B2B Marketing Expo 2016

The B2B marketing expo is a great way to learn about the marketing industry. Let me take you through my thoughts and share some of the things I learned over the two day event that was held on the 11th and 12th May.

Next Year’s B2B Marketing Expo will be held on 28th – 29th March 2017

About the VenueExCeL Arena Atrium
The ExCeL Arena is a great venue with a lot of space right next to London City Airport and the Millennium Dome. I was impressed by its size, capacity and clear ability to hold almost any type of indoor event. The expo was among a lot of other events I noticed, some of which I would love to have attended.

The exhibitors at the stalls were all very friendly and encouraged me to ask questions about their products and business. Whenever I had a question, it was answered with great subject knowledge and desire to show me how their organisation could help me achieve my goals.

Exhibitors ranged in seniority, sometimes including managers and directors. Being able to meet the people behind the organisation, driving it forward and in a position to answer almost any question you had was great. To me, that shows just how seriously exhibitors take this event.

Keynote Speakers
The keynote speakers were amazing. They were people from the exhibiting companies, but far from trying to sell their product, they offered solutions. I’m in the consideration stage looking for tools that could help me to do my job effectively, so this was great for my needs. It’s great to come to an event where people aren’t just trying to sell their wares.

But don’t just take my word for it:

Sales Expo
Sales and Marketing carpet divisionThe elephant in the room was the Sales Innovation Expo. To me, there was a clear divide between the sales and the marketing sides of the hall. With purple on the marketing side and a very clear red for the sales side. I also felt a different atmosphere on the sales side. I didn’t spend too much time there, but I think the reason for the difference is that both sides were very focused on giving their audience what they needed so I picked up on the different approaches.

Why Did I Attend the B2B Marketing Expo?
I attended the expo because I wanted to get some fresh ideas to use at work. I have an idea of what I would like to do and an idea of what the end result will be, but It’s always a good idea to get another perspective. I needed to see if there was anything out there I hadn’t thought of before and also continue learning. In marketing, you can never know everything and learning is something I really enjoy.

Another great reason to attend, was to find the tools and organisations that would help me get my company to get where they want to be.

Expo Awards
The best way I can share my experience with you is to pick out a few highlights and present them as awards. Here are my choices for some very arbitrary awards.

Shiniest Business Card Award
Everyone likes something shiny. Okay, I like shiny things! Remember never to make assumptions about your audience but you can always find out through testing and research. These guys can help you connect with your target audience as they specialise in creative ideas as well as analytics.

Winner: Native Digital Creativesnativeweb.co.uk

Thickest Business Card Award
Aron ReeksBigger is better. Well, not if I have to store this card with the rest of my collection! Maybe bigger (or in this case thicker) is better because I remember the card. It felt quality and stood out without the need to resort to an outlandish design. It is for that reason that I am giving this award. I must add that Aron Reeks’ talk on using analytics to learn more about the way users interact with your site and so work out places they’re dropping off to improve your site was very interesting. User Experience (UX) is a big part of keeping your website on top.

Winner: Evositewww.evosite.co.uk

Standout Stand Award
Lead Forensics StandWith all the flashing lights but missing bells and whistles, I have to say there can only be one winner here. I didn’t really go and approach the stand as I know what they can do; help you to identify your audience. I’ve used their product before and found it to be very good as part of an integrated marketing strategy. It must be said that according to the carpet, they were on the sales side, but their tool works great from a marketing perspective.

Winner: Lead Forensicswww.leadforensics.com (If you visit their site, they’ll probably know who you are if you do it from your work computer)

Friendliest Stand Award
Peridigital StandIt’s really hard to say who is the friendliest because everyone was great, but I really enjoyed visiting and talking to the official Google partners who had a lot to share about using paid advertising like Google AdWords as part of an integrated marketing strategy thanks to the talk given by Mike Ncube. I think I now have some good ideas I can try to put into practice and if I need someone to set my campaign up, I know where to go.

Winner: Peridigitalwww.peridigital.co.uk

Knowledge Award
I had to give this to the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM). I am biased as I’m a member and enjoy studying for marketing related qualifications with the IDM. I’ve previously studied for and collected my Professional Diploma in Direct and Digital Marketing at their Teddington HQ, but I’ve heard that they may be moving to a Central London location in the near future.Shane Redding

I was impressed by the speakers that shared their expert knowledge with us. The talks were of extremely high quality and the short 30 minute bites provided an accurate representation of what marketing professionals would stand to gain on a full length course. Training from the IDM can really boost your ability and career.

If you do decide to sign up, please don’t forget to say that I referred you!

Winner: The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing theidm.com

Best Seminar Award
One great thing about life is learning that something is much simpler than you first thought. This particular seminar helped the audience to understand that email automation doesn’t need to be super complicated and something only for the big boys. This talk outlined what email automation was and how it could bring positive results for businesses large and small.

Winner: Judy Bonifaceuk.mailjet.com

Best AIInsight Bee Robot
I’m always happy to talk to robots or Artificial Intelligence. I used to have one myself in a chat room that would welcome visitors and act as a bouncer if they used foul language. I was really happy to meet a self-confessed robot who used quite natural language. There was a clear script or story line he wanted to pursue, but he was very good at going off script including successful attempts to make jokes. I won’t lie, his jokes were much better than mine!

In the end, it was kind of like me when speaking another language/ living in another country. Conversations follow the same path but with slight variations and that’s how you become comfortable and then able to use that language. I wonder if he will learn in a similar way and gain the ability to hold more complex conversations as time goes on? It certainly is a very interesting time to be around.

Insight Bee Robot Human InteractionThis Naked Scientist podcast presents a sneak preview of the new robot exhibition at the Science Museum in London; 500 years of robots. We use robots all the time in marketing to perform a lot of automated tasks. I wonder how long it will be before we start using lifelike robots to perform marketing tasks such as market research? I’m sure the robot I met could have gathered a lot of data through its conversations.

Winner: Robotwww.insightbee.com

Honorary Award
I was on the B2B marketing side of the divide, but I was lucky enough to hear one of the sales oriented speakers. I was impressed by the message and the way he helped us all to look inside ourselves and try to improve. I’m all about improving, so I had to give the honorary award to someone who helps people to succeed. Honorary because I attended to learn more about marketing but his talk really resonated with me and will help me to develop both personally and professionally.

Winner: Jim Cathcartcathcart.com

Review and Improve
The huge task I have now is to go back, trawl through the information I’ve gathered and make sense of it. A bit like a marketing campaign, you can get a lot of data back but the most important thing is to create insight from that data.

I’m already trying to apply what I have been learning over the past few days. The main message I’ve taken away is that It’s all about building a relationship with your customer.

The seminar by Tim Tucker at the IDM Academy about Copy Writing gave me some great ideas on how I could improve the way I write. Tim Tucker's IDM MasterclassI’m making a change right now with this post to try and write in a way that gives value to the reader. Previously, I explained the writing style I wanted to use would be more appropriate for press releases, but I think I’ll keep that locked away for very occasional use.

Once I’ve gone through the information I’ve gathered, I’ll present my findings at work which will be very positive. From this analysis, I will be able to make a marketing strategy to develop the business and move it into new markets.

I’d happily recommended the B2B Marketing Expo to anyone looking to improve the way their business markets itself. You will pick up great insights that you can put into practice yourself and get the contacts you need to take your business to the next level.