What you missed at Ignite USA

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting our first in-person Ignite USA! After two years of going virtual only, we welcomed delegates to Chicago both in-person and digitally to discuss all things brand from the best in business. Here’s what you missed out on.

Day one

We kicked off the first morning with workshops, such as (finally) closing the gap between sales and marketing, with EMarketing Strategy’s Ruth Stevens and NTT Data’s Theresa Kushner.

In-person delegates got the chance to rub shoulders and dust off the lunch-in-one-hand-business-card-in-the-other-with-your-mouth-half-full act. After a quick bite to eat, we were joined by Cass Taylor to discuss how purpose lies at the heart of Adobe - the key to creating an enduring, globally resonating brand.

“Purpose drives everything we do at Adobe - we believe in creativity for all”

Cass Taylor, purpose marketing lead, Adobe

Realm’s Izzie Rivers rang the bell of out with the old and in with the new. She joined Katie Martell to discuss how the world of work has changed - for good - and why being agile is a fundamental prerequisite for all businesses who want to win big going forwards.

“There is nothing more constant than change, and brands that thrive on it are the ones defining the new world of B2B marketing” 

Izzie Rivers, founder and CEO, Realm

Change in the face of the new was a common theme of the afternoon. Patty Rioux and Mark Bula stressed the need, or rather responsibility, to champion ESG in marketing - a factor that is set to only become more important as Gen Z becomes an employee and customer base.

Questions of how we can reach customers in today’s competitive environment dominated from the importance of personalisation to reaching both brains and hearts. It seems that we’re not quite realising the right message, right time, right channel mantra just yet.

“When it comes to making a B2B purchase, emotion means the difference between winning and losing"

Chris Hill, head of client experience, Merkle

What better way to wrap up the night than with the City of Chicago’s own CMO, Michael Fassnacht, who took the audience inside the inner-workings of marketing for an entire city. Last, but not least, we kicked off the night with a drinks reception sponsored by LoSasso Integrated Marketing. A number of guests also joined MX Group for a cruise of Lake Michigan.

Day two

Google Cloud’s Sarah Kennedy launched the second day. In her fireside chat, she took us behind one of the biggest household names to explore balancing brand and demand. Audiences learnt all about the role that brand plays at Google in lead generation and what you need to know when building high-performing teams and tactics. 

“If you can’t connect on an emotional level with the pain your customers are feeling, you’re in the wrong job. The power, the beauty and impact of your work will be limited if you can’t find that connection”

Sarah Kennedy, VP, Google Cloud

Hubspot’s Ashlee Gerow and CDW’s Hanady Khourshid asked the question on everyone’s mind: How do you keep hold of your team during the Great Resignation? The answer: employer brand - the sweet middle point between marketing and recruitment that’s never been so important.

In a similar vein, Kyndrl’s Lisa Gilbert talked us through building a brand for a $19 billion start-up with 88,449 employees in the middle of a pandemic - all during the Great Resignation. As she puts it, creating brand is just the start - you need to know how to create one that attracts and retains talent. She gave us an inside look into creating a brand that employees truly believe in and the importance of brand ambassadors.

“Diversity must be foundational while flowing through everything we do”

Hanady Khourshid, senior manager, CDW

For funnyman Steve Mudd, the B in B2B doesn’t have to stand for boring. He challenged audiences to set aside the buzzwords to let humour in - and how blending wine can be the perfect metaphor for migrating apps to the cloud.

We took stock of the winds of change with Tranmission’s Steven Spencer-Steigner, who debuted some of the key findings from their The State of B2B Brand Building 2022 - a survey of 500 global B2B marketers. Their responses offer a clear picture of what brand looks like in B2B from how you can measure it in numbers the board ‘get’ to the (in)authentic rise of ESG in marketing.

Paul Cash took us back to the origins of B2B - a man named John in Chicago - before we were joined by Meg Murphy, Sara Pion and Bridget Poetker on the future of B2B from the next generation.

We ended the night with the Elevation Awards - celebrating the best and brightest in B2B in the States. You can check out who won big here.

Day three

We kept things short and sweet on the third and final day of Ignite USA.

April Dunford kicked things off with her ‘obviously awesome’ session on using strategic positioning. In this session, audiences learnt a step-by-step process to stand out in a noisy market and stay ahead of the competition.
We then discussed all things rebranding with Bravanti and Solenis, before being joined by McKinsey’s Sinem Hostetter on how to become a B2B outperformer. Sinem discussed key findings from McKinsey’s B2B Pulse, talking about the changing behaviour of customers, the changes and impacts on CX and driving sustainable growth.

And what better way to round off Ignite than with the one and only Tim Riesterer? Our audience set aside what they thought they knew about thought leadership and learnt how to create fresh, original, exclusive research-backed insights - all based on scientific research conducted in B2B DecisionLabs and Corporate Visions.

Don’t worry if you missed out. Sessions will be on-demand soon!

Missed out on Ignite USA? We've got your back

Attend Ignite London, our hybrid sister event across the pond, on 6 July in London. With six streams, there’s something for the entire team. You’ll leave with actionable insight from the best in business to transform to re-ignite your marketing the very next day. Trust us - you don't want to miss this.

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Ignite London