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B2B Marketing Leaders’​ Forum 2020

By Donna McGrory

Donna McGrory, Global Account Lead, pulls together the biggest themes and most commonly discussed topics from this year's virtual Leaders Forum from B2B Marketing.

Omobono had the pleasure of sponsoring B2B Marketing #B2BLeadersForum yesterday – the first digital event of its kind where over 100 #B2BLeaders got together to discuss the hot topics they are all facing. With 6 months of marketing through a pandemic under our belt it’s fair to say that this community coming together was more critical than ever for business.

The topics of the day that emerged were:

  • Getting closer to your customer: Customer experience (CX) in B2B
  • Diversity & Inclusion – why we need to create a more diverse future
  • Brand versus demand – the time to grow again

Getting closer to your customer: Customer experience (CX) in B2B

The C-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to get closer to our customers and is driving the customer economy. #CustomerExperience is not a new function but is certainly growing in terms of importance for #B2B companies. As Chris Adlard and Daniel Bausor, autors of ‘The Customer Catalyst’ commented: “Marketing has no better way to drive growth than to focus on the customer’ and enable cross-silo working”. Increased focus on cross-business customer success metrics means that the roles of #ChiefGrowthOfficer and #ChiefCustomerOfficer are increasing in importance.

Leaders of mature #CX functions also spoke of how their CX initiatives were going beyond just leveraging customer advocacy to creating deep customer partnerships where experiences and future products are co-created that leverage their mutual interest. Linking CX metrics to business metrics was flagged as critical; at Omobono we certainly know this helps CX initiatives to succeed and to keep focus on business growth and performance – partiularly as we look to create better #digitalexperiences.

Diversity & Inclusion – why we need to create a more diverse future

The recent BLM protests have increased the urgency for organisations to diversify and the business case is clear: Diverse businesses perform 35% higher than industry averages (McKinsey) and inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time (Forbes). B2B leaders embraced this topic with a lively discussion hosted by Perrine Farque.

As well as personal stories, the panel (Ridgy LemarierTrisha Stanton and Omobono’s own Jen Hennings) shared practical tips for increasing diverse perspectives and reducing bias in recruitment. The case for change was made by Jen showing the link between #D&I, innovation and better customer experience. Through Google’s Project Aristotle and the research completed by Brene Brown and Adam Grant, we know that psychological safety (a result of inclusive cultures) drives #creativity, #innovation and further more #EmployeeEngagement. Employee engagement in turn drives better Customer Experience.

Brand versus demand – the time to grow again

The panel were asked the eternal question as to whether the focus should be on brand marketing or demand generation. Spoiler alert – you continue to need both! Tom Roach summarises this nicely in his essay ‘The wrong and the short of it’:

 “Brands should be aiming to create long-term communications engineered for immediate success. Advertising that, in the words of the great Jeremy Bullmore, sells ‘both immediately and forever”.

Simon McEvoy explained: “We’ve always been advocates for having a strong brand in the B2B space, we don’t believe that you can have one or the other. There are many examples brands that have weathered C-19 better due to prior long term investment in brand.”

There was a lively chat discussion around what brand means in B2B. An example given was when B2B customers had been asked what they thought about a B2B organisation’s brand, they had responded ‘you’re not a toothpaste – why are you asking about brand?’. Nick Eades counselled that:

“in B2B brand is about reputation and the sum of the experience of that company inside and out – not about a logo or visual identity”.

Lessons from the B2B heavyweights

Throughout the day there was wise counsel from B2B heavyweights such as Claire Wood, Deloitte and Joe Ippolito, IBM.

A call to strive for ‘progress over perfection’ from Claire meaning ‘it doesn’t matter if fail as long as you learn something’, resonating strongly with Omobono’s very own ways of working and the mindset of “fail fast, fail often”.

Joe made the call to be more than ‘just a marketer’ – B2B Marketing leaders can be true growth champions through understanding the value Marketing brings. “As a modern day marketer you have to understand the data, it’s not an option.” He encouraged us to understand the path the customer takes and how the smaller customer actions combine together to drive customer lifetime value.

Building in flex

The day ended with B2B leaders sharing how they will be focusing on building in the appropriate flex into their plans without planning for every micro scenario. It should be an interesting quarter!

So all in all a great day spent with stimulating discussion. Helping to fuel our collective preparation for 2021 to get back to growth.

If you’d like to speak with Omobono on how we can help you get back to growth please get in touch via the form below:



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