As far as I know, I’m doing a pretty good job.
Creating strategies, coming up with new ideas, and putting out cutting-edge content for our B2B clients. And as far as I know, I think we’re doing great work. I mean, we have those KPIs and numbers to back us on how effective or creative we are. And our clients seem pretty happy.
But, looking beyond the numbers, how do we really know we’re doing great work? I mean, do we have the most brilliant insights on our target audience? Are our strategies on point and the best they can be? Are our processes the most effective ways of doing things? Is there something we’re missing that we aren’t even aware of?
Honestly, I don’t know.
Most of the time, I don’t really have much exposure to what others are up to in the B2B space. Of course, I see the occasional piece of really good work, but most of the time, I’m hard at work on my own clients, in my own little bubble.
But suddenly, a few weeks ago, my bubble was popped in a big way. Because I was asked to attend the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum.
This was the first business conference I’ve ever been to, and if I’m completely transparent, I didn’t think I would enjoy it.
But I was proved wrong. Because, turns out, it was an eye-opening experience.
Right away, the opening remarks made by Emma Roborgh, founder and CEO of B2B Marketing Leaders Forum, struck a massive chord with me, and I was hooked.
Emma told us the story of why she decided to organise this conference for the first time, about 7 years ago. At the time, there was no other conference that offered content specifically on B2B marketing. And so, there was no way to be exposed to what was happening in the B2B space and to be updated on the constant changes in the marketplace.
And so, Emma organised the first B2B Marketing Leaders Forum to help with her own career development and professional knowledge. And here was I thinking I was the only one in a bubble. Turns out that she felt this way and so did many others at the conference.
It felt good to belong to something bigger and to feel that we were all in the same boat.
Inspired and pumped, I settled down to enjoy two great days of content and opened my mind to new ways of doing things. Ways that I’ve never even considered before.
And here are a couple of the things that really resonated with me across the two days.
Having been at Pounce for almost a year, I know quite a bit about ABM. But I was still trying to understand what ABX was.
Turns out it was the star of the show and cropped up in a lot of conversations at the conference. And that’s because ABX is the newer, smarter way of doing ABM.
In summary, ABX’s strategy is to prioritise the customer experience and relationship instead of just focusing on the returns.
ABX: A ‘New Hope’ for marketers
In one of the sessions, which, by the way, was a Star Wars-themed presentation (cause the conference was on May the 4th. Clever, right?), they explained that the beloved and heroic ABM, which has been a huge help to marketers, is now facing villains in the form of the pandemic. And as ABM starts to fall, ABX arises as “A New Hope” for B2B marketers.
This was one of the most engaging presentations I’ve ever seen, they simply killed it. It’s not an easy thing to do – to present something so technical in an engaging and easy-to-digest way. Ah… the beauty of storytelling.
In any case, I can now proudly say I know the difference between ABM and ABX.
And now for the meat in the sandwich – content marketing (call me biased but this is my jam).
There were lots of great talks about content this year. And as a content producer and ‘social queen’ at Pounce, I took it upon myself to sit in all sessions. But there was one session that literally brought me to tears, and did the same to the other attendees.
This “Marketing for IT/SaaS” session was led by Sophie Pank, Director of Marketing APAC from Deputy, and a few others.
Empathise through content
Sophie shared a social campaign her marketing team created during the pandemic, where she interviewed business owners in the hospitality industry, who were also their clients. She asked them to talk about the hardships they faced during the lockdown – having to let people go, see their businesses suffer, etc.
Hearing these first-hand accounts of real people having their worlds turned upside down by Covid struck a real chord with me and other members of the audience. Tissues were everywhere.
Afterwards, the team turned these interviews into a series of videos and invited more business owners to speak up and share their stories.
The response to the campaign was extraordinary because the content strongly identified with the target audience’s pain point. It was emotional and topical, and more importantly, it was real and authentic. As a result, they raised over $120,000 for vulnerable workers through the ‘Gift A Shift’ campaign.
The part that really shook me was – I used to have this perception of marketers as people who always have hidden agendas, as people who only care about what they get in return. But what I realised after this session was – to be successful at marketing, first, you need to understand your audience, feel what they feel, and be able to empathize with them.
There, another bubble burst.
Besides marketing, there was also lots of talk about leadership. A constant theme on the first day was the importance of bringing the right people into the team and creating a nurturing environment to make them want to stay.
Hire for the team
As part of Emma’s opening speech, she shared a quote by Guy Kawasaki “A players hire A+ players, B players hire C players.” And Jeremy Nicholas, CMO of Telstra, also shared the importance of hiring talented people. “1 great person is worth 2-3 people.”
This really gave me assurance and peace of mind, that people in powerful positions and leaders do recognize talent when they see it, and they really value it. It’s nice to know you’ll be rewarded and appreciated if you keep doing what you do well.
While Tracy Gawthorne said that if organisations aren’t adaptable and enable their team members to grow and upskill, then they risk losing talented people who don’t feel valued.
It’s interesting to learn that we’ve reached a point where organisations and companies have to cater to people, rather than employees having to try to ‘fit the mould’ created by companies.
I’m honoured Pounce asked me to join them at the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum. And I’m glad I was there because even though I’m still new to B2B, at this conference, I really saw what B2B can be for me.