Three Takeaways from MarketingSherpa's B-to-B Summit

No, I don’t mean Brian Carroll’s book, “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale” or NetLine’s 1 GB USB Flash, or On24’s cool red and grey notebook, although I was happy to take them all away. What I’m talking about are trends in B2B Demand Generation that are changing the way marketers increase the effectiveness of their demand generation campaigns. There were a lot of case studies over the two days at MarketingSherpa‘s recent B-to-B Demand Generation Summit in Boston…Landing Page Optimization Workshops, great food, and networking…but as a veteran marketer, I did a lot of thinking about what I would focus on if I was in our clients’ shoes. Here are my top three for 2009:

1.  For Outbound Marketing, Relevance – Not Content – is King.

Gone are the days when you could send a one-time blast to a rented email list segmented by title and industry, and have a decent response. Outbound Internet marketing, in order to be effective, must establish a relationship with potential buyers and customers throughout the buying cycle, and deliver informed, relevant valuable information. The good news is there are more and more software platforms out there that enable you to tailor outbound communication based on prior behavior.  Start a conversation. Then ask questions, and keep the conversation going by listening.

2. Inbound Marketing Offers Untapped Potential – Use it!

SEO optimization, SEM, Blogging, Social networks, Video… In today’s marketing economy, people are searching for what they want/need, whether it’s information, expert advice, or peer-to-peer recommendations. The more time you invest in your search efforts, and the social blogosphere, the more you will be known. The number one inhibitor? Lack of passion for your product or service. Find your evangelists in your company and get started.

3.  Integrate/Repurpose/Test. Then Test Some More.

I find that testing is like flossing your teeth. Everybody knows how important it is, but not everybody executes on it. Test everything, from outbound subject lines to inbound SEO copy. It takes time, but the payoffs are well worth it. Also, start thinking about all your marketing efforts as one fluid, integrated approach. Test your messaging, your offers, and your landing page designs. Is your blog getting good response? Repurpose the content into a whitepaper or e-book. Is a particular web page getting high traffic? Refresh the content, add more relevant offers. Don’t have time to blog today? Send a mico-blog post through Twitter, stay in front of your clients. Take a survey and turn the results into an informational benchmark offer.

Marketers have more tools than ever to get smarter about marketing and to initiate buzz on a shoestring budget. But it takes more than tools. It takes a strategy. It takes agility. It takes ingenuity. It takes trying something new. It takes testing.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment for me right here on our blog.

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