Integrating Marketing with Technology; The Battle for Attention; Realtime Marketing. These were the three most talked about subjects at the recent BMA Blaze Conference in Chicago, attended by 750 leading Business-to-Business (B2B) marketers.
In the last few years, there have been a lot of “new” marketing issues to discuss – migration to mobile; the rise of LinkedIn and Facebook; Content Marketing, and others. This year, “new” was lacking – but more importantly, the focus was on the major trends that are impacting the marketing industry.
Integrating Marketing with Technology. No longer can IT be the folks who run the infrastructure, and are never seen. They now have a critical role in the systems and devices that are needed to enable efficient sales teams,great customer satisfaction and data-driven decision making.
Eduardo Conrado the National Chair of BMA , embodies this first trend. Eduardo was recently promoted from CMO of Motorola Solutions into the role of Senior VP, Marketing and IT.
Whether it’s CRM, Marketing Analytics, Web services, e-commerce or mobile sales enablement, the IT function is now a critical component of the Sales & Marketing function, to ensure that the systems are robust, current and cost effective. And now that consumers are accustomed to the world of shopping on Amazon, banking on their phone and watching streaming movies on their tablet – they are beginning to expect their B2B purchasing experience to live up to that level of ubiquity.
The Battle for Attention. If Content Marketing was the watchword of recent conferences, the pendulum has now swung too far. The common concern was that there is now too much content – and how do you break through the noise to make yourself heard. Much of the coffee-break discussion at the conference seemed to center on how to make Content Marketing more effective, and how to get noticed amongst the clutter.
In fact Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute gave a talk on “Please Stop Creating More Content”. With the basic pitch of “quality, not quantity”, Joe implored the audience to create a Content Marketing Mission Statement, to ensure that the content creation process is effective. The statement should include (1) The Target Audience, (2) What will be delivered and (3) The outcome for the audience [Joe's presentation is on Slideshare].
Realtime Marketing. The news-cycle as we knew it no longer exists. The information flow is constant, and Marketers need to be ready to react. David Meerman Scott, who popularized the idea of Newsjacking, lead a panel session to discuss “How and Why to do RealTime Marketing” – namely, how to take advantage of current issues to promote your B2B brand. The surprising consensus was that...planning is essential.
Although the headline-makers, such as Oreo’s triumph during the SuperBowl blackout, appear to be spontaneous, they are typically the result of a well-planned strategy and set of guiding principles, that allow people to make quick decisions when events happen. Jeff Beringer of Golin Harris described “the Bridge” – effectively a newsroom in their office that allows a team to monitor global events. This team is aware of the types of stories their clients would like to associate with, have branding and messaging guidelines prepared, and can then act quickly when “news happens” [See video below].
So, as with all conferences, now the challenge is to take these trends, and apply them to your own business. In my case, this means taking a fresh look at how technology can be more closely integrated in to our travel programs; making sure that our content creation process is focused on the true needs of our customers; and laying the groundwork to be able to react quickly to any news situation.