MarketingProfs hosted its annual B2B Forum (MPB2B) last week in Boston and the show’s opening was unforgettable. Ann Handley, Chief Creative Officer of MarketingProfs, entered the stage in a gold bedazzled choir robe, as the New England Gospel Choir belted out a song. It wasn’t just any conference, it was the show’s 10th anniversary and it was a celebration.
In the first keynote of the day, Handley talked about how B2B had evolved the last 10 years and gave advice on how B2B marketers can make the most of the future. Her directives inspired attendees to fail like Leonardo da Vinci (who tried many times before he succeeded); to act like Laura from Little House on the Prairie (who took the time to build systems that would make things more effective); and to train like Tina Fey (who spent ages honing her acting techniques and developing her unique character).
Handley also called on B2B marketers to be more collaborative. “I want you to form squads,” she said during her speech. “Go back to your offices and feel like you have a community around you.”
Best-selling author Andrew Davis delivered the second keynote of the day, which focused on the “marketing pizza.” In the speech, Davis revealed how the marketing share is getting cut up into more and more pieces and discussed how B2B marketers need to learn to work together to share the pieces. Davis talked about the importance of developing a strategic content strategy, collaborating with teams and warned attendees to “stop vomiting your content on every channel. Find an integrated approach.”
On Wednesday, Madison Logic gave a breakfast roundtable discussion entitled, “The Account Is Everything: The Future of Account-Based Marketing,” in which we laid out the basis for why account-based marketing (ABM) is shaking up B2B. In the discussion we spoke about how B2B marketers are shifting their focus to target accounts and looking for ways to better personalize messaging to the various different buyers and influencers within these organizations. This approach requires collaboration between sales and marketing, which ensures that marketers better understand, and better target content, throughout the customer journey.
ABM relies on good data at its core. Madison Logic’s SVP Product Management Sonjoy Ganguly was up on stage on Thursday’s Lunch and Learn where he addressed the topic, “Beyond the Account List: How You Can Use Data to Drive Your Account-Based Marketing Program.” During the session, Ganguly shared tips on how to use data more effectively in order to gain better insights about audiences. He spoke about the importance of identifying the target accounts and the different buyers within the organization. He also stressed the importance of creating personalized content campaigns for each of your target accounts and delivering this content to the right prospects, at the right time. Used in the right way, data can help B2B marketers integrate their marketing efforts and optimize an ABM approach.
Having good content in the right place when a buyer is researching B2B products and services is core to ABM success. B2B marketers should take the time to build out a content strategy that delivers quality materials that assist buyers in their search. “The buyer journey doesn’t start with your product; it starts with a prospect’s question,” said Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group, during the show.
And remember that is should be organic, as Patricia Travaline, CMO, Skyword said: “Stop interrupting what people love and become what they love.”
As the show content illustrated, B2B has transformed significantly over the past 10 years and marketers embracing these innovations in ABM will be poised for great success over the next 10.