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Did You Miss Ignite, the B2B Marketing Event of the Year?

Did you miss B2B Marketing Ignite 2019? Interalia Marketing Blog

This article was first published on LinkedIn in July 2019.

So, another year and another B2B Ignite – and a great event it was. ABM was a very dominant theme of the day, but there were plenty of other inspirational talks and topics covering brand, engagement, insights and leadership. 

Whilst I wasn’t able to attend all of the sessions (I’m not that good at multi-tasking!), I did come away with a fair few take-aways and key insights, which I thought I would share with you all. If you were there, what were your key take-aways? Please do add your comments below.

Customer Experience – Becoming the CX Expert

This was a super interesting and thought-provoking talk from Mary-Anne Baldwin at B2B Marketing on CX, based on findings from a new report ‘Become a CXpert: The marketer’s guide to customer experience.’ There are a number of snippets worth sharing…

Would you believe that 38% of marketers don’t have a CX plan of any kind? And that only 3% of marketers say their business is aligned to a cohesive, operational CX plan?

I would. I mean, how many marketers can honestly say they focus any dedicated part of their resource and budget on this area? I suppose if you’re a big brand, with a big budget and several marketing departments you do, but for most small and mid-sized businesses it’s a bit more difficult and will often lie with another department (or we think to does!). 

From experience, marketing functions get so absorbed in delivering leads to sales that it’s easy to lose sight of what does, or should, happen once that lead is handed over to sales and then onto delivery and customer care teams once you win them as a new client. 

If marketing really is to be the voice of the customer, then I agree this has to change.

70% of marketers take little or no responsibility for CX during the point of sale or aftercare and 76% spend little to none of their budget on CX during aftercare.

So, what makes for a successful customer experience strategy? According to Mary-Anne, CX should be:

  1. Internally aligned
  2. Seamless
  3. Responsive
  4. Insight driven

CX essentials from B2B Marketing

[Source: CX Essentials from B2B Marketing]

Interestingly, NPS and C-Sat (customer satisfaction) surveys cropped up – often a key indicator of positive customer experience. But they only tell you the what, not the why, so they’re inherently misleading. KPIs need to be weighted by impact on the business, owned by different departments and ultimately owned by the Board. Otherwise there’s no ownership and nothing ever changes.

So, some interesting snippets and take-aways here.

For me, my no.1 key take-away was a reminder that marketing needs to serve the customers, not just sales, so that means adding CX back into our marketing strategies.

From Brand to Demand

This was an interesting case study, presented by Neil Dowling of GenPact and David Van Schaick of The Marketing Practice, looking and Brand Vs Demand. 

We’re often torn between marketing budget spent on brand awareness and that spent on generating leads. Well, this case study from GenPact proves you need brand to generate demand – just in case anyone out there needed convincing!

Re-branding, using content to interrupt conversations and an agile mentality all contributed to massive business growth over just 5 years. 

It really was fascinating to see what the team had done with the brand and the journey they had been on; so inspiring. One key thing they advised was to create journeys, not campaigns. This really resonated as we can become so absorbed in the campaign plan and execution, we lose sight of the longer-term journey we’re taking for the business. 

So, another great session, with a number of take-aways from this one, but my no.1 take-away has to be ‘Think big; start small – but scale aggressively!’

Engagement & B2B Tech Buyers

A super useful and insightful session on #TechHeads2019 courtesy of The Octopus Group. Note to self: subscribe to their research!

The first thing that I found fascinating (and rather amusing) was that 38% of IT professionals enjoy researching tech products more than holidays! No tech geek jokes spring to mind at all here!

But on a more serious note, there were quite a few really useful insights from their research (which involved 600 B2B buyers across 5 job functions: IT, Finance, HR, Marketing and Operations). Here are the snippets that stood out for me:

  • 3.7 people are involved in B2B purchase decisions – once again reinforcing the need to engage with multiple decision-makers, andtheir influencers.
  • The most trusted sources of information when researching tech products and suppliers were:

Technology analysts (59%)

IT events (58%)

Business publications (46%)

Others in your business (45%)

    • Yet the top sources of information actually used differ a little:

    IT events (54%)

    Supplier websites (54%)

    Google searches (50%)

    Business publications (50%)

      LinkedIn, Twitter and bloggers appeared much lower down both lists, all of which makes for interesting reading. I’d really love your comments on this one in particular!

      • 76% of decision-makers say it’s important that they buy into a suppliers’ brand and vision (so your WHY and value proposition really does make a difference!)
      • 31% said brand preference is the main reason for conflict in the decision-making process

      And my key take-away? Well, 3 actually: B2B decision-makers want more exciting marketing from suppliers; branding really does have an impact; and that we should consider marketing models more aligned to holiday types! 

      Thanks Billy Hamilton-Stent for sharing your 3 marketing models of ‘Stag & Hen’, ‘Mark Warner’ and ‘Disneyland.’ You’ll just need to reach out to Billy to explain this one (I just won’t do it justice!).


        We’ve all heard so much about ABM, haven’t we? So that must mean we’re experts, right? I know I’m not, but I do feel far more informed now, with the unnecessarily complex and fluffy jargon and theory around it, finally being lifted. 

        So, thank you Robert Norum for sharing your knowledge and experience. Robert also happens to run B2B Marketing’s ABM training courses, so one to take a look at in my opinion.

        Now, I certainly don’t plan to talk about ABM in any detail, but a couple of points I noted of interest that I thought were worth sharing:

        • It’s simply bespoke messaging to real people
          It’s jointly implemented by sales and marketing
        • It should never just be a line item in your budget, but a key part of your marketing strategy, spanning from one end of the lead lifecycle to the other
        • It has 3 types: 1:1, 1: few and 1: many, all of which differ in usage at key stages of the lead lifecycle

        Finally, as with any marketing, it’s vital to have a clear value proposition, messaging matrix and KPIs.

        And my key take-away? For me, it’s that ABM isn’t as complicated as some make out, you just need to have a good understanding of it, and a focused strategy and processes in place to make it work.

        Oh, and it’s worth checking out Robert Norum on LinkedIn for more hints and tips and B2B Marketing’s training courses.

        Influencer Marketing

        A fab and engaging session from Tim Williams at Onalytica; I’m all for using advocates and influencers to reinforce a brand’s purpose and value, so it was super interesting to hear what Tim had to say. Again, I don’t intend to talk about this as if I’m the expert, but I do want to share some points that really resonated with me…

        Firstly, that WHY thing cropped up, once again reinforcing the idea that buyers don’t want to hear about the what all the time. And part of this is about building trust and credibility, where buyers want to hear from people other than your sales people, talking about why your business is worth talking to and the value-add you deliver. And this is where influencers – or advocates – come in.

        Did you know that there has been a 75X growth in influencer marketing in the past 5 years? 

        So, what is it exactly? Putting it very simply, it’s about moving from brand-focused content to influencer-focused content so that it becomes a much more trusted source of information. For example, including industry experts in your podcasts and video interviews, sharing influencer insights in a blog or article, have them speak as a case study at a trade conference or networking event, etc.

        And making this work in practice? 

        These 5 steps from Tim are super useful guides:

        • Discover your influencers
        • Analyse what they’re interested in
        • Connect with them 
        • Manage, interact and develop relationships
        • Measure the impact (oh yes, we’re still all about data in marketing!)

        Finally, I wanted to share Tim’s 4 Rs of Influencer marketing:

        • Relevance
        • Resonance
        • Reference
        • Reach

        And my key take-away from all of this? That, yes, influencers are important and a fundamental part of any marketing strategy and business success story.

        And final thoughts…

        Ok, so I’m nearly done. But I had to give a shout out to Doug Kessler for his funny and inspiring keynote at the end of the day, ‘Managing your bloody stakeholders’. All so true and all so important if we want to accomplish great things as marketers!

        For those of you who were there, what were your key take-aways, what’s inspired you and what will you change back at the office? For those who weren’t I hope it’s been a useful read!  

        Angela Cattin

        I work with B2B technology brands that want to look good and sell more. Whether you're a start-up, SME or channel partner, I work strategically, and pragmatically, to help you achieve short and long-term business goals on a flexible and affordable basis.

        Angela Cattin

        I work with B2B technology brands that want to look good and sell more. Whether you're a start-up, SME or channel partner, I work strategically, and pragmatically, to help you achieve short and long-term business goals on a flexible and affordable basis.

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        Angela Cattin, B2B Marketing Consultant

        Hi, I'm Angela and I work with B2B technology brands that want to look good and sell more.

        Whether you're a start-up, SME or channel partner, I work strategically, and pragmatically, to help you achieve short and long-term business goals on a flexible and affordable basis.
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