I’ve been going to Marketing Profs events for 3 years now, and they remain my favorite marketing-oriented conferences. Even when I started writing articles for Marketing Profs 4 years ago, Ann stressed to me constantly to ‘give the readers a plan of action, something they can implement immediately’. That really is the cornerstone of all content Marketing Profs’ creates, and the conferences are no different. The sessions are designed so that you can take what you have learned back to your team in the office the next day and immediately get started improving your marketing efforts.
I wanted to share with you some of the things I learned from a few of the sessions I was able to attend:
Developing Enterprise Social Media Strategies led by David B Thomas and Mike Barlow
Some of the key points shared and discussed:
- David talked about how at SAS they built a Marketing 2.0 council that gathered internal stakeholders and educated them on social media and new media tools. David stressed that it is good to get legal and HR involved in the process, as legal is there to ‘identify risks and communicate them’. Sam Fiorella added that his company has what it calls a Social Enablement Policy and that the policy spells out the ‘dos and donts’ of social media.
- Social media needs to be spread throughout the organization, don’t leave it in the hands of the evangelists and proponents. Mike added that you should build 3 quick stories that you can use to help sell social media to your organization or company. It could be a success story that your company/org has had, or maybe something a competitor did that worked. Or an opportunity lost.
- One of the attendees (I apologize for not remembering who) said their company created a Social Media Marketing Cookbook, which took experiences of field marketers and then explained how social media could have helped them in this instances. For example, dealing with customers directly, in a retail setting, etc. How could social media have made their jobs easier?
- Eloqua created a Social Media Playbook and encouraged others to ‘steal out Social Media Playbook’. Good example of creating content that spreads.
- David clarified that it took about a year and a half for the Social Media Council to gain some real internal traction at SAS, and that the biggest obstacle was ‘big company inertia’. David said they overcame this by having a champion in the C-Suite and by ‘waiting it out’. Persistence is key.
- Help the C-Suite see the value of social media, show them what competitors are doing and show how they are gaining a competitive advantage.
- Look at how each department is tracking engagement and measuring, then make the case for how social media could improve those engagement efforts.
- Tim Washer had a wonderful point about experimentation. He said executives will always ask for metrics and the ROI of social media, but that you should experiment. Create content and promote it in different ways. He said while he was at IBM, that they had workers create ‘This is where I work’ videos. Tim added that workers were given ‘brand guidelines’, but also the freedom to otherwise be creative in creating their videos. These were meant to be shared internally, but the best ones were taken and shared externally. Fabulous example of using video to humanize a brand, and Tim led a session on that very topic.
- A lot of B2B attendees mentioned having difficulty getting engineers involved in blogging. Someone (I think it was Michael Brenner?) made the point to make sure that engineers understand that blogging gives them a way to connect directing with their customers on a one-to-one basis.
Next up was CK’s session on The Mobile Revolution and B2B. What I love is that CK immediately grabbed the audience’s attention with a couple of OMG! stats:
- 6.7 Billion people on earth, and there are 5 billion mobile subscriptions
- 95% of text messages are read, and most within 5 mins
Here’s some other (action) points from her session:
- Optimize your current website for mobile
- Add a ‘mobile-friendly’ link at the top of every email you send
- Make sure the online experience you are giving customers is optimized for mobile, and the content you create should be as well.
- Think about how your customers are using mobile, think graphically, make sure mobile content maps to mobile needs
- Conduct a full audit of all marketing programs and note how implementing a mobile aspect could increase efficiencies. For example, at a trade show, have QR codes so attendees can get content and information without asking them to lug around papers they may throw away later.
- Mobile doesn’t replace social media, it amplifies it’s effectiveness. Think of all the sharing we do via social media, when we have a mobile device, we can do that on the go.
This is probably my favorite slide of the event, and it comes from the Beyond Blogs and White Papers session with Ann Handley, Pawan Deshpande, Joe Chernov and Becki Dilworth. Here’s a few of the points they raised:
- The ‘old way’ that companies spoke to customers was only when it had news to share, ie the Press Release
- Ann made the point that ‘Your content is your sales staff’.
- Becki told about how Bridgeline decided to sponsor a speaking tour for Ann across 9 cities. She said the events had little to no promotion of Bridgeline, it was all about letting Ann create content that was beneficial to potential Bridgeline clients. Becki said the Content Revolution Tour cost Bridgeline $150,000, but generated over 1,500 qualified leads for the software company.
- Don’t repurpose or recycle existing content, re-imagine it. The point is to look at how you can change existing content, such as taking a White Paper and making it into a podcast, or a video. You could even take the FAQ on your website and expand some of those into individual blog posts. For example, I created a lot of content during the B2B Forum. I took a ton of pictures and live-tweeted the event as much as possible. I then took the pictures and put them on Flickr, but now I am using them in my blog posts as well. All those tweets I left resulted in my getting some new followers, but I also used them as a note-taking mechanism, and am now using them to help write this post.
- Slideshare is a very under-utilized ‘social media outpost’.
And now…a word about Marketing Profs’ keynotes.
Marketing Profs is one of the few event organizers/planners that understand the purpose of a keynote session. It is supposed to be amazing. It is supposed to inspire you and make you look at the world differently. Marketing Profs always has amazing keynotes, and the B2B Forum certainly did not disappoint. If you are planning a conference, make sure you follow the Marketing Profs example here. All their sessions are informative and valuable, but the keynotes are truly special. As they should be.
Day One’s keynote was Guy Winch talking about How Your Unhappiest Customers Can (Paradoxically!) Help You Foster Fans.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
- 95% of us will not complain when we have a bad customer experience, but we will in turn tell an average of 16 people about the bad experience! And as Guy pointed out, as we keep retelling the story, we keep getting re-aggravated about the experience, and I am sure the telling of the story changes a bit after 16 times 😉 But that also helps cement our anger toward the brand. The paradox here is that we voice our displeasure to everyone EXCEPT the people who could fix our problem.
- In general, doctors aren’t sued due to mistakes they make, but because the patient thinks they don’t care about them. Listening is key, but so is HEARING and showing empathy with what the customer is going through.
- A sudden change in engagement levels is a hint that a customer may have a complaint that they aren’t telling you about.
- Make it easy for your customers to complain to you, so they won’t complain to friends and other customers. You WANT them to complain to YOU, because then you can do something about it.
- To repair a damaged customer relationship, give an effective apology, open communication about the resolution process, and have a great follow-up to see if the customer is satisfied.
- An effective apology must include an emotional validation. You have to communicate to the customer that you understand and sympathize with their point of view. You should also match the emotional tone of your customer. Your concern should reflect their level of distress. And realize that validating feelings is NOT admitting fault!
- To rebuild trust with a customer, first promise, then deliver. Repeatedly.
Day Two Keynote: Nancy Duarte discussing Resonate: Presenting Ideas That Inspire Change
This session was going to show us how to create amazing presentations, so I was really looking forward to hearing Nancy, and she didn’t disappoint. I thought she made one of the best points of the entire event when she said that took many speakers treat their presentations as if THEY are the hero. The speaker is never the hero, it’s always the audience. If you look at the above photo (any presentation with a Star Wars reference has to be amazing), the hero is Luke, who is the audience. The speaker’s role is that of Yoda, or the mentor. The speaker’s job is to move the audience to a better place via their presentation.
I have to apologize, because I didn’t take a lot of notes on this session, simply because Nancy had me mesmerized. She did talk about the structure of an amazing presentation. It alternates between What Is and What Could Be. The idea is to re-enforce to the audience that the What Is is now, but if we change our mindset, or change our actions, or buy a product, that we could achieve What Could Be. Here is a picture of the diagram:
She then pointed out how two different speeches followed this exact formula, she first looked at Steve Jobs’ iPhone announcement in 2007, and then Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream…’ speech. Embedded here is her TEDx East talk where she covered both of these examples, so please do watch it:
All in all, this was another amazing Marketing Profs event. You should definitely consider attending one of their events, they are a bit more expensive than other events, but you are getting what you pay for. BTW if you’d like to read my review of the LIVE #Blogchat at B2B Forum click here.