BMA Colorado Sightlines: New Angle, New Lens of B2B Marketing
Last week the Leopard team attended BMA Colorado’s 2015 Regional Conference. The line-up was unparalleled, with speakers representing leading companies such as IBM, Twitter, CDW and more. Here’s our recap of what made the day so great:
Market Like a 4-year-old
The day kicked off with motivational speaker Craig Zablocki who managed to get everyone’s barely-caffeinated brains jumping with his energetic presentation. His primary message focused on the importance of taking creative lessons from 4-year-olds. Why you might ask? They’re not self-doubting, have no fear of embarrassment, and draw from an endless well of creativity.
Peanut Free Does Not Mean Free Peanuts
Next up was Leopard client and friend — Joe Levin, Director of Sales Enablement and E-Commerce Site Experience at CDW. Levin built on Zablocki’s message of child-like inhibition by kicking off his presentation with a superbly executed cartwheel (a special request from his daughters). His speech centered on sharing a number of personal lessons learned when vetting new marketing technology.
A few of our key takeaways included:
A “free trial” is never truly free
Don’t Automate Bad Process
Defining what a project IS NOT can bring clarity and focus to a project
And our favorite…”Peanut Free” does not mean “Free Peanuts” — an endearing story about when Joe’s daughter decided to share her PB&J sandwich at the “peanut free” table at school.
Photo courtesy of @GreenAaker
Social Media has Actionable Insights for B2B
As marketers we understand the challenge of connecting ROI to social media. Speakers Jason Breed, Global Leader of Social Business, IBM, and Seth McGuire, Senior Manager, Data Channels, Twitter, came to the table with eye-opening insights into the potential of social listening and external data insights to inform business action. As technology becomes increasing interconnected, marketing departments are being given the opportunity to connect social media feedback with real-world strategic action.
B2B can look a lot like B2C…
Following lunch (tomato soup…mmmm) we were ready for Google heavy-hitter Casey Carey, Director, Google Analytics Marketing. Carey began with a simple truth of modern marketing, “We don’t go online anymore, we’re just online, period.” In a recent collaborative study with Millward Brown Digital, Google found a number of digital shifts taking place that will, or already are, affecting how we do business. Here were some of our most tweetable takeaways:
Millennials are B2B Trailblazers
The “Millennials: Myths, Exaggerations and Uncomfortable Truths” panel discussion was eagerly anticipated all day, and did not disappoint.
Facilitated by Renee Ducre, Digital Marketing & Business Executive, IBM Institute of Business Value and millennial participants Lindsay Martin, Product Marketing Manager, PCS Ferguson; Christy Lowry, Assistant Brand Manager, Western Union; and Paul Kaiser, Marketing Manager, EKS&H — the panel answered questions and provided generational insights in key marketing areas.
Millennials are surprisingly engaged in B2B marketing — the average millennial spends 30-40 mins a month on YouTube looking at B2B content.
Millennials, Gen X-ers and Boomers actually share many professional wants and needs, and they all agree their organizations are slow to implement tech improvements
They’re eager to share positive B2B experiences, but are less likely to write negative reviews — this can be attributed to being tech natives who understand the importance of a well-crafted online persona.
Creating Customer Experiences is Key
Carla Johnson, strategist, speaker, storyteller, Type A Communications, focused our attentions on the importance of moving away from product-focused messaging to a customer-centric approach. A historical look at marketing strategies of the past highlighted this point and emphasized the parallel between advancements in technology and the need to speak to customers 1:1. Several major companies are already putting this strategy into practice by creating brand experiences that not only support their brand values and messaging, but also allow the consumer to engage with the brand in a hands-on way.
Expectation Economy Requires Even More Agility
Maxwell Luthy, director of Trends and Insights, Trendwatching, Inc. engaged the crowd with his expertly delivered presentation on Trends for 2016. Luthy challenged the audience to look at new tech not just for tech’s sake, but as a way to meet basic human wants and needs. One of the most interesting trends was two-way transparency in consumer services. A primary example was Uber which implements technology that allows customers AND service providers an equal opportunity to rate each other. This dual feedback system, combined with the Internet of Things, has the power to create what Luthy calls “peer armies” — or what we might recognize as a new wave of brand ambassadors. Our greatest take-away from his talk — the understanding that in an expectation economy it’s not enough to be innovative, we must be agile in how we adapt to the ever-changing wants and needs of our customers.