SUMMARY: Warning: If you are seeking a long serious article packed with
notes from the sessions you missed, you will not find it here.
Why? Because we would prefer to interview the best conference speakers one-on-one for our Case Studies later on.
(Publisher's Note: Our new Reporter Catherine Getches attended her very first marketing conference last week. I asked her to jot down her quick impressions of the show, and thought you might get a kick out of them too.)
There was a silence on the other end of the phone when I told my new boss Anne Holland that I had never been to a trade show. "That's like someone telling me they've never been to 7-11," she said.
I was determined to approach my first conference like a kid in a candy store. On my way to the DMA's B-to-B Marketing conference at the Wigwam resort in Phoenix, I rehearsed the pre- conference tips from Anne and from Ken Magill, an editor at DM News. By the time I got there all I could remember was Recency Frequency and Monetary Value (RFM) and that a sure sign of a good speaker was a post-presentation podium rush.
Over the next two days I sat through ten sessions, fearlessly approached strangers, and tried to absorb as much as I could about demand generation, ROI, multi-channel marketing, all the while trying to figure out why everyone seemed to be talking about B2C instead of B2B .
Ten things I learned from my first B2B marketing trade show:
1. "Multi-Channel Marketing" is the new "CRM" though no one can agree on a definition for either.
2. The worst thing you can do with a new lead is give it to a sales rep. You have to "nurture" leads.
3. With the exception of Reggie Brady, most speakers didn't differentiate between marketing to consumers and marketing to businesses. Brady was also the only "podium rush" I witnessed (maybe that's because she gave killer how-to examples, case studies and research).
4. "Killer" is good thing: "killer leads," "killer online copy," "killer search engine placement."
5. Direct Mail is back. The best websites make it ways to contact a live person. Email should be used as a starting base for communications, businesses want in-depth information via mail.
6. As a marketer, if you can just get the address, salutation and spelling right you might increase leads/sales by 30%.
7. Treat businesses, especially small markets, as consumers: "B2B customers are consumers too," "let them know they're special," "think of your consumer brother," "it's all about their emotional behavior: nurture, nurture, nurture."
8. The buzz is about building a "community" between sales and marketing. As Jere Brooks King of Cisco said, "Marketing is the wind, sales is the sun." Huh? To further that notion she put it another way: "Marketing is incredible, sales is credible" or "Marketing reaches everyone, sales reaches someone."
9. The ravioli might not be that great, but the luncheon can be the best place to learn what is really going on in marketing, unless you wind up with a clique of folks all from the same company who just want to network amongst themselves.
10. As David Hirsch from Google put it, "Conferences are one big handshake."
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