Cognism at B2B Marketing Ignite 2019 - LIVE BLOG

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Doug’s final thoughts for getting stakeholders on board:


Find an internal champion and leverage them to get the approval your big ideas need.


Put as much work into getting buy-in from your stakeholders as you do in actually producing the work.

Choose your stakeholders carefully - only speak to the ones who have veto power.


Alignment is the key. All teams have to agree on what great marketing is, before you can start.


The trick is to get big ideas approved by stakeholders.


Doug says marketers should be aiming to get big, special stuff made.


Isn’t it the case that safe, middle of the road work is easier to get approved than big, special work? Are marketers aiming for safe? Are they giving up on their great ideas for mediocre ones?


Doug says there is a disconnect in marketing. 80-90% of marketers are smart, talented people - but 80-90% of marketing is inconsequential.


Doug talks about what inspires him. He’s excited about the craft of marketing - how a team of people come together to make something bigger. Something that can potentially be seen by millions of people around the world.


Doug is now on stage!



It’s time for the last keynote speech of B2B Marketing Ignite 2019!

Doug Kessler, Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners Ltd. - “Managing your bloody stakeholders: The single most important success factor in B2B marketing”.


There are loads of product choices available to B2B marketers. How do we navigate this ocean of choice?

One idea is to form an advisory board between companies, to codify best practice and make the choices easier. This is done already for software development companies.


Create a marketing vision for each campaign, similar to a product vision.



When you’re thinking about your marketing campaigns, consider the operations side of things much earlier. How are you going to monitor it, what metrics are you going to track, how can you make the process more efficient?


Chris is talking about marketing operations and automation. He says that marketing ops is very similar in the software development world to DevOps.



The next speech at the Martech stage: “How to run a tech audit…and ditch the failing platforms” by Ian Jenkins, Principal Developer, Box UK Ltd.


Chris’s final thoughts:


Data can be used to inform all manner of business decisions, e.g., where to open a new office. Chris shares a real-life story where he combined data sets (Google Maps distances and the locations of his customers) to work out the perfect location for an office move.


Chris has a few data rules:

  • Always collect data - in rows and columns

  • Try putting contrasting data sets (recombinant data) together and see what insights you can gain - this is how Uber runs their business (by putting taxi orders next to GPS positions)


We now have multiple devices on us at any one time - smartphones, smart watches, laptops, smart speakers. All generating data!


Chris says that we are constantly creating data. Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data.

This volume of data can be a burden for B2B marketers. How do we start making use of it?


We return to the Insight stage for “Why data science will help you suck less at marketing”, presented by Chris Pitt, Director, Vertical Leap.



Will a business risk losing its humanity if it uses too much AI?

Katie says it’s about balance. It’s not about replacing humans with machines - it’s about combining the two to create better results.


The speed of adopting AI is based on the business case. Companies have to choose to be innovators.


To find out how Cognism uses AI, please visit our Revenue AI page.

How can you prepare for AI? It’s not going to go away - some people thought social media was a fad. Now it’s a fundamental part of marketing.

Here’s Katie’s scorecard for adopting AI in your business:



There are now 100 AI apps specifically designed for marketers. The big tech vendors like Facebook and Salesforce are investing heavily in AI.


AI can help align marketing and sales. With AI, you can pinpoint specific customers. In some ways, AI is not artificial - it can create highly personalised experiences for your buyers.


Did you know that the retail sector is the biggest user of AI? B2B is lagging behind B2C when it comes to adopting AI.


The benefits of adopting AI in business:

  • Better product development

  • Better decision making

  • Operations - driving automation and increased efficiency

  • Predictive analytics


At the moment, AI is subject to paranoia and hype. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. AI brings an uncomfortable change for some - but it can radically transform human life for the better, e.g., in healthcare, where AI can be used to detect cancers early.


We are living through the 4th industrial revolution. Business is being transformed by new technologies. AI will effect some jobs more than others, but it will impact all our careers.


What is AI? It is a family of technologies that take on the characteristics we consider to be human - such as understanding languages, recognising objects and making decisions.


Katie is a published author who has researched and written a book about AI in business. She has been working in marketing for 30 years across a wide range of sectors.


We are back for the afternoon with the next presentation: “How marketing professionals can harness AI for business growth” by Katie King, Managing Director and Author, Zoodikers.



B2B marketing of the future will not just be human-to-human, but machine-to-machine.


Does blockchain technology have a marketing application? It can be very powerful for marketing, Tamara confirms. Marketers should innovate, not just iterate. Blockchain is a great way to build trust. You can also use it track interactions with your content.


What’s the most powerful marketing vehicle for 2020?

The audience says it’s social media. Tamara agrees - although she highlights that video is now second.


Social media is important, but it should be used appropriately. Use it as an engagement tool. Social media is the space where sales and marketing should be most aligned.

A statistic - 85% of Generation Z use social media to learn about new products.


AR/VR is the next big step in B2B marketing. Virtual reality is the ultimate way to create an astounding customer experience.


B2B companies sometimes overlook mobile strategies in marketing. Yet everyone in the Western world has a smartphone. B2B has yet to tap into and harness the power of mobile.


Machines like Alexa will be the gatekeepers of prospects in the future. How do we deal with them?


Tamara suggests marketers have to think future-forward. Do we have a current strategy to market to machines and algorithms? They are the audiences of the future.


Marketing success is about engaging human beings and creating an emotional response.


Where are we now? The Strategy stage, to see Tamara McCleary, CEO, deliver her speech: “The Future of Life: B2B engagement and experience at hyperspeed”.


If you are looking for a quick guide on how to get started with ABM - check out our latest post on this: 6 steps for getting started with ABM.

Tech that helps during the Convert stage:


Kirsty recommends some tech for the Create and Connect stages:



ABM tech through the customer journey:



Technology isn’t a silver bullet for ABM. Start by aligning your sales and marketing teams. That’s how ABM should start. Then bring in technology after you’ve agreed on a strategy.


ABM isn’t typically about lead gen. You need to think about the different ways of measuring it. It requires a different approach from other forms of marketing.


Sales can be cynical about the usefulness of ABM. But it’s a great way of aligning sales and marketing.


ABM relies on 3 areas to succeed:

  1. Identify - your ideal customers

  2. Create - you have to make your customers sit up and pay attention

  3. Connect - decide on the channels you’ll need to engage with your buyers


The different types of ABM:



An introductory slide:



At the ABM stage to watch Kirsty Dawe, Managing Partner, Really B2B present: “Using martech to take your ABM strategy to the next level”.



The five steps:



Philippe shares a slide showing the three communities that marketers need to provide stories for:


Marketers have to navigate internal and external stakeholders. How best to do this? Follow Philippe’s 5 steps:

  1. Focus - perform an audit of your marketing activity to pick your most useful channels

  2. Build - hire a great team of people

  3. Wow - use stories to engage with internal and external stakeholders

  4. Grow - stay focused on the middle and bottom of the funnel

  5. Boost - measure your ROI and use the data to launch optimised campaigns


The 3 pain points for B2B marketers:

  1. Generating leads

  2. Aligning marketing and sales

  3. Marketing ROI is poor


Philippe argues that marketers have to become better at data, ROI and revenue.


Philippe started his career in 1992. Back then it was all about branding. 6-7 years ago, digital marketing was the hot thing. Now, revenue marketing is the new popular topic.



Now at the Insight stage - “From Insights to ROI: How to make data-based decisions to save your career and boost your team performance”.

Delivered by Philippe Ruttens, Digital Marketing & Sales Transformation Consultant, He has been in B2B marketing for 26 years.


There are 3 things you can do to improve marketing outcomes:

  1. Know your customer - develop profiles of your customers. Bring in operational data - how have they used your product, how often, what results have they achieved. Bring in experience data - why are they using the product, what do they want to get out of it?

  2. Engage with intelligence - best practice is to personalise the touch points across every channel. But this can be still be viewed by the customer as an interruption. Engagement should be a dialogue. It must be an ongoing conversation across all channels and functions.

  3. Attribute to outcomes - marketing is under a ton of pressure to quantify its place in the business and justify investment. To combat this, marketers must be clear about the metrics they wish to track. Measure outcomes, not input. Measure at the account level, not the contact level.


Nicholas shares a stat:

81% of LinkedIn buyers avoid filling in forms when they encounter gated content.


“If you want to know where B2B sales is going, look at B2C sales first.”


How can you keep winning customers? B2C is leading the charge. Many B2C companies are creating great experiences for their customers. B2B companies have to start thinking in the same way. A huge disruption is coming to the B2B industry.


Which types of buyers make the best customers? Your best customers can be your best marketing resource.


What is your business’s purpose? Every business has one. It’s about more than your product.

The purpose of marketing is to create demand.


Now at the Martech stage to see Nicholas Cumins, General Manager, SAP Marketing Cloud. His talk = “Attention marketers, take the reins on revenue”.



The business obsession with measurement is stifling creativity. Creativity is harder to measure but it can provide radical breakthroughs.

Data should be used for support, not illumination.



Why are some brands more successful than others? It’s not because they’re a guarantee of perfection; it’s because they’re a guarantee of not being totally terrible. Hence why McDonald’s is the most famous restaurant chain in the world.


The psychological difference between B2C and B2B marketing:

  • Regret = B2C buyers don’t want to regret buying a product

  • Blame = B2B buyers don’t want to be blamed for buying the wrong product


Business is being modelled on the wrong kind of science - Newtonian physics. This is the wrong approach. It ignores the importance of human psychology, which can be much more random.

Too many business leaders see marketing as a cost to be controlled, rather than a platform for value creation.


Are businesses being sold false certainty? No one can actually know how well a marketing campaign will do, until it’s already begun.

Rory says that many large companies stumbled on success, rather than planned for it.


Rory suggests that B2B marketing should be 80% “what you know” and 20% “what you don’t”. The obsession with quantification shouldn’t stop marketers from doing unusual, untested things.


The quantification of marketing activity should inform what we do, not decide what we do. There needs to be space to experiment, which can lead to even better outcomes.


Fame as a brand has its downsides as well as upsides. The impact of reputational damage is far worse the more famous your brand is.



Are we obsessed with having to quantify the value of everything? The key is getting your brand known. It’s easier to hire people if they’ve heard of you.


Rory ponders if business is considered too much of a science these days. Are we losing sight of inspiration? If it’s a good idea, we shouldn’t need for it to be quantified.

He argues that a huge amount of B2B success is the product of random luck.


The first speaker is here! Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy. The topic? “Marketing and the need to think different”.



B2B Marketing's Editor-in-chief Joel Harrison walks onto the Strategy stage to introduce Ignite 2019.

He promises a packed day of insight and inspiration, featuring some of the brightest minds in B2B marketing today.



We are live from B2B Marketing Ignite 2019! Stay tuned for the latest updates!