I just returned from a BMA Global Conference Series event. This event was titled “Connect through Content – Navigating Your Company’s Content Journey”. BMA, Business Marketing Association, is the leading association for b2b marketers. I summarized the conference to help you stay on top.
If you are planning next year’s marketing strategy, these key takeaways will help you. In particular they will help you with the Planning, Engagement and Execution marketing strategy steps.
Here Are The Key Takeaways:
The conference kicked off with a keynote from Robert Rose. He’s the Chief Strategist at the Content Marketing Institute. He masterfully captures the Kansas City audience attention by wearing a KC Royals hat. That was the day the Royals were playing game 6 in the World Series. That was clear proof he knows how to kickoff with epic content.
Robert began asking, “What’s your 2020 Marketing Strategy? He explained how it’s closer than we think. He then walked us through the different past era’s of marketing being:
1st Era – The Trade Era (1850’s)
2nd Era – The Production Era (1860’s-1920’s)
3rd Era – The Sales Era (1920’s – 1940’s)
4th Era – the Marketing Department Era (1940’s-1960’s)
5th Era – The Marketing Company Era (1960’s-1997)
6th Era – The Relationship Era (1997 – 2015)
The trend shows the future 7th Era will be “The Experience Era”. Relationship marketing isn’t enough if there’s not an experience that creates value. You can’t describe value, you create it through content marketing. Content marketing is here but quickly evolving. Most companies (90%) are doing it but only 34% feel it’s effective.
The key takeaway here is, to be effective you must have a Documented Strategy. The buyer’s journey is no longer a guided tour. It’s a series of events that we influence. Driving content experiences will be the way to drive value. Reduce the focus on the number of experiences. Focus on greater impact of the experience. He left us with a link to his new book to help marketing leaders lead in the new 7th Era.
Next up was Kevin Espinosa, the Digital Marketing Manager at Caterpillar. He presented how content is the critical component of their global social media strategy. His key takeaways included:
- You must create one customer experience regardless of access points and deliver in the moment.
- Leverage inspiration & awareness. ie. they made big rigs warm & approachable
- Partner with brand marketing to identify inspirational stories that drive lead gen activity. (ie. Support in natural disaster cleanup efforts)
- Turn every customer into a loyal customer
3rd on the stage was Tim Thorpe, Director of Digital Content/Global Marketing at Black & Veatch. His topic was on the content journey of a global enterprise. He explained that content marketing when produced and distributed within an large organization starts with culture. Culture change management is the key to success. His technical background was foundational to the integration of their CRM, CMS, automation and tools. My favorite content marketing takeaway from Tim was that organizations must “adapt or die”. Content marketing is a test of the organization’s mettle to accept change and adapt.
4th on the stage was Jeffrey Rohrs, VP Marketing Insights at SalesForce Marketing Cloud. His presentation was titled, “Audience: The Flip-side of Content Marketing.” Jeffrey describes how content marketing and proprietary audience development are different sides of the same coin. What is content without an audience? He stressed to not catch “audience assumption disorder”. That is the build it and they will come mentality.
Audiences are assets. Traditionally, marketing is thought of as cost centers. However, we are really asset managers that build audiences (Subscribers). If you launch content without an audience, you are launching that content into an abyss. He further explains, the audiences you’re developing are Seekers, Amplifiers and Joiners. The long term key takeaway is, “The Audience Imperative”. Use your media to increase the size, engagement & value of your proprietary audiences. For more on Audiences, read his new book called, “Audience”. Subtitled, Marketing in the age of subscribers, fans and followers.
Last but not least, Shelly Kramer, CEO of V3, closed the great event out. Her presentation was titled, “The Key to Content Marketing Success. Focus on Customer Experience.” This presentation was packed with insights:
“Think about the brands you love and why you love them – that’s customer experience.”
“How can you be a thought leader if people do not know what you are thinking? Give your content away.”
“Relationships are created today with information”
“Make opting in a breeze”
“Focus on mobile. Make sure you see how customers experience your site on mobile”