Last week I attended BMA’s Masters of B2B Marketing Conference in Chicago. A common theme thread through many of the discussions was that brands with a less risk averse, more creative approach are the ones whose marketing are delivering outsized results. This approach starts with a CMO or segment marketing leader who not only realizes yesterday’s marketing strategies and tactics no longer delivers results, but also who empowers his or her team to pursue the creation of something innovative.
Here are a few examples of companies pursuing less risk averse, more creative marketing:
- Arrow Electronics acquired more than a dozen media platforms (e.g., magazines, websites, newsletter subscribers).
- Dell used a robust combination of data analytics, an agile methodology and content creation with an aggressive approach to trying new technologies. The result was double digit increases in major KPIs.
- Hiscox created their Encourage Courage platform to get SMBs attention by embracing risk.
- TD Ameritrade’s Human Finance platform does what many financial services have been trying less successfully to do — show how financial planning really helps by boosting registered investment advisers (RIAs).
The team responsible for the Human Finance platform shared the ups and downs of building it over a multi-year period (and there were plenty… the point here being that content creation process is as much art as it is science).
Here are the top takeaways from BMA’s Masters of B2B Marketing:
- B2B companies must embrace their fear and be bold with their marketing (especially content). This was repeated time and time again by most of the speakers.
- “Show up on digital the way a person would. Not the way a corporation would.” – Linda Boff, CMO, GE
- Both SAP and CapGemini are examples of companies that have taken money from advertising and put it into content platforms. The results have exploded.
- Content takes a minimum of four to five months to pay off. Adjust expectations accordingly.
- As we have been preaching, think content platforms not campaigns and one-offs. When you build content platforms, you turn marketing expenses into assets that provide returns for years.
And here are some additional points of note and great quotes:
- “Fear and conservative thinking are what hold back a lot of traditional organizations. It puts artificial constraints on innovation. Have a sense of fearlessness. Try and experiment without fear. Your company has nothing to lose.” – Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO, AirBNB
- “Fear is a short term motivator.” Russ Findlay, Head of Marketing, Hiscox
- Several companies mentioned that partnering with other organization silos, like sales and even compliance, results in better performance.
- What do your customers want to read about? Type in your common search terms into Google Trends or Buzz Sumo and find out.
- “Terms like branded content are used because it implies it doesn’t have to be great. But it has to be great.” – Linda Boff, CMO, GE
- “Facebook is your competitor.” – Andy Crestodina, Co-founder, Orbit Media
For more insights, you can check our our Tweets from the event.