If we had to describe the experience at this year’s MarketingProfs B2B Forum in one word, we would probably have to go with “neighborly.”
Yes, this vibe was intentionally embedded by the event organizers, who constructed the main stage and supporting elements at MPB2B around a “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” theme. But the speakers and attendees at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center all did their parts to foster a helpful, friendly, and kind environment.
As a result, we’ve returned home with our mental batteries recharged, full of inspiration and motivation to help our clients, partners, audience, and coworkers achieve new heights with B2B marketing strategy.
So hang your coat up on the rack, untie your shoes, and settle in for ways that you can reimagine the way your team approaches events and to read our most memorable moments from a few beautiful days in the MPB2B neighborhood.
7 Ways to Reimagine How Teams Approach Industry Events
Amping up the Audience Pre-Event
Leading up to MPB2B, our team created some killer content to help whet the appetite of conference attendees. Below you can find each of these awesome experiences:
MPB2B Speaker Interviews
As part of the pre-MPB2B experience, our CEO Lee Odden conducted these fascinating video interviews with some of the top event speakers to dig deeper into their expertise and top insights.
Struggling to whip your content marketing into shape? Our team tapped into the minds of 16 speakers to get their top tips for improving content performance.
MPB2B Top 50
Which speakers are walking the walk and talking the talk? This list from the team at TopRank Marketing includes an analysis of MPB2B speakers to identify which speakers are most topically relevant, have great network engagement with on-topic content and overall network size and reach.
Sharing Expertise with Attendees
When you spend every day with the people you work with, you recognize that they are smart and talented, but are they influential? Lee shared an idea a few years ago that has always stuck with me:
“Everyone is influential about something.”
And one of the ways to showcase your team smarts is to participate as a speaker at industry events like MarketingProfs B2B Forum. And yes, while speaking may not be for everyone (and does require a certain level of effort to build your presence, pitch speaking ideas and comfort speaking in front of a crowd), it can be an excellent way to evangelize a message that aligns with attendee needs. This year at MPB2B we had two team members that took the stage.
Lee Odden – CEO, TopRank Marketing
First up, our CEO Lee Odden helped attendees get their content marketing into shape with a talk titled: Content Marketing Fitness – 10 Exercise to Build Your Marketing Beach Body. Here are some of the top attendee takeaways from Lee’s session:
The @leeodden marketing health plan:
?Strategy & goals
?Develop the story
?Design the content mix
?Create & publish
?Measure & optimize
— Stephanie Baiocchi (@stephbaiocchi) October 17, 2019
“Have empathy for your customers: along the customer journey, what are the questions they have along the way (answer them!), how do they consume and who is influencing them.” ??? @leeodden #mpb2b pic.twitter.com/DzK90CbJxX
— Janine Wegner (@JanineWegner) October 17, 2019
— Dana DeLapi (@DDWordNerd) October 17, 2019
Ashley Zeckman – Senior Director of Digital Strategy, TopRank Marketing
I also had the honor of presenting again this year and shared a whimsical look at creating and scaling B2B influencer marketing programs with a talk titled: Through the Looking-Glass – Enter a New World of Successful, Always-On Influencer Marketing. Here were some of my favorite tweets from the audience:
— Jesse Coulter (@JesseCoulter) October 16, 2019
#MPB2B The absolute worst way to attempt influencer outreach is with mass email. Personalize and do your homework, or don’t do influencer marketing at all. @azeckman @toprank pic.twitter.com/I2nip5BHxT
— Christopher S. Penn (@cspenn) October 16, 2019
— Brian Fanzo #PressTheDamnButton (@iSocialFanz) October 16, 2019
Most Talked About at MPB2B
Chris Penn, the master of data/data visualization created one of his famous interactive maps showcasing who was most talked about at this year’s event. I was excited to see that our brand, our clients Amisha Gandhi and Konstanze Alex, as well as Lee and I, were both mentioned.
#MPB2B has come and gone. Let’s see who was most talked ABOUT. Click the link for @TrustInsights interactive map of @MarketingProfs 2019 B2B event feat. @talkwalker data: https://t.co/SHMkdu2rMf pic.twitter.com/qeQxiLQJmb
— Christopher S. Penn (@cspenn) October 18, 2019
Covering Stellar Sessions
When attending an event like this one, it is IMPOSSIBLE to see everything. That’s why you’ll see our team furiously typing and publishing session coverage throughout the conference. A very special shout out to TopRank Marketing’s Nick Nelson for his amazing session coverage at MPB2B!
As we alluded to earlier, Lee presented an energy-packed and informative session on B2B marketing fitness that enthusiastically wove his personal journal of losing 65 pounds during the course of a year together with how to best deliver long-term marketing fitness and health.
Lee’s B2B marketing acumen and prowess are among the best in the business, and both were on display as he shared a powerful array of actionable tactics for handling the barriers to healthy marketing, including methods that can lead to breakthroughs in the areas of delivering sustained growth using always-on marketing, integrated strategy, empathetic content planning, and more.
In my session, we covered the ins-and-outs of always-on influencer marketing strategy. Taking my cue and inspiration from Alice in Wonderland, we explored the whimsical world that is always-on influencer marketing, sharing a connected, relationship-based approach to scalable influencer success — from finding your topical sweet spot and identifying a balanced mix of influencers to creating a repeatable engagement model.
Arm Treasure Data’s Global Head of Marketing Tom Treanor presented a spirited session that looked deeply at the vast power and occasional perils of B2B marketing personalization.
Tom explored the changing B2B customer journey and how personalization is more of a critical challenge now than ever, and offered up a series of informative examples from global leaders in personalization, along with how the greatest successes come from those who can use data to work in a way that’s smarter, wider, deeper, and faster.
Tom also shared a selection of the tools and technologies he uses to simplify B2B marketing personalization and dug into how the right timing and context play key roles in getting it all right.
LinkedIn’s Ty Heath led a fascinating and informative session on how account-based marketing (ABM) and social selling align for a better B2B strategy in a complex world where the lines between sales and marketing have significantly blurred.
Ty shared smartly-aligned ABM and social selling tactics, tools, and insights for creating a professional brand, by focusing on the right prospects, engaging with insights, and building trusted relationships — ranging from social media cues to demographic data, and she even previewed some of the new relevant features forthcoming from LinkedIn.
Konstanze Alex and Janine Wegner of Dell and Amisha Gandhi of SAP combined to present a powerful and information-packed session on the latest B2B influencer marketing insights from their respective firms, and each explored how a keen understanding of influence can provide measurable business success.
Konstanze, Janine, and Amisha each shared their own first-hand experiences building successful and scalable influencer marketing programs, and dug highlighted specific must-haves such as setting the right objectives, finding influencers who align with the values of your organization, gaining leadership buy-in, and nurturing relationships for long-term value.
Intuit Digital Director Brian Hood led a thorough presentation on how customer insights can pair with data to significantly improve and rejuvenate lead generation, while also looking at customer empathy’s growing role.
Brian shared how both prospect and customer observation contribute to lead generation innovation, and how smart testing contributes to hitting existing goals and achieving new levels of success.
Connecting with Clients
Events also provide a great opportunity to connect with clients that you might not get to see as often as you’d like. We were excited to spend some quality face-to-face time with our clients from Dell, SAP, LinkedIn, Arm Treasure Data, Antea Group and Prophix at this event.
Connecting Speakers Around a Unified Idea
Our friends and clients at LinkedIn did a fantastic job of taking the online experience offline by hosting fun, intimate happy hour for many of the speakers that we partner with as part of this program.
This event was a great opportunity to spend some quality time getting to know more about these industry experts and also provided them an opportunity to connect with each other prior to day 1 of the conference. Thank you to Garnor Morantes and Judy Tian for hosting this phenomenal gathering.
Saying Thank You
The team at TopRank Marketing also hosted our own special event for clients, partners, speakers and friends at MPB2B. This has become somewhat of a tradition and something we all look forward to. In addition to breaking bread together, it gives us all an opportunity to get closer and exchange lessons in marketing and in life. Thank you to everyone who made this an epic experience!
We are so lucky to work clients like LinkedIn, SAP Ariba, Dell, Prophix and Antea plus spend time with friends @MarketingProfs @cspenn @jonmiller @michelelinn & @WorkMommyWork ? Another fun @toprank VIP dinner in the books! Thank you #mpb2b for bringing us together ? pic.twitter.com/H6CfvsrfEc
— Lee Odden (@leeodden) October 17, 2019
Creating Content for the Future
Have we mentioned how important it is to take advantage of in-person interactions? Over the course of two days, Susan Misukanis and Kelly Hogan from our team interviewed 13 speakers, clients and attendees from the event. Thank you to all of you for taking the time to sit down with our team and share your smarts!
Thank You All!
I must say, it truly was a beautiful two days in the B2B marketing neighborhood at MPB2B. Thank you to the entire MarketingProfs team for putting on a great event, the amazing attendees for bringing your energy and questions, the phenomenal speakers for helping educate our community, our clients for spending time talk through programs and to Ann Handley…the woman who brings us all together.
Disclosure: Dell, LinkedIn, SAP and Arm Treasure Data are TopRank Marketing clients.