B2B Marketing Awards 2016

Pleased to have been a judge for this year’s B2B Marketing Awards. Once again I’m astounded by the quality of all the entries. The creativity and the results continue to demonstrate, to me at least, the B2B marketing is in rude health.

Best of luck to all the companies and individuals nominated.


Marketing, Things I love

Why I Love B2B Marketing.

I fell into B2B marketing. It was the Video Game Retailer or the B2B ISP. The video game retailer went bust 3 months later. Was I lucky? Perhaps. Did I achieve what I set out to do when I graduated? Yes and No. Yes, I got my first marketing job, proper. No, in so much as I didn’t set out to get in to B2B marketing. Marketing, yes. B2C, almost certainly. B2B marketing, unlikely.

That said, I have no regrets. My career in B2B has had its ups and downs. But it has also given me a wealth of opportunities and experiences and for that I will always be grateful. And that, in part, is why I love B2B marketing. B2B marketing has had a rough time. Throughout my career its always been the slightly misunderstood sibling of B2C. And yet, I continue to work with great people in the space. Great marketers, agencies and partners who are as passionate about the 18-24 month sales cycles as I am. We can see the opportunities in building a relationship and nurturing leads, especially in the days before automation.

And it is the relationship. It’s creating an emotional connection with people. People who have everyday challenges. Who have targets and KPIs. People who make considered purchases, behave rationally. They explore, research, display enormous levels of patience. Seek proof. People who want to know what success looks like in their terms. But also where it will take their department, division, region. Will ask “so, what?” so often, you are always on your toes, thinking, adjusting, amending, learning.

And when that contract is signed. When the direct mail, email, event sponsorship, Customer Advisory Boards, hospitality, meet-ups, case studies and videos have all chipped away at the DMU. When you have reinforced why you have the reliable and innovative service they need. And when you have convinced the higher-ups, the C-suite, that you are the strategic partner, a trusted advisor, that is why I love B2B marketing.

At the end of the day, we are talking to people, other human beings, not businesses in glass buildings. B2B marketing has come a long was since I started out 16 years ago. We can do as much and perhaps a little bit more than our B2C counterparts. Look at what caterpiller, Volvo, Marketo, Thunderhead, Xuber, CBRE to name but a few have achieved and are doing in this discipline. That’s why I love B2B marketing.

Marketing, Things I love

My favourite TED talks

I was reading an article the other day about how to stand out in business and in your workplace, a kind of manifesto on being remarkable. One of the many suggested ways was to not reference TED talks. The justification was that anyone can do it, it’s not clever and in many ways it’s myopic. I didn’t agree with much of the article but that comment stuck. Primarily because I wholeheartedly disagreed with it.

It got me thinking about TED. It’s a much discussed topic. It’s also one of the ultimate pieces of content marketing. And ley’s face despite what that blog post said, It’s a great way of finding common ground with people you know and don’t know as it did with me when meeting new colleagues at the end of last year. There was an immediate common ground and in a way a common purpose. We want to learn more, know more, investigate more, sate our curious minds. Ideas Worth Spreading.

There are around 2000 of these talks. I’ve not watched all of them (obviously), however, those that I’ve listed below are the ones that immediately came to mind. And are the ones that I’ve shared with friends, family and colleagues.

Simon Sinek – Start With Why
He recently talked about being bored of delivering this talk, which is both a shame and unsurprising. Thankfully it’s been recorded for posterity.

Ken Robinson – Are schools killing creativity?
I first watched this many years ago, and I suspect it was probably the first TED talk I watched and the first time I became aware of TED. Since then I’ve become a Governor at a local school, and I’ve revisited this talk several times. However, the message isn’t just about the education system, it also applies to parenting and to business: Are the systems we have in place the most appropriate for nurturing creativity in the modern world?

Jason Fried – Why work doesn’t happen at work.
I mentioned this talk in a previous post and with good reason. Jason talks a lot of sense.

Rodney Mullen – Pop an ollie and innovate
Rodney Mullen is one of my sporting heroes. Skateboarding was my first real passion. As an 8 year old in a leafy English commuter town, skate videos (yep, VHS) from the States where our escape and inspiration. Rodney talks about creating content through context. Essentially, there’s an obstacle, what can I do with this board to overcome or make the most of the situation. Test, fail, learn and adapt.

Photo Credit: Gisela Giardino via flickr

Things I love

Things I loved in April 2013

1. HHhH by Laurent Binet The story of Operation Anthropoid, the mission to kill Reinhard Heydrich. A quite incredible story told in a very uncoventional manner. Part historical and part autobiographical.

2. How to build a community for your business by @seomoz

3. Dieter Rams: Ten principles for good design by Vitsoe

4. How we do our email marketing at MailChimp by MailChimp

5. How do you find time for social media by @michaelbrenner

6. Why messing up might make you a better manager by @SEOChicks

7. Rainy Mood. Write to it, read to it, code to it. The most perfect ambient soundtrack.

8. A blast from my childhood. I spent most weekends at Farnborough skate ramp in varying degrees of success and painful failure progress. Finding this video brought it all back.


Three Presentations for the Modern B2B Marketer

Let’s say you woke up from a very heavy 12 month slumber. And, I dunno, the first thing you wanted to do was find out the direction modern B2B marketing is headed. Here are 3 presentations that I think give you a good grounding whilst you sip your first coffee.

#1: A mantra for producing great content as much as it’s a call to arms for the preventation of crap content. @velocitytweets
#2: A great insight into how tracking behaviour can help you develop micro segmentation or segments of one.@jwatton
#3: A great reminder that customer experience in 2013 is as much about what happens before the purchase as it as after the purchase. @maxymiser


Things I love

Things I loved in March 2013

1. How we accomplished (big) goals with content and social media marketing (in just 10 months) by @mackwebteam

2. This use of Vine by Beerbods. It’s  a bit heavy on the eyes, yet I think it sums up the Beerbods proposition very well.

3. The HubSpot culture code. by @HubSpot.  It’s a bit Netflix but that is the source code.

4. New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual  In no way am I graphic designer, though I am a sucker for graphic design and a brand manual.

5. I’m Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, and This Is How I Work Even he can’t work out a decent way to have proper to do lists in Evernote.

6. Adventures in the ransom trade A fantastic longform on the side of kidnapping you don’t see.

7. Make your marketing more bobular by @jwatton Be more personal.

9.  Quiet: The power of Introverts by Susan Cain (no affiliate) Having read this I’m not sure I’m as introverted as I perhaps thought I was, ambivert I think. Nevertheless, it’s a very good read. It is worth watching her google talk on the subject


Likeminds: the good the bad and the ugly

The Likeminds 2010 event has been somewhat of a phenomonen, and quite rightly too. Here is a list of all that has been written about it so far, compiled by the Likeminds team.

I’ve not managed to read of all of them yet, however, James Whatley’s post from an attendee’s perspective and Jo Porrit’s from a virtual perspective are worth reading. Lots of good content here.

And thus it appears that the Likeminds output is a gift that keeps on giving.