Many members of the GET LIFT team attended ConEx 2019 in Toronto last week. It was 3 intense days of education, networking and idea sharing on everything to do about content.
We would recommend this conference to B2B marketers as there were plenty of excellent sessions that contained real world examples, engaging speakers and plenty of little gems worth writing down.
We’ve compiled our favorite takeaways that we hope will serve as a reminder and inspiration to marketers and anyone else that has a mandate to grow their business.
Just looking for takeaways from certain speakers? Click on the name below to jump to the notes.
Here is a summary of some of the sessions that stood out for us.
1. Ann Handley – What Do We Want? CONTENT. When Do We Want It? ASAP. Your Strategic Approach to Sane + Sustainable Success
We all knew she was going to be great and as usual, she delivered. Ann used some video footage of the steps she took to befriend a rabbit she dubbed Bun, who had taken up residence in her yard.
The video and narration she provided took us through a typical process of trying to engage a user. She hit on the mistakes we as marketers typically make – offering carrots (as the content) based on the assumption that rabbits like carrots.
When it didn’t work, she attempted to throw everything she had in her content marketing kit at Bun (visual: big overwhelming pile of greens and carrots and everything she had).
When Bun still showed no interest, she stepped back and did some research, discovering that Bun would be more likely to want greens. She was now armed with better tools to actually engage Bun.
End result, Bun eventually ate some greens from Ann’s hand.
Key takeaway: Understand your prospective client, feed them the right information in consistent bite sized pieces to engage and win over your prospect.
I was not familiar with April prior to this event. I’ll definitely be following what she has to say and grabbing her book. April was funny and shared some great information on what positioning is and why it matters.
Positioning, often mistaken for branding and lumped in with marketing, doesn’t get the time and focus it deserves. April corrected erroneous thinking about what positioning is, making it clear that positioning comes first. You can’t market until you define what you offer, why people should care and what category it belongs in.
If situated in the wrong market category, your product/service will face assumptions that may be inaccurate and irrelevant and you’ll endure comparisons to your “competitors” – who aren’t truly your competitors.
April illustrated her point with a story about an “email software for lawyers”. She consulted with the company to diagnose the problem they were having with closing sales.
The product wasn’t positioned properly. The value was not that it was an email tool – the true value was organizing information for secure collaboration for lawyers. Suddenly, they weren’t competing with Outlook, they had their own position in a different market. Barriers were broken down and the company could better demonstrate the value and the sales started flowing.
April was engaging and funny and packed a lot of value into her session.
Key takeaway: Position matters more than you think, spend the time to get positioning right. Determining where your product is positioned will impact sales and your bottom line.
I enjoyed this presentation and am thrilled Mat is on my radar screen now. Mat talked about The Five Key Traits of High Performing Marketing Organizations.
1. Executive Buy In
Executives must agree on the specific strategy and not just that more marketing is needed. The experience is the product. Even great marketing can’t make up for bad experiences.
2. Bigger Budget
3. Better Technology
High performers use 14 tools to create a cohesive experience. Personal experiences are what your tools should work to create.
4. Agile Workflows
Agile is the modern production method.
Key takeaway: Mat offered great insight into these 5 traits, how they help and why. These are proven traits that high performers have or have adopted. It’s worth looking at how you can better develop and use these traits.
4. Matt Heinz – New Research: How Content Can Accelerate the Buying Journey & Shorten Your Sales Cycle
I wasn’t familiar with Matt prior to the event. He’s a great speaker, an avid SNL fan and a guy who doesn’t beat around the bush. He broke through the BS and told it like it is.
While his presentation deck was fine, it was more the little gems when he went “off script” and was just talking to the audience. This man knows his sh*t and wasn’t afraid to share it. Not only did I learn how to make bacon but I also heard important real talk about vanity metrics and tracking what really matters.
Matt also focused on the importance of asking your prospective client the right questions. Ask what keeps them up at night – and then focus your content on showing how you solve those issues.
Key takeaway: For me, the gem in this presentation was Matt’s insight into questions that should be asked and he suggested an outline (not a canned script) to cover real talking points and challenge the status quo.
Coming out on the losing side of a Raptors/Golden State Warriors bet, Peter walked out sporting a Toronto Raptors jersey. Lowry was the jersey of choice. I would have given him extra points if he had worn Siakam. What he lacked in jersey selection, he more than made up for with quality content. Peter shared his insights on the prevalence of erroneous data when targeting by job title and various other factors. He shared compelling information on why you aren’t actually reaching the buying committee, as you think you are. Understanding that data isn’t perfect is important for marketers who are relying on this data to structure ABM campaigns.
Key takeaway: The success of your ABM campaign depends on the quality and accuracy of the data you are using to identify the members of the buying committee.
While very familiar with Uberflip I was unaware of Randy Frisch. So glad I’ve been cured of that. The enthusiasm and authentic caring for his industry, his company, his clients and speakers and even the attendees was refreshing and enjoyable. This man is hella smart. See him speak. Anywhere. Any way you can. Randy talked about the concept of feeding content to your audience bit by bit over weeks, versus the new streaming reality (think Netflix). Streaming content to your audience so they can keep consuming it shortens the sales cycle and creates a better experience for your audience.
Key takeaway: Streaming content and the endless scroll are the way to best give your perspective clients the information they need to push them through their journey. It will shorten the sales cycle, eliminate delays and frustration for your leads.
Shared by an Uberflip employee on LinkedIn:
#Conex is in full flight ️and Randy Frisch is your pilot (our theme is Explore the Unknown ). If there is one takeaway from his keynote today it is this: If you’re looking for a way to accelerate the buyer journey—who isn’t really—you need to trade in the drip campaigns that take your buyers to one piece of content over the course of several weeks for binge-worthy content experiences. Give them the control to consume all the content they want/need to make a purchasing decision—no more dead-end experiences and traditional wait steps.
You can always count on getting direct content, peppered with self-promotion. The session was full of good content – for beginners. I’m not knocking him or the presentation. Beginners need info too. I just wasn’t the intended audience for this content.
Key Takeaway: Update your old content. Find what’s generated traffic in the past and make sure it’s still relevant. Update the CTA. Add a new insight. Make sure all the links are still relevant.
There aren’t enough words to describe this man and this presentation. He was genuine, warm, funny and so damn smart. My book budget is going through the roof as I buy up all his books. I loved the words he chose, how he saw things and how he presented them. A great point Mark made was regarding the value of content. The economic value of content that’s not viewed or shared is zero. This speaks to the need for a strategic marketing plan to get exposure for your content. It’s not enough to just create the content and drop it out there for people to find. The heart of his presentation was around bringing back the human element of marketing. B2B still speaks to humans and they want to laugh in the middle of the day, so have a personality in your content. Build human connections through storytelling, our brains are hardwired for a narrative.
Key takeaway: Mark’s refreshing and entertaining look at changes over the years, showed how we have adapted to changes to continue to reach our audience and generate sales. The key to success today is human connection.
Entirely through my own misfortune, I missed the following speakers, however colleagues attended the sessions and shared their notes with me.
Great takeaway: Their 5x5x5 approach which gets you asking 5 questions for 5 stages of the buyer journey (Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Action/Purchase and Post-Purchase) that each of your 5 personas go through, will help you create content that answers your buyers key questions.
Megan started off by comparing the stock prices of two media companies over time: the NY Times and Disney. NYT stock prices were all over the place, while Disney has been growing steadily. Then she showed us a list of all the movies Disney put out in the last year, with an interesting observation: none of them are net new. They’re doing new versions of Lion King and Aladdin, adding to the Marvel series, putting out Toy Story 4, etc. Her observation is that we don’t need to be generating revolutionary content to offer value to our customers – looking back at the successes of the past and capitalizing on those can be very effective.
At LinkedIn, multiple teams were creating one-off content that often overlapped and confusing to their audience. So they formed an editorial council (made up of execs from across functions) that decide on a major theme to focus on every year.
Key takeaway: New isn’t always better. Look at repurposing content that was previously successful.
There was so much more to the conference, but we couldn’t experience it all given our human limitation of only being in one place at a time.
So was it worth the price of admission? Sure was.
I truly and thoroughly enjoyed myself at this event and don’t really have time to say much else. I’ve got about 357 ideas and strategies I need to get to work on, after that event.
Way to go Uberflip. And to the speakers – Thank You.