Take Aways from Marketing Sherpa B2B Summit

Getting ready to head home from the Sherpa B2B Summit tonight. Want to thank the team at MarketingSherpa for inviting me to speak. I enjoyed it immensely and it seemed like my talk went over well.  As I have said before, in addition to picking up great topics and lessons from the presenters, I really appreciate the time just to think about marketing topics. I usually come home with a long list of great ideas, hopefully we can actually execute some of them.

So in no particular order here are some my takeaways/ideas/thoughts from the event.

Chairs: I have been to numerous shows, and usually the table + chair set up is more fitting of a high school classroom. Kudos to the Westin for having good space and comfy chairs. Having spent over 40 hours on a plane in the last week or so, I was happy for that!

Grasshopper Viral Video: This was a cool viral campaign. See the details here and the video here



I thought it was Kind of similar to some recent ads on TV celebrating the small businesses that drive the economy. While this video is extremely cool, seems a bit disconnected from the promise of the brand.

Conversions: Big topic of the conference centered on conversions, using SEO and PPC specifically to drive business opportunities. Some great stories on how people blew up their sites to focus on search leads with amazing results.

Hubspot: Much thanks to Mike and the team for a nice dinner out.  Some of things they themselves are doing with video is very cool and they have a great spirit. Definitely worth taking a look at their service.

Lead Scoring: We have only started the lead scoring process because volume is low, but we need to get serious. Some companies are doing some amazingly advanced things to score leads into the nurture funnel vs the sales funnel.  Emily Salus of Collabnet told a great story on their effort. A good interview on the topic with her can be found on the Smashmouth Marketing Blog.

I especially liked the idea that students get a -500 on a +100 scale. Competitors get -250. They stay in the system though so they can track what they do, but they never make it to sales. Love it.

Facebook for B2B, yes or no? Lots of discussion about if Facebook is really a viable channel for B2B. A few companies (including me) are very skeptical. Yet there are a few really strong examples of companies taking their “Fans” and turning that into business.  I posted the question to my FB network and right now its running 5-1 against.  For us, it’s likely going to help us more on recruiting, but time will tell.

If you are interested in the notes that MarketingSherpa took and the slides from the event (including mine) you can link to them here:



And I you want to review the Tweets from the event search on #sherpab2b09.

See you in Boston in two weeks!


MarketingSherpa’s B2B Marketing Summit

I have spent the last few days jamming on my presentation for the upcoming Marketing Sherpa B2B event in San Francisco and Boston.  I am trying to avoid doing bulleted slides (so BORING!), but its harder than it looks.

I am calling this talk: “How to market when every dollar counts–Twice.”  The thrust of the presentation is centered on how we do more with less, while avoiding the natural paralysis that arises when budgets shrink and the need to focus goes up.  I haven’t been blessed with massive budgets in my career so instead I have tried to look for creative ways to make budget dollars go farther.  This presentation is a compilation of my best thinking on this topic, and a case study on our recent agile development campaign.

And for good measure, I am throwing in a few words on good ‘ol micro economic opportunity cost theory just to see if people are awake in the back of the room.  Can’t wait to see the Twitter chatter when I get to THAT point in the presentation!

Speaking of Twitter, the coordinators published the event hashtag this week.  You can follow the proceedings using #sherpab2b09. And as the event draws closer I intend to capture some of your best ideas for cost effective marketing concepts and posting them here and republishing them over Twitter.  But don’t be shy, you can start now.

See you in San Francisco, or Boston.

Working a Global Room

This is soo not what I planned to write about today. I had intended to plug a case study done by MarketingSherpa about our landing page test work.  Interesting case study, you can read it here if you are a member, or just ping me and I will tell you what it said.

But instead I decided to write about networking at events, and breaking through the clique. My new online BFF Mack Collier (ok, it’s just a one way relationship at this point…) has a nice discussion going on over at his blog so better to read that. But as you do, consider if you were in another country.  Because even as the Prototypical Extrovert (when I do Myers Briggs, I just skip over the first part. Give me an “E” and let’s move on already!) that networking thing can be very challenging to overcome, particularly if you are outside of your home country.

So how do you work the room? For me, it’s about engaging someone in eye contact over something inane like: I can’t figure out what session I am going to attend, this speaker is crazy, this food is remarkably good, etc, and then you are off to the races. Generally people like making contact so once you break the ice, it’s pretty easy to have a dialogue if you find common ground in the first 30 seconds. And yes, I know, all of you introverts in the room just crawled back under your desk merely at the thought.

But what if you are outside your home country? Now that is intimidating even for me, the ultimate extrovert.

Imagine, sidling up to a conversation hoping to join, but the participants are all speaking French, or Hebrew, or German, or… Tough to join if you don’t speak those languages, and very courageous to step in and ask them if they speak English.

I have had the good fortune to attend conferences in many different countries and I can honestly say I haven’t figured this one out completely yet. It helps to know that if the conference is in English, pretty much everyone attending has some command of the language. Also some countries have a greater population of English speakers than others of course. So in Israel for example it’s pretty easy, though no less intimidating, to start a conversation in English. At Ness’ event last year in Tel Aviv that Al Gore spoke at, it took me a few minutes to realize that even though everyone was speaking Hebrew, I could get them to talk to me in English.

The best I have come up with is to listen for English and pounce, make a few friends early and stay connected to them throughout. Of course, now you have just become the impenetrable circle of English speakers that those folks from France, or Germany or Israel envy!

Use Twitter to Make Your Conference Better

I read this headline: “Five reasons why your business/social media conference sucks” at Viral Garden about the MarketingProf’s B2B forum and about died. How could he think the show was terrible?  But then I read the piece and it’s a pretty good primer on how to run a good event, using the forum as an example of what To-Do rather than What-Not-To-Do.

The one thing I would add is using Twitter to draw in the conversation in real time.  They didn’t do it overtly at the conference, but you could track the real time feed using the hash tag #mpb2b easily enough.  Certainly some people were just annoying about it (is it necessary to update every two seconds? Really?) but it gave me a good perspective on what else was happening, and gave a voice to the audience.

Added bonus, I knew what I was missing in other sessions! After all, how many times are you sitting in a session that isn’t very good and wondering what the other ones were like? Well, now you can find out.

I am speaking at an upcoming MarketingSherpa event and have a few ideas on how to use Twitter to draw the audience in before, during and after, but am interested in more. Post your ideas here, and I will give you a shout out from the stage (although after reading the Viral Garden, I think I will skip the PPT!)

(PS @aplusk is now my new BFF!)


Wrap up from MarketingProfs B2B Event

Ok. It’s hard to distill down what I learned over 2 days at the event in Boston. But I will try.

  • Measure everything, and link it to business outcomes. If you aren’t tracking pipeline growth and efficiency metrics, you might just be out of a job soon.
  • IBM is doing some seriously cool stuff online, unfortunately I can’t do any of it.
  • What people are doing with Twitter is pretty amazing.  Not sure why they are compelled to “tweet the conference” but it was sure interesting to see the real time audience chatter
  • And along the lines of Twitter, I better get cracking on that personally and professionally.  In 24 hours I figured out what  a “Hash Tag” was and doubled the folks following me. I even had three RTs!
  • iPhones are ruling the marketing universe.  But I still like my Blackberry.
  • From Babcock & Jenkins + Forrester, there is no such thing as a traditional “Funnel” any more, and it’s increasingly difficult to measure what campaign action drove the final sale.

And to top it all off, I had a pretty timely meeting with ReachForce. Talk about right service at the right time, right now.

In the end, I realize that I learned a ton of things, and met some great folks. But perhaps the true value I get out of these things is just some dedicated time to get outside of my box.  To think about marketing innovation and where we can push next.   Sure I remember some basic blocking and tackling things as well, but it’s the focused time to think about marketing strategy and tactics without worrying about day to day execution for a few minutes.

And for that alone, the event was well worth it.