Business Marketing Association’s International Conference Was a Real Winner

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I’m just back from one of the most intense 48 hours I’ve ever spent at a marketing event. The BMA’s International Conference, “BLAZE” just ended in Chicago where nearly 800 marketing professionals gathered to talk about and learn ways to deal with the ever-changing challenges facing all of us.

The overall theme was no matter what we do, we need to focus on our customers and their needs. B-to-B industry thought leaders gave us practical examples of what’s happening in the market and how we might deal with them. Of particular interest to me was a study just being released that was done by Forrester on industry trends. Here are some highlights:

  • Marketing role continues to get broader
  • New skills are needed by 97% of marketers
  • 70% are concerned about brand integrity
  • 45% can find people with the right skill sets
  • 97% are doing things they’ve never done before
  • Budgets are not keeping up with the demands that are being put on marketing

The general consensus was that we need better collaboration between marketing, sales and IT. We need to tear down the silos and have a common strategy, better integration and customer insights.

They also challenged us on where to find growth over the next five years. How do you compete with the likes of Amazon (who’s growing 25% a year)? 40% of all online sales are coming from mobile devices. What are you doing in this area?

If you’re not familiar with the BMA, you should look into it. They are the only game in town that focuses on B-to-B. Along with their international conference, they have 10 regional events and those cities that have chapters hold monthly meetings.

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