Business Marketing Association

Be Real, Be Courageous & Lead— My Big Takeaway from #ANAB2B

When I go to marketing industry conferences these days, I get more inspired by intangibles, rather than the tangible. Give me something that will really move me or get me thinking deep thoughts. Give me something that I could do in my every day life, not just in my job.   I want to meet people, be inspired by stories, and feel moved to do something different or be reminded of what I need to do to be more successful and fulfilled.   That said, my highlight of the 2017 Masters of B2B Marketing (I still call it BMA) Conference earlier this month in Chicago was one great slide by keynote speaker Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary).     Tamara’s talk was on innovative personal branding and becoming an influencer. The slide and discussion that really hooked me included three simple things to think about:   Be real. Be courageous. Lead.   Simple. Powerful. Moving. These are the types of things that...

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You Can’t Improve without Improv!

Learning effective communication by wearing a chicken hat, dancing and speaking gibberish may sound - for the lack of a better word - weird. I get it, it’s not what you’d normally do at a networking event, but let me tell you, this was no ordinary event. This BMA Chicago Breakfast was led by Erin Diehl from Improve It!   Her aim was to teach us effective communication through improv. It sounded fun and I was intrigued but I got a lot more out of it than expected. Why? Well, there was a purpose. Right then and there we started putting theory into practice. There were no laptops or note taking, this was a roll up your sleeves, we’re doing this kind of BMA Breakfast.   Erin started us off with this simple message: “Our mission is to provide high-energy, laughter-filled team-building workshops that incorporate improvisation.” From there it was all fun and games,...

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Engage, Don’t Push.

I had the pleasure of attending the BMA Chicago January luncheon with Scott Brandt, the CMO of Sprout Social, who discussed the evolution of social media and its business impacts. In case you weren’t aware, engagement is crucial and our approach needs to change. In other words, stop talking, start listening. Here are three social trends Brandt says to look out for in 2017:   From promos to dialogue. To put it simply if you do not speak to your customers they will leave you. One in three customers will leave and go somewhere else if you don’t respond to them via social in time. They expect a response within 4 hours, and that time is shrinking. Social media is not just a function of marketing; it needs to be built based on interdepartmental collaboration including customer service. Attribution & analytics: redefine what matters. Social commerce is real. Seventy-five percent of people...

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B2B Marketing Conference

5 Takeaways from #BMA16

I had the pleasure of attending my 4th BMA National Conference this week at the Hilton Chicago. Every year the conference seems to grow and change, this year with the ANA partnership front and center. Regardless, I can always count on the BMA Conference for great networking, quality content and a wealth of insights and ideas to bring back to my job and my clients. Some of the most common themes from this year’s conference included how marketing can and should drive business results, ways to build compelling brands through storytelling, and making marketing more important within organizations.   There were plenty of great B2B insights to choose from, but I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5 takeaways over the 3-day event.   It’s not B2B or B2C its B2H= Business to Human. While this isn’t a new idea, it bears repeating. Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Office at GE, reminded us that business...

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8 Steps for Storytelling Success

8 Steps to Storytelling Success

Tell Your Story Founder George Rafeedie gave a recent breakfast seminar with the Chicago Business Marketing Association where he taught a group of B2B marketers how to develop and share stories on any budget.   In his dynamic presentation, George explained how every organization (big, small, start up, non-profit, division) has a story. And our job as marketers is to find it. Then develop it. Tell it. Measure it. And lastly, improve it. The story should be unique and tied to an organization’s purpose, the difference they make in the world, says George.   He shared the following 8-step process that marketers can use, right now, to develop and share their story/purpose.   1) Executive download & brainstorm. This is where executive buy-in happens. It is where you go to your boss/CMO/President/whomever and explain the process and why your organization needs it. This step is crucial as it ensures your stakeholders feel like they are part...

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Top 5 Themes at #BMA15

Be More: Top 5 Themes from #BMA15

“Be More.” Two words, countless nuances, depending on whom you’re talking to. For the hundreds of B2B marketers that attended BMA15, this slogan invariably implies how we must continually adapt and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of a world guided by technology and innovation. B2B’s potential is overwhelming, yet promising, as we continue to strive for improvement in all areas. After attending dozens of sessions and combing thousands of posts on Twitter over the past few days, these 5 themes seemed to rise time and again for marketers looking to Be More. Customer experience and satisfaction is the catalyst for all marketing initiatives, but great customer service isn’t enough anymore. Experiential marketing is becoming the norm and successful brands are learning how to deliver exceptional experiences to their customers. Employees are the foundation and support system for customer loyalty, acquisition and retention. Every brand, regardless of industry, should make employee...

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Top 10 Takeaways from Day 2 of #BMA15

[caption id="attachment_3187" align="aligncenter" width="675"] The #BMA15 tweet wall on Day 2[/caption] There were some really strong presentations at BMA15 Thursday. I like the cadence of this conference, with most sessions half an hour or 45 minutes long—enough time to delve into a topic without getting slow. There were many remarkable speakers today; heavy hitters from companies like Forrester Research, Pinterest, Dow and Daimler Trucks. Here are some of my favorites and some of the memorable sound bites from the day.   1. Joe Pulizzi. Just the guy to jump-start our brains after a night of staying out way too late. He talked about some of the characteristics of great content marketers, and gave examples of companies that do it right. Those who succeed document and write down their content strategy. It’s not enough to think about it, or have it in your head. And, they work to build an audience, a key component...

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Top 10 Takeaways from Day 1 of #BMA15

[caption id="attachment_3175" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Google's Jim Lecinski presents at #BMA15 Photo Credit: DejaViewsUSA.com[/caption] The Tell Your Story team proudly joined more than 950 fellow b2b marketers for Day 1 of the world’s biggest and best b2b marketing event, BMA15. In addition to staffing the press room and managing press for the conference, our team soaked up a plethora of valuable ideas, insights and takeaways that we can apply to our b2b marketing programs and careers. The conference has our entire team inspired and energized to “Be More.” Here are our top 10 takeaways from Day 1 of BMA15: [caption id="attachment_3177" align="alignright" width="325"] The number of B2B searches has tripled in the past two years. Photo credit: DejaViewsUSA.com[/caption] Millennials now make up almost half (46%) of b2b buyers. Reach them via mobile and video, or get left behind. Data, data, data! We don't need more dashboards, we need insights to guide decisions. There’s...

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Top 10 Takeaways from BMA15 Chapter Leader Day

[caption id="attachment_3162" align="aligncenter" width="500"] #BMA15 kicked off today with the Chapter Leader pre-session[/caption] No long blog posts here this week! The 2015 edition of the National Business Marketing Association National Conference, BMA15 / Be More, kicked off today with a pre-session of Chapter Leaders. Chapter Leaders are those who serve in leadership positions at the 20+ local chapters that make up the BMA.   As promised, no long blog posts from Tell Your Story this week. So here are my take-aways from today. Watch for our other lists from my colleagues at the end of each day.   10. Chapter Leaders are passionate. We have all built great communities. That needs to continue – local B2B community building.   9. The merger with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) could potentially be a good thing in terms of promoting the profession of B2B Marketing, but the beauty of BMA is that we are not too corporate. ANA is...

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Just Use a Pencil: Knowing How to Apply Big Data

[caption id="attachment_3011" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Jim Carey talks "Dancing With Big Data"[/caption] What do marketing, sales, finance, and IT professionals have in common? Apparently, we’re all really confused about big data. More specifically, how to use the vast amounts of data we have at our fingertips.   By (Wikipedia) definition, big data is “any collection of data sets so large or complex that it becomes difficult to process them using traditional data processing applications.” I had trouble processing that sentence.   Undoubtedly, big data is a pain point for most professionals; many have made it their personal mission to wrangle the beast. Jim Carey, adjunct professor at Northwestern University Medill IMC, is one marketer with such an attempt.   Carey, who specializes in data mining for B2B and B2C companies, led recent BMA Breakfast Seminar “Dancing With Big Data,” where he shared his insights and findings on what makes big data so…big, based on interviews with leading marketers and industry pros. Here’s...

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