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Most trade event reviews I come across tend to sound like an apprentice recounting his first week at work. You know what I mean—lots of boyish enthusiasm and an inescapable desire to thrust his knowledge upon a poor, unsuspecting audience. But that wasn't the case at the BMA’s Go and Grow event in London, which took place late last month. I came away with plenty of insight about the challenges facing B2B marketers and the dramatic changes in marketing communications.
Tom Stein, president of Stein + Partners Brand Activation, and a national board member of the BMA, helped to kick off the event with a rallying call for UK-based ad agencies, clients and vendors to join the BMA’s first chapter to be launched outside of the United States, BMA London.
Although there was a strong global theme running throughout the entire conference—a deliberate ploy to attract the great and the good of the international B2B marketing world—there were also interesting subplots offered up by execs from the likes of Aon, HP and Motorola.
Eduardo Conrado, senior VP-CMO of Motorola Solutions, and BMA chairman for 2012-2013, told us that the traditional “4Ps” of marketing (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) were outdated and “marketing would not return to normal.” Instead, his organization has instilled four new brand values (Purpose, Promise, Voice and Values), which were translated into leadership behavior.
Eduardo Conrado, senior VP-CMO of Motorola Solutions and BMA chairman for 2012-2013, spoke at the BMA Go and Grow event in London. B2B branding, he said, is now “defined by our customers, not by the things we do.”
Phil Clement, CMO of insurance giant Aon, and national board member of the BMA, gave us some captivating insights surrounding his organization’s global sponsorship strategy.
Tapping into a global fan base of 659 million, Clement made a very credible argument for Aon’s $125 million shirt deal with Manchester United Football Club. But, despite the big bucks he’d invested in making Aon a truly global entity, he said that "your employees are your best marketing tool…we have 61,000 walking billboards."
Turning to the global B2B agencies appearing on the diverse array of panel discussions, we heard forthright views on everything from social media to marketing automation to creativity. Take Rob Hurst, social media manager at Omobono, who said: "You are not selling a fast moving product in B2B, so it's more about relationships and multiple touch points."
Another telling insight came forward from Reuben Webb, creative director at IAS b2b Marketing, who said: "The B2B problem is that marketing in general has a talent pool focused on B2C." Because of this, he added, "B2B creativity can be rather uniform. We need to learn to stand out better."
Pete Petrella, creative director at ad agency gyro, agreed: “The problem with B2B is that it sounds like one faceless company selling to another.” It was left to Matt Frost, creative director at ad agency Earnest, to really cut to the heart of the issue: “There's a fear of standing out in case it all goes wrong,” he said.
(For more on the conference, check out B2B Marketing’s excellent blog post.)
Paul Myerscough is Director of PR at London-based IAS b2b Marketing. He can be reached at Paul.Myerscough@iasb2b.com.
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