B2B Marketing Forum – Day 1: the lowdown

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B2B Marketing Forum – Day 1: the lowdown

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

Too much of our focus is on measuring what matters to stakeholders, but we should be measuring what matters to our customers

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.




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Author Photo

Paul Hewerdine

Strategy Partner

I head up the Strategy team at Earnest. I helped found Earnest, and I love a tricky brief and an ambitious client – and play my B2B marketing with a twist.