From Ann Handley’s crazy stage shenanigans to the MarketingProfs 10th Anniversary Party—not to mention the beautiful weather in Boston—B2B Marketing Forum 2016 was a hit! As a sponsor of the forum, we had the opportunity to meet and trade ideas with some of the brightest B2B marketers from across the country.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Build to Last.” One thing was clear: those organizations who are building a forward-thinking marketing strategy are the ones succeeding in today’s competitive market. The number of case studies and best practices shared was overwhelming, but here are five in particular that we want to try at Socedo.
1. Fail Like Leonardo
Leonardo DaVinci, that is. This was a recurring theme during Ann Handley’s opening keynote. Leonardo DaVinci’s inventions often went unrealized until hundreds of years after his death, so he considered many of them a failure. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t have the pulley system if it wasn’t for his concept sketches, among many other invaluable inventions.
Ann Handley stressed the importance that, when we miss our marketing goals, we should consider it a “near-win,” rather than a “fail.” By focusing on the positive aspects, and the points where we could have succeeded, we’ll be better set up for success the next time around. As such, marketers should create a strategy of constant experiment and innovation.
2. Adopt New Technologies Efficiently
Scott Brinker, of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog, shared some key points from his new book Hacking & Stacking: A B2B Marketer’s Guide To Navigating Marketing Technology.
In particular, he mentioned the need to create “core” and “edge” marketing systems. The core platforms are the bedrock of your marketing stack. They’re the systems that support essential marketing functions, including lead management, reporting & analytics, and your core channels like email, website, paid ads and social media. Your core platforms also allow you to scale. As you create routine processes and predictability in your core functions, you can turn up the volume on certain marketing channels without reinventing the wheel.
At the edge, new systems allow you to experiment and innovate. You can try a new webinar platform to increase engagement or website live chat to optimize conversions. By only integrating the minimum needed out of these edge systems, be it new leads syncing into your marketing automation or website tracking statistics, you can ensure the integrity of your essential marketing data.
3. Increase Conversions with Video
Stacy Adams, Head of Marketing at GoAnimate and a Socedo customer, led a session titled “Increase The Impact and Virality Of Your Marketing with Animated Video.” In her presentation, Stacy shared how visual representations of new concepts can aid understanding and retention—so much so that using short explanatory videos on your landing page can increase your conversion rates. In fact, 71% of marketers say video conversion rates consistently outperform other marketing content.
4. Elevate Valleys, Not Peaks
Andrew Davis is a speaker and best-selling author on how to build momentum in marketing. In his keynote presentation, Andrew challenged us all to rethink the way we look at analytics—especially site traffic on Google Analytics. Too often we fall into an addiction of chasing peaks, striving for higher and higher peaks in traffic and engagement by constantly publishing new content. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of bandwidth and can ignore real growth.
Instead, marketers should focus on the valleys in their line graphs. To build true growth over time, the lowest points or “valleys” in your traffic should elevate over time. That’s to say, your lowest traffic day this month should be higher than your lowest traffic day last month. In this way, marketers can realign themselves to build evergreen content, promoting only the best pieces over time to naturally increase their overall lead generation goals.
5. Empower Sales to Converse with Content
If there was one surprising takeaway from B2B Marketing Forum, it was that roles traditionally assigned to marketing alone are now increasingly becoming the responsibility of the whole organization. From analytics to the customer journey, the best B2B marketers are working hand-in-hand with other teams. Content creation is no different. With long sales cycles and buyers more interested in self-educating, it’s important that sales is equipped with the case studies, research reports, and product documentation needed to close the deal. It goes both ways too. From our friends at Uberflip to Curata, the content experts showed marketers how important it is to set your content strategy based on sales input.
The world of B2B marketing is constantly shifting, and as Scott Brinker noted, there are now over 3,000 marketing technologies. All of this creates more demand for expertise in marketing, but also higher expectations for marketers. However, based on how many marketers we talked with whom are already experimenting, testing, and implementing new strategies, marketers will certainly meet the challenge.
We’re already looking forward to B2B Marketing Forum 2017. Hopefully by the time next year, we’ll see some success from these new strategies that we can share with the next crop of marketers.