I wish I could attend every single marketing conference out there. A girl can dream! But since it’s not feasible to attend every one I rely on the next best thing, tapping into the experiences of my marketing friends. Special thanks to Erika Goldwater for this energizing summary of #B2BMX.
Guest post by Erika Goldwater
What makes a great B2B marketing and sales conference? Excellent content is hugely important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Quality presenters are an essential piece, but again, it takes more than that to make a memorable experience at an event these days. For me, it is a combination of amazing content, excellent presenters, vendors, attendees, a fabulous venue is always much appreciated, but it is the little extra, the heart of the event, that ties it all together. That is what made this year’s #B2BMX in Scottsdale last week so memorable.
The event, now in it’s sixth year, achieved something not every event can do, it became memorable. The content is top notch, as you would expect from G3 Communications, the publishers of Demand Gen Report, Content4Demand and ABM in Action.
There were more than a few notable presenters, including Tim Reisterer, Chief Strategy and Research Officer, Corporate Visions, who delivered a keynote session on, “Why Change, Why Stay, Customer Renewal Messaging” and why we need to destabilize customer preferences if we want them to enact change. According to Reisterer, nearly half of companies spend less than 10% on renewal messaging and obtaining customers is expensive and uber-competitive, keeping them as customers is even harder. Not investing in customer renewal is a missed opportunity to grow and sustain revenue.
Another presenter that really impressed me was Jeff Marcoux, CMO Lead for Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft who talked about customer marketing and it is fair to say I was pretty much blown away by Jeff. It’s not that I was surprised by the quality of his content, but Jeff had amazing energy, showed moving examples to support his points and wow, is Microsoft changing everything in 2017! Marcoux focused on how every interaction with a customer is a marketing experience, the need to be ruthlessly authentic in our interactions and that technology is not the answer to our marketing problems. I could not agree more with Jeff and loved the whole presentation. If you have the chance to listen to him, don’t miss it.
Demand Gen Summit Track
I was fortunate enough to facilitate the Demand Gen Summit track for the duration of the event and had a line-up of stellar presenters including Kathleen Schaub from IDC, Mike Ballard from Lenovo, Laura Ramos from Forrester, Jason Hekl of Milestone Strategy Group, and Ann Marinovich of Forbes Media and many more. Key takeaways from the Demand Gen Summit tracks centered on knowing your customer, focusing on your customer and how to better engage with your customer from the pre-sale content to the post-sale content and ongoing engagement. After all, we are marketers and sales professionals. Demand generation is only one part of our job and after listening to a few of the event speakers, it might not even be the most important part of our job. Focus on the customer in all you do, but also as an organization to be successful.
The Real Engagement, Heart
I want to highlight perhaps one of the most unique parts of this event and what made it so memorable for me as a marketer and an attendee…the heart of the organization. Not only did the event raise money for a charity, it did it for two; the Pajama Program delivers new books and pajamas to local children in need (one I am involved in) and K9s for Warriors.org, a program that provides service dogs to military veterans suffering from Post-tramautic Stress Disorder. The event tied in these two causes though fund raising efforts (donating a portion of profits to the charities) but also, helped the event attendees, their buyers, become engaged and connected to something other than just marketing content.
As attendees we were exposed to something bigger than marketing. We saw and experienced compassion and heart, there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience when the video that was submitted for a prestigious Finny award for cause marketing was shown. I don’t think there was a person sitting in their seats when Randy and his service dog, Captain, took the stage as attendees gave a heartfelt standing ovation. If you haven’t seen the video, please take a moment to watch it here.
The B2B Marketing Exchange event taught attendees many things, but perhaps the most important was how to be ruthlessly authentic and how that authenticity can be what makes us better marketers. The event organizers showed their authenticity, their heart and enabled attendees to learn from and connect with our fellow marketing and sales peers for lessons that didn’t stop at content or account-based marketing. Mark #B2BMX18 as a must-attend event for your team next year, you won’t be disappointed.