On The Edge: 8 takeaways from the B2B Marketing Conference

Bringing marketers from Cambridge and beyond together at the beautiful grounds of Robinson College, On The Edge Digital’s annual B2B Marketing Conference showcased a series of top speakers, useful strategies and fascinating insights.

Starting off with a stroll through Cambridge's sunny city centre, it was a great day to get out of the office and learn more about B2B marketing from both speakers and other attendees.

Broken down into a particularly engaging format, the day consisted of six presentations, each followed by a question to spark a short discussion among attendees. After each discussion, we were then asked to move tables, enabling maximum chit-chat with a whole bunch of professionals from all kinds of businesses. So what were my key takeaways from the event?

1. Invest wisely in the development of your own skills in order to progress in your marketing career. That was a point made by Joel Harrison of B2B Marketing, who also revealed that on average it takes a Marketing Assistant 13 years to become a Marketing Director. The future is bright!

2. Neldi Rautenbach from Synthetix highlighted a heap of useful facts when it comes to marketing effectively in 2017. She explained that in order to engage a world that is ‘tired’ of marketing and ‘immune’ to it, brands must aim to show their personality in marketing campaigns.

3. What can B2B learn from B2C? Neldi added that in order to show personality, B2B brands can learn from their B2C counterparts and begin storytelling through marketing.

Using Comparethemarket.com, the comparison site which is now also a toy maker, as an example of successful storytelling, she went on to point out that Comparethemarket.com’s value has more than doubled since its meerkat campaign began in 2009.

Comparethemarket.com’s story therefore confirmed Neldi’s next statement that: ‘Marketing is the wingman to sales.’

4. Next we heard from Simon Moss of CommuniGator, who spoke us through the upcoming challenge of GDPR and what it will mean for email marketing in the UK.

If you're not yet up-to-date on what GDPR is - don't worry, lots of people aren't! It's the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, which will basically update the legislation surrounding the way we handle people's data. This will include data such as email addresses on email marketing lists. You can find out more about GDPR here.

Despite initially scaring the majority by reminding us of the looming date – 25 May 2018 – Simon's suggestion that ‘email isn’t dead… It’s really alive and kicking’ soothed the initial panic, as GDPR won’t necessarily kill email marketing, as long as we start preparing for it! Phew.

5. Big numbers on social media – likes, followers and comments – are great, but only if you know what you do next with them. That was a point made by Nick Taylor from Emerson.

Using LinkedIn as an example, he went on to suggest that each post should end with a call to action in order to give potential customers something to do from it. This, in turn, can drive more sales.

6. Up next was James Foulkes from Kingpin, who stressed the importance of a deep content library when it comes to B2B marketing.

Within a content marketing toolbox, he went on to suggest that video is one of the most important tools – with 90% of customers using video to educate themselves in the purchasing process.

7. Also talking about video, Neil Cooper from Audio Analytic used this advert by Intel as a great example of how companies can show their personality through marketing – no matter how geeky that may be:

By embracing the unique culture of your brand, in Intel’s case showcasing their inner geekiness, you can ensure that you appeal to the kind of customers you want to market to.

8. The last point raised by Neil was that people don’t trust 5 star reviews – it is not possible for everyone to like a product or service offered by your firm.

Instead, the optimum rating for selling products is actually 4.2 stars. So no need to panic if you aren’t on 5!

Thank you to On The Edge Digital’s event organisers for a top day full of creative discussion. We’re already looking forward to the next one!