Insights from Ignite B2B 2019 – Nick Taylor
Nick is an Account Director at Velo with deep expertise and experience in B2B marketing. He has been leading the Cisco account for the past three years at Velo and has a plethora of knowledge about the tech and IT services industry. Here he uncovers his key learnings and insights from Ignite 2019, the world’s most significant B2B marketing learning and networking experience.
B2B marketing is evolving at such a fast pace, seemingly launching a new ABM tactic or email automation platform every week. The opportunity therefore to attend Ignite B2B, one of the world’s leading B2B marketing events, earlier this month was one I very much looked forward to.
With 80+ sessions across a wide range of topics from CX to Branding, ABM to Insight, Leadership, and more, Ignite features some of B2B’s leading experts worldwide as speakers. It was the B2B marketer’s dream.
Across the day, the other ADs at Velo (Caitilin and Yvonne) and I attended 22 different sessions between us – quite the intense day of learning for sure!
However, we came away bursting with inspiration about the latest trends and engrossed with new insight about various tried, tested and proven B2B approaches, tactics and tools.
Take a read of my six key-learnings from the sessions that I attended, including takeaway actions that you can immediately apply to your own marketing and communications strategy.
Pop the kettle on and enjoy!
1. Marketing to machines is the future
- B2B marketers must plan for the future and think about marketing to machines.
- Virtual voice-command technology has become commonplace, seamlessly infiltrating our homes and daily lives. We are adopting devices; like Google’s ‘Home’ and Amazon’s ‘Alexa’, and using them daily, and we are becoming increasingly reliant on these technologies as a method for consuming information.
- Machines can now decide which of our digital products they want to serve, and which response is best suited to reply with. This is all according to their media databases and native search engines.
- B2B companies need to be planning for the future, using data-driven activity and optimisation to ensure that we’re providing the recommended results for our machine counterparts to serve. This is the future of SEO.
Explore, for your audience, how to start optimising campaigns to native search engines that the virtual machines use.
2. Utilise data science to uncover the real impact of marketing
- Use of recombinant data (data recombined from multiple sources) is critical to telling the real success of a marketing campaign
- Whether we’re setting GPS location on a map, or using our contactless cards to take the underground, all of this information is collected and stored. In the context of a marketing campaign, this means we have a data overload, and identifying the right data is hard and confusing.
- Spend time carefully selecting your data sources and avoid defaulting to only the obvious ‘out of the box’ analytics.
- Combine multiple sources and delve into the data you can get your hands on to build a visual story. By using third-party tools; such as Google Data Studio, you can create this bigger picture and hugely enrich your reporting and storytelling. This will uncover deep insight into your campaign that may not have been seen before and could be used to support stakeholder buy-in for future campaigns.
Revisit your existing reporting and try combining multiple data sources together to build a complete story. This can be used to leverage sales and marketing alignment.
3. Measure results by customer satisfaction, not vanity metrics
- Tracking the success of a campaign by vanity metrics is still a real problem in B2B.
- Our objective should be focused on driving excellent CX, but all too often, we use engagement or interaction metrics to paint a picture of success. The numbers may look great on paper, but avoid metrics that look great on the surface, but don’t actually reflect positive CX.
- The measure of success should be based on customer satisfaction and marketing should be used to serve customers, not just sales.
- We should be garnering insights across every touchpoint so that we can learn, augment, and improve; ultimately driving customer satisfaction and retention. After all, this is what can make or break a business.
Ensure you are listening to your customers and gaining insight by asking for feedback at multiple touchpoints. Asking for feedback just at the end of a campaign will not give you a true reflection of the level of CX you are delivering.
4. ABM 101: Know your decision-makers
- ABM is still a hot topic for marketers and over the past six years, it has evolved and scaled, so that an effective campaign doesn’t need to break the bank.
- The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves 6 to 10 stakeholders, to influence their decisions we need to provide them with a personal and valuable experience that is memorable.
- Generic content will not cut the mustard, the success of ABM content relies on a deep understanding of your target audience
Learn about your audience, who the key decision-makers are, and what interests them so you can successfully tailor their experience with your ABM touchpoints.
5. Build a story to convince your stakeholders that your idea is worth rallying around
- We shouldn’t see stakeholder alignment as an obstacle, getting ideas off the ground is our job.
- When creating a marketing campaign, having ‘the big idea’ is the starting line and not the finishing line.
- We need to invest time into converting stakeholders into supporters, our ideas must be exciting and worth aligning around. Once you have built a case, the rest of the work is ensuring that your stakeholders will ‘champion it’ across the line.
Spend more time building a story about why your idea for a campaign is worth rallying around, as you will need this to convince stakeholders to give you the go-ahead.
6. Take risks and win awards
- Fear of risk-taking can limit creativity and could stunt a hugely successful campaign. The greater the risk, the greater the reward.
- B2B marketing has become too much about decisions made to avoid blame, aka ‘ass-covering’. We should be less afraid to take risks with our marketing, through fear of blame or for limiting ourselves to ‘ass-covering’ metrics.
- The most impactful campaigns are the most unique and ‘out there’, they’re memorable, and quite simply, they work because they are different.
Take risks every so often! A risk-less campaign can work, but a campaign that stands out can make you and your brand famous and award-winning.
Now take a breath! A lot to take in, but I am hoping that my key takeaways prove beneficial and help you to shape or transform your own B2B marketing and communications strategy. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss your plans further. That’s all from me but do stay tuned for more “Insights from Ignite” from Velo ADs Yvonne and Caitilin. We’ve still got lots more to share!
Get in touch if you would like to speak to Nick or the other Account Directors about their experiences.