Conex 2019: Bringing Marketers Together to Own & Transform The Content Experience
Marketers within various digital, demand generation, and content marketing areas recently gathered in the heart of Toronto at Conex 2019. This unique B2B conference brought together subject matter experts and thought leaders from across the globe. They shared actionable best practices on how to plan, centralize, personalize and build relevant content experiences that targets and reaches the right audience while driving customer engagement.
On behalf of 360insights, I had the opportunity to attend this action-packed, three-day event. At the end, I was left enlightened, inspired and ready to leverage innovative Martech and inject new digital strategies within my overall content marketing plan.
The Evolving Buyer’s Journey
One of the reoccurring themes at Conex 2019, centered on the evolving buyer’s journey. With the influx of individuals making purchases online, it has become extremely difficult for B2B and B2C marketers to break through the cluttered digital world. It has become challenging to create meaningful content that influences the buyer’s purchase decisions and connects with the right audience, at the right time, across the right media channels.
According to SiriusDecisions research, “67% of the buyer’s journey takes place online”, so it only makes sense that businesses evolve their digital marketing and selling strategies accordingly to engage buyers throughout every stage of the life cycle.
Focus on Quality Not Quantity
For many marketers it may seem that building more content leads to more engagement. However, when I sat in on the presentation by Laura Ramos, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester, she explained, “B2B consumers don’t engage with your content.” According to Forrester’s B2B Marketing survey, “66% of B2B buyers say vendors provide too much material and 58% say the material is focused more on style than substance.”
To truly demonstrate marketing ROI in terms of improved conversion rates, increased interactions and better CX, marketers need to create content that focuses more on the outcomes customers want to achieve. By tapping into their emotions and getting to know who their buyers are, their interests, where they live and what they like to do, will drive stronger engagement. Laura went on to state, “Being customer obsessed ultimately leads to better revenue performance and an increase in sales.”
Leverage Martech for a Best-in-Class ABM Strategy
Leveraging Martech to target accounts and personalize content creates more compelling customer experiences. This was another key topic trending at Conex. The panel discussion featuring CEOs from Sigstr, Uberflip, and the VP of Marketing at Vidyard focused on how marketing technology helps to enhance the ADM experience using account-based scenarios. This technique helps to indicate which content is being clicked on, by whom and what is being downloaded. It also adds a human element to the way content is delivered to existing and potential customers, generating greater UX; one that is highly personalized and resonates with the target audience.
Innovation Keeps Customers Happy
Digital and social selling are quickly becoming the norm for many consumers across the globe. For most of us, our smartphones or tablets are almost always within reach. We’re always in constant connection to the internet, and in turn, to the products and services that are available to us.
The Smart Marketers and Smart Audio focus session presented by Tom Webster, SVP of Edison Research was especially relevant as he walked through the findings from their latest research in the Smart Audio Report. Smart speakers are becoming one of the fastest growing consumer technologies tracked. According to Edison Research, “Twenty-one percent of Americans 18+ own a Smart Speaker, or around 53 million people.”
With the increased usage of voice assistant technology on mobile phones, Webster discussed the implication it is having on modern marketers to put more emphasis on developing content-based skill strategies in order to gain a foothold on these popular devices.
Utilize Data to Optimize Performance & Enhance Customer Engagement
Digital sellers and marketers are experiencing a massive shift in how they interpret the online actions of their target audience. With so much available data from platforms like Google Analytics and the “business” profile option on many social media platforms, B2B and B2C marketers are gaining greater insight into brand engagement and the specific needs of their customers and prospects.
The Executive Marketing Manager at McGraw-Hill Education, Marisa Cavanaugh, discussed the positive impacts of getting direct feedback from your customers through surveys. The insights gleaned from customer feedback surveys, email analytics, and CRM tools, ultimately optimizes the sales funnel and improves brand connection. It also helps with market segmentation, customer identities and aligning future campaigns that are highly targeted and personalized.
An Engaging Content Experience Begins with Relevance
As we all know, the internet and the era of digital transformation has exponentially increased the volume of content created and consumed. This has dramatically changed the way people search for products, services, buy and communicate.
Customers are experiencing information overload. With all this noise, content needs to be relevant to your target audience or it will simply get lost. So, what then makes content relevant?
Jay Baer, Founder of Convince & Convert and Relevance’19 keynote speaker states, “Relevancy magically creates time and attention.” In his sessions, he outlined tips and tricks for creating more content with less effort and tactics to help digital marketers tie metrics back to legitimate business outcomes.
However, the session focused on how to be relevant to your audience was especially interesting to me. According to Jay Baer, “Your audience’s time is extremely fragmented, so stop trying to be amazing and start being useful”.
Relevancy causes a change in a person’s behavior. Developing relevant content that is targeted, meaningful, persona-based and engaging, helps to build trust over time. Jay claims, “Trust is the filter through which all businesses success must pass.” So, gaining trust from your customers is essential for every sale or purchase decision. And gaining trust from your leadership team supports the continuity of content marketing as an on- going strategic business function.
For more words of wisdom from Jay Baer, tune into our bonus Channel Edge podcast episode where Jay discusses how to build word-of-mouth triggers right into how you do business in, Talk Triggers.
For me, the big takeaway from Conex 2019 came down to centralization, personalization and relevance. In order to develop successful content experiences that drives customer engagement and increases interaction with your product, service, or brand, you need to create content that demonstrates actionable information about how it can help the consumer’s lifestyle in some capacity. At the end of the day, high-quality content tells the story of your brand and paints a picture of how existing and potential customers can relate to your brand image.