2014 B2B Forum Day 1: A Sampling of Session Recaps

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by Dan Gorgone

Day 1 of the MarketingProfs 2014 B2B Forum was, as expected, both highly educational and downright entertaining, featuring speakers Scott Stratten, Stacy Darling, Susan Emerick, Shane Snow, Marti Konstant, Tom Webster… and many, many others.

Keynote Session (With Scott Stratten)

In a keynote address filled with insight and plenty of laughter, UnMarketing and UnSelling author Scott Stratten urged marketers to retain customers by getting to know them now rather than later.

Rather than classify people as customers or noncustomers, Stratten cited three categories that get to the heart of customers’ satisfaction level: Ecstatic, Static, and Vulnerable. Most customers are Static, and they simply consume the products or services you offer. Ecstatic customers, on the other hand, are the ones who will recommend you, leading to word-of-mouth referrals.

Vulnerable customers, however, are looking for something better. Because you are a reflection of your brand, your interactions as a company—and as a marketer—can affect how such customers view your services.

As Stratten puts it, “Client apathy is the biggest threat to your business… ever.” Referrals come only from happy customers. Therefore, Stratten stressed, first give customers what they ask for.

That said, marketers must apply tactics logically and with goals in mind. Stratten touched on QR codes as an example of a misused tactic. By placing them on airplane banners and the backs of city buses, marketers fail to reconcile the marketing opportunity with a user’s ability to actually use it.

Even worse, the function of a QR code has been repeatedly misunderstood. As a means to bring potential customers to specific landing pages, QR codes have been included on websites and within emails—where a simple link would have accomplished the same objective without forcing users to figure out how to scan the code, especially when they view it on a mobile device.

In the end, Stratten urged, marketers need to consider that what happens after the sale is as important as what happens before the sale. Engage with customers in meaningful ways, even if that means reaching out to ask them for feedback.

Customers will provide honest feedback when asked, and marketers must embrace the gleaned data to find opportunities to turn their customers from Vulnerable or Static to Ecstatic.

Empowering Employees to Build Trust and Advocacy in Social Media
(With Stacy Darling and Susan Emerick)

Customers trust your internal experts (employees) more than they trust official brand sources.

That statement by Susan Emerick set the direction for her presentation, conducted with Raytheon’s Stacy Darling and titled “Empowering Employees to Build Trust and Advocacy in Social Media.”

Emerick, CEO and founder of Brands Rising, noted that sales correlate with the number of people who advocate for your brand. Empowering employees is one strategy for helping to humanize your company.

However, brands have fears about empowering employees. They have a (logical) desire to protect their brand reputation. They also often worry about employees’ creating assets on their own and not presenting official marketing content.

Brands should train and prepare their employees for the responsibility of representing the brand. If brands can establish strong social relationships—with followers as well as their own people—those social relationship can often evolve into business relationships as well.

Growth-Hacking for B2B Businesses and Brand Publishers
(With Shane Snow)

Goal-setting is essential to measure the success of any initiative. However, many people fear setting high goals because they may not be able to reach them. Chief Creative Officer of Contently Shane Snow cited research showing that setting higher goals often does result in more success.

With that in mind, Snow encouraged marketers to consider ways to take their marketing to the “10X level” and making an impression in a big way. By breaking away from the traditional offerings of brands within their industry, marketers can establish a unique voice or presence to catch the attention of interested customers.

On the flip side, marketers should also consider using “-10X” thinking, and focusing on subjects or content that truly get to the heart of their company’s mission—for example, case studies that highlight your capabilities and value to the consumer.


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Snow encouraged marketers to reconsider how they develop content, and to view those content offerings from the view of the reader or consumer.

Snow cited the example of revolutionary Che Guevara and Radio Rebelde (Rebel Radio). Establishing an underground radio station allowed him to speak to the people, but it wasn’t until the content was helpful and relevant to their needs did the people actively follow and participate in the cause he was leading.

The lesson: Don’t Publish and Pray—Help and Amplify.

When you provide true value to the audience, they will take notice, use what they’ve learned, follow, and recommend you to other like-minded people.

Seven Habits of an Agile Careerist
(With Marti Konstant)

If you can focus on optimizing creativity, productivity, and happiness within your career, you can indeed be an agile careerist, Marti Konstant stated.

Citing examples from Gen X and Gen Y case studies, Konstant, founder of Konstant Change, connected the lessons learned from agile software development to ways people can further their careers across various industries.

In Agile software development, developers focus on making adjustments every step of the way. Konstant encouraged marketers to consider the same approach when considering how to further their own careers.

He highlighted the seven habits of an agile careerist:

  1. Pursue it in parallel. Do something that keeps you going while managing a potentially rocky career.
  2. Create a buffer zone. Keep a life list of things you want to do (a “backlog”).
  3. Activate the feedback squad. Validate your learning at all times.
  4. Build your brand. Don’t forget to optimize you.
  5. Shorter tours of duty. Optimize your career goals given the current job situation.
  6. A/B-test your career. Trying small professional experiments can be risky, but they can help lead us to what we want.
  7. Respond to change. Be flexible.

By following those lessons, Konstant said, marketers from Gen X and Gen Y can achieve success and build a career that is agile and rewarding.

Mobile Data: The Key to the Consumer Cipher
(With Tom Webster)

In today’s marketing, it’s difficult to know who or what should get the credit for conversions. Content attribution models have their flaws, but hope exists in the form of mobile data, Tom Webster, VP of strategy at Edison Research, said.

It is difficult to square the online world with the offline world. Webster cited the example of data collected on radio and podcasts. Their measures do not square with each other: Radio quarter hours to not equal podcast downloads.

Essentially, the human is the gap. The journey of a human—from learning about something to researching to acting either offline or online—is what should be measured.

Webster encouraged marketers to put themselves in the place of consumers and look at all the metrics and measures that go along with the path of their journey.

Marketers must consider the “mobile moment” when the customer is at some kind of inflection point, ready to convert or make a meaningful decision. The key is to collect data at that very point.

If marketers can experience, anticipate, and be prepared for the mobile moment, they will understand much more about the human experience—and the attribution gap will lessen.

How can marketers do this? Find the low-hanging fruit. Look for a different behavior and understand why it occurs. At the point of sale, ask for feedback and provide an incentive for it. Open-ended questions can provide great insight. Marketers can also harness the insights collected from consumer exit polls. Ask your customers then and now, instead of after the fact, or after they’ve gone to a competitor.