Wow, the Business Marketing Association’s international conference for 2011 is over, and already I can’t wait until next year. At the risk of sounding like a compensated promoter (full disclosure: BMA did pay for my travel and accommodation to speak at this year’s event), I found this to be the premier conference for B2B executive marketers. A strong link between BMA and BtoB Magazine is also evident: BtoB Magazine “award” winners tend to have high-level relationships with BMA. And magazine coverage appeared to be exclusive/preferred (see below). Which is a good thing, in my opinion, because catering to the senior B2B marketing audience can only enhance BMA”s stature as a networking association.
I’m sure you can find a lot of great feedback about the show online. Check out the Twitter hashtag #bmaunleash to see all the highlights. BtoB Magazine published two show-special editions that summarize the event effectively. You can find them at: June 2 and June 3.
(Notice yours truly on the panel on the front page of the June 2 summary. Yes, I am tooting my own horn. But I have to say that many people at the show approached me later to thank me for sharing examples of Xerox’s content story. Nice to have a positive impact.)
The main highlights for me, Days 2 and 3, include:
1) Seth Godin’s lunchtime keynote. He is a highly entertaining nutcase. And the master of the “all pictures, no words” presentation. His message was clear – establish your brand to be relevant in 2012 and beyond. The days of the “company person” are over. Very interesting: to emphasize his view of humanity’s progression from hunter/gatherer, to agriculture, to industrialism, to service-oriented society — he showed a picture of Xerox’s chairwoman, Ursula Burns, to make the last point. Do you think our message about transforming to a service-oriented company is coming across?
2) Greg Stuart, Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Global CEO, gave an eye-opening talk about mobile. He believes mobile could well be the marketing channel of the next decade – and has the stats to back it up. While B2B marketers, in general, lag well behind B2C counterparts, Greg showed data from 100 mobile case studies and research against $1 billion in ad spending to argue this medium is here to stay. Time to set strategy, folks.
3) IBM talked about Watson (interesting) but it had little connection to the other topics Kevin Kennedy presented. Siemen’s presentation was long, but a good study in how to build a US brand from a European heavyweight. Lots of other track sessions worth a listen on the recordings.
4) The panel on work-life balance — featuring Motorola’s Eduardo Conrado, Rick Segal of gyro, Maggie Jackson from Boston Globe, Johanna Torsone of Pitney Bowes, and Dalton Conley from NYU — was depressing but very worthwhile. There’s no escaping that work hours and life have become inextricably linked as the panel explored the dynamics of “weisure,” the convergence of working and home life, and its impact on B2B marketing. And it means we will all be on-the-clock more often.
Bottomline: experience BMA for yourself next year. It’s worth it.