I am thrilled to attend my first Business Marketing Association (BMA) national conference, here in Chicago this week. I’ve known about BMA for a long time. Josh Bernoff, who gave an outstanding keynote talk about how empowered buyers require you to empower your employees to address their needs and treat them like a channel, told me about this organization two years ago. His exact words were “this is a group you should get to know. Go call Gary Slack.”
I procrastinated. I left Forrester and went to Xerox. Gary emailed me. I ignored him. Bad me.
Lucky for me, Gary reached out again and invited me to speak on a panel in the afternoon, moderated by Accenture’s Executive Director of Advertising and Brand Management, Teresa Poggenpohl, and joined by Andrew Bosman, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Navigant Consulting, Ben Edwards, VP of Digital Strategy and Development at IBM (who works for IBM VP of Corporate Marketing, John Kennedy), and Bob Pearson, Chief Technology and Media Officer at WCG and formerly with Dell. We talked about “Unleash Your Content to Generate Meaningful Thought Leadership.” I shared some examples of the content we produce at Xerox to demonstrate — and engage — though leaders, the best of which are our customers.
While our panel discussion was one of the highlights of the day, Roy Spence, Co-Founder and Chairman of GSD&M, and author, “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose” delivered a particularly inspiring set of observations and humorous quips. You can find his key points at the hashtag #bmaunleash — or by following @BMANational — to see how purpose-inspired companies don’t build relationships based on selling, but on helping their customers to be successful. I most liked his quip “Forget about all those other P’s you’ve heard about in marketing — Pricing, Promotion, Product — Purpose is the most important P that you need to have.”
So are you wondering what a race car has to do with a business-to-business marketing conference? Nothing more than an unabashed plug for Avnet, BMA and the No. 16 Ford at the Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR Race June 4, on the weekend. Daytona 500 Winner Trevor Bayne will take the wheel. I have to say, Al Maag, new national BMA chairman, and Chief Communications Officer for Avnet, did rock the racing suit he wore in his opening remarks rather well.
DM or follow me at @lauraramos on Twitter to see more about the show.