Lessons from the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum

2018 B2B MarketingProfs Forum logo

A little more than a week has passed since Ann Handley and the MarketingProfs team came to San Francisco for its annual B2B Marketing Forum. This was my first year attending and I’m so glad I did!

Over three days in November, more than 1,000 marketing leaders came together to learn, network and share marketing tips. The event included four keynotes, 65 sessions, six all-day workshops and networking events.

Because I live nearby, in Oakland, California, it was an easy trip. I was able to get work done in the mornings before hopping on BART and switched into conference mode.

I won’t give away everything I learned (to encourage you to attend in 2019!) but I will give you a few bullet points to help you along your marketing journey.

Build a better website

It’s nice to have a beautiful website. It’s much nicer to have a website that attracts visitors, turns visitors into leads and leads into customers.

  • The main reason a website fails: findability.
  • To boost conversions your web pages need the following components in the following order: address the question, provide the answer, provide evidence to support that answer, and prompt the user to take action.
  • Be specific in your CTA. Instead of “contact us today!” try “speak with an expert about your content marketing plan.”

— Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media Studios

Understand B2B buyer data

  • According to a survey of 342 B2B buyers, 73% reach out at or near the beginning of the buying process. They’re looking for:
  • objective information
  • Someone to help them define their needs and frame their decision
  • 65% are more likely to work with a vendor that challenges their way of doing business or shows them a new way to solve an old problem.

— Matthew T. Grant, Aberdeen Group and Michael O’Toole, PJA Advertising + Marketing

Tell a good story

When selecting topics for branded content, consider topics that are:

  • Teachable (How Tos, Deep Dives, etc.)
  • Unique (Is your story somehow different or surprising?)
  • Don’t forget the human connection. People relate to stories more than facts and figures.
  • Use reputable sources (for example, a professor or researcher in your field rather than your company’s sales manager)

— Melanie Deziel, StoryFuel

Use power words

How you phrase something determines how readers respond to your copy. And some words have more power than others.

  • Readers respond to the word “because.” Why? Because it feels relatable. Oh! Of course that’s why!
  • They also respond to eye magnet words such as “easy,” “quick,” “improved,” and “secret.”
  • And they follow the herd mentality: “Join the 30,000 other people that get our tech tips every week.”
  • Keep it simple: use short sentences and active voice. Break text up into “chunks” of information.

— Nancy Harhut, chief creative officer, HBT Marketing

Did you attend the MarketingProfs Conference, or another marketing conference this year? What was one of the most important things you learned? Share with us in the comments below!

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