If you were lucky enough to attend the MarketingProfs B2B Forum this year, you may remember booth #117 in the B2B Neighborhood – the PAN Communications booth. Orange swag, bottle openers, Matt Heinz and Michael Brenner. We know you have a PAN koozie floating around your carry on somewhere.
Our booth was happening. It was lit. It slapped. We represented. We moved ideas. But, we were also there to learn. We went in with two different goals. One of us, a marketer, looking for guidance on strategy, analytics, and planning and budgets. One of us, a creative, hoping for some hot tips on content curation, live video techniques and employee activation. We came away from the conference with ideas to set in motion, tons of inspiration, and new ways to collaborate.
See how a marketer and a creative came together to take actionable insights from MPB2B ’19.
As I reflect on PAN’s 2019 marketing initiatives and prepare for our 2020 strategy planning, I took the opportunity to get different perspectives from a variety of focus areas and a host of people. Here are my takeaways from a marketer’s perspective:
Be the one person in the meeting who asks, ‘What’s our big idea here and why do we think it matters?’
@RomoAuthor, Global Head of Social Media & Content at Sage
Let’s begin with this statement to live by: ‘What’s our big idea here, and why do we think it matters?’ Too much of what we do is built around what teams, departments and leaders are asking for – but is your plan just checking boxes? Or is it genuinely contributing to something that’s going to make an impact? Take some time in Q4 to reflect on these questions before mapping out your 2020 plan.
Dashboards without decisions are decorations.
@cspenn, Cofounder at Trust Insights
Instead of finishing with measurement – let’s bring it up to the beginning. A friendly reminder for all of us marketers – dashboards without decisions are decorations. If your dashboard cannot answer ‘what happened?,’ ‘so what?,’ and ‘now what?’ – you’re doing a disservice to yourself, your team and your brand. Make yourself a promise to slow down and hone in on those critical thinking skills – your marketing ROI figures (and your executive team) will thank you.
You can’t build a successful plan in a vacuum.
@MaribethRoss, COO at The Marketing Advisory Network
We discuss “reengineering the department” in many of our PAN content pieces – you can’t build a successful plan in a vacuum. All areas of marketing and communication need to be involved in a marketing plan. How else can you build successful campaigns that make a difference on ROI? But it doesn’t stop there – how can you better partner with your sales AND your human resources departments in 2020? Take your department integrations an extra step and feel the impact on your programs – particularly when you’re thinking about your advocacy marketing strategy.
Intent + alignment are more important than precision in marketing reporting.
@HeinzMarketing, Founder/President at Heinz Marketing
What marketer prepares for their 2020 strategy without factoring in budget? Intent + alignment is more important than precision in marketing reporting. But you must ensure that your peers see it the same way as you – and if they don’t, be sure to align before you get too far down the planning and budgeting path. Bonus tips from Heinz Marketing below.
I went into the conference as a creative, looking for tips, tricks and tools to get the most out of every piece of content, curation techniques that work with our audience, and ways to get our internal thought leaders to share and engage with our content. Here are my takeaways from a creative perspective:
Emotionally engage every single employee with something bigger than themselves.
@BrennerMichael, Speaker, Author, and Chief Insider at Marketing Insider Group
We all talk about employee advocacy, but what I learned from Michael Brenner is that we are not placing enough value on the impact that actively engaged employees have on a brand. If just 3% of employees share company-related content, your total engagement can go up by 39%. The tough part is getting employees engaged. Everyone is busy. Sharing company content can feel like just another thing for the good ol’ ‘to do list.’ The key to employee activation is making sure employees know it is not a one-way street. What do they get out of the deal? Sharing company content can help employees grow their connections, build their personal brand and boost their career. Sharing is caring.
What it Takes to Be Healthy and Fit. Can Apple do Better Content Marketing
@leeodden, Keynote Speaker, Author and CEO at TopRank Marketing
Content overload was a huge topic at the conference. Michael Brenner shared some pretty scary stats. He stated that 60-70% of the content we create goes completely unused and that 56% of demand generation campaigns don’t produce any measurable demand. Ouch!
Lee Odden suggests that a content marketing transformation is needed. Substituting quality for quantity, focusing on craft and effectiveness instead of production efficiency, and creating content to be used consistently and persistently, instead of a million disconnected campaigns.
As a designer living in a marketing world, I learned quickly that anything I create is for my customers’ customers, and that falling in love with my own work leads to heartbreak and loneliness. This is something marketers, growing up in the fantastical world of inbound marketing, are learning now. These content marketing life lessons make it a great time for marketers, copywriters and designers to come together for some ROI magic.
Where were you when B2B YouTube blew up?
Allen Gannett’s session was the only really tactical session I attended, and I loved every second of it. He discussed how to build a LinkedIn video program, and each of the steps necessary to launch a campaign – starting with what to publish, where to publish, when to publish and ending with how to drive engagement. He got into the specifics of lighting, equipment, style and captions which is always helpful. Allen echoed what many of the speakers were hitting upon – consistency of content, content relevance and engagement. Employee advocacy was key in this session as an engagement driver. He stated that a company profile is where content goes to die, and that the real engagement comes from employee shares.
Drive Digital Amplification with the 3 Ts: Trust, Training, Technology
@Brian Fanzo, Keynote Speaker and Podcaster
Brian talked about digital innovation as it relates to traditional business practices, and how it can help us connect, amplify and scale. Of course, no discussion about digital innovation would be complete without mentioning the importance of generational marketing, citing that 73% of millennials in the workforce today believe they play a critical role in the B2B purchasing decisions of their company. Brian quickly followed up by mentioning that although millennials say they are making the purchasing decisions, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are.
The important takeaway is that they believe they are, and we should use that type of emotional data as we begin working out our content strategies. Do millennials want to download white papers? No. Do they want to fill out a form in order to download the white paper they really don’t want. No. As marketers and content creators, we need to understand consumer behavior, personalize our message, and provide value.
As the creative side of our marketing team, I would have loved some sessions on visual marketing for B2B brands, but there is always next year! Side note: Speakers, need some help with those presos? Slide into my DMs!
Overall, the sessions were packed with takeaways to leverage starting now. Taking a page out of our own books, now we reconvene in Boston to put our marketing and creative perspectives together to help make our brand smarter, stronger and more impactful.
Have a favorite session? Another perspective? Selfie with your PANswag? Let’s chat!