The IDM's 7th Annual b2b conference took place on Wednesday in central
The big themes for me were:
1. Technology - use it to automate aspects of the marketing process and align yourself with sales (Vodaphone case study). By having an automated process, marketers can concentrate on the 'value add' elements such as setting up the campaign, analysing the results and refining the process rather than the physical deployment of details.
2. Identify and segment influencers to your marketplace and have a plan to engage them over time. These people's opinions matter and will have a big positive impact if you get it right. Duncan Brown defined Influencer Marketing as 'targeting key people to influence the market in your favour'. Salesforce.com talked through their case study and steps they went through to identify influencers, train them and then work out how much engagement is required.
3. Have a strategy around social media which can be used as another channel to market as well as other purposes. Cisco told how they have twitter to promote events with excellent results.
5. Understand the customers buying process - ie how they are learning, evaluating, deciding and buying - and where they are at the moment based on their behaviour online was another big theme. For example someone who is downloading pricing information is at an advanced stage and needs to be followed-up urgently. Contrast this with someone who is just trying to search via reading white papers - a less aggressive follow-up approach is needed here, or you risk alienating the prospect!
6. Google ran a workshop which helped to group the many free tools they have - they are all listed here (www.google.com/agencytoolkit).
In summary, the mood of the event was much more positive than this time last year. Everyone seemed to agree that the future of marketing will be different to the past as structural change has occurred in the marketplaces. Those marketers who have craved accountability in the past, now have the tools to prove that a good marketing plan, well executed adds enormous value to a business.