If you’re like me, you follow a set of marketing influencers on Twitter, LinkedIn, and SnapChat, and almost religiously read their blogs for new ideas, fresh perspectives, and interesting content. In my career, anytime I wanted to learn about something or perfect my marketing practice, I’ve looked past a simple Google search and to influencers (and the many smart people who follow and interact with them) to coach me toward success.
And, that’s not just online—I’ve been lucky enough to get to meet and work with a handful of influencers in my role here at Marketo, and let me say that they are even more dynamic, interesting, and engaging in person. There is no substitute for asking your question in person and having a discussion. Why am I belaboring this point? Because, this year at the Marketing Nation Summit, we’re bringing 18+ influencer sessions to life. Here are seven things that you can learn from influencers this year at the Marketing Nation Summit:
1. CMOs Are Thinking Differently
Marketing leaders not only look to meet the challenges their audience faces today but anticipate the challenges they will face in the future. Are you a future-ready marketing leader? Here are a couple of sessions that address how you can make smart changes to stay ahead of the market:
- In Think Like a CMO, Drew Neisser, Founder and CEO of Renegade, will share how to think about yourself as a brand and he’ll identify the four traits of great marketers, which were distilled from over 200 interviews with Chief Marketing Officers. With high-profile real-world examples of those traits in action, this session is essential to just about anyone who wants to push their career forward.
- Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute, will present on Rethinking Marketing: How CMOs are Building Media Companies Within Their Marketing Department. In this can’t-miss session, he will unwrap this new model of marketing, discuss the importance of building an audience, and then talk about how any company of any size can (and needs to) start preparing for this new form of marketing. You’ll not only learn why this new model is critical to marketing but how to effectively build an audience and what you need to get started.
2. Your Audience Is Changing
As a consumer yourself, you know that the number of marketing messages you receive on a daily basis is off the charts. Your audience wants something different. They want to be understood, listened to, and connected with. How are you doing that today, and do you have a plan to connect, personally, with your audience in the future? These sessions offer some critical thinking on this key challenge all marketers face:
- In Millenial Midset: Embracing Digital Change, Collaboration, and Community, Brian Fanzo, Founder and CEO of iSocialFanz, will walk you through the changes that have drastically shifted the mindsets of both the digital dinosaurs and the digital natives as employees and customers. He’ll also dive into his model of the 3Ts (Trust, Training, and Tools) and the importance of addressing human needs before technology.
- Bryan Kramer, President and CEO of Pure Matters, will share practical tools you can use right now to connect with other humans and be better marketers, managers, and fellow members of the human race in his session, Human to Human: #H2H: Learn to Speak Human, Share Human, and Market Human. You’ll learn the four rules of social context, how human sensory building will make you a better communicator, and the secrets to making ideas crowd-worthy.
- In HOOKED: How Clever Brands Create Addictive Content That Drives Revenue, Andrew Davis, Founder and CMO of Monumental Shift, will teach you how to create content so good it’s addictive. He’ll reveal how smart brands, big and small, have used compelling content to own tiny parts of their audience’s lives. Andrew will help you leverage the talented leaders in your organization to distribute content that builds relationships, understand how relationships build trust, and how trust drives revenue. Join him to learn the five simple secrets to creating a hook: a simple twist on a familiar theme designed to entrap or ensnare your audience.
3. Customer Centricity Is Key
“The Customer is King.” A phrase we’ve all probably heard, but is it truly embedded into every activity you do at your organization? In these compelling sessions, you’ll have a chance to explore the changes in customer expectation, and how you can shift your focus toward truly engaging your customer:
- In Forrester Reveals the 7 Key Steps to Customer-Obsessed B2B Marketing, Lori Wizdo, the VP and Principal Analyst for B2B marketing at Forrester, will explore how changing buying behavior has created new challenges for marketers and walk through an actionable seven-step change agenda to help B2B marketers lead the transformation to customer-obsessed marketing.
- You may have heard Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter, speak at other events or even read one of his books. He always shares not only an interesting presentation but an actionable one. In his talk The Experience When Business Meets Design, he’ll share how customer behaviors and values are evolving away from the standard for good experiences, and he will help change your perspective to see and do things differently. You can expect to walk away with a new outlook that will help you guide innovation in your marketing efforts and change course for how your brand earns relevance with a new generation of customers.
- In Embrace Customer-Centric Measurement to Optimize Business Performance, Rusty Warner, Principal Analyst at Forrester, will explore how the evolution from campaigns to customer context enables brands to improve relevance and build sustainable competitive advantage. However, measuring performance gets trickier as marketers struggle to relate individual interaction metrics to high-level business outcomes. Rusty will share a framework for defining customer-centric KPIs, best-practice case studies for measuring contextual interactions, and tips for embedding metrics within a performance management strategy.
4. Marketers Need to Evolve
Are your activities driving the results that you want (or expect)? As a marketer today, you are constantly looking for the cutting edge or next iteration of the work you are doing. These sessions address how marketers can evolve their thinking and practices to connect with their audiences more effectively:
- Jay Acunzo, Founder and CEO of Unthinkable Media, will teach us how to make the leap from average to exceptional in his session, How Brilliant Marketers Get Bigger Results By Doing Things Their Way. You’ll learn how to understand and thrive in the specific, messy context of your team, company, customers, and self—all of which makes generalized advice insufficient. He’ll encourage you to break from conventional thinking while making it all feel like the smart, obvious path. You’ll walk away ready to make the leap from average to exceptional to stand out and make a huge impact in a noisy world.
- Martin Kihn, Research VP at Gartner for Marketing Leaders, will share his original market research on Taylor Swift and the success of her brand in his session, The Ultimate “UnBrand”: How Taylor Swift Changed Marketing Forever. Martin spun up a social network analysis of her fans, and it turns out that Ms. Swift broke all the traditional brand rules, challenged a number of assumptions across a range of marketing disciplines, and transformed herself into the ultimate “unbrand.” Learn how you can apply the lessons learned from studying the powerful success of T. Swift.
- In The 3 Key Pillars for Potent Content Marketing, international influencer (is it weird if I call him a superstar?), Founder, and CEO Jeff Bullas will reveal the core pillars that you need to embrace and master in 2017. The pace of change of technology and the entire digital marketing ecosystem means that we need to evolve our tactics. Jeff will posit that standing still is not an option. He’ll share the three vital ways to attract traffic to your content, the secrets to creating content that people engage with and love to share, and the top two tactics to produce a return on your content marketing investment.
5. Analytics and Data Matter
Analytics and data have always mattered. On the Marketo blog and throughout our content, we’ve spent many digital pages on the importance of being a data-driven marketer in order to earn your seat at the revenue table. But now, more than ever, with the abundance of data, how do you decipher what is important? These sessions address that very question—how to think of data and analytics for marketing in the dynamic, expanding pool of data:
- Adam Singer, Analytics Advocate at Google, will present Leading in the Era of Digital Data Explosion: People, Process, and Platforms. Adam will explain how getting the right people, implementing the right processes, and using the right technology platform will help you stay current in measuring marketing and sales performance so you can get the greatest return on investment and measure progress in your marketing efforts.
- Many marketers focus on personalizing their marketing at scale, but Michael Fauscette, Chief Research Officer of G2Crowd, takes it to the next level in his presentation From Personalization to Individualization: Micro-targeting and Big Data. In his session, Michael will explain the difference between personalization and individualization, including the technology to deliver; how to utilize ad platforms and email to deliver to the correct audience, the individual; and the role of big data, turned into smart data in the marketing process.
6. ABM Is Evolving
Account-based marketing has recently seen a surge of interest and activity. This not-so-new strategy re-emerged because marketers can now implement this strategy at scale due to advances in digital ABM technologies. As ABM has become more accessible to marketers in organizations of all sizes, it’s opened the door for a fresh wave of frameworks, best practices, and strategies to maximize your account-based marketing:
- In Account-Based Funnel: What you need to know for an ABM strategy that will increase ROI, Craig Rosenberg, Founder and Chief Analyst of TOPO, will present the TOPO Account-Based Funnel, which provides the framework that organizations need to design, execute, and measure their account-based marketing strategy. Craig will share specific examples of how companies execute the framework—including how they looked before and after as well as the tools needed to execute immediately.
- In case you didn’t think ABM was a big trend, this title and presentation will offer proof. In Account-Based Marketing: Yes, It Really Ts That Good (And Getting Better All The Time) Megan Heuer, VP of Research at SiriusDecisions, will divulge the ABM secrets she’s discovered from SiriusDecisions clients and what they’ve found works best. These secrets cover how to set goals and define metrics for ABM and demonstrate business value, what technologies make up the ideal ABM stack, and the biggest ABM mistakes (so you can avoid them).
- Are you curious about how ABM benefits your bottom line? Ardath Albee, CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions, is presenting Create an Account-Based Marketing Strategy to Drive Consensus for Complex Sales B2B Buying. Join her to learn how adopting an ABM approach helps marketers increase performance as well as contribute to revenues. She will share how personas can help orchestrate buying committee engagement, why content must inform and influence buying committee conversations—and how that works, and how to address shifts in context at each stage of buying to keep the momentum going.
- What They Didn’t Teach You in ABM School isn’t just an awesome title, but it will be an incredibly practical example-packed session with Joe Chernov, VP Marketing at InsightSquared. You’ll get front row seats to learn about the potholes that can impede ABM progress and dampen ABM effectiveness, and the guidance so your team can avoid them.
7. Marketing Organizations Need to Adapt to Win
Today’s marketing organizations need structure to support the growth of the business, the insight to make tough decisions, and the flexibility to adapt to market trends. Looking for ways to ensure your marketing organization is ready for the future? Check out these sessions:
- 2017, The Year of Tough Choices with Michael Brenner, CEO Marketing Insider Group. Michael will explore the question: How do we decide what’s going to make the biggest impact on our business? It turns out that some of the most successful marketers don’t see these as choices. In fact, the answer is obvious. Michael will share a simple framework you can use to decide what activities will have the biggest impact on your bottom line. By the end of his presentation, you’ll embrace the three easy approaches that turn complicated marketing decisions into obvious choices. And, most importantly, you’ll learn how to find the time and resources to do the things that have the greatest impact.
- Matt Heinz, President and Founder of Heinz Marketing Inc., will explore Profit Center Marketing: Aligning and Measuring Teams Around Business Impact. He’ll cover what it takes to transform your team from a perceived cost center to a business-leading profit center and best practices from marketing departments and leaders who have made that shift, along with an interactive discussion giving you new insights and a blueprint for managing that kind of change in your organization.
- Sometimes, the adaptation you need to make is an improvement of a process or a technology that you’re already implementing. In Your Marketing Automation Strategy Isn’t Where It Needs to Be, Jay Famico, VP of Client-Facing Technology at SiriusDecisions, will share the current state of marketing automation sophistication, emerging trends in marketing automation, and examples of marketing automation done right. Jay will also discuss how B2B organizations are resourcing and scaling marketing automation investments to meet demand creation and customer experience objectives, along with the factors that are preventing organizations from achieving ROI, including lack of training, poor integration, and an unsupportive corporate culture.
- Looking beyond marketing is a critical task, especially in the Engagement Economy, where you have to offer value to the customer every step of their journey—in the right place and at the right time. Jill Rowley, Chief Evangelist and Startup Advisor, takes up this task in her presentation, Social Selling: How to Engage Today’s Buyer. She will share how best-in-class marketing and sales teams work together to identify ideal buyers, deepen authentic connections, and meet company revenue goals. Jill will detail social selling’s five pillars, how to use content as the fuel for your social selling, and fivethings sales reps and marketing can do right away to get started.
With all of this great content, I hope you’re feeling pumped to learn a TON about marketing from some of the best of the best at Marketing Nation Summit. Who are you most excited to see and what topics are you coming to learn more about? I’d love to hear in the comments below.