Last week in Nashville, I attended my 4th Sirius Decisions Summit. For those of you who haven’t been, it’s truly a can’t-miss event for B2B sales and marketing professionals. I’ve found that each summit provides insights, frameworks, thought-starters and conversations that are critical for our agency business to stay ahead and instrumental to my career growth as a B2B Marketing Consultant.
Here are 3 key observations from this year’s Summit.
1) The Focus on Analytics and the Application of Big Data: My favourite tweet from the week was the following: “Opinion against opinion, seniority wins. Opinion against data, data wins. Data against data, the best data wins.” For years, in the absence of real data, marketers made crucial decisions based on a highly-proprietary formula of gut, best-guess, easiest-to-execute and how-we-did-it-last-time. In 2015, this formula has evolved to include historical data, propensity models and behavioural data. This was apparent as many of the case studies revolved around how better data drove better decisions. Additionally, a stroll through the Marketplace revealed several sponsors in the data insights space such as Lattice Engines, 6Sense, Infer and Mintigo had stepped up their level of sponsorship from previous years.
2) Know Your Buyer… And Your Customer: As a sports junkie, I was thrilled that Magic Johnson was the keynote speaker. He kicked off his talk playfully acknowledging our desire for a close-up photo of himself so he glided up and down the aisles and frequently paused while flashing his trademark smile so that all of us could have our Magic moment that we could immediately share with envious friends. He regaled us with stories and anecdotes and I was particularly interested in his transition from world-class baller to billionaire businessman. He learned to conduct yearly SWOT analysis’ on each of his businesses and himself. One of his strengths is his ability to deeply understand the market that he wants to service and this knowledge guides his decisions about the product and experience to enable his teams to over-deliver to their target. This simple strategy repeatedly creates loyalty and gains a larger share-of-wallet. At the 2014 SDSummit, Buyer Personas was arguably the star of the show. In 2015, the concept of deep buyer knowledge has been extended to the actual customers (whom often are very different than the buyers) and this was apparent by the new “Customer Experience” track offered this year.
3) The Shell-shocked Face of Despair: #SDSummit sessions are filled with massive nuggets of knowledge that have us all furiously jotting notes and thinking how we could immediately apply it back at our companies. However if you carefully watch the faces that exit a session, it’s easy to spot the rookie attendees. They’re the ones with the pained look of despair. They’re utterly overwhelmed and shellshocked. They’ve just discovered umpteen new concepts and processes that probably make them feel like their marketing and sales team are the most dysfunctional group in the world. Rest assured, young Draper, that you’re really not that bad. Sure... you may have spent 12 days getting approvals on the last piece of sales collateral that never got used, but trust me when I say you’re among family. We’ve all been on the polar-opposite of “best-in-class” at some point. A big reason we come to the #SDSummit is to find inspiration and tricks from those whom have tried something different and found success. As cliché as it sounds, committing to implementing some of the lessons you learned will help you move the needle away from Neanderthal and you’ll find that your next summit will provide you with more learnings to extend and reinforce your new foundation.
Is your marketing team feeling shell-shocked? We’re here to help.