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...

Continue Reading

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,...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

Lemonade Stands & Business Acumen at BMA Chicago

  Did you ever have a lemonade stand as a kid? As it turns out, that early business experience can help you succeed in your career as a communications professional.   As I learned at yesterday’s BMA Chicago luncheon with DePaul professors Ron Culp and Matt Ragas, having business acumen is one of the top criteria needed to be a successful marketing/communications pro. Ron and Matt discussed how in order to earn—and keep—a seat at the table and maximize your full value, communicators need to be able to speak the language and understand business goals, issues and trends.   The problem is that most communicators don't hold an MBA and didn't study business in college.     Ron and Matt offered the following tips to help you develop greater business acumen:   Understand Your Company’s Business Model. Transparency is key here. Make sure everyone on your team understands what drives your business. How does your company and clients make...

Continue Reading

BMA14: Looking Back at B2B Marketing’s Most Valuable Lessons

At the end of May, the Tell Your Story team attended the three-day BMA14 Conference in Chicago, the largest B2B marketing conference in the world. We joined over 1,000 B2B marketers from over 400 firms to learn the latest trends, thinking, best practices and more about a wide variety of B2B marketing topics. Our team was on-site for the duration of the conference, working to share the most valuable takeaways with our audience through a series of blog posts and live-tweets. Check out our dispatches from BMA14 below!   You Should be Proud of your BMA Chapter Leaders    By: George Rafeedie       Tell Your Story Wins Business Marketing Association B2 Award of Excellence   By: Ellen DePodesta   #BMA14 From Afar   By: Angi Day   Mobile Marketing Lessons from Facebook at #BMA14   By: Amanda Pollard   Business-to-Business is not Boring-to-Boring   By: Erin Neal   The Art of Social Selling #BMA14   By: Erin Neal   Taking Marketing from a Cost Center to a Revenue Center   By: Ellen DePodesta   Tripling Down at #BMA14   By: George Rafeedie   Watch...

Continue Reading

Healthy Habits at #BMA14

Dispatches from BMA14: Series of Short Reports from the Tell Your Story Team at #BMA14 in Chicago   When I sat down and reviewed the schedule for #BMA14, I saw that there was a morning run each day of the conference. I admire those who were able to get up and run at 5:30 each morning after the evening events of the conference.   Walking in to day number two of BMA14, I was pleasantly surprised to listen to several corporate discussions on healthy lives and the impact on your work quality and productivity.   I love fitness. I love healthy eating. I also love my fair share of fast food and pizza. I knew I needed to pay attention. I have been just talking about health and not doing much about it.   Tell Your Story is definitely a supporter of healthy active lives for team members, which I am very grateful for and just need to become...

Continue Reading