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The BMA global conference series B2B Rising gained momentum in June as Southern California and the Carolinas joined what is now a 10-city, three-continent tour. BMA International is working with local chapters to develop content for the series, which builds on the success of last year’s Go & Grow events. Tom Stein, CEO-Americas at Stein IAS is the BMA board member who oversees the conference series. He spoke to BMA Buzz about what marketers can expect when they attend a one-day event.
BMA Buzz: What are the implications of the B2B Rising theme?
Tom Stein: For a couple of months prior to the 2013 Global BMA Conference, there had been a lot discussion that really focused on the role of B2B in general in the global and national economies, in terms of the innovation that is being spun up by B2B-oriented companies and the impact that has across vertical markets and sectors.
In conversations about B2B marketing more specifically, the sense among all of the senior marketers, CMOs, agency marketers, media companies, and technology companies is that B2B is reaching a point of prominence in the overall world of marketing. It is unprecedented for B2B. From an economic standpoint, B2B accounts for more than 50% of the U.S. [gross domestic product.]
For B2B marketers, technology is playing a fundamental role in marketing and in companies overall, at a time when accountability and measurability and targetability and granularity are extreme. We have a deeper understanding of buyer journeys and how B2B companies need to participate in those journeys with prospecting customers. In many regards B2B marketing is rising.
The B2B CMOs of the world and their agency partners are charged with strategic visioning. Their companies have a more emphatic understanding that brand matters, that differentiation matters, that customer insight matters. As a result, B2B marketers have a more integral and profound role in helping to enable the success of the companies that they work for.
The conference comes together around these different angles. The B2B sector is rising in importance. It can contribute to and accelerate the economic growth that is so much needed. The role that B2B marketers play is rising as well.
We’ll look at this from any number of different perspectives: sophistication, technology, creativity, multi-channel proficiency. It’s been a great Big Idea for the series this year. It is a call to arms and a call to action. It is a bit of a statement, and that is a flag that we’re keen on planting. It deserves to be planted.
BMA Buzz: You had 800 attendees for the Go & Grow series last year. Who do you expect to attend this year?
Stein: We hope that BMA members and those who know the BMA and respect the quality of our events will come out for this. These half- and full-day events bring together a high order of content and bring together the local community of B2B marketers. Last year we had a significant majority of attendees who were not BMA members.
Senior marketers and mid-level managers would be appropriate attendees from all the disciplines, whether they work with strategy or planning or creative. Marketing technologists should come out, along with agencies, media companies and service providers.
BMA Buzz: Dubai, which is the home of the new Middle East chapter, will host an event. They credit the Go & Grow event in London as the inspiration that led to the formation of their local chapter. How do you determine the stops on the tour?
Stein: The chapters raise their hands and say they would like to host an event. We work with the individual chapters to put the stop into the road show.
It’s the first time that the Middle East chapter will be part of the global conference series. That they are able to step up and do this in the first year of their formulation is particularly noteworthy and underscores the interest in B2B marketing, not just in the U.S., but elsewhere.
We’re going to be adding Southern California and we’re also going to be adding the Carolinas. The enthusiasm and momentum are terrific.
For more information about the event series, visit the B2B Rising microsite. The events are still under development. You can sign up for email notifications about specific tour stops.
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