Inside B2B Marketing’s virtual Leaders Forum 2020

B2B Marketing hosted its virtual Leaders Forum last Thursday on Zoom, as B2B Leaders gathered for exclusive insights from world-class speakers, and were treated to enlightening roundtable discussions throughout the day.

The event kicked off with a warm welcome from B2B Marketing’s editor-in-chief Joel Harrison, followed by Peter O'Neill's breakdown of B2B Marketing’s Leaders Report, which you can download now. One point that stood out was the fact that marketers are more equipped for strategy over the actual execution. This idea carried over to the panel discussion: ‘What B2B marketers can do to improve for a more successful future.’

Deloitte’s Claire Wood said this could mean that marketers need to be more diligent in the handover process between marketing and sales. Consulting CMO and marketing strategist at Handpicked Society Maria Cameron also added that, during the recruitment process, marketers often look for people with strategic mindsets, rather than finding people that are going to give innovative solutions to their business.

Maria said: “The devil is always in the detail. Strategy isn’t easy either. So, when we actually start executing and driving towards the organisation, the collaboration, the alignment, those handoffs that we need – that’s when it gets to be like walking in treacle for many people.”

Another point raised from the Leaders Report was that there has been a surge in customer experience (CX) among B2B marketers. Claire said this actually wasn’t surprising, especially when considering the impact of Covid-19. Marketing leaders are making CX a priority more so than ever before simply because they’ve had to adapt it so quickly during the pandemic.

What’s next for B2B membership?

Our B2B Marketing ABM expert Andy Bacon then presented what our B2B Leader membership will now offer, as he pointed out the value in understanding who your customer is, as well as the fact that the size of your value and network is your biggest asset.

He concluded by saying that, together, as B2B marketers, we are stronger as we’re all facing the same challenges and can learn from one another.

Chris Adlard and Daniel Bausor are co-authors of the best-selling book, ‘The Customer Catalyst – how to drive sustainable growth in the Customer Economy.’ They gave a stellar presentation on how B2B companies can make experiences as frictionless as possible during a Covid economy. As it’s not easy in the B2B world, they discussed some tips for putting your customers at the heart of your business, while also focusing on real tangible growth.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

In our first diversity panel discussion, founder and director of Inspired Human Perrine Farque kickstarted a conversation about the lack of diversity in the marketing sector right now. She discussed how people of colour have statistically been shown to earn lower incomes, and are thus more likely to have been furloughed or laid off during the pandemic.

Cognizant’s Tricia Stinton went on to describe some microaggressions she experienced as a woman of colour, and brought up the idea of intersectionality. She went into her role as a mother and how it affected her compared to her male colleagues in the workplace. On a more personal sentiment, senior field marketing manager of AppDynamics Ridgy Lemarier delved into an idea his father brought up to him in his early life, which was that he would have to work twice as hard as a white person. It wasn’t until he moved to France, that he applied what his father taught him as he shared his own difficulties getting an interview.

Omobono’s Jen Hennings offered advice for marketers looking to kick-start their D&I initiatives, first of which was to seek to gain executive buy-in, as for an inclusive culture to succeed it must start at the top. She also recommended to survey the business and gain a benchmark of current diversity within your organisation and, from there, engage with your employees over what and how they want to focus on with D&I. Finally Jen advised not trying to spread your efforts too thin and to tackle a few areas at a time, noting that Omobono has decided to focus on four streams for now: race; mental health; gender; and LGBTQ+.

The roundtable discussions that followed were of particular interest, as conversations surrounding different diversity issues emerged, such as women with menopause and the LGBTQ+ community feeling uncomfortable in the workplace.

Using data in a Covid-19 world

IBM’s Joe Ippolito delivered a riveting presentation, confirming to all our Leaders that they were data analytics professionals from the jump. Joe advised B2B marketers to have a proper command on these data and insights to drive more strategic conversations.

In our final panel, Aditi Chauhan, Simon McEvoy, Kate Sinclair and Samantha Burns all debated the question of brand or demand. Most marketers aspire to focus on the brand and understand how it will drive long-term value, but too often, it gets pushed back to focus on demand and the need to feed the sales engine.

With Covid-19 speeding things up and a spotlight on digital, marketers have the opportunity to make their brand their own through messaging, setting expectations and shifting their brand to a post-Covid environment.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a B2B virtual event without a drink to end the day! Thanks to everyone who attended. We hope to see you soon again! 

The B2B Marketing Leaders report 2020

We recently sent a survey based on the four pillars of execution to 100 marketing leaders. The results of this survey were used in this report to demonstrate where marketers are at in their journey to digital marketing maturity. Check out all the findings here.

Buy our report now!

b2b leaders report