From ABM and AI to creativity and CX and everything in between, Ignite London is the biggest event on all things B2B. If you missed out, we’ve got you covered. Lucy Gillman gives an overview of the sessions.
Tyk’s Jason Miller kicked the day off on a creative note, with a defy against celebrating mediocrity and bid to invest in our creative selves – a skill so human, so unreplicable that it will increase in value as AI advances.
Katie King, however, falls on the other side of the digital pond. As she outlines, AI is the key to thriving in a competitive environment. You need to know how to cut through the vendor hype to harness indispensable tools like chatbots, personalisation and social listening. As she puts it, “we’ve turned marketing into a science. If you invest in the right tools, that will future proof you.”
Our expert panel (politely) told us to f**ck the funnel and focus on brand (we’ll let you fill in the blanks on that title). Long gone are the days of immeasurable, wishy-washy brand. Brand has rightfully earned its place as revenue driver as today’s customers buy into brands not from them.
6sense’s Kerry Cunningham took us back to school for a history of how marketing automation broke B2B and the ‘new maths’ you need to know about lead gen. His message is clear: “If you’re still only using lead conversation metrics, please, please, please stop doing that.”
LSE Professor of behavioural science Paul Dolan ended the day on how we can engineer happiness to create a better life. As he maintains, “happiness is a set of experiences”. By focusing our attention on things that bring us joy, we can lead better lives.
From attracting and retaining employees to building long-lasting loyalty in the face of online, silent buyer behaviour, brand has dominated a post-pandemic B2B. And Ignite was no exception.
ESG was a hot topic of the day. Edita Adamcikova and Adam Holder walked us through how Bray Leino helped Viridor communicate their commitment to sustainability, cautioning delegates that brands who don’t incorporate green policies are destined to fall short.
We were then joined by Piers Newson-Smith and Vanessa Cheal. They outlined some of the key findings on Transmission’s The State of B2B Brand Building report on purpose-washing in B2B. According to their survey, pressure is on for brands to take a stance on societal issues. But this doesn’t always translate to authenticity.
56% of B2B marketers admit that they’re likely to promote misleading, ‘force for good’ messages without proper verification. Only 9% of brands who adopt a purpose-led strategy do so purely for ethical reasons. An interesting challenge faces B2B: How can we adopt green policies, but do so in a genuine way?
Michelle Wells took us inside Keyloop’s mission to build an innovative employer brand to attract on-demand graduates into the automotive industry. Likewise, Hymans Robertson’s Lucy Steers showed us how to celebrate a 100th birthday in purpose-driven style, with her session acting as a case study in how to live and breathe your purpose through branding and marketing. As she outlines, “if marketing has to come up with your purpose, it’s not authentic.”
Long-term thinking dominated the Growth stream. Colin Day and Emily Brown touched on all things social, such as the rise of employee advocacy and employer branding. This isn’t just the latest hype, but key to tangible, high impact growth: “People buy from people, and they buy from people they like,” Colin adds. “According to LinkedIn, personal accounts are 200x more likely to be clicked over corporate accounts.”
Carolina Marino Sargeant showed us how to make an honest woman of ABM in her session ‘A marriage, not a fling: Building long-lasting growth with ABM.’ She advised us to set that Tinder ABM approach to one side. Don’t focus on quick wins, but get to grips with what makes your target accounts tick. The result? A three times increase in sales over three fiscal years for one of the largest telecoms in the UK. How could you possibly get cold feet?
Similarly, Differentiated’s Matt Neal unveiled the secrets behind how they won Gold for ‘Best use of ABM’ at the B2B Marketing Awards for their work with Vodafone. If you missed out on the session, you can access full case studies of all Gold winning entrants on Propolis.
Inside tip: submissions for the B2B Marketing Awards close on the 15th July, so get your entries in now!
Andrew Last and Prelini Udayan-Chiechi set the tone for the day with their session on creating a culture for innovative marketing. “Innovative companies outperform the competition,” Andrew states simply. “But there’s a disconnect between the brilliant work that’s being done and what the business thinks.”
As Prelini outlines, it’s never been a better time to incorporate innovative marketing into your mix. Post-pandemic, the digital world has created an even playing field. Capitalise on that. She took us through the practical steps to becoming innovative from how we define it to measuring it on a maturity scale.
Jonathan Turner and Laura Jennings outlined the six superpowers of brand experience before the day took a technological turn. Both Michael Dean and Utkarsh Srivastav looked to the future horizon with developments such as the Metaverse, AI, Web 3.0. “We’ve made good progress with marketing technology. But there’s new things that are coming,” Utkarsh outlines. “You don’t need to be scared, but aware.”
Catherine Alexander concluded the stream by striking down the status-quo. For her, if you want to truly create irresistible marketing messages, resist doing the same. Break the one-size-fits-all approach for every marketing message and sales conversation. Match your message to your buyer’s current motivations – or put your revenue and growth at risk.
Strategy and evolution
The theme of future-focused marketing continued with PwC’s David Nelson. He took us inside one of the largest professional services networks to explore their responsive approach to marketing strategy and planning – and why long-term planning and agility can go hand-in-hand.
We were then joined by a panel of experts on putting the ‘excellence’ in Centre of Excellence (CoE). Our panel went through an in-depth exploration of everything you need to know about setting up a CoE, ensuring enduring success and how to know if it’s the right move for you.
VIP delegates joined an invitation-only roundtable hosted by Propolis Hive Experts Karla Wentworth and Shane Redding. Client-side marketers discussed the future of their organisation and if they were fit for purpose, with a strong focus on centralisation. Delegates got a taste of the life of a Propolis member with the chance to address their pain points in an intimate setting and leave with clear advice to future-proof their marketing from the best in business. What more could you ask for?
Campaigns, content and creative
Campaigns, content, and creative, oh my! Gravity Global’s Mark Lethbridge kicked off the morning by taking us behind the scenes of Profit Hunter – undoubtedly one of the most successful B2B campaigns we’ve ever seen. Their stand-out work earnt them two Gold awards at The B2B Marketing Awards 2021 and five at The Elevation Awards. Is there anyone doing it like Gravity?
Elephants, wrestlers, dead lawyers and flame throwers – copywriting guru David McGuire and Addleshaw Goddard’s Brian Macreadie tore down any notion that the B in B2B stands for boring. Delegates learnt how to unlock creativity in their team from their ‘who gives a f***?’ test to nabbing that all-important senior sign off. “You have to stand out now more than ever,” David said. “It [was] great to be back in a room with other people facing the same challenges.”
Social media dominated the afternoon. Tim Williams invited us in for a masterclass on taking content marketing to the next level by working with influencers – no, not the ones you’re thinking of. Adobe’s Andy Lambert similarly challenged us to rethink what we think we know about influencer marketing. As he outlines, 55% of people discover a brand through social media. If you want to reach your target audience before they come onto your radar, work with communities and influencers to build trust.
Propolis’ CX Hive Expert Barbara Stewart kicked things off with an exclusive taste of a Propolis best practice briefing. The mantra ‘when you assume you make an ass out of you and me’ rang loud and clear as Barbara encouraged us to reject simply assuming what customers want – instead discover what they need.
Similarly, things got personal with Charlie Nicholson who gave us a whistle stop tour on making content your target market will actually want to read. The answer? Get to know the personas in your DMU. If you don’t, you risk wasting resources on content.
Questions around untapped potential were key, such as Dean Lindsay who spoke about the importance of customer advisory boards as a valuable channel for candid feedback.
Similarly, Maria Dahlqvist Canton and Paul Cox advocated for the use of email signatures. As they outline, you don’t have to focus your time, budget and effort looking for new ways to engage customers. When done right, email signatures are a transformative, low-cost communication channel that showcase your brand, provide fast customer feedback, improve employee efficiency and extend the reach of your marketing activities. Who knew?
Whilst Ignite may be over, the fun doesn’t stop there. As Richard O’Connor outlines, “for me, the genesis of Propolis was all about bringing Ignite as an event into a community intelligence platform that’s available all year round.
The takeaway for me today is that we’ve got an opportunity to use Propolis as Ignite all year round – all of this energy, learning and peer-to-peer engagement doesn’t just live here. Through Propolis, people can have that every day of the year.”
You can’t ask for more.