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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Highlights MProfs Business-To-Business Forum 2007 - Synopsis

In MarketingProfs Business To Business Forum 2007, I promised to share more. Here follow highlights and key learnings.

First, just about every discussion made some reference to searches starting with Google, rather than with your website's home page.

I consider this both obvious - don't you start from a search page? - and profound, as you think about the implications associated with your customers searching and maybe coming across your website or mention of your brick/mortar store [see Target Grand Opening Riverdale, NJ].

Second, interactions are definitely moving away from a monologue [i.e., one-way push traditional advertising] to a dialog or two-way interaction with customers. The more open you are to listening to your visitors and customers, the more likely you are to develop a strong relationship with them.

I attended:
+ Email 360 [see Email 360: Hot to Boost Response] - email has a role to play across the sales life cycle. Always focus on your subscriber [or visitor, or customer] first. The traditional online sales funnel is not linear; it's also much messier than we ever imagined, which means that the more consistent you are with your message, the more successful you will be. Think about your subscriber's experience; demonstrate value; offer options for frequency. Note that visitors are NOT interested in profiling themselves to get information; so ask only for the basics - like an email address. Content matters!

+ Is you website getting the job done? [see Coming In For A Landing] Strong websites offer excellent usability, useful content and appeal to the emotions [in many ways, similar to a physical store: it must engage the shopper, be easy to navigate through and offer terrific value within]. Customer experience must be embraced! Obsess about customer needs. Optimize, test, test again, evaluate, test....

+ Bringing B2B Blogging to the New Level, moderated by Josh Hallett who had literally just arrived from his BlogOrlando program. What a terrific discussion!
- Deborah Franke, e-Marketing Manager for Emerson Process Management, described how blogs enable Emerson to raise the visibility of Emerson experts and efficiently tell the company's story.
- Phil Gomes from Edelman passionately illustrated how conversation is happening all around us, and it's up to us to participate in the relationship and community building and NOT pitch.

+ When buyers are looking, will you be found? Karen Breen Vogel, President/CEO of ClearGauge urges being 'found' online sooner rather than later in the buyer purchase cycle to establish relationships as early as possible.

+ David Armano’s Social Media in a B2B World panel discussion showcased Todd Andrlik's [aka Todd And], Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Leopardo Companies, Inc., powerful and vibrant newsroom, Leopardo Construction News, created using a blogging platform. Very cool. Chris Yeh explained Ustream.tv which offers a simple solution for broadcasting live video.

David's comments:
- Web 2.0 is about people.
- People are now empowered. Technology enables; humanity rules.
- People demand good experiences.
- People are flocking to social networks, creating user generated content. They are also gravitating toward mobile.
This is not going away.

+ In "Leveraging digital channels to create buzz" Paul Dunay and Robert Lesser shared the results of their web 2.0 tools survey which you can participate in at Web 2.0 Tool Survey.

General sessions [not mentioned in my previous post] include:
+ Chip Heath [note Chip and Dan Heath now have a column in Fast Company] discussed the importance of Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional Stories and building these properties into ideas from the start. If you haven't read Made To Stick, you should definitely do so as the concepts and examples are not only sticky, but also force you to think about your business and how to overcome the Curse of Knowledge, that ubiquitous tendency we have to forget that our brains and experiences are not transparently visible to others.

+ William Arruda, the reason for the "have you googled yourself video", focused on building an individual's personal brand. The advice, though, is as relevant to a product or store brand as it is to an individual:
- Your brand represents an unique promise of value.
- It's what others think that matters [how your customers perceive you matters more than how you perceive your self].

So, Extract your unique value proposition which includes your vision, purpose, values and passion. What point of difference can you own that is meaningful to a target audience.

Express your value proposition message clearly, consistently and constantly.

Exude authenticity, relevance and differentiation through everything you do.

+ In case you missed it earlier, you can get a sense for Roy Young and Laura Ramos via Policy or Blog - Which Comes First? at Marketing Profs.

+ Graham Weston from Rackspace described how he came to the realization that "fanatical support is the difference" thereby creating a loyalty cycle that has generated tremendous growth. Committing to delivering fanatical service means that Rackspace puts its employees [rackers] first, its customers second and its shareholders third. Marketing has defined the business model and set the tone.

+ I really enjoyed my conversations with Allen Weber, founder of Marketing Profs. He's a real business school professor and knows many of my Columbia Business School professors! Very cool.

+ Thanks to Matt Dickman for turning me onto the flip video.

+ I learned firsthand about PRWeb, and have since registered, taken their webinar and intend to experiment with them shortly.

+ I appreciate the amazing enthusiam of Chris Yeh, Phil Gomes and Deb Franke.

If you aren't actively engaging - virtually and in real life - in community building, then please get started. Remember not to pitch, but rather to engage your visitors and consumers and encourage them to participate in a conversation with you. Make your experience as sticky, memorable and fun as possible. Express your brand consistently and constantly.

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philgomes said...

"Muito obrigado", as they say down here, for the excellent writeup of the conference. *8-)

CB Whittemore said...

Phil, I really enjoyed hearing your speak. I love your enthusiasm and hope to meet up with you again soon! Bom Dia.

Chris said...


Glad you enjoyed my talk and enthusiasm. What a great conference!

CB Whittemore said...

Chris, I hope to see you at the next MarketingProfs conference!

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