Five Smart Takeaways from BMA16

More than 1,000 marketers came together at this year’s ANA/BMA Masters of B2B Marketing Conference to talk about the pressing issues and ideas driving B2B marketing. VSA attended, even taking home a B2 Award for the smart redesign of the Trading Technologies website. 5 top takeaways brought back by our team:

Forget about B2B and B2C. Think about B2H—business to human—strategies.
Robert Tas, CMO of Pegasystems, argued that access to too much real-time data can distract marketers from creating human-centric campaigns—B2B organizations must be 100% focused on customer satisfaction in order to succeed. This idea isn’t new, but he powerfully contextualized it by presenting new statistics on the risk of not prioritizing the customer. Our favorite insight that relates to this claim: 57% of the companies listed on the 1995 Fortune 500 are no longer on the list today.

Be brave. Think and act like a startup.
Many Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, including GE, stressed the need to think like a startup: be open to crowdsourcing and the belief that it doesn’t take 20+ years of experience to solve problems. That doesn’t mean large, established corporations need to revamp everything overnight (which is impossible), but they should be open to small experiments. Experiment and iterate often and allow people to push their boundaries.

The URL is the internet’s unit of currency.
Andy Crestodina, founder of Orbit Media, shared thoughtful ideas around how discrete URLs for products and services can help marketers and, ultimately, sellers drive business. His solutions were simple and easy to implement. His best tips: blog domains formatted as “” are best for SEO, sub-directories are less valuable, and discrete thought leadership URLs are downright damaging.

Stop investing in campaigns that don’t work.
Michael Brenner, author of The Content Formula, suggested that the single most valuable step marketers can take is to run an ROI report on SalesForce or their CRM tool and then rank the results from low to high. Stop investing in anything that isn’t generating a return. Sounds straightforward, but it’s surprising how many people don’t take this step.

Leaders should be enablers, not enforcers, in order to stay competitive.
Presenters and roundtable discussions alike reinforced horizontal leadership models that are focused on big picture evolution, not on enforcing organizational vertically. Raghu Krishnamoorthy, Vice President of Human Resources at GE Healthcare, stressed that a leader’s true strength lies in his or her ability to empower employees to deliver meaningful outcomes. Platform thinking is the new context, and employees are seeking structures that are designed with elasticity. Org charts are changing to fit in with the new paradigm.