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B2B Marketing InTech 2016 - Content, engagement, influence and beer

Pete Jakob, MD of Purple Salix, and our chairman for this year's B2B Marketing InTech, gives his perspective on key learnings from the day

While Joel Harrison was chairing the B2B Marketing InProf conference at the Brewery last week, I was in the auditorium next door hosting the B2B Marketing InTech conference. While I've been associated with tech marketing for more years than I care to remember, I find there's always a fresh perspective to be had, and some new ideas to be considered. 

Given that these days I work for a company of 1 rather than a company of 400,000 I was pleased to pick up a few ideas that centred on thinking more than they did in big marketing budgets. Here are some of my key takeaways that I think can be applied to any company, irrespective of spend:

  • From Jeremy Bevan of Cisco I was reminded of the importance of creating content that your customers want to engage with.  I loved the low cost, humourous approach used in the their video series around the Rugby World cup last year - a great example of funny, relevant content connecting with an audience. Watch it here.
  • As marketers, we spend a lot of time moaning about the quality of our customer data. From Kieran Kilmartin of Pitney Bowes I learned that there are plenty of opportunities for using contextual data from LinkedIn and other sources to advance sales and marketing relationships, irrespective of the quality of our contact data.
  • From Tim Hughes of Oracle I learned "be more human, less corporate suit"! I also learned the importance of making my LinkedIn profile more centred around my potential buyers rather than just a litany of the things I've done in my career. Judging by the show of hands, it looks as though most of us think we could be doing a better job on our LinkedIn profiles - that doesn't take money, it takes time and thought.
  • From Jon Moger of Aruba (a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company) I learned that the matrix organisation is alive and well, and that the secret to driving change was to focus on as few things as possible. Again the theme of clarity came to the fore here - consider WHY you're doing something rather than just leaping in; but temper that with avoiding analysis paralysis.
  • After the breakouts we reconvened for a panel discussion involving Rhiannon Prothero of SAP, Simon Hall - until recently at Dell, Chris Adlard from Misys and Simon Morris from Adobe. In a lively debate one of my key takeaways was from Rhiannon who advised us that we should spend more time analysing what content actually works with our audience, rather than just becoming a content factory. 
  • From Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing I learned that influencer marketing (engaging internal and industry experts with active networks to achieve measurable business goals) needs to be overlayed into our marketing thinking. 

On a personal level, I'd like to thank all the speakers and panellists for their wisdom and timekeeping - made my job pretty straightforward.

So there we have it - a packed day, lots of great content, plenty of opportunity for networking , and a chance to reflect. If you were there, I hope you enjoyed it. If you weren't, make sure you book your place for next year!