Conference, summit, unconference, meetup, any such event has primarily two objectives – networking amongst like minded people and few domain knowledge that one could learn from peers. Recently, I had this opportunity to attend Paul Writer Great Indian IT Marketing Summit & Awards. The summit attracted participation from top IT product and service oriented companies like Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, Cognizant, IM, Tech Mahindra, SAP, VMware, HCL Technologies, LinkedIn, Wipro, CSS Corp and Tally Solutions etc. The event had some interesting panel discussions focused various aspects of Internet Marketing. I have briefed below the learning I had from each of the session:
From You to Me to Us
- The major attraction of this session was the quote by Nupur Sharma, “Your customer is not a dog anymore, but a cat!” The point to be noted here was that customers these days have very unique needs and they have resources to search and find the best offering that addresses their needs. Hence, the digital marketing needed to be customized to address individual needs
- Another famous quote of the session was by Apurva Chamaria, “B2B is no more true, its more of i2i (individual to individual) marketing. Companies don’t business with companies”. He emphasized that in B2B context it was very essentials for every individual in the organization to leverage digital media effectively to find, build relationship and interact with their customers
- In earlier days B2B marketing was considered to be logic driven, while B2C marketing was an emotional one, but in this information economy, the lines are blurring
- Innovation in content marketing was the need of the hour and brands need to focus on generating small bits of content that are easy for users to consume and interpret given the reducing attention span for a particular media channel
- Employee Advocacy is emerging as a crucial program within IT Marketing for brands to build a strong employer brand
Social Selling is Here
This session started with an interesting debate between Ashok Lalla and Jatin Modi. This was one of the most interesting sessions of the day for entire audience. Some of the key takeaways from the session were:
- Building brand’s awareness, credibility and viability is a basic necessity of Social Selling
- Social connectedness between people is there to stay, hence its more about how we leverage this ‘connectedness’ irrespective of the platform where brand creates its presence
- In B2B context its more about internal expertise (who create/share content) & the expertise who amplify it. As the original content creation is a challenging activity and only very few manage to do, it becomes very essential for brands to have experts within organizations who could amplify the content and driving conversations at larger scale
- The content shared by brand should leave some scope for people to add value to it and hence motivate people to engage with the brand
- Social Selling is not tactical, it definitely is slow but strengthening relationships will have long term impact
Keynote speech by Ashutosh Gupta, Director Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn
Ashutosh highlighted how LinkedIn was fast emerging as a content consuming platform for passive candidates (who are not in search of jobs) and how marketers could leverage this platform. Some of the key insights he provided during the keynote address were:
- 10 pieces of content are consumed by the decision-makers before arriving at a decision
- LinkedIn users are 7 times more engaged with content vs. jobs’
- If you ‘gate’ insightful content like whitepaper, infographics, video, you would lose the interest of top-funnel
- Map your content to the right segment of the funnel to influence at best
- Impact every stage of buyer process journey with relevant content
Friends with Benefits: Making Partnerships Work
This panel discussion was focused on how it has become a key strategy for organizations to build strong relationships with their partners for sustained growth. Frankly, I had no interest in this session, but some of the learning that came across in this session could be applied even in our lives:
- Building trust between partners was of key importance even before agreeing upon the ROI metrics
- Partnerships need to be nurtured well for long term growth of both organizations
Golden Cs: Content to Conversations to Conversions – Nurturing the Pipeline
Ever since digital marketing came to existence the relevance of content has been highlighted umpteen times. However, off late when brands have started leveraging content, the discussion and expectation of CMOs and CEOs has shifted towards the conversations that are driven through these content and the conversions (ROI) derived from various content marketing efforts. This panel touched upon various aspects of this phenomenon:
- Focus should be to produce the content that drives deep conversations
- Increasingly it is becoming difficult for marketers to defend the cost involved in producing content. Hence, its high time that marketers plan to map ROI for every piece of content that is produced
- Especially in B2B context, given the long decision making process and multiple stakeholders, marketers need to produce small bits of content at regular intervals of time to ensure top of the mind recall.
The final session of the day was a chat between Jessie Paul and Ashok Soota, CEO of Happiest Minds. He shared his experience and some tips for youngsters to handle the professional pressure and excel in career.
Then came the much awaited moment of the day – Awards announcement. Guess what, HCL Technologies won two categories – a) No Money Marketing (Unified Messaging of RBTC) and b) Best Lead Generation (Hiral Videos campaign). The Best Digital Agency of the Year award was won by Frogideas for #CoolestInterviewEver campaign.
It was a great full day of knowledge seeking, networking (with tweeps like Ashok Lalla, Tinu Cherian, Malhar Barai, Pradeep Chopra) and the icing on cake was the moment when I stepped on stage to collect the award for Hiral videos campaign which was executed by my team.