I was fortunate to be one of nearly 800 B2B marketers to attend BMA Blaze, Business Marketing Association’s National Conference last week in Chicago. It was my first time attending the entire conference and boy was it jam-packed full of energizing education sessions and— of course— lots of networking and fun.
There were plenty of great B2B insights to choose from, but I’ve narrowed it down to my top 4 takeaways over the 3-day event.
1) We’re all in sales. Get over it. During Dan Pink’s fantastic keynote he shared the top words people associate with sales and not surprisingly they aren’t pretty: yuck, smarmy and sleazy. But we all spend time in our jobs convincing or persuading someone… in other words sales. Gone are the times of the typical sleazy car salesmen though. We have gone from “Buyer Beware” to “Seller Beware.” Today, buyers are well-informed, have more choices and plenty of ways to talk back.
2) Content marketing doesn’t stop. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, said the #1 mistake of content marketing programs is that they stop. He said marketers need to get past the campaign mentality when it comes to content. I agree wholeheartedly that content marketing has to be consistent, ongoing and of course compelling. You can find Joe’s presentation from Blaze on Slideshare here, which talks more on content marketing and the need to answer the “why” before starting your program.
3) Break free of pre-set press releases and work in the news cycle. Probably my favorite session of the entire conference was David Meerman Scott’s panel on “newsjacking,” i.e. injecting your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage. He gave a perfect example of how newsjacking can pay off: Australia-based TIO Insurance, heard President Obama was coming to Australia, so they insured him against crocodile attacks. The result was 5,000+ mainstream media hits. Genius! Again, he said to break free of the campaign-mentality and think in real-time.
4) We’re living and working in beta. Kathy Button Bell, CMO of Emerson Electric presented new research of B2B marketers that showed the pace of marketing is fast and 97% expect the pace of change to accelerate even more. The survey also found 34% feel “overwhelmed” by all the change, and 21% said the skills for which they were hired are now obsolete. My job has already changed hugely in my 5½ year career, so I can definitely attest to this insight. Fortunately, I fall in the excited versus overwhelmed camp.
If you weren’t able to attend BMA Blaze this year, you definitely missed out. I look forward to attending many more BMA national conferences in the years to come! And if it happens to move to San Diego, I won’t be too upset.
P.S. Check out our album on Facebook for lots of photos of our time at the event.