Our Top Takeaways from the B2B Marketing Exchange

Being back at the B2B Marketing Exchange is like going for a family reunion, except everyone actually understands what you do for a living. It’s always great to network with our peers and hear from some of the amazing thought leaders. We’ve put together our key learnings from Demandbase’s 9th (!) time at the conference.

It’s not about selling: This is a conference full of marketers, who know all the tricks in the book so a regular sales pitch just doesn’t cut it. A genuine connection and focus on the overall business value need to be at the core of interactions. Chances are the marketer you connect with may not be the person you need to talk to at that company, but you being genuine with them, will win you an introduction to the right person.

Creativity pays: TrustRadius ran a fun campaign where attendees shared their pain points and were entered into a draw to win $1,000. It not only engaged attendees but also received a lot of attention on social. Ceros, on the other hand, opted to engage attendees prior to the conference. They curated this gorgeous landing page to showcase every aspect of their presence at the event—from their speaking session, booth, and who from the company you could meet with onsite.

ABM is on the up and up: It’s fair to say that ABM is now a foundational piece of any marketing (and company!) strategy. Besides the hot line up of ABM sessions from SAP, RingCentral, SiriusDecisions, and Demandbase —there was chatter of it everywhere. Demandbase even held an Advanced ABM Certification Workshop the day after the conference. The certification was jam-packed. Even after three full days of sessions, people were still hungry to learn more about ABM. We even had people postpone their flights and stay back to join in on the ABM action!

Intent, a hot topic that’s only getting hotter: Intent data isn’t new to the B2B world, but as customers get more sophisticated, the bar on its utilization is only getting higher. Marketers are tasked with having to capture, interpret and respond to buying behavior in real-time. Thus, building hyper-personalized experiences and content along with enabling the orchestration of a smooth marketing and sales handoff is essential for B2B marketing campaigns to succeed. Noteworthy sessions that highlighted this were RingCentral’s session with Folloze, How RingCentral Went Up-Market with a Hyper-Personalized Account-Based Strategy that won them a Killer Content Award, and SiriusDecisions, Decoding B2B Buying Behavior: How to Contextualize Messaging for Hyper-Personalization.

Inspiring quotes heard around the conference:

    “Brilliance emerges in community. We need other people to help us do our best work. Seek out people who will speak truth to us. Do you have people in your life who inspire and challenge you routinely?” ~ Todd Henry, Author

    #Emailmarketing rule: Sell the offer, not the product. Is it an ebook? Webinar reg? That’s what the email should be about, not the end product.” ~ Howard J. Sewell, President of Spear Marketing Group

    “Orchestrating Sales and Marketing alignment is always important, but mapping that out becomes that much more important when times are tough and you have 10-20% budget cuts.” Peter Isaacson, CMO, Demandbase

    “Intent, especially when times are tight, can be a great tool to prioritize your accounts, but you also want to use data to make sure you’re investing the appropriate amount per account and you’re making every engagement very personalized.” Peter Isaacson, CMO, Demandbase

    “When segmenting, it’s key to find low cost buy segments. Even if you don’t want to target them, it helps you understand who not to target. ” Julie Brown, Institutional Market Leader, Johnson Controls

All good things come to an end, but luckily for all of us, there’s the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange in Boston to look forward to in August. We hope to see you there and that you’re as inspired to creatively activate your presence at conferences. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn how you can optimize your ABM strategy and advertising campaigns with the most relevant accounts based on intent, check out this on-demand webinar.