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MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2013: Wrap-Up

b2bforumMarketingProfs put on a great event last week in Boston, with 600+ attendees from 21 countries.  With all of the marketing events available now-a-days, it’s always a challenge to determine where to spend my time; and this event delivered with “flying colors”. There were 3 days of super sessions, star speakers, cutting edge vendors (including Curata), and a great mix of marketing professionals for valuable discussions and networking.  Missed it?  No worries.  There’s plenty of information available at the hashtag (#MPB2B), for pay at the B2B Forum site, as well as several blog posts like ours.

Here are just a few of the key take-aways from several sessions that I attended:

  • A great lesson in networking:  MarketingProfs kicked things off with a HIGH ENERGY dance by Phunk Phenomenon.  Once we were all charged up and ready to go, Jill Foster of LiveYourTalk took the stage to kick us out of our networking complacency.  As good as you may be at networking, here are some tips that may help you during your next networking opportunity, courtesy of Jill:
    • Don’t let nerves get the best of you!  We all get nervous during networking events. Step 1 is recognizing that this is normal, and that you must overcome the temptation to give into it.  Don’t tell yourself that it is a moral accomplishment to resist the temptation to speak to an idol or power contact at your next event.  Otherwise you may miss a “great encounter”.  To help you in these situations, always have “anchor questions”. (i.e., questions that you’ve prepared ahead of time, especially if they can be used for a variety of people and situations)
    • Be aware of your unstated messages: We are often unaware of the subconscious signals that we’re sending to people around us as we enter a networking environment, negatively impacting networking success.  For example, not making eye contact, walking fast, slouching, and the one I see most often, burying our faces in our smart phones.  I especially liked Jill’s recommendation to maintain high “eyeball energy” during networking.  Not to look like you’re on drugs, but to simply be proactive in engaging with people around you.
    • Avoid the “All Me” train:  Your capacity to relate is the name of the game when growing your networking relationships; and sucking up all the air around you by pouring your heart out during a conversation is the wrong strategy to take.  As Jill recommends, “take the opportunity to exhale” during your networking encounters, and engage in dialogue with your colleagues.
  • Best practices by Xerox for creating versatile, valuable content for B2B Results:  Jeannine Rossignol of Xerox (@j9rossignol) and Katrina Busch (@katrinabusch) of Roberts Communications shared some of their content marketing secrets to an over-flowing room of marketers.
    • Do leverage personas:  Ok, the idea of using personas certainly isn’t new; however, many marketers still fail to actually use them as part of their marketing strategy and related initiatives.  Personas are a great way to: identify and segment your target buyers; understand their challenges and needs; identify how they absorb information and where they go to get it; and more importantly, define how you should map your marketing strategy to best achieve your marketing objectives.
    • Don’t be afraid to develop breakthrough content marketing:  There are only a few large companies that have the courage to be less egocentric in order to better engage their customers, and one of them is Xerox. Xerox partnered with Forbes to publish a magazine entitled The Chief Optimist aimed at C-level prospects. The breakthrough strategy here was the use of non-Xerox supported, curated content to complement Xerox content. (60/40 mix of business articles and Xerox content) Xerox used curated content to provide more diverse opinions and perspectives to their audience, as well as to support their own insight and marketing strategy.
    • Market your Marketing: Xerox didn’t stop there once they completed production of their Chief Optimist magazine. They developed a comprehensive set of assets (heavy, medium and light) based on the magazine, and then marketed these assets across various channels.  (i.e., Xerox used a Content Marketing Pyramid strategy)
    • Build for Syndication:  As valuable as a big, heavy eBook can be, we need to design our content marketing assets to be “searchable, snackable and shareable” in order to ensure digital marketing success.

    Did you attend? Did you follow the conversation online? Share your thoughts with us – what’s your biggest key takeaway?

Michael Gerard

Michael was CMO of Curata, responsible for Curata’s marketing strategy and all related activities. He has over 25 years of marketing and sales experience, having successfully launched and sustained three start-up ventures as well as having driven innovative customer creation strategies for large technology organizations such as IDC, Kenan Systems, Prospero (mZinga) and Millipore. Michael received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as a BS in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and an MS in Engineering from Northeastern University.

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