By Chuck Leddy
A recap from Sojourn Solutions’ Managing Partner Rebecca Le Grange
Marketing conferences, especially ones in glamorous locales like New York City, London, and Paris, can be both fun and a great way to learn about professional practices that help you and your organization grow. Marketing conferences offer cutting-edge strategies from industry leaders, give you a chance to network/socialize with peers in casual settings, and help you identify (and adopt) tools and tactics to improve the way you market.
Held in London on October 3-4, SiriusDecisions Summit Europe 2018 was one such fun and informative event for marketers, with Sojourn Solutions in the role as one of the event sponsors. Managing partner Rebecca Le Grange represented Sojourn in London, and shared some of her impressions of the two-day summit.
7 topics B2B marketers were talking about at SiriusDecisions Summit Europe 2018
1. Alignment of Marketing and Sales
“Sirius has been talking about alignment for a long, long time now,” said Le Grange. “What I thought was most interesting was how they talked about alignment not just of marketing and sales, but across customer engagement, into the service side and how that plays out for customers as they continue to work with a company.” So the scope of alignment is expanding across the organization.
2. The brand and customer experience
One of the big questions Le Grange heard at the event was “how do you get your content and your brand’s tone of voice, etc., supported by alignment across sales, marketing, and product?” Related to that broad topic, event attendees “talked about how employee engagement is absolutely critical to that alignment as well. Alignment needs to happen not only with your external audience but also with your internal audience,” says Le Grange. Again, the concept of alignment is widening to encompass anyone who interacts with (or impacts) the customer/CX.
3. Great teams matter
Having the right people working together around aligned goals is a key driver of marketing success, notes Le Grange, one that attendees were focusing on. “We want to create a team that is great to work with and where people feel their work is valued,” says Le Grange. “Teams also require investment and support so that they can do great work. That message from SiriusDecisions was encouraging to me — some of our industry’s leading analysts are talking about how companies that really invest in their teams see better results.”
The data-privacy regulation from the EU, which compels marketers to seek opt-in from customers, ‘“continues to be a topic with buzz,” says Le Grange. There was a portion of the breakout sessions dedicated to GDPR, and it came up in some of the sessions that some companies have been able to manage GDPR beyond compliance. These companies have been using GDPR as a catalyst to overhaul the way they’re engaging with prospects and customers. It was good to hear that,” says Le Grange. So GDPR’s requirement that marketers seek permission from their audiences can actually help drive and improve customer engagement.
5. Learning from case studies
One of the primary reasons marketers attend conferences is to learn about what other marketers and organizations are doing successfully, and maybe to figure out how they can adopt (“borrow” or “repurpose”) those successful practices for their own organizations.
Case studies “are so convincing to attendees,” notes Le Grange. “Everybody wants something that they can come away with and say, ‘these are my learnings. These are things that I can put into place tomorrow when I get back to my office.’ It really resonates when a marketing leader can stand up and say, these are things we attempted to do, and this is what worked and what didn’t.” SiriusDecisions highlighted several case studies from marketing leaders.
Le Grange mentions one ROI success story from CommScope, a multi-national network infrastructure provider, which focused on the collaboration among marketers, sales and technical experts/SMEs. “One of the things that stuck with me from this case study,” says Le Grange, “was that historically marketing has always received requests or briefs from sales for what they want done. Now that approach has completely changed. Today sales or another area will make a request and we as marketers work to educate them on how we can best achieve those results.” Marketing has become more collaborative and consultative, rather than just transactional.
6. Differing approaches to leadership
Today’s marketing leader is a business leader first, someone who must be adept at working across the entire organization to drive ROI. SiriusDecisions facilitated a networking breakfast for women and analyzed research on different leadership styles in B2B sales and marketing. The research was presented by Meta Karagianni who highlighted how the SiriusDecisions team had run a survey across approximately 400 sales and marketing responders (some of whom had management responsibilities) and then analyzed the survey responses by job role and gender.
“It was very interesting to see the results,” says Le Grange. “Women, particularly women managers, felt that the most important traits were growing and developing their teams, communication, and having a clear vision. Whereas the male respondents valued, apart from a clear vision and communication, having knowledge of the industry. Nothing wrong with having knowledge, but is it the most important thing for a leader? Does it trump the idea that you also need to be growing and developing your team?” Those are certainly important and thought-provoking questions about leadership.
7. A continuing focus on marketing automation
Le Grange had a lot of great conversations with Summit attendees who visited Sojourn’s booth, especially around the use of marketing automation. “The discussions weren’t just about one technology or another, but primarily about the investments that people and organizations have made in marketing automation, and how that’s connected into the rest of their ecosystem – from websites to other marketing technologies they’re using, as well as CRM.”
Overall, Le Grange valued the many face-to-face conversations she had with B2B marketers about how they might do their work better. “I so enjoy meeting with fellow marketers and hearing about their triumphs and also their challenges, learning more about what they need to help them achieve better performance, better results,” concluded Le Grange. “That’s why we’re here and why we spend time attending industry events” Those are the conversations that most engage her and the rest of the team at Sojourn Solutions, whether at a conference in London or anywhere else.
Speaking of conversations, let’s get one started today – please feel free to reach out to us, we’d enjoy hearing from you.