It’s always fascinating when thousands of marketers, many of whom are competitors, can come together for a week to share ideas, innovations, and advice with one another to grow their business and push the boundaries of their industry. Content Marketing World 2019 was no exception to this act of selfless sharing. It was my first time attending and between the thought-provoking content, industry-leading speakers, and generously engaging attendees, I certainly hope it’s not my last.
At TopRank Marketing, we made it our mission to ensure our readers would share in the benefit of our attendance. Below are the ideas, people, and moments that we were grateful to experience last week, all of which are summarized for your consuming pleasure below. We hope that similar to our conference experience, you walk away with a notebook chock-full of ideas to grow your content marketing programs. Enjoy!
Big Ideas Beget Big Ideas
At CMWorld 2019, every speakers’ session seemed to build from one another, making for a cohesive and comprehensive learning experience. Common themes included:
- Using data to tell stories
- Creating content that feels personal
- Creatively amplifying your message
- Leveraging teams and technology to scale
Our live coverage of several sessions delved into all of these themes.
Using Data to Tell Stories
CEO of TopRank Marketing Lee Odden took the stage on Wednesday afternoon to draw parallels between his physical fitness journey and that of creating an always-on content marketing program. The underlying message throughout his presentation was that you should always be leveraging your data to iterate, optimize and push the boundaries of what you thought was possible.
Forrester’s April Henderson followed up the next day to talk about data-driven, empathetic B2B content. And no – that’s not an oxymoron. She pushed her audience to think past traditional B2B content to build stories that don’t stray from statistics but instead, leverage them to resonate with your audience’s emotional side.
Creating Personal Content
MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer Ann Handley provided her audience with a powerful session that urged marketers to slow down and take the time to get to know their audience. She stresses that relationships, especially between buyer and seller, take time to build. Marketers who not only understand this but covet it as their guide to building great content, are going to be leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.
3M’s Carlos Abler spoke to an audience of marketers about expanding the idea of personal content to include social value. Although brands have been notoriously known for sticking to objectives that only benefit themselves, Carlos ensures us that by building a strategy that provides our audiences an aspect of social value, we will be helping our bottom-line as well.
Creatively Amplifying Content
Despite an 8 a.m. start time on the last day of CMWorld, the room for Ashley Zeckman’s presentation on B2B Influencer Marketing was packed, a good indication of the thirst for this topic. Using Guardians of the Galaxy to help explain her approach to building successful influencer programs, she laid forward essential do’s and don’ts, wrapping it all up in real-world examples for her audience to take away.
Leveraging Teams and Tech to Scale
Eaton’s Director of Corporate Marketing Communications Zari Venhaus knows better than most that the best content marketing strategies will have an uphill battle gaining traction if the proper tools are not in place to scale efforts. That’s why she gave a thorough presentation on her tried and true framework for getting martech approval from senior executives.
NewsCred Co-Founder and CEO Shafqat Islam hit on a point that many of us marketers already know to be true: consumers demand a consistent, omnichannel experience from brands. However, knowing and doing are two very different things. Shafqat laid out his process for building teams that not only understand this key truth, but can also implement it at scale.
To make this conference experience extra special, the TopRank Marketing team sat down with some of the brightest minds in B2B, interviewing them one-on-one to get their unique perspective on the state of our industry. We sat down with the majority of these experts moments after they exited the stage, speaking on their respective topics of expertise. We will be releasing the full interviews from these industry leaders in the weeks to follow. But here are a few profound snippets to hold you over:
Senior Director of Health Content, Cleveland Clinic
Health is so personal and so sacred that building that trust is so important. - Amanda Todorovich @amandatodo Click To Tweet
Vice President of Influencer Marketing & Communications, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass
Focus on creating engaging content, not lead gen content, to align with the expectations of today’s B2B buyer. - Amisha Gandhi @AmishaGandhi Click To Tweet
I feel strongly that companies need to get out of the campaign mentality and leverage their channels for ongoing content that is going to serve their audience. - Brody Dorland @brodydorland Click To Tweet
Vice President of Marketing, Parse.ly
Remember that your B2B audience is human and treat them that way. - Clare Carr @clareondrey Click To Tweet
Founder & Chief Growth Officer, Ignition
Figure out who you are, as a business, and everything else will start to figure itself out. - Jeff Pugel @jeffpugel Click To Tweet
Global Marketing Director, Brennan Industries
That’s why we do content marketing - to start communicating and providing value to our audience. - John Joyce @mrjohnjoyce Click To Tweet
Assistant Director of Brand, Marketing & Communications, Ernst and Young
By and large society is forcing companies to change. They are saying it is no longer acceptable to operate the way you’ve always operated - you’ve got to put society first. - Maliha Aqeel @MalihaQ Click To Tweet
Executive Director for Growth Marketing & Audience Acquisition, Morgan Stanley
The more you can get to know your customer and develop a care and empathy for them, the more you are going to do what is right for that person - not just because it is a marketing trend you can follow. - Margaret Magnarelli @mmagnarelli Click To Tweet
General Manager, Content Marketing Institute
We keep the conversation and the community going 365 days a year. - Stephanie Stahl of @CMIContent Click To Tweet
Director of Corporate Marketing Communications, Eaton
Marketers need to take a step back and think about the larger ecosystem in which they operate. - Zari Venhaus @zvenhaus Click To Tweet
Connecting with the Content Community
Oftentimes conferences give us the opportunity to check in with friends in our industry, grab a bite together and share a laugh. The team at TopRank Marketing used our spare moments to do just that, connecting with old friends as well as new.
We captured a few of our favorite moments with these folks below.
Wrapping it Up
To summarize our experience: we came, we saw, we conquered, all in hopes of bringing back the thought-leadership that transpired to our clients and our communities. As much as we enjoy being at the event, we enjoy, even more so, sharing those learnings with you. There is a balance in our community of giving and receiving, and we like to err on the side of giving.
Did you attend Content Marketing World 2019? What were some of your top takeaways or favorite moments? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!