By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect
I recently attended the Business Marketing Association (BMA) global conference which was held in Chicago May 28-30, 2014. The largest B2B marketing conference in the world, BMA14 was attended by a record 950 B2B marketers from 450 firms, 33 states and 12 nations.
The 2014 BMA conference also deployed two digital platforms—Livecube and ISEBOX—to enable speakers to take polls and attendees to ask questions, follow tweets, share photos and access conference content. If you are in charge of planning live events/conferences, I would suggest checking out these two resources.
The 3-day conference was jam packed with content – featuring 79 speakers and presenters leading 41 sessions—three pre-conference programs, nine panels, 12 keynotes and 17 firestarters. These sessions covered a wide array of topics and trends of critical interest and importance to B2B marketers today. Someone at the conference referenced the amount of information presented was like drinking from a fire hydrant!
Here are a few themes I saw throughout the entire conference:
It’s becoming more and more difficult for marketers in today’s environment and I thought one illustration that did a great job of representing our challenge was the Marketing Technology Landscape graphic by ChiefMartec.com. We are surrounded by data, but starved for insights; that is, data does not automatically equal insight. Today’s marketers need to solve both analytical and creative issues as we continue to trend toward extreme personalization…segments of one.
Since mobile devices are the predominant way people globally access the web and information, mobile is a critical factor when planning future marketing efforts. Here are a few stats from the conference that help reinforce the importance of mobile:
- Mobile data usage doubled in 2013
- In the US, 1 of every 5 minutes spent on mobile are on either Facebook or Instagram
- More Facebook users globally now engage the site via their mobile device compared to their desktop
- 78% access Twitter via a mobile device
Social media continues to be a key component of the B2B marketing mix, with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube still being the main ones utilized by B2B marketers. There was a great session by Tim Washer from CISCO on “How to bring humor to B2B storytelling.” Just because you work in B2B marketing does not mean you need to be devoid of humor…check out some of these examples shared by Tim:
- Mainframe: The Art of the Sale, Lesson One (CISCO) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSqXKp-00hM
- CDC Zombie Pandemic http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies_novella.htm
- A Special Valentine’s Day Gift…from Cisco! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8MWl9UGwQo
You can view/download videos and documents from the entire conference here: http://bma.isebox.net/.