How to Build Your B2B Marketing Empire From The Ground Up

We joined forces with TopRank Marketing and some of the best B2B marketing architects to bring you this ebook, designed to help you build solid foundations in your marketing strategy, marketing team, and marketing squad. 

"As we celebrate and reflect on our 10th anniversary at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, let’s look into the future with hope and excitement. Let’s learn from what has worked, and abandon what hasn’t. Let’s challenge one another to achieve epic results. Let’s build to last.” 
—Ann Handley

3 Ways to Create One-to-One Engagement at Events Using Interactive Content

By Lena Prickett, Senior Content Marketing Manager, SnapApp | @lenagainstme

Events are big. According to the CMI and MarketingProfs 2016 content marketing research, 75% of B2B marketers say in-person events are effective (compared to 69% in 2015). The power of face-to-face dialogue with potential buyers, combined with the networking opportunities and having so many prospects in the same room at the same time, make events a key lead generation channel.

But with the significant financial and time investment involved with sponsoring and attending events, marketers are always looking for ways to increase ROI. Usually that means tracking increases in leads touched at the event and closed-won business attributed to the event.

With interactive content, you’re bringing the power of face-to-face conversations into every digital interaction. Marketers using interactive content with their events are seeing record-breaking booth traffic, more leads engaged before the event, and more business closed afterward.

Extend your investment in events by expanding the reach of one-to-one interactions before, during, and after events. Keep reading to find out how!

1. Make Connections Before the Event

Events are significant investments for attendees as well as sponsors. Your buyers are looking to get as much out of their ticket and time as possible, so before any event they are planning out their itinerary to learn as much as they can.

Make sure the content you offer prospects in your pre-event outreach helps them meet their goal. Many marketers send out “Attending X Event? Visit Our Booth!” emails that have a hard time cutting through the noise. Instead, create a “What Kind of Event Attendee Are You?” assessment and offer tailored content and session information based on different outcomes.

One of my favorite examples of this is from PayScale, who created a “Find Your Inner Purple Squirrel” assessment before a major HR conference.

PayScale emailed conference attendees and challenged them to ‘Find Their Inner Purple Squirrel’ with a reminder to visit PayScale's booth at the conference for giveaways. This one email generated almost 600 lead submissions – all before the PayScale team walked onto the booth floor.

PayScale emailed conference attendees and challenged them to ‘Find Their Inner Purple Squirrel’ with a reminder to visit PayScale's booth at the conference for giveaways. This one email generated almost 600 lead submissions – all before the PayScale team walked onto the booth floor.

 

2. Drive and Engage With Booth Traffic

Once you’re at the event itself, your next challenge is attracting booth visitors. Marketers have all kinds of strategies for doing so, from promising free t-shirts to strategically locating their booth near a snack table.

Again, your content can serve as a powerful attractor for your target attendees. Attendees want to optimize their time on the event floor, learning about potential solutions and exploring options they haven’t discovered before. With an interactive experience like a product picker or ROI calculator, you’ll attract visitors to quickly learn about your solution and find out if it meets their needs.

With some events, the key is to engage visitors once they’ve stopped by. Start a conversation at your booth with interactive content. Hyland, creators of OnBase, did just that with their interactive assessment, assigning conference attendees a different personality type based on their event preferences. The SnapApp invited attendees to find out whether their tradeshow personality is more like Steve Jobs (Brand Ambassador), Amy Schumer (Party Animal), Hillary Clinton (Networking Dynamo), or others.

“The SnapApp provided our booth crew with icebreaker conversations – "Which personality did you get?" – and helped present our brand in a positive light to this critical audience,” says Hyland, creator of OnBase, Demand Program Specialist Mike Lovett. “The assessment helped us hit a new record for booth traffic at the show.”

3. Follow Up Effectively

Thanks to the unique information you gathered with interactive content at your booth, you can follow up with each attendee with the best content for their interests and buying stage. Rather than sending a single blanket follow-up, tailor each email to the right attendee to keep up the one-to-one momentum you built at the event.

Even better: send out another piece of interactive content collecting attendee reflections and opinions on the event itself. Use the findings to improve your event presence next time, share the outcome in a blog or ebook, or segment your database according to their event preferences.

Everyone sends out “Thanks for visiting!” emails. Stand out with a different type of content and unique call to action that supports attendees’ interest in knowledge gathering and sharing.

Get More out of Every Event

When your prospects win, you win. Find out what kind of information they’re looking for from you and then provide it at every stage of the event process – whether it’s a fun, lighthearted assessment, a session picker, or ROI calculator.

One of the reasons events are so effective is because they enable face-to-face conversations. With interactive content, you’re building that kind of dialogue into every digital interaction. Bring that connectivity into your marketing and watch your event ROI go through the roof!

How are you getting more out of every event? Share your best tactics

Introverts Unite! Four Tips That Can Make Events Less Scary

By Courtney Bosch-Tanguy | Sponsorship & Events Liaison | MarketingProfs

I am as introverted as they come, particularly when I am out of my element and forced to interact with people that I (gasp) do not know. Confident I'm not the only one, I thought I'd share a few tips that have helped me at recent events.

I attended Corporate Visions Marketing & Sales Alignment Conference in Chicago and  I knew no one, not one single soul in attendance. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I learned quickly that mealtimes can be incredibly awkward for an introvert attending a conference with 400 of her closest non-friends.

Join a Small Group

Breakfast and lunch  happened to be buffet-style in a cavernous ballroom with round table seating. Imagine my panic as I grabbed a plate of food and stared blankly into the sea of unknown bodies trying to determine the best place to pop a squat and eat. A few times, I thought about taking my plate out into the hallway or foregoing the group meal and grabbing something elsewhere. Before I had the chance, Cher's voice from Moonstruck hit me like a ton of bricks: "Snap out of it!"

What was I thinking? I was at a conference to network, not waste time wallowing in solitude. I put my big-girl pants on, marched over to the least packed table with empty chairs, and timidly asked, "Is anyone sitting here?"

The question worked like a charm as the response that followed was, "You are now." Followed by a "Hi, I'm so and so…" which sparked conversation and brought me out of my hard candy shell and back to reality.

Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to ask to join people already gathered. Simply asking if you can join a group will almost never be met with a "no", and can often lead to some really good discussions. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself if you are the newbie joining a group that clearly already knows one another. I learned a lot about people this way and realized it was much better to be with other people than to dine alone.

Schedule Interviews and Meetings at the Event

If time permits, scheduling time to meet with other attendees and/or speakers at an event can help. That is a great way to not only meet new people on your terms but also capture information that can be used for an article or blog post for your own company. (Remember, content rules.) Most people are more than willing to talk about themselves and share their knowledge. Think of the relationships you can develop and build on, during and after the event.

Find a Face in the Crowd, Stay Aware, and Focused

Founder of Live Your Talk, Jill Foster was the keynote at our B2B Forum in 2013 and she kicked off the event talking about unsavory networking disasters.

One tip she gave in avoiding these was to find that one friendly face in the crowd. You know the person with the winning smile that seems approachable, and well…approach them and strike up a conversation. There is always at least one person like this (hopefully more) at any event. I will go a step further and say, "Find the person that may be in your shoes---alone and perhaps not knowing anyone else in attendance." Not everyone at an event is there with colleagues or friends. Find that person (or people) and buddy up!

Jill’s talk also provided other great tips on avoiding networking disasters, especially at a conference or event. Be self-aware. Don’t get so lost in your smartphone that you forget where you are and who is around you. The point of being at an event is to interact with others in person. Be mindful of how your body language is perceived; your head buried in your phone can be off-putting. Eye contact and a smile work wonders.

Events can also be quite draining. We all know this. Be aware of how your lack of energy can come across to others. You may be giving off the “I just want sleep” vibe unintentionally. Jill suggests having some sample questions handy to help fuel the adrenaline and keep you on point during conversations despite what you may be feeling.

Know What Works for You

As mentioned above, I found a way to overcome my fears and mingle at mealtimes. Cocktail receptions or parties are another great time to come out of your introverted cave and interact with others.

At our B2B forum, I found that I did some of my best networking in social settings over drinks and food. You really can't go wrong with this combo. (Who doesn't like to eat and drink?) And it is likely people will be in a much more relaxed frame of mind and willing to chat---and let loose---in this environment. At the Corporate Visions conference, they had an evening reception at the House of Blues. This introvert sang and danced her heart out and had an absolute blast doing so.

For additional tips on how to make the most of networking when you're an introvert, check out  Jill Foster's Marketing Smarts Podcast.

      Build Connections That Last  When meeting new friends and colleagues, there are two types of people: those who are hustling to make their next “connection,” and those who begin building a foundation for relationships that last. Which are you? With that in mind, I’d like to share the experience I’ve had from doing the latter of these two.     It all started with Mark Schaefer's blog, Businesses {grow}. As an avid blog reader, I did what most people do: I'd leave my commentary on the blog and add feedback on other people's comments, share the posts when I felt it appropriate, and tried to be part of the blogging community (as a blogger myself). In February 2013, Mark ran an email contest surrounding his upcoming book release with Stanford Smith, Born to Blog. These two authors were among my favorite bloggers, so I felt compelled to at least try and win the book. I sent the email laying out why I'd love a free copy of the book, and shared my interest in the topic.  To my surprise, I received a personal response from Mark that very day. This led to an exchange in which we ended up discussing SXSW, because I live in Austin and SXSW was just around the corner, and that perhaps we'd run into each other while he was in town. I figured the exchange would end there.  About a week later, again to my surprise, I received another email from Mark, inviting me to join him and a group of friends and visitors for dinner and drinks while he was in town for SXSW. After completely geeking out for a few minutes, I responded that I'd love to meet them.  When I got to the restaurant later that week, I met Mark in person for the first time, as well as Stephanie Carls and Kerry O'Shea Gorgone, among others. We had a blast, and it was an interesting night full of marketing and social media talk, and sharing nerdy stories. We all started following each other on all the important social sites (as you do), and went our separate ways. I figured it would be a one-time thing and that would be that, but I was thrilled to have taken Mark up on his offer.    
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
    
  
        I kept up with everyone online because I genuinely enjoyed talking to them, and great conversations continued throughout the year. Now, fast forward to the next year; Mark announces that he'll be speaking at SXSW 2014 on the topic that had recently become very hot: Content Shock. I congratulated him and told him he'd have to let me know how the talk went, as I couldn't afford a SXSW ticket this year. Mark then reached out to me via email to let me know that he received a free day pass as a speaker, and asked if I'd like to use it so I could attend his talk. Who could say no to such an offer? I attended, and the talk was fascinating. If you haven't seen Mark speak, I highly recommend it (he spoke at B2B Marketing Forum 2015, too!).  Kerry O'Shea Gorgone was there again, too. Afterward, we started talking and Kerry invited me to hang out with her and a few others as they hit up some other discussions and the trade show floor. I decided to forego my previous plans and hang out with these cool kids instead. This was a key decision in what would later happen, plus I had a complete blast. Kerry knew a lot of people, and I took every opportunity to shake hands, chat up, and geek out with everyone that came my way. I didn’t just ask people what they did. I asked what they were doing, what interested them, what had they seen that excited them at SXSW. That enthusiasm for getting to know people seemed to be a welcome change of pace to the card-swapping, business-opportunity-pitching that ran rampant on the trade show floor at SXSW. There were smiles, there were hugs, and there were belly laughs. And it made all the difference in the world.  A few weeks later, I received a Facebook message from Kerry. She told me that a position had opened up at MarketingProfs (where she runs the Marketing Smarts podcast and Professional Development seminars) and that she immediately thought of me for it. She asked me if I'd like her to put me in contact with the proper person. As a fan of MarketingProfs vast resources for marketers professionals, I knew that simply interviewing with the people there would be a huge opportunity to get to know some of them (I wasn't actively looking for a new job at all), so I took the chance and said yes. What followed was the most fun series of interviews I've ever had, including a fantastic conversation with Ann Handley. The entire time I figured they would never hire me. Surely, they wouldn't hire me. Maybe they'll hire me. They might just hire me. They offered me the position.  To sum it up, two years worth of making real connections with people turned into a huge opportunity. I wasn't trying to get anything out of Mark or Kerry. I genuinely respected both of them and simply enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) having conversations with them, both personal and about marketing.  And the moral of the story is to take those chances, utilize those opportunities to get to know people by being personable. Don’t focus on the hustle and how you can turn that moment into an opportunity. Focus on being a genuine human enjoying the company of other humans, which sets the foundation for both personal and professional endeavors, and creates memorable moments that will last.  At minimum, you'll make great friends. At most, it may alter your course.  Rob Zaleski, Marketing Manager | MarketingProfs

Build Connections That Last

When meeting new friends and colleagues, there are two types of people: those who are hustling to make their next “connection,” and those who begin building a foundation for relationships that last. Which are you? With that in mind, I’d like to share the experience I’ve had from doing the latter of these two.

      Building Beyond Grand Stories  Good things happen when you get two smart people talking, and that’s exactly what we did here. Watch this excellent conversation between Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and Principal at ANNUITAS, and Stephan Hovnanian, Content Solutions Architect at Bambu by Sprout Social, as they discuss Building Beyond Grand Stories.            </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"            
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}   TL;DW (too long; didn’t watch) takeaways:  6:50 — “Vendors, salespeople, and marketers are no longer the gatekeepers of information. And so what I have seen is this buyer disruption, not a digital disruption, but a buyer disruption. And I think that’s the biggest change that we’ve seen.”  8:50 – “Read the research on how much power that peer influence has on a purchase process…but when I talk about a peer, it doesn’t necessarily mean I know you. I can go in my LinkedIn Group and network with thousand of peers that I have never met in person.”  10:49 – “When I think about a story, it’s me telling you something, a one-directional communication. I’m going to tell you a grand story…but what I really need to do from a demand-gen perspective is create a dialogue, which is two ways. Stories aren’t conversations.”  13:40 – “What we have to think about is sales and marketing working together to develop buyer-centric content. 50-70% of the buyer’s journey happens before I even connect with a sales rep…we have to align our people, our content, our process, our technology, and our data, all to that of the buyer and how they buy. It’s then we can have a holistic buyer-centric approach.”    “Sales and marketing’s lack of alignment is a symptom of not being connected to the buyer.” @CAHidalgo #mpb2b    [ tweet this ]   18:10 – “I think too many people are putting technology as the answer to all of their problems. When you just put that with a random set of data with no context, all you have is the automation of chaos…if you don’t have a strategy, please don’t spend your money on technology.”  23:08 – “It’s an ongoing thing. Personas and buyer intelligence are never static. It should always be dynamic.”  25:25 – “Network like crazy. There are so many great people [at B2B Marketing Forum] with such great experience, whether they’re client-side or agency-side. And I usually walk away with anywhere from 10-15 new contacts that I’m able to engage and interact with.”  26:15 – “For marketers coming to the event: bring one of your salespeople with you. This is not just a marketing issue…we have to learn this together. It’s not a marketing-driven world, it’s not a sales-driven world, it’s a buyer-driven world, and we both have to serve that buyer.”  30:30 – “Don’t wait until the conference to be socially active. The #mpb2b hashtag is already up. Start to connect with people before you go to the conference to make connections so you know you’ll have them at the conference.”  31:55 – “Put it out there ahead of time that you’ll be taking notes and publishing them for others to check out somewhere—Medium, your blog, etc…because people will have the opportunity to connect with you and it gives you an opportunity to solidify some of the ideas.”   

Building Beyond Grand Stories

Good things happen when you get two smart people talking, and that’s exactly what we did here. Watch this excellent conversation between Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and Principal at ANNUITAS, and Stephan Hovnanian, Content Solutions Architect at Bambu by Sprout Social, as they discuss Building Beyond Grand Stories. 

      Build to Last: How to Move Your Marketing and Career with an Idea  “Build to Last.” Don’t we all wish all our campaigns were? But no, we’re marketers -- continually optimizing and changing. “Build to last” doesn’t just mean planning and projecting for what might happen; it’s surveying the landscape to decide how you want to create impact. Marketers thrive when they spread ideas. And yes, that requires time, attention, and dedication.     
 
       
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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}     The USS Constitution, or “Old Ironsides” is a glowing example of “build to last.” At 219 years old, Old Ironsides is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. Though made of oak, the ship sustained heavy cannon fire at close range in the War of 1812 and legend spread. Undefeatable. Impenetrable. Invincible. An important ego-boost for a young nation. George Washington commissioned the ship (build and docked in Boston navy yards) to give us a real navy to protect our investments but the idea became so much more-- the resiliency of a young upstart nation. That revolutionary spirit has become baked into our belief system transforming to, “We will prevail against all odds.” It’s an idea that has spread, both internally and externally to give our nation buoyancy. Surely, the original storyteller couldn’t anticipate the USS Constitution's historical significance, but that’s the great thing about ideas- they touch the minds and hearts of people you will never meet.  Also build to last, and in Boston? Brightcove. Our founding mission in 2005 was to make video as ubiquitous as text on the web. We wanted to help ideas take shape, spread, catch fire. Technology has enabled us as marketers to push our campaigns to new heights, but we must look to achieve our goals with authentic video conversations. With this, not only can ideas take shape, they build resonance as your audiences build on them with you.  Building your career to last as a marketer means anticipating the skills and proficiencies you need not just five, but ten years from now. What idea can you carry and spread to build your career to last? Imagine your title ten years from now. How about in twenty? Are you doing what’s necessary now to align these skills with trends in media consumption?  Last week, I put on a virtual reality headset at a conference and was blown away. Even now, the capabilities of 360 video are amazing. As a content marketer, I craft conversational emails and work with demandgen to plot nurture paths. Ten years from now, however, I may be writing scripts for VR videos or augmented reality characters tasked with interacting on behalf of the brand. I will still need to anticipate need, further the conversation, and build in logic. And while the method changes, the idea stays the same. My idea? To humanize digital marketing interactions using technology in a thoughtful way. I’ve communicated this throughout companies and roles. That’s my “build to last” and it’s served me well, what’s yours?    Shannon K. Murphy | Senior Content Manager, Digital Marketing | Brightcove

Build to Last: How to Move Your Marketing and Career with an Idea

“Build to Last.” Don’t we all wish all our campaigns were? But no, we’re marketers -- continually optimizing and changing. “Build to last” doesn’t just mean planning and projecting for what might happen; it’s surveying the landscape to decide how you want to create impact. Marketers thrive when they spread ideas. And yes, that requires time, attention, and dedication.