Top B2B Marketing Quotes and Takeaways from Sophisticated Marketer LIVE!

May 12, 2016

The Sophisticated Marketer LIVE

B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring. Marketers far more experienced and knowledgeable than I am agree with me on that point. We B2B marketers are free to be just as entertaining and creative as our B2C counterparts.

This idea of bringing personality to B2B marketing has led me to some cool places with LinkedIn, and it was the driving force behind the Sophisticated Marketer LIVE webcast. Instead of your standard “narrating a presentation deck” webinar, I wanted to create some excitement by borrowing elements of a late night talk show.

So we traded the slides and talking heads for an in-person interview format, kept the tone casual, and spiced things up with a laugh track and theme music. We upped the production value of your usual webinar, too; we had a multi-camera setup for broadcast-quality audio and video. 

Most importantly, instead of a heavily outlined presentation, this was an off-the-cuff chat. We even got to ask questions of the audience and discuss the results in real-time. The end result was somewhere between an interview, a round table, and a lively dinner conversation (minus the dinner, unfortunately).

The informal atmosphere definitely brought out the best in my guests:

If you missed the broadcast, don’t worry; you can catch a rerun at the Sophisticated Marketer LIVE page. Here are just a few of the key takeaways and quotes from the broadcast:

1. Social Media Marketing World Roundup with Alex Rynne

My first guest was Alex Rynne, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ resident millennial and a whip-smart content marketer. She presented for the first time at last month’s Social Media Marketing World, and absolutely killed it. Alex offered her highlights from the conference.

One of the biggest takeaways from SMMW for Alexandra came from Brian Solis, who said, “We are the people who we are marketing to.” The gist of Brian’s presentation was that our content needs to focus on alleviating pain points—that we need to stop thinking like marketers and start thinking like people.

Alex and I both were impressed with the Sales Lion himself, Marcus Sheridan. He reminded us that there’s no prize for hitting “publish:” The real work of amplification, nurturing, and measurement begins once your content is out there.

Chocolate Personas and Content Strategy with Lauren Goldstein

“Sometimes, great content is something that sales feels confident walking in the door with. That’s great content, too. It’s not just about servicing the end customer.” – Lauren Goldstein

Lauren Goldstein started her interview segment in the best possible way: She gave me a bar of chocolate, one of several varieties she uses to illustrate the difference between various buyer personas.

At Babcock and Jenkins, Lauren helps create end-to-end content marketing strategies that surround the audience throughout their journey. For Lauren, marketing tech is amazing, but you have to start with insights about your target audience. The tech can’t drive itself; you have to start with understanding the people you’re talking to.

B2B Marketing that Rocks and the Mobile Problem with Justin Gray

“You have to have fun in content, but you have to measure it and you have to see what the results are.” – Justin Gray

Justin came to the stage about 95% camera-ready, missing only a pair of cufflinks to really complete his look (note to self: order LinkedIn cufflinks. The branding couldn’t be more perfect). Despite this sartorial faux pas, he shared the inner details of his amazingly successful, ongoing Monsters of Funnel campaign.

The MoF campaign is a great example of Lauren’s “surrounding the audience” concept. They started with the eBook itself, a Big Rock with plenty of influencers involved. They kept it rocking in the free world with video interviews, SlideShare decks, social media shares—every element on every channel hit just right.

The one part of a content campaign Justin (and every marketer I know) is still working on is the mobile experience. Justin shared that 60% of the content he promotes on social is consumed on mobile, but there’s still no good way to easily translate an eBook experience to mobile. Justin and I threw out some ideas, but we’re still working on doing it at scale.

Data-Driven Marketing with Russell Glass

“Your front door to your customer is your website.” – Russ Glass

Russ wrote the book on data-driven marketing, so I was eager to talk about how marketers can collect and use data to drive results. According to Russ, the data is out there, even if it seems like we’re starting at zero. Every time someone visits your website or consumes some of your content, they leave a virtual footprint. So it’s not a question of how you can start with limited data—it’s making sure you collect and capitalize on the wealth of data already available to you.

Round Table: Personas

I asked our viewers for their take on whether personas were useful, a nice-to-have, or “so 2008.” About half, 46%, of the audience said they were actively using personas in their marketing.

Lauren felt like personas were not the be-all and end-all, but still a useful tool.

I wondered if keyword research was replacing personas. Russ said, “If you’re just looking at keywords, you have no idea what keywords are going to lead to the highest lifetime value customers…understanding who your high-value customers are, what makes them tick, and what keywords they’re searching for will help you align your efforts with shareholder value.”

Justin also thought personas allowed for a deeper understanding than keyword research alone. To close a deal, you have to have good content, good messaging, and you have to empower your audience to make a decision. According to Justin, keyword research is a crucial part of the process, but you need the persona research to create that content that empowers.

Round Table: Account Based Marketing

I asked our viewers where they stood on account based marketing (ABM) adoption. About twenty percent said they were not into it, 34% were already rocking it, and 44% planned to adopt it in the future.

For Justin, ABM is the logical next step for B2B, aligning sales and marketing for better-targeted lead generation. He sees it as the antidote for the 1-2% response rate in traditional wide-barrel marketing.

Lauren agreed that ABM allows marketing to be as direct in their targeting as sales is. “Sales has always done a great job of one-to-one, handholding, white-glove service with those key accounts. But now marketing can surround those audiences,” she says. “With new technologies, marketing can strategically and at scale help surround specific accounts.” For Lauren, ABM is almost like creating tiny funnels for every account.

According to Russ, helping marketers do ABM well is a priority for LinkedIn. “We believe we have the opportunity to make it really easy for marketers who are starting to understand they need to focus on certain accounts, to align with sales forces, to be more efficient in how they’re marketing,” he said. “We can activate all that in a massively scalable way.”

Tune in Next Time

These are just a few of the highlights from our hour-long discussion. When you have time, make sure to check out the video for all the deep insights from my great guests.

And don’t touch that dial! Subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog to see what’s in store for the next episode.