Hats off to MarketingProfs for an amazing conference. The upbeat team celebrated its 10th “birthiversary” with an event that built community, fostered connections, and had many moments of fun and laughter.
As both a sponsor and an attendee, I felt the love. The keynotes were among the most thought-provoking I’ve ever seen. The sessions were relevant and actionable. The speakers were energetic. Every detail was well-executed, from the signage to the baskets of health and beauty aids in the restrooms to the #pottytweet reminders in the stalls.
And did I mention the food? I had to stop myself from getting thirds when they brought out those adorable french toast cups on the last morning.
If you couldn’t make it, don’t despair. There’s always next year. Put it on your calendar now.
In the meantime, I asked our team to write up their reviews of the sessions we attended. There were plenty of great choices, so we fanned out to cover as many as possible.
Here are our key takeaways from each. Stay tuned for Part 2.
Keynote: How to Make B2B History
Ann Handley | Chief Content Officer | Marketing Profs | @annhandley
After being welcomed by a gospel choir, Ann took the stage in a gold robe and joined in, singing “We’re glad you’re here.” This was the 10th B2B Forum and Ann reviewed how much has happened both for MarketingPros and the world of marketing. She shared lessons from three of her role models: Leonardo, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Tina Fey.
- Fail like Leonardo: Creativity and imagination will set you apart; use data to back up inspiration.
- Act like Laura: Don’t be like the farmer who doesn’t have time to dig a well because he’s so busy hauling water; step back and see the big picture.
- Train like Tina: Embrace your weirdness, that’s what makes you special.
- Honor your past like Clippy: Remember the old MS Word icon? Look back and be proud.
Janet Driscoll Miller | President & CEO | Marketing Mojo | @janetdmiller
Google is still king and we’re just living in the world it’s created. Miller showed off her SEO chops as she walked us through which ranking factors matter most today, the tools to measure these factors, and how to monitor our sites for issues.
- Create a solid SEO foundation instead of chasing fads. “SEO takes time to build, so you want it to last.”
- Embrace semantic search. The good news is that Google now recognizes that “used car” means “certified pre-owned,” so you can worry less about keyword stuffing and focus instead on writing high-quality content.
- Gated content makes good sense for lead generation, but be warned: Content hidden behind a form can’t be accessed by Google. “White papers and other gated content is a balancing act,” Janet explained. “Split the difference by offering a preview page of your white paper that will show up in searches.”
Momentum: How Smart Businesses Spin Extraordinary Success From Ordinary Marketing
Drew Davis | Founder | Monumental Shift | @DrewDavisHere
In this action-packed, hilarious, and engaging keynote session, best-selling author Davis walked us through the four-step “Waterfall Effect” to drive the attention of the media. He covered how paid, owned, and earned media converge to build momentum. And he advised busy marketers how to distribute our content strategically instead of “vomiting content” all over our social channels.
- There needs to be more strategy than just “tweet the hell out of it, tweet the hell out of it, tweet the hell out of it!”
- We chase our peaks like an addict chases a high, instead of strategically navigating through the valleys. “Success is defined by the depth of the valleys, not the height of the peaks.”
- “Stop building moments, start building momentum!”
Jim Moliski | SVP Sales Enablement and Product Marketing | Corporate Visions | @moliski
In this advanced session, Moliski explored research into what makes messaging persuasive enough to convert prospect awareness into actual conversions. He focused on how to use messaging to differentiate your company’s story and convince prospects to change. Moliski urged attendees to focus on unconsidered needs first, saying “If you focus on them later, your message will no longer carry the same persuasiveness.” Create a frame of reference for buyers, point out obvious challenges and compare their current and future situations side by side.
- If you are trying to create perceived value, you can’t just talk about how great you are. The brain perceives value in contrast.
- Create unconsidered need by providing insight first and then answer the prospect’s questions.
- Give prospects an opportunity to admit that they are in need of something. A question can help increase persuasiveness
Michael Brenner | CEO | Marketing Insider Group | @BrennerMichael
Description: Brenner talked about the key factors to content marketing success such as having a documented plan, having someone be strictly accountable for content, and making sure content is mapped to the buyer’s journey. He also outlined his 17 content marketing tips for any size budget.
- “Content marketing is built to last and is something you own.”
- “Build an army of volunteers.” Employees, customers, partners and other internal creators can contribute to and re-post your content. Help them build their audience in return.
- The buyer’s journey is nothing more than a series of questions that must be answered. What questions are your customers asking?
Dean Shaw | Global Chat Program Manager | SAS Institute | @deanshaw
Chat is a one-on-one customizable interaction between client and company rep.
This insightful session highlighted the importance of chat and how to make it a positive experience for clients. Shaw recommends taking advantage of chat. Because it is a quick and easy communication tool, it can draw in potential clients. Chat done well can delight customers and give you a means to discuss their pain points.
- It is important to respond quickly and recognize the value of your customer.
- SAS has 7,000+ chats per month which contribute to 36% of their leads.
- Chat is probably the most important tool to have in a company.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at this year’s B2B Forum! Look for Part 2 of our team recaps for more content marketing wisdom.
Ginna Hall is the Director of Marketing at WriterAccess. An experienced marketing writer and editor, Ginna has helped corporate, academic and non-profit organizations develop strategic messages and roll-out content that connects with audiences of all types.
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