B2B Marketing Forum – Day 1: the lowdown

Bring together hundreds of savvy B2B marketers from across the world.

Build an agenda packed full of presentations from industry luminaries.

Throw in a little Bhangra dancing.

A giant blue bird.

And some speed networking for good measure.

Welcome to the MarketingProfs’ 2018 B2B Marketing Forum in San Francisco.

Here’s everything I learned on day one:

Slaying the Ignosaurus

Ann Handley, Head of Content, MarketingProfs

  • Not taking enough ownership of our working lives: 43% of us say our day is ruled by what we find in our email in-box every morning
  • Marketing’s skills gap versus other professions: 90% of marketers believe they’re under-skilled in digital marketing, more than any other profession
  • Keeping up is hard: Nearly half of us fear we don’t know as much as our peers
  • Always be learning – with four key principles:
    1) Keep educating yourself
    2) Embrace challenging ideas
    3) Surround yourself with curious and engaging people
    4) Commit 5 hours a week to learning something new

Driving growth in the Age of Assistance

Gopi Kallail, Chief Evangelist, Brand Marketing, Google

  • Changing customer expectations: You’re competing with the best experiences your customers have had, regardless of industry
  • A big cultural shift: Customers are becoming more curious, more demanding and more impatient
  • Your website is too slow: If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load on a phone, half of customers will abandon it. But the average mobile site takes 10 seconds to load. For context, a one second lag can cost Amazon $1.6bn (USD)
  • The assistance battleground: Ask yourself whether your brand is doing enough to assist buyers at every stage of the buyer journey
  • The big 3 recommendations:
    1) Show up across all your customer touchpoints
    2) Speed up the experience, make it frictionless
    3) Wise up and deliver a personalised experience

Eureka! The Power of an Experimental Mindset in B2B Marketing

Doug Kessler, Creative Director, Velocity

  • Create a culture of experimentation and learning – in two different ways:
    1) Test hypotheses
    2) Try something new
  • Get better at getting better: Institutionalise learning and improvement, because the new winners are the companies that learn fastest (not just the biggest)
  • Three keys to building a learning culture:
    1) Practice humility – allowing people to admit they don’t know everything
    2) Give people psychological safety – letting people make mistakes
    3) Develop a bias for action – creating the conditions and systems for experimentation
  • Best practice is the obstacle, not the objective: If it’s best practice in your industry, it’s not your remarkable
  • Tack small experiments onto expensive things: Check out Wistia’s Soapbox ads – the $100k / $10k / $1k versions
  • Milk your failures: If you fail, write about it and share your learnings. Quote of the day: “If you do produce a turd, don’t flush it straight away.”

Marketing Strategy Tips of High Impact Marketers

Samantha Stone, CMO, The Marketing Advisory Network

  • Experience is a big deal: 71% of B2B marketers say their customers increasingly expect a B2C-like experience
  • Your marketing strategy should answer why specific tactics make sense or don’t: Do a few things really well to deliver the biggest possible impact on your organisation
  • Honest differentiation: What matters is how buyers perceive your value. Be unique, meaningful, durable and evidence-based
  • Know your customers: Marketers at organisations that exceed revenue goals are 2x more likely to participate in customer and prospect meetings than those that miss their revenue goals
  • Worshipping the wrong gods: Stop being accountable for and fretting over activity. Measure impact and the things that really make a difference

How to Build Customer Loyalty through Behavioural Economics and Big Data

Zontee Hou, Founder, Media Volery

  • Supercomputers in our pockets: We’re living in a culture where we’re all bionic consumers
  • Customer journeys in a digital world: 86% of buyers conduct non-branded search queries when they start their journeys. According to Forrester, the average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase decision
  • Becoming more data-driven: Gartner says 81% of users expect the majority of decisions to be data-driven by 2020, but only 9.2% of marketing budgets are going to data analytics
  • Psychographics, not demographics: We need to understand why our audience responds the way they do. In B2B, customers make decisions based on three factors: 1) Cost
    2) Commitment
    3) Consequences
  • The what but not why of data: Behavioural Economics can help our understanding of our automatic & reflective systems, how nudges can work, and how to persuade others through well rounded arguments

Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome

David Jones, President & Founder, Yesler

  • Easily distracted in the expanding MarTech universe: But remember while technology has the potential to change everything, technology alone changes nothing
  • The constant turnover in CMO positions: 2017 saw the highest recorded CMO turnover – and new hires are always wanting to put their stamp on the organisation. And according to Sirius Decisions, 94% of marketing leaders surveyed are planning to make changes to their organisation during the next two years
  • A failure of perspective: We need to question whether we’re looking at our efforts from the right angle, questioning why our projects exist – before we start planning
  • Changing the way we measure: Too much of our focus is on measuring what matters to stakeholders, but we should be measuring what matters to our customers
  • Getting smarter about how we plan and manage: Rethink how you engage and involve stakeholders. Think of it in terms of RACI (who’s Responsible for the initiative, who’s the Approver; who’s Consulted; who’s Informed). Make sure people know their role and stick to it
  • Being smarter about execution: Do the simple things right – build, run, iterate. Be agile but not adhoc

How to Get Started with AI in Marketing

Paul Roetzer, Founder, Marketing AI Intelligence

  • An absurd future: Everything to come is going to be so different from anything we know. And 80% of what we do will be intelligently automated to some degree in the next 3-5 years
  • Expect value from AI in three key areas:
    1) Customer experience
    2) Cost reduction
    3) Enabling new revenues
  • Machine assistance already at work in our lives and marketing: AI is set to give marketers and brands superpowers – which can be used for good or evil
  • ‘Pre-school level’ technology in marketing: Any MarTech not infused with AI will become obsolete in the next 5 years
  • Apply the 5 Ps of AI – and consider the different use cases:
    1) Planning – build intelligent strategies, e.g. use it to construct buyer personas, define topics and titles, determine goals based on historical data
    2) Production – create intelligent content, e.g. analyse and edit content for grammar and sentiment, create data driven content, predict content performance
    3) Personalisation – engage users in conversations through bots and chat, optimise email send time, recommend highly targeted content for users in real-time
    4) Promotion – adjust digital spend in real-time based on performance, identify social media and news trends, moderate comments at scale
    5) Performance – create performance report narratives, discover insights into top performing content, forecast campaign results

Check out the Marketing AI’s buyer guide here.