My greatest impression of B2B Marketing Exchange conference: cozy, friendly, comfortable, quiet, beautiful landscape, and all that goes along with great speakers and valuable content. After overwhelming, exhausting, overcrowded (and overstimulated) events like Dreamforce, such conferences introduce you to another experience: more sustainable, more human. Isn’t what we want our marketing to be?
Surprisingly or not, I met and had great talks with much more people than at any other conference – you were not in an anonymous metro crowd, but rather in a professional club. Fellow-marketers were more relaxed and open for a conversation.
The conference has a new umbrella brand – B2B Marketing Exchange, with four tracks: ABM in Action Live, Demand Gen Summit, Content2Conversion, Sales Impact Summit. I floated between tracks and sessions and enjoyed all the variety.
A lot of sessions were case studies – what companies did and what they achieved. I actually believe it is an excellent format. I heard from other attendees that those sessions often were “sales pitchy,” but it is fine with me. Once I see real-life problem solutions, I am more than curious to know what technology the companies used for that.
I believe the main goal of conferences is akin to business school. You can easily find and read the textbooks, have online course or webinars. The value in the involvement, live conversations, stopping multi-tasking and being present. The same content will be digested in an entirely different way.
There were no crazy parties, but guess what – we had a luxury of sitting under starry skies, in the warmth of Arizonian February, by bonfires, we were able to hear each other, and had meaningful conversations. And there were beautiful fireworks!
My favorite sessions – quite a lot of them:
- Workshop: ABM in Action: The Building Blocks of A Successful, Sustainable Account-Based Strategy
A great framework on personalization spectrum from one person to generic audience. Good advice on testing content, and in general, being agile: don’t create too much content ahead of time, as you badly need more feedback and iterations.
- Case Study: Rockwell Automation: How To Never Waste A Click
A detailed story on how content management system LookBookHQ allowed scaling, accelerating and streamlining demand gen efforts within a big organization.
- Why Change, Why Stay?
Tim Riesterer gave an interesting perspective on status quo bias framework: how we can make someone to come to a certain decision. With prospects, it is “why to change” model; while with current customers, it is “why to stay”– with underlying anchors, tricks, and tactics.
- Blowing Up the Funnel
Kathleen Schaub (I recently listened to her presentation at MOCCA event in NYC) suggested using customer journey framework instead of classical and obsolete sales funnel. Strategies of customer journey include ABM, concierge selling, analytics-driven engagement, loyalty first marketing. Kathleen also explained which of the approaches work better depending on sales cycle length, price tag, and solution complexity.
- Influencing the influencers: Top Trends and Best Practices for B2B Marketers
Lee Odden told about influencing marketing: how and what to measure, what works and what does not. Lee also suggested looking at potential influencers – people whom you help to be recognized as experts often become your most valuable advocates.
- The Secrets to Creating Contagious Content Campaigns
Jonah Berger, author of bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On, shared his findings: how social currency, triggers, emotional connection and storytelling help marketers to create great products.
There were many more practical, insightful and inspiring stories and great speakers, tons of networking and community building. So looking forward to B2B Marketing Exchange 2018!