A few weeks ago, I attended the annual Business Marketing Association Conference in Chicago alongside marketers, agency professionals and my team. From content marketing fails to still-the-rage growth hacking in Silicon Valley, it was a thrilling couple of days with more than enough content to get me talking in buzzwords for several weeks.
After thinking over the presentations I attended, my conversations with attendees during breaks and the notes I took away with me, I identified 3 key themes from the event:
1. Marketers are in need of a confidence boost.
There are a lot of new tools out there for marketers to use. From automated services and email marketing tools, to social media platforms and the almighty power of Lord Google, nearly everything is controlled, scheduled and analyzed. Forrester Research VP Laura Ramos’s session, "Unlocking the Power of Big Data in B2B Marketing,” reminded us just how rapidly our technological world is evolving. Are we marketers even needed anymore?
Yvonne Tocquigny spoke on "The Myth of Marketing Automation." Tocquigny challenged the concept that technology and automation is going to, or currently is, replacing the work of marketers.
Though you may be able to automate some marketing efforts, Tocquigny reminded us that certain things – such as ideas, surprise and humor – cannot be automated.
Co-presenters Patrick O’Hara of gyro and Christiaan Rizy of Fortune Knowledge Group spoke to this subject as well, identifying how such things as emotion – a key driver of business decisions – cannot be accounted for or addressed in just automated services. Marketers must instead "straddle the new realities of data" alongside this powerful, emotional side of business.
2. Marketing and the entertainment industry have more than a few things in common.
They have several, in fact. From the importance of humor in marketing, to engineering viral content, several sessions covered the undeniable parallels between creating content for the entertainment industry and the content produced by digital marketing agencies. Understanding both the importance of word-of-mouth marketing and telling a good story, we were urged to take inspiration from the things people enjoy reading and/or watching in their daily lives for creating engaging marketing content.
3. Business relationships are cyclical.
We’re rather familiar with this concept here, but we aren’t the only ones talking to this new development of sales cycles.
I used to think great relationships led to great work. But it's the opposite: great work leads to great relationships —Steve Boehler #BMA15— One North (@OneNorth) May 28, 2015
We no longer direct leads into a funnel, deliver the “product” and spit them out. It’s a cycle, churning both consumer loyalty and the conversations that are taking place outside of your brand’s control.
Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping, helped us understand how your prospects can circle around your company, learning as much as they can before finally having a conversation with you. He said a key role of marketers is to ignite that “sudden urge to act,” forcing the consumer, who has all this information at his or her disposal, to pick up the phone, write an email and act. It’s about constantly delivering thoughtful content that will provoke your prospects to act and realize they need you. After that connection, they will push out messages to their networks...and the cycle continues.
Those were just a few of my takeaways – it was a great event, and I was thrilled to attend.
Looking forward to next year!