Content, content, content. It‚Äôs all anyone seems to be talking about nowadays… Recently, along with 900 other marketing professionals, four members of Team Somersault attended the 2016 B2B Marketing Summit in London. Happily, we can report that the B2B marketing world, so often seen as the ‚Äòpoor relation‚Äô when compared to its consumer sibling, is a genuinely exciting space to be in. There were some clear themes and takeaways from the event which we‚Äôve mapped out for you below:
Strategy, Planning and Execution is Everything
Joe Pullizzi was the opening keynote and one of the best speakers at the event. For those not familiar, he is widely credited with coining the term ‚Äòcontent marketing‚Äô, although he readily acknowledges that the concept has been around since the invention of the printing press. Joe‚Äôs presentation proved that it‚Äôs often the simplest ideas that are most effective. By using some random examples (check out the The Chicken Whisperer) he highlighted the fact that marketers must first develop a mission statement (audience, content, purpose) and find their marketing ‚Äòsweet spot‚Äô to identify that true defining advantage. Following the planning stage, it‚Äôs all about quality of the execution. This is about firstly building an audience (interestingly Joe stood firmly by the point that building an email database is the most effective way to do this) and then supplying them with useful, relevant content. It takes time to build an audience ‚Äì allow 12-18 months, communicate with them in a way they understand ‚Äì and do it regularly. There was also a reference to brands building audiences on ‚Äòrented land‚Äô such as YouTube and Facebook. Whilst acknowledging the usefulness and relevance of these platforms he also urged the audience to consider the fact that a captive audience on those channels could be one algorithm tweak away from disappearing.
Quality over Quantity
A recurring theme throughout the day was the reference to ‚Äòdoing less things, better‚Äô. There was also a lot of talk about the importance of being objectives driven. At Somersault we call this ‘outcomes over outputs’. Many marketers are under pressure to produce ‚Äòstuff‚Äô and often do so without a proper strategy in place. Ultimately now we live in an age where content consumers value authenticity over anything else (ad blockers anyone?). The main message throughout the day was to stop and think about why you are creating something. Does it solve a problem and does it address your audience? Gail Baillie from Standard Life summed this up when discussing one of their successful campaigns: “Our campaign was born out of what our customers care about, are concerned about, are intrigued by‚Äù. What a great starting point for any brand.
The Rock and the Turkey Slices
Forgive the misleading title, this saying was gleaned from who many thought was the most interesting speaker of the day- Jason Miller from LinkedIn. Jason re-iterated a concept that we at Somersault have been preaching for some time now- make the most of the content you create! The ‚Äòrock‚Äô of the title refers to creating your one big piece of content- for Jason this was the Sophisticated Marketers Guide to LinkedIn, which has been the most downloaded piece of content produced by LinkedIn for the last 3 years. This is where the turkey slices come in‚Ä¶Jason‚Äôs next analogy referred to how a whole turkey can be sliced up and re-used in all manner of ways. Essentially, it‚Äôs all about repurposing your important content and being imaginative with what you have taken the time to create.
Ambition Versus Reality
This was another recurring theme throughout the day and one that we wholeheartedly agree with. As marketers we all want a great mix of innovative ways to reach our audiences. However, this mix does not need to be made up of 100 different things. It‚Äôs essential to identify:
- The best ways to reach the required audience (talk to them!)
- What as a marketing team can be delivered on a high quality and consistent basis?
For some businesses this may be as simple as a blog post or infographic each week, for others much more complicated. The important thing is to be realistic. As a follow on from this it‚Äôs important to take the time to test content and understand what resonates with the audience. Sometimes it might be the most unexpected thing.
Two Shiny new things
Account Based Marketing was a hot topic at this year‚Äôs event. Prospective clients are now engaging much later in the sales cycle, so relevant content plays a huge role in persuading clients to engage earlier. As with all marketing events recently, Virtual Reality headsets were keeping people entertained in the exhibitor area. It’s clear that VR has potential to create phenomenal work in the B2B space, with some some obvious applications (and not so obvious- see the video below) but it still feels like early days at the moment. One thing is for sure, it will be featuring much more prominently in the near future.
So all in all an extremely interesting day at the Summit with a good mix of general themes and principles right down to the use of specific tools and focus on specific ‚Äòreal world‚Äô examples. For any more information on the topics above feel free to drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact us on Twitter/LinkedIn.