What I Hope to Learn in Orlando’s Magic ‘Data’ Kingdom

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) inaugural 2020 Masters of Data and Technology Conference kicks off today. It will be interesting to learn how brands see themselves transformed by all the digital (and offline) data surrounding prospects and customers at this Magic Data Kingdom in Orlando.

As I get ready to embark to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) inaugural 2020 Masters of Data and Technology Conference (beginning today), I’m very curious to listen in and learn how brands see themselves transformed by all the digital (and offline) data surrounding prospects and customers.  With CMOs telling ANA that this topic area is a strategic priority, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed this week in Orlando’s Magic Data Kingdom.

Are “they” — the brands — finding answers to these questions?

  • Do they have command of data in all the channels of customer engagement?
  • Are they deriving new sources of customer intelligence that had previously gone untapped?
  • Can they accurately map customer journeys — and their motivations along the way?
  • Are they truly able to identify customers across platforms accurately with confidence?
  • How do data science and creativity come together to make more effective advertising — and meet business real-world objectives?
  • What disruptions are shaking the foundations of B2C and B2B engagement today?
  • Are investments in data and technology paying dividends to brands and businesses in increased customer value? Do customers, too, value the data exchange?
  • Is there a talent pool in adequate to deliver data-derived, positive business outcomes? What more resources or tools might they need?
  • What impacts do barriers on open data flows — walled gardens, browser defaults, privacy legislation, “techlash” — have on relevance, competition, diversity in content and other business, economic and social concerns? How can these be managed?
  • Are “brand” people and “data” people truly becoming one in the same in marketing, and in business?

Admittedly, that’s a lot of questions — and perhaps the answers to some of these may be elusive. However, it’s the dialogue among industry peers here that will matter.

The mere emergence of this conference — “new” in the ANA lexicon — is perhaps a manifestation of where the Data & Marketing Association (acquired by ANA in 2018) hoped to achieve in its previous annual conferences and run-up to acquisition. The full promise of data-driven marketing — and “growth” in an Information Economy — can only happen when brands themselves (and, yes, their agencies and ad tech partners, too) have command of data and tech disciplines, and consumers continue to be willing partners in the exchange.

Imagination lives beyond the domain of the Magic Kingdom (where we all can take inspiration from Disney, nearby). Likewise, aspirations can be achieved. Let’s listen in and learn as ANA takes rein of this brands- and data-welcomed knowledge share. Growth is a beautiful thing.

 

15 Must-Attend B2B Marketing Conferences for 2020

The B2B marketing conference scene continues to flourish since I did my last roundup a year ago. I hope I am not jinxing the trend by commenting on how top events thrive and new events arrive. Here’s a lineup of top-quality conferences to add to your 2020 calendar.

The B2B marketing conference scene continues to flourish since I did my last roundup a year ago. I hope I am not jinxing the trend by commenting on how top events thrive and new events arrive. Here’s a lineup of top-quality conferences to add to your 2020 calendar. A treasure trove of strategy, innovation, ABM, martech, data, AI, e-commerce, social media — the works.

• February 24-26, Scottsdale, B2B Marketing Exchange

The real deal. Catch great speakers like Lee Odden, Pam Didner, and Howard J. Sewell.

• March 17-18, San Francisco, The ABM Innovation Summit

Organized by Demandbase, at Pier 27, and followed by certification courses on Day 2 at the Hyatt Regency.

• March 29-April 2, Las Vegas, Adobe Summit

Perhaps the largest of them all, as Adobe has built a B2B martech powerhouse. Featuring Mindy Kahling, an apparent new fan of B2B marketers — having also appeared at Content Marketing World in 2019.

• April 15-17, San Jose, Martech West

See Scott Brinker’s persuasive video call for speakers. Martech East runs in Boston, September 6-8.

• April 20-22, Chicago, B2B Online

E-commerce and digital marketing for manufacturers and distributors. Attracts attendees from around the world.

• April 23-24, San Francisco, TOPO Summit

Where sales and marketing teams learn to break down barriers and work together. Organized by thought leader Craig Rosenberg.

• May 3-6, Austin, Sirius Decisions 2020 Summit

A strong event, made even stronger after Sirius’s purchase by Forrester.

• May 12-14, Scottsdale, ANA BMA Masters of Marketing Conference

The ANA is moving its reincarnated BMA conference from Chicago this year.

• May 27-28, Chicago, B2B Marketing Ignite USA 2020

At last, the event we’ve been waiting for. The UK’s B2B Marketing.net brings its successful annual conference to our shores. If you’re not already a member of its US online community, I suggest you sign up now.

• August 10-12, Boston, B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange

A fruitful merger of three smaller B2B conferences, DemandGen Summit, FlipMyFunnel, and REVTalks, launched in 2019.

• August 19-20, Singapore, B2B Marketing Leaders Forum Asia 2020

THE Asian event for B2B marketers, if you can stand the idea of Singapore in August. Part of an Australian organization with additional conferences in Sydney (May 20-21, 2020) and Melbourne.

• September 16-18, Boston, Connect to Convert

A division of the giant LeadsCon, with a solid B2B marketing track.

• October 7-8, Chicago, reach 2020

Launched in 2019 by G2Crowd, this one-day conference is all about getting the most value from B2B ratings and reviews sites.

• October 13-16, Cleveland, Content Marketing World

Still growing, still thriving.

• November 3-6, San Francisco. MarketingProfs B2B Forum

The B2B Forum is on the move again, after years in Boston and a swing by DC in 2019.

 

A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.

Trade Shows and Live Events as Content Marketing

You know those folks who are super-organized about the business events they attend? The ones who research the companies who are going to be there, reach out to organize meetings in advance, have a plan for walking the floor, never eat — or even have coffee — alone? Yeah, I hate ‘em, too.

You know those folks who are super-organized about the business events they attend? The ones who research the companies who are going to be there, reach out to organize meetings in advance, have a plan for walking the floor, never eat — or even have coffee — alone? Yeah, I hate ‘em, too.

All kidding aside, even if you aren’t the model of getting the most out of trade shows, webinars and other events, they can be a great part of your content marketing — and your content marketing will help make the events themselves more productive.

One way to do this, of course, is to begin talking about the event on social media in the weeks leading up to it. Mention what it is you’re excited about, whose presentations, what topics you’re looking to explore. Yes, you’ll open yourself up to some unwanted sales pitches. But you’ll also find yourself connecting with like-minded folks who may have insights and experience that could help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

For that matter, talk about it afterwards, too. You can focus on the highlights, what you learned, who you met, and even what you missed. Again, the goal is to do so in a way that encourages interaction with others so you might make additional connections.

On a more one-to-one level, you can use email in a similar way: Ask clients and potential clients if they’re planning on attending. If so, set up a time to chat, even if only briefly. If not, ask if there’s anything of particular interest that you can look into for then.

Once you’re at the event, staying active on social media can be productive, but don’t do it to the exclusion of, you know, actually picking up your head and paying attention to the people around you or the presentation you’re sitting in. That’s the real opportunity.

And it should go without saying that you want to occupy the space between obnoxious and coy. In other words, don’t go rushing from person to person pressing your business card into their palms and immediately moving on. (I’m exaggerating, though not by much …) That’s just not going to get you any traction. Just as your content has to provide value rather than being purely promotional, your personal interactions have to be interesting to your audience. It’s about them, not you.

At the same time, there’s no reason not to be clear and direct about your networking intentions. You’ve gotta give to receive if you want to make networking work, especially at live large events which tend to be somewhat more rushed.