most critical initial stages of the customer lifecycle. This approach will help to create more meaningful and lasting conversations with their buyers through improved content discovery, access and relevance.
6. Break Free Of Boring B2B With Interactive Influencer Content
Break free of boring B2B by bringing two incredibly powerful content marketing tactics together – interactive content and influencer content said Lee Odden, CEO TopRank Marketing.
Influencer marketing can work at EVERY level of the buyers journey! Attract, Engage, Convert, Retain and Advocate. To remain competitive, marketers need to create engaging experiences for their audiences while also building credibility and trust.
7. Take Your Marketing From Good To Great via ABM
ABM strategy isn’t going to drive revenue on its own. It might get the job done on a basic level, but it won’t help you knock your goals out of the park. Sangram Vajre, Terminus Co-Founder & Chief Evangelist gave us the recipe to an optimized ABM strategy. The TEAM Framework – Target, Engage, Activate, and Measure drives account-based success.
8. Marketing with Content Is Not Content Marketing
“Content marketing is the strategy behind who you are reaching, why your content matters to them, and how you are measuring success”says Michael Brenner from Marketing Insider Group.
With 60-70% of marketing content going unused, B2B marketers need to compete with cute puppy videos online. Stop being so product focused, and deliver valuable content people care about. You need to put the customer at the center of all of your marketing activities in order to deliver better outcomes for your business.
9. Don’t Create Content, Create Experiences
“Companies spend so much money and effort on fun, interactive in-person experiences, then you go on their website and get a boring text based content experience.” said Ryan Brown, Brand Strategy at Ceros.
Marketers should think of content on the same continuum of the customer experience and buyer’s journey as product. As customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.
10. ABM Is Not A Tactic Or Event. It’s A Go-To-Market Strategy
“Account-based is a journey. You’ll never get it perfect right out the gate. But you need to get started. Then, never give up.” said Kelvin Gee, Oracle’s Senior Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation. While Oracle is changing its global go-to-market approach, technology, and processes, and operationalizing its account-based strategy across sales and marketing to support the company’s shift to the cloud, Kelvin shared ideas for taking an account-based approach as well as the best ways to orchestrate activities in-market. He cleared the 3 myths we have about ABM
# ABM is not just for big accounts – it’s for all accounts.
# ABM is not a tactic – it’s a strategy
# ABM is for everyone… so we drop the word ‘marketing’
From sunny skies and palm trees, to incredible Thought Leaders and inspiring sessions, B2BMX set us up for success in 2019. But, here’s what NO ONE told you at B2BMX! That how Mindfulness is a terrific asset for today’s marketers and to better marketing. Watch the video for a secret sauce to marketing success!