Here’s some highlights from B2B Marketing’s Ignite USA conference

On 27 and 28 May, we hosted our second ever virtual conference. Ignite USA was hosted on Hopin by our editor-in-chief Joel Harrison, and saw a varied line-up of speakers share insights on optimising B2B in a new working environment.

Our breakout sessions and keynotes were packed with savvy tips in four different streams, including ABM, martech, leadership and strategy and engagement. Here were some key takeaways from our two-day event:

Our killer keynotes

Our event kicked off with a fascinating keynote presentation by Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland, who looked at B2B marketing through a psychological lens rather than a technical one. He challenged the technologies that have skyrocketed since the pandemic began, and asked why business always relates back to a question of psychology.

Rory said: “Generally, if you pursue efficiency within a business, you’ll never get into any real trouble. The best place to find a competitive advantage is in knowing what your competitors don’t. Or failing that, by stumbling on it by chance.”

Velocity’s Doug Kessler discussed what he felt was one of the most important aspects of business today: stakeholder management. He cited two of the main reasons we fail in the first place: 1) We often try to do something but then it flops 2) We don’t even try at all. With this in mind, he also broke down how to get teams aligned, how to build cases, and how to turn your stakeholder equity into a success.

Best-selling author, David Nihill, concluded day one with a keynote presentation on how humour can make your business marketing infinitely more interesting, charismatic and engaging.

He said: “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all, especially in the times we’re living in at the moment. The last thing you want is companies writing to you in the same boring manner. We want them to behave like a human.”

On day two, Jay Famico discussed the top three benefits of revenue operations for marketing, sales and customer success:

  1. Shared operational objectives and priorities
  2. Aligned KPIs and metrics
  3. Improved measurement, tracking and forecasting.

Cultivating a leadership mindset

To start the leadership stream with a bang, Godfrey’s Scott Trobaugh and Cliff Lewis, discussed why America’s favourite childhood neighbour, Mr Rogers, can inspire B2B marketers to become better leaders. While sporting matching sweaters, their five key takeaways were:

  1. Keep that sense of wonder
  2. Find the people behind the machine
  3. Listen closely
  4. Exercise simplicity
  5. Be your honest self.

Director of business development and strategic marketing, LP Building Solutions, Trinh Lee, gave some key tips to building a strong team culture, being honest with your teammates and listening more proactively. Bottomline’s Cara O’Nions explained why being authentic and real will gear up your advocates to be on your side.

Making the most of martech

Emotional value + rational value = real value

This was a fantastic equation Tom Stein used in his presentation on making the most of your martech potential. Tom from Stein IAS broke down why using the left and right side of the brain can enable you to produce the best martech campaign possible.

Carbon Black’s Emily Gravel delivered another amazing presentation for B2B Marketing, explaining how to take a step back from your marketing automation journey to ensure your teams are aligned.

On day two, Kirsty Dawe, managing director of Webeo, talked about the value of segmentation and how to get it right, across all cohorts from your prospects, to qualified leads and customers as well.

Create your desired ABM programme

Our marketer of the year at our awards last year, Gemma Davies, highlighted steps and principles to spearheading a successful ABM programme:

  1. ABM should be a business initiative, not just a marketing one.
  2. Train and develop talent to change mindsets and build confidence.
  3. Build and invest in central resources for scale and optimisation.
  4. Maintain a global ABM sales play matrix.
  5. Build a global dashboard.
  6. Dream big and continuously build advocacy and drive adoption.

Enigma’s Iain Halpin and Martin Simcock discussed how to improve your pipeline conversion and ABM campaign ROI, by understanding today's changing buyer journey. They both explained the importance of repurposing and atomising content for your target audiences.

How to engage with audiences effectively

Conversica’s Amanda DePaul explored how gaps in the lead management process can lead to poor engagement. Amanda questioned: "The processes that worked for your business six months ago may not work as effectively in today's economic climate. Is your current process still working? How do you know?"

She used a step-by-step guide to show how intelligent virtual assistants can help these gaps for B2B marketers.

Studies have shown that 71% of executives believe their branded content is boring and that nearly half of B2B marketers are completely overwhelmed with content. With alarming statistics like this, Earnezt’s Chris Wilson broke down even more B2B benchmarks to help businesses understand how to make content more effective.

Founder of YourMarketer, Jennifer Farrington, also gave a riveting session on unlocking killer content for your company, while editor-in-chief for IBM, Melissa Lambert, added to the discussion with her session on creative storytelling during Covid-19.

Regardless of your time zone, it was only fitting to celebrate the end of the event with a cocktail in hand at our virtual drinks session. Thanks for attending! We hope to see you at next year’s event in person.