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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

Highlights from the B2B Marketing Show

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

What an action packed 2 days at the B2B Marketing Expo in London at the end of March. There was an incredible line up of speakers, 500 master classes and seminars and some big name brands exhibiting including Shutterstock and Linked In.

Not what you would expect from a business-to-business trade show, there was a sea of colour, noise and a real buzz about the place. Loud music, an endless supply of freshly ground coffee thanks to the Marketing Pod, and an array of interactive stands where you helped yourself to pick and mix sweets. The attendees were in for a treat!

Personalisation was the trend of the moment with many exhibitors giving away personalised gifts. From personalised bag printing to personalised photo books, and personalised chocolate lollipops using the latest 3D printing technology to personalised cakes for your business. You get the drift, you could get almost anything personalised.

WowBooks at The B2B Marketing Show

Marketing automation dominated the show with an abundance of companies all using data analytics to create a more personalised and meaningful experience.

I was fortunate enough to attend 6 seminars across the 2 days. Here are some of the highlights.

How to generate high-quality B2B leads with international digital marketing, Oban International (Xabier Izaguirre and Chloë McKenna)

For many B2B marketing departments, producing high-quality B2B leads is their primary objective. Digital marketing can be used to create higher numbers of leads. However, targeting on a country level is key and starts with in-depth profiling.

Oban stressed the importance of not gating content since content that isn’t gated will be shared freely generating backlinks. They also advised limiting data capture requirements. Only 15-30% of people are willing to share their phone numbers.

They concluded that you need to spend time understanding your international audience as each market will have individual nuisances specific to that country. A one fits all approach just won’t work.

Best practise paid, including how to kill it with Facebook (even for B2B), Creation Agency (Jack Kosakowski)

Jack Kosakowski emphasised the importance of Facebook in B2B, after all, people spend an average of 35 minutes per day on it. Creating high-quality content for Facebook is paramount and static ads are dead so content needs to be much more engaging.

Jack highlighted the need for social proofing before lead generation. He advised that you need to consistently use high-quality content for the top of funnel including video interviews, quotes, high-end blog content, vlog content, webinars and in particular, podcasts.

He then talked about mid-funnel content and advised it needs to build enough value from using ebooks, checklists, and guides.

Jack concluded his session with the bottom of the funnel content and ensuring all your call to actions work hard. Patience is key. Allow enough time to guide people through the decision making process. Keep repeating your ads. Stay in front of the customer for 60 - 90 days to start seeing results.

SAP, Content that works: How journalistic hacks can save B2B marketers, SAP (Jack Dyson)

Jack Dyson talked about how the fundamentals of the publishing world can be applied to content marketing. He advised that applying a solid governance model is key to implementing successful content marketing.

Inside The B2B Marketing Show

He identified 2 types of content that are used at SAP – explicit content and implicit content. Explicit content is more go to market content, whilst implicit is more thought leadership based and uses partner contributors.

He sees B2B purchases similar to luxury businesses.

His closing message was to refresh content and give it a different spin to keep it alive and fresh.

Everyone is still talking about ABM, Fujitsu Global (Waheed Warden)

Waheed Warden from Fujitsu Global gave a fascinating masterclass on ABM. She advised ABM is a strategic function which aligns sales & marketing deepening your engagement with the customer.

Fujitsu stopped lead generation in 2014 and introduced to 58 accounts. A year on they had 29 accounts with 10 people delivering 60% of marketing pipeline so it has been an amazing success.

Waheed stressed the difference between account-based marketing and marketing to an account. Marketing to an account is company-centric and portfolio led, with leads being the core KPI, whilst ABM is company-centric, insight led and KPIs compromise of the 3 Rs – revenue, reputation and relationships.

B2B Marketing Show presentation by Five CRM

The evidence to support ABM is strong. 97% of marketers said ABM had an higher ROI than any other marketing activity. Customer stakeholders said they were 40% more likely to buy as a result of personalised marketing.

Where do you start?

· Select the right accounts

· Gather insight

· Align your portfolio

· Create relevant content

· Get personal

She advised that 2 accounts per person were the optimum number of accounts in her experience and 2 years was the maximum time of working on an account due to the intensity.

Waheed finished by advising that AI will play a key role in personalising content in the future and she also emphasised the need for a bespoke marketing story for ABM.

An introduction to marketing automation, Automation Ninjas

Contrary to belief, marketing automation is not about the tools you use, but the outcome say Automation Ninjas. Automation Ninjas presented a number of complex customer journeys.

Consumers need to spend 16% longer on a website for a conversion, and yet attention spans are ever decreasing. They're demanding personalised experiences.

Until next year

There is no doubt the show was a true success and visitors turned out in their numbers to see all the exhibitors and seminars. I can't wait to see how it unfolds next year.

For more tips on thought leadership and developing a marketing strategy, as well as how direct mail could help your business, visit my blog.

Or please don't hesitate to contact me for a 30 minute free no-obligation chat.

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