Here's the main point of this post: To wrap up the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, which took place last week in Boston. Close to 442 business-to-business marketers flocked to my hometown to share lessons and best practices in finding and nurturing customers.

But those two sentences, while dead-on, don't begin to capture the energy, the fun, the electricity of those few days in Boston. The truth is that I'm in a bit of funk this week. After all the camaraderie and learning and laughs, this week feels a little bit like the day after the party. Like the day after your birthday, the day after Christmas, and January 2nd all rolled into one. If you were in Boston with us at the Forum ... maybe you know what I mean?

So to capture some of that energy, I'm sharing some take-aways, some wisdom, and a few photos.

First, the wisdom: The Forum is hands-on event---meaning, it's stuffed to the seams full of case studies and best practices and checklists about how to use digital tools and platforms (like email, and social media, and search), how to integrate them into your existing programs, and include offline programs, too (like event marketing, and offline lead-generation practices). During the last session of the event, our trio of embedded journalists (David B. Thomas from SAS, Stephanie Miller from Return Path, and Bob Knorpp from The Cool Beans Group) came together to share what they'd been picking up as they floated in and out of the various sessions. (And Stephanie worked the room like a modern-day Phil Donahue with a mike, soliciting audience feedback and your takeaways from the event.)

Here are 30 lessons and bits of B2B wisdom they gathered over the three days in Boston:

  • In social media, not every measure of influence and engagement can be quantified.

  • Reward people who are sharing valuable information in your customer communities.

  • Create an editorial calendar for your content creation; use it to drive your social media activities.

  • When creating and maintaining your social media program, always be thinking about SEO.

  • Take advantage of traditional, proven techniques of PR, while leveraging those techniques in social media.

  • Make sure your internal news platforms allow for comments, the same way you would for an external blog.

  • When people opt in to your email, be sure to send them a thank you message that reinforces your value proposition.

  • Our brains are hardwired to notice what is different. Differentiation is key to your branding message.

  • You want to be on the second page of Google as well.

  • Adding a call to action at the end of a blog post can become a significant source of leads.

  • Focus on landing page “experience” (not just a form) to earn 2-10X on conversion. A page two can work.

  • If you listed out all your competitors’ marketing messages, would you be able to differentiate your own?

  • Give your customers a reason to buy from you that goes beyond price.

  • Marketers are paid to say how great our companies are, but customers are not.

  • The key to participating in social conversations is to be helpful.

  • Mobile marketing is evolving to be truly “in the moment” marketing.

  • Re-purpose your content across channels to optimize utility and value.

  • No technology or tool makes you smart, helpful, interesting or valuable.

  • Use email and blogs to introduce ideas, and spark conversations on forums where you’re not in control.

  • Think of email tests as starting wide and getting narrow. Or choose the opposite starting point.

  • Have realistic expectations about building a community. You can't be everything and do everything.

  • Have a clear goal before you market or you’ll diminish your ability to prove effectiveness.

  • Loyalty and satisfaction are not the same thing.

  • SEO is easy to screw up, hard to do.

  • Control your keywords. Overuse can reduce effectiveness.

  • Send out embeddable code that contains your keyword anchor text.

  • Data means nothing without applying key performance indicators.

  • Pay attention to keywords in social status updates.

  • Bing should not be ignored. Quality of leads are much better than you might think.

  • Listen to your sales force to know what content brings in the best kinds of leads, then optimize.

And finally, check out this from the Forum, as told in quotes and images. See you next time ... I hope!
Overheard at the Forum

Did you miss the B2B Forum? Join MarketingProfs at an upcoming event:

Social Tech 2010: October 26 in San Jose

Digital Marketing Forum (formerly the Digital Marketing Mixer): February 3-4 in Austin

Sign up for free to read the full article. Enter your email address to keep reading ...


image of Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author who recently published Everybody Writes 2. She speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to ignite tangible results. IBM named her one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing. Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a LinkedIn Influencer, a keynote speaker, mom, dog person, and writer.