I have been a fan of MarketingProfs for as long as I’ve been the SmallBizLady. Last week, they finally brought their Annual B2B Forum close enough to Philadelphia for me to pop in and check it out. There was so much valuable content I felt like I went to marketing school.
Now, I must admit, as an expert marketer, I’m a tough audience, but this conference amazed me—the content was just that good. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, outdid herself with this year’s line-up of presenters and keynote speakers. It was such a thrill to hear from NSA buddies Neen James and Jay Baer at the opening kick-off.
I really dug the workshops too. I learned about Marketing strategy from Maribeth Ross. Her key message was that customer expectations have changed. B2B customers want to be marketed to like B2C customers. Marketing has to be truth-tellers. She also emphasized that excellent customer experience is necessary to even be in the game. “Nobody falls in love with OK,” she said.
Ross also stressed that your marketing strategy must answer WHY specific tactics make sense or don’t. “Marketing should be ahead of the market and not be reactionary to your competitors,” she said. Here are a few things she said you need to know before you develop your marketing plan.
- Know thy Competitors: track current and potential competition
- Message Wisely: being memorable requires being bold
- Focus on Value Proposition: make sure it’s unique, memorable, durable and evidence-based
- Validate your hypothesis with the right audience (as in actual buyers)
Tamsen Webster used a presentation about how to write copy that gets you the green light to teach us about action vs. change. She said, “Build their case, not yours. We are all smart capable, and good.” She made me feel completely different about how we all use pain to drive the words we use to marketing things. She said, “Pain is the enemy of long-term change. Relieve the pain by building the case. We believe our own experiences most, so don’t make people wrong—just tell a stronger story.” So in order for your copy to really drive behavior, she stressed that you must understand this: “Change requires a change in beliefs. There’s no such thing as believer’s remorse.” She closed with,” Don’t focus on results, focus on relationships.”
One of my favorite session was lead by Ryan Engley from UnBounce. He is a landing page ninja. His session on Developing Landing Pages that Convert gave the most tactics of aIl the sessions I attended. He said strong landing pages are focused, relevant, and persuasive. He explained the elements of strong landing page and gave some great rules of thumb:
- Campaign Proposition: It’s your headline that explains your page offer. It should capture attention.
- Sub-headlines: Copy to supports the headline
- Hero shot: Main image on your landing page. It should be doing much of the heavy lifting for you
- Benefits and Features: Benefit copy speaks to the problem. Features discuss how you fix the problem
- Social Proof: Testimonials or Evidence of success from others reduces fear
- Button Copy: The best button copy is Click here, Download Now, Get Started, Get My Guide.
He also added a few more tips:
- Watch your attention ratio or the number of things a visitor can do versus what you want them to do. Your goal should be 1:1.
- Remove navigation from landing page to get higher conversion rates.
- Don’t use more than 3 key benefits.
- Avoid undifferentiated benefits like “save time and money.” EVERYBODY SAYS THAT, so it means nothing.
A final highlight was keynote speaker and marketing strategist, Mark Schaefer author of Marketing Rebellion. He led a workshop on how to reach the unreachable customer. He talked about how marketing is all things human and how we should focus on people, not technology. He also believes that having an effective social media presence is now a life skill.
Schaefer told this great story about how marketers tracked customer experience every hour for a family at Disneyworld. They had to give a score from 1-10 each hour they were in the park. The first hour, they didn’t enjoy long lines to ride the rollercoaster and gave a score of 1, but riding their favorite roller coaster got an 8. When they got their picture taken with Mickey Mouse, they gave it a 9. When they overpaid for pretzels shaped like Mickey that got a score of 2. The end of the day fireworks show got a 9. Their average day score was 6, but when they asked the family to rate their day they said 9. The point: Customers will forgive a lot if they are given enough peak moments and memories.
Schaefer left the audience with five keys points:
- The Customer is the Hero. Marketing is About Their Story Not Yours
- Your Personal Brand is the Company Brand
- Bringing People Together Changes Everything
- Your Culture is Your Marketing
- Build Peak Moments into Customer Experiences
I hope these highlights have inspired you to reframe your marketing efforts.
If you want to learn more about marketing, the MarketingProfs B2B Forum is headed to San Francisco, CA, November 3–6, 2020.