Modern Marketing

BMA 2010 Engage Conference – Making Ideas into a Reality

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Typically, on a four hour flight I catch up on email and read through the latest BtoB or Website magazine.  However, my last flight was not so typical, as I spent the majority of my return flight from the BMA Engage conference reflecting on how to take ideas from this week’s BMA conference and implement them at my organization.

First off, many of the sessions focused on engaging more than our prospects, they focused on our customers and employees.  What I took away from the discussions about customer satisfaction is that happy customers who understand the value you are providing their organization will lead to new customers (with much less effort than through growth without customer loyalty).  While this may sound like a lot to take on as an event follow-up, I think we can start small with things such as satisfaction surveys, helping customers even if we’re in the marketing team, working with our enablement, sales and support teams, and creating campaigns to help drive customer success.

Beyond the customer, I was surprised to hear so much about the call for employee satisfaction.  Characteristically, we often leave HR or the CEO to worry about corporate culture initiatives, but if marketing can help employee satisfaction, we can turn everyone in the company into a marketer (and wow, could I use the help!)  Some ideas I heard suggested including the employees on your programs (yes, even as part of your lead nurturing), making sure they are well informed, and that they know and connect with the brand (both in look and feel).  One way I’m going to drive this is with Salesforce Chatter – making sure that we don’t just use it for leads, but use it for creating conversations around our campaigns and content, gaining input from everyone in the organization.

During the show, I especially enjoyed the examples from Boeing about using partnerships to drive both revenue and satisfaction.  While many of us may be intimidated by ideas like partnering with Virgin America for a multi-city tour or creating elaborate videos with dancers and green screens, I think we can all find ways to infuse creativity into our own campaigns with partners, even if more modest.

AON’s discussion mentioned a similar success through large corporate sponsorships, citing their new involvements with Manchester United.  While many of us are not likely to run out and sponsor a team frequently featured on ESPN, we can learn some valuable lessons from this session.  What I really heard from AON was that someone was going to end up the brokerage leader, and it was not going to be them unless they started acting like it.  Regardless of whether your company is the leader in your space, you must carry out the things the leader in the industry would do, creating the path to success.

As with most events, we heard about the need for sales and marketing alignment. However, Beth Comstock really pushed the idea when she said she wanted a marriage between the two groups.  After that, we heard speaker after speaker say marketing’s relationships had to move past sales to include IT, since technology is driving so much of our ability to engage our prospects.  It’s relationships like these I really take to heart since Marketo’s technology is built to foster and enable those relationships – plus give marketing the credit they deserve for their hard work.

And did you notice all the videos that were played?   I know you laughed when you watched the New Yoga poses or saw people dancing through the Dreamliner.  Why does that matter?  It’s because your laughing was evidence of your engagement with the show. It’s the same way you are trying to engage your customers.  I know I need to think how I can infuse more video into my business marketing – both in educational and in entertaining ways.

The most profound idea was that a mission or vision is not what drives employees, but instead, it’s purpose.  This one session talked about how leadership must ensure that everyone in the company understands the purpose of the organization.  This really hit home, as I often have trouble connecting the hard work I do each day to the paragraphs at the end of our press release.  Instead, I’m much more connected to what I believe is Marketo’s purpose – creating, identifying, and nurturing the best prospects for our customers and driving predictable revenue for their organization.

Finally, I believe the most important thing we all need to bring back from this conference to our offices is that B2B marketing isn’t boring!  If we treat it like it is boring, then so will our prospects!  Want to see an example of some not so boring B2B marketing?  Check out our online quiz- You Don’t Know Jack about Online Marketing.