B2B Marketing Forum – Day 2: highlights

The jet lag had well and truly kicked in, but what better way to deal with it than a 7am walking tour of San Francisco with Jason Miller.

After that it was back to a packed bill of speakers – including the great and the good in B2B Marketing.

Here’s what I learned along the way:

Play@Work – Unleashing Growth Through Creativity and Innovation

Kevin Carroll, Founder, Katalyst/LLC

  • Delivering creativity, curiosity, innovation, new ideas and possibilities requires people to have fun at work
  • We need to blur the lines between work and play to make sure we’re having fun
  • Why not play tag at work? Take your inspiration from Nike

Facebook Messenger & Chat Bot Hacks for Content Marketers

Larry Kim, Founder, Mobile Monkey

  • There are more daily active users on messaging platforms than social media: Yet less than 1% of businesses have the ability to engage with their customers using Messenger
  • There are 1.3b Facebook Messenger users: Facebook Messenger Marketing offers 10-80x better engagement compared to emails or Facebook News Feeds
  • It’s time to think of Messenger as the next email: it provides the ideal platform for running quick surveys; event registration & reminders; segmentation & drip campaigns
  • Chat blasting will be the big growth channel over the next 5 years: it let’s you target contacts with really engaging content – triggering push notifications on people’s phones
  • It’s also not spam like email:
    1) You can’t go out and buy lists
    2) You can only message people who’ve messaged you first
    3) You can deliver far more dynamic and interactive content

What B2B Buyers REALLY NEED from you (and how to give it to them)

Matthew T Grant, CMO, Aberdeen Group & Michael O’Toole, PJA Advertising

  • It may be at odds with what other research shows but Aberdeen’s new research found that 73% of B2B buyers typically reach out to vendors at the very beginning of the buying process
  • Buyers actively want help defining needs and framing decisions: 38% are willing to reach out to vendors earlier if they provide objective information and help to frame their decision
  • Buying is hard: 50% say they have incomplete, unclear or poorly defined criteria. They’re open to vendors who help define their needs and tell them something they don’t know
  • Vendors aren’t doing enough to help: 53% of buyers say they postpone decisions on at least half of purchases. Why? 66% see no differentiation between solutions and 57% decide that no vendor meets needs
  • B2B Marketers have an active role to play in shortening the process: Surprisingly 46% of buyers trust vendor side experts when seeking to clarify or define their needs
  • It’s time for challenger marketer: 65% want vendors to challenge the way they currently do business. If you can show buyers new ways to solve problems, it will shorten the buying cycle
  • Five ways to do this:
    1) Help buyers understand what’s possible
    2) Make sure your positioning answers the right questions
    3) Use data to better understand buyer needs
    4) Use your campaigns & events to better understand buyer needs
    5) Activate your content to drive change in new ways

The Present and Future of B2B Analytics and AI

Christopher S. Penn, Co-Founder, TrustInsights

  • There are 5 big problems with analytics today:
    1) Volume – sheer amount of data we face
    2) Variety – the problem is each tool has its own analytics
    3) Velocity – the number of news stories each year has grown exponentially
    4) Veracity – we all have terrible data littering our systems
    5) Value – stakeholders don’t trust our analytics
  • We need to be more data driven: the per cent of time marketing analytics is used in decision-making has fallen in the last 6 months (in B2B services just 29% of the time)
  • There’s a hierarchy of analytics – from the lowest level to the highest…
    i) Descriptive – quantitative (what happened)
    ii) Diagnostic – qualitative (why it happened)
    iii) Predictive – statistical (what will happen)
    iv) Prescriptive – machine learning (tells us what to do)
    v) Proactive – deep learning (when machines do it for us)
  • AI will bring benefits in 3 key areas: 
    1) Acceleration – helping get the results faster
    2) Accuracy – doing a better job than humans
    3)Automation – removing repetitive tasks
  • In the future there will be 2 types of jobs: Those where you manage the machines and those where the machines manage you

Successful B2B Marketing in a B2C World

Andrea Tucker, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Oracle

  • Never have marketers been under more scrutiny for bringing in the revenue: 72% of marketers say that driving sales is one of their highest priorities
  • The true innovators are customer obsessed: e.g. Slack is a great example of a brand taking a B2C experience to a B2B world
  • We’ve created a linear experience we expect customers to follow: but we now need a completely different perspective
  • The focus should be on creating a connected B2B experience across the customer lifecycle
  • Take a data-first approach: Understand customers better than your competition; Engage with your customers across all channels and devices; Deliver the most consistent and relevant experience possible
  • MACK Trucks is a great example of a B2B brand that took the time to understand its customers – see for example their #roadlife series that explores life on the road (it generated 17k MQLs)

What’s Now, What’s Next in B2B Marketing

Margaret Molloy, Global CMO, Siegel+Gale and Rashmy Chatterjee, Global Sales Leader, IBM Cyber Security

  • As you make decisions on your priority marketing, ask what will help to speed things up – e.g. helping the customer decide faster
  • Amid the noise, one skillset that’s going to be vital for marketers moving forward is clarity and focus – combined with a holistic view
  • Brand building used to be about words and pictures, it’s now about the experiences we can make for all our customers that will delight them
  • In some areas, B2B has definitely been ahead of the game – such as in content marketing and influencer marketing
  • We need to move away from talking about story telling to story building: That’s about the experiences we build – and marketing has a role to play in creating the environment that enables that
  • Great marketers must have the ability to simplify – that’s not about dumbing things down, but taking all the inputs, prioritising and taking action to drive outcomes: Remember marketing has always been about serving customer needs profitably