In late June the B2B Marketing Summit was held in London, bringing together marketers specialising in B2B, innovators looking to push boundaries, and 850 global delegates from organisations like IBM, Motorola, Bloomberg, AXA, Accenture, Telefonica, Lloyds TSB, Aon, BT, Hubspot, Standard Life, Barclays, Oracle, PwC, BP, Brother, Ebay and more.
In case you couldn’t make it along, we’ve gathered our key takeaways from the event.
People to people marketing
Drowning in acronyms and buzzwords (MIs, SQLs, MQLs… ad infinitum), it’s painfully easily to forget you are talking to human beings.
The emerging generation of decision makers across B2B organisations are just as interested in results as the previous generation. But they’re more likely to be interested in connections with purpose, alignment of values and working cooperatively.
Best in class marketing is focused on people and relationships. Channels and tactics should consider the human element before anything else.
Don’t patronise your customers
Larger B2B organisations can be guilty of patronising their customers, particularly smaller ones. Andrew Last at Earnest unpacked this at the Summit with an amusing example of big B2B’s stock standard visual representation of SME’s – almost all were florists!
Sanity check your content and your messaging. To be successful it needs to come from a place of respect. The world’s most helpful content might not stick if it’s posted or shared thoughtlessly or without context. If you take the time to understand your customer profile in detail, you should be taking the time to understand the content and tone that most connects with them as real humans and not faceless prospects.
Read more: Why identity matters for B2B marketing
Own it & slice it
This tried and true approach continues to deliver value to marketers. Investing in a diversity of owned content, including email marketing, remains critically important for success.
Content marketing maven Joe Pulizzi stressed the persistent value of email, and cautioned ‘building your expensive, very large house on the rented ground of social media.’
With so much content out there, it’s most efficient to focus on core value, then slice and dice those key creations in multiple ways – how can one piece of content become 10 (relevant) content atoms?
Talk to us about high ROI Content Marketing solutions
Stop being boring
B2B marketing doesn’t have to dwell in white papers and research reports. If those are incredibly useful to your customers and the people you want to win over, fantastic. But if you’re marching in step because that’s the way it’s always been done, forget it. The world has moved on.
Next generation B2B marketers are leveraging video, humour and any other mechanism at their disposal to inspire, educate and help people. You need to ask and understand who you audience is and why they should care about what you have to say. That insight dictates form and execution.
Marketing innovation has to be a thing
Don’t confuse change with innovation – and make sure you’re adopting an innovative approach to your work. Although B2B marketers have faced down tremendous changes (including buyer journeys, the rise of content marketing, big data and automation), the same challenges in how we do what we do are hanging around.
The B2B marketer of tomorrow needs to create strategic change and disrupt old ways of working to reach different outcomes, not just change for change sake.
Read more: Innovation tips for B2B companies
Mobile is king
Though B2B audiences still generally consume content on larger screens at a higher rate than average consumers, that’s changing, fast. And the audience B2B organisations want to reach are still using mobiles prolifically in non-work contexts.
Your content has to be mobile-friendly. That doesn’t just mean responsive and suitable for smaller screens. It means recognising realities such as – video content needs a compelling hook without audio (in case your audience are on the move).
It means considering binning those multiple column PDF’s, which don’t play well with search engines, and more importantly, are a nightmare to wrangle on a mobile device.
Stop lying to your customers
It’s not enough to give someone great content. It has to be honest and accurate. Thats sounds like a no-brainer, but there are still organisations whose priority is painting themselves and their products in a positive light, rather than telling an honest story about value exchange to a customer.
Customers and prospects will quickly search online, ask around and figure out if your claims add up. The fall out from spinning a tall tale can be irreparable.
As the old adage goes, trust takes a long time to build, and seconds to break. Handle with care!
Learn more about the Australian B2B marketing landscape & download your free copy of the 2018 B2B Marketing Research Report.