B2B Marketing Ignite 2018 sends marketers back to basics

This year’s B2B Ignite conference was packed full of brilliant insights and exceptional guest speakers.

But there was an awful lot to take in. So much, in fact, that if you tried to digest and action all of it, your budget – and quite possibly your mind – would explode.

“There are 7,000 martech providers to choose from – up 200% in two years”
“You MUST embrace ABM”
“Customer Experience is the new Brand Experience”
“481,000 tweets – and 1.1m tinder swipes – are sent every 60 seconds online”
“Ditch your customer service teams and embrace chatbots”
“73% of CEOs are worried about fulfilling millennial expectations”
“More people own a mobile phone than a toothbrush”
“You must have more emotion in our marketing”
(or less)

Whilst talking all of this in, I was reminded of one of our clients’ core values: ‘Simplify Everything’. At B2B Ignite this year, the truth in this statement could not have been clearer, and now’s the time for us in the B2B marketing community to focus on paring things back and working with simplicity. From the conference, then, here are some of the key takeaways on that theme:

Be vulnerable
If you face the challenge of landing a global campaign with a local market, Darian Sims, B2B Marketing Excellence Director at Canon Europe, believes in showing ‘vulnerability’. He achieves this by presenting ideas that are unfinished – rather than fait accompli – to local markets, which encourages them to buy in and take ownership of rollout.

Remember the power of ‘traditional’ channels
James Humpoletz, Chief Membership & Communications Officer at The Specialty Coffee Association, talked about how the company has successfully gone back to basics with word-of-mouth and customer advocacy campaigns to build their membership before they were ready to embrace digital.

Test the unconventional
Rory Sutherland made the case for gaining competitive advantage in B2B marketing by “testing counterintuitive things – because your competitors won’t.” He gave us the example of a SaaS company that turned their business around when their cancellations call centre replaced ‘Why are you cancelling your contract?’ with ‘Can you remind me why you originally bought the software?’ Cancellations fell drastically and millions of pounds were saved.

Ditch whitepapers – offer solutions
Andrew Davidson of Fujitsu Global didn’t hold back when he asked us “Who gives a f*ck about whitepapers?” Andrew advocated the benefits of giving customers solutions instead of self-serving content, highlighting the success of his own Enterprise Cyber Security Team when they offered vulnerability checks to prospective customers.

Marketing doesn’t have to be complex to be modern
Microsoft UK’s CMO Scott Allan follows a ‘Keep It Simple’ methodology for digital marketing, from KPIs and reporting all the way through to a relentless focus on surprising and delighting customers. He gave us this wonderful example of blending OOH and real-time marketing to show customers that you have your finger on the pulse.

Here at Earnest, we understand how hard it can be to keep up with all of the latest research and data on what’s changing in the B2B landscape, and that’s why we’ve gathered together all of the vital stats and facts from across the industry – including a ‘starter pack’ loaded with materials you can drop straight into your presentations – to save you time and help you out.

Simple as that!


Header photo by Alessandra Caretto on Unsplash