Six months later it was yet again thought provoking event at Ritz Carlton, Bangalore on 22nd Sept’15. Earlier in Feb’15 I attended Paul Writer’s IT Marketing Summit and this time, the occasion was LinkedIn TECHconnect event where technology marketers gathered under one roof to discuss the various aspects about marketing in technology driven ecosystem. Even above the traditional objectives of attending event like networking, this event definitely left many of us ponder upon few thoughts and I am sure some of us would implement the learning in our respective roles and help our organizations succeed. Like always I will try to capture most of the learning here that I could grasp from yesterday’s event in the interest of the larger audience and I hope it will seed few thoughts in many others.
The major underlying takeaway for technology marketers in the house was to focus on ‘Relevance Marketing’, ‘Broaden You Horizon beyond ITDMs’, ‘Consider viewpoints of end-users’ and few more. Let me take you through session-wise key points.
The evening began with a session by Russell Glass, who focused on Relevance Marketing and highlighted five trends that were driving technology marketing (in my view could be extended for non-technology marketing also!). He kept quoting Amazon, Flipkart, Airbnb, Uber for the seamless and satisfactory experience that these brands provide to their customers across geographies. He highlighted the complex buying behavior of B2B buyers and termed it as ‘random walk in a maze’, where B2B buyers source information from various touchpoints before arriving at a decision. His key urge to technology marketers was to think about the question – ‘How do I create “relevant experience” at scale?’ Its actually a great question that marketers need to answer if they wish to succeed. The key five trends that he highlighted were:
1. Relevance in mobile has become a reality
2. Data should be relevant with better content and experience
3. Focus on nurturing opportunities through technology
4. Technology is helping us predict better and hence unlock our valuable customers
5. Leverage the fusion of advertising and marketing technologies
Panel Discussion – 1
Russell’s session was followed up with a panel discussion on Disruption – Insights from the Cutting Edge of Marketing. The panel members consisted or four marketers who leveraged technology to disrupt the consumer behavior – Kashyap Dalal, Sanjiv Singhal, Vineet Sehgal and Adhil Shetty. The panelists had following suggestions for the audience:
1. Disruption should be embedded in the culture of an organization
2. Even in their successful times, an organization should continue to innovate
3. Organizations should look beyond their own business to derive inspiration for disruption
4. An effective combination of traditional marketing and technology pays well in the path of disruption
5. Disruption could be created with a contextual content that would result in long term business
6. At times even basic hygience marketing that improves customer experience (that has been ignored by your competitors) can result into a disruption
7. In this technology driven economy focus is more on product marketing
Panel Discussion – 2
The second panel of the day took a deep dive at today’s empowered technology buying process. The eminent panelists were – Kelly Kyer, Vasantha Kumar, Sudharsan R. and Srihari Gopinath. Kelly, set the stage for discussion of this panel by sharing findings from a survey that LinkedIn conducted amongst 3800+ technology decision makers. The key findings of the survey were:
1. 4+ functions were involved at each stage of the buying process. Some of the support functions like finance and accounting, support, sales, business development, marketing and purchase were also involved in the buying process
2. 2 to 4 pieces of content was consumed by decision makers at each stage
3. 51% decision makers consulted end-users
4. 25% respondents shortlisted a new vendor, which reflects that organizations should focus on retention
5. 78% buyers require education to sustain or make a change in the post-purchase engagement situation
The panelists later shared their inputs on how technology buying process was changing. The key takeaways were:
1. Marketers should go through a buying journey and help buyers in their process
2. Marketers should move from data analysis to predictive analytics and further on to one-to-one marketing.
3. Marketers should focus on non-ITDMs and end-users
4. Post purchase market is a huge opportunity and marketers should look forward to educate buyers in that stage
5. Sales process is no more like a funnel, it’s more like a ping-pong game
After two panel discussions, Ahmad Abdullah shared his insights on how marketers could leverage LinkedIn to build persona of their buyers. He educated audience with some basic steps (that are often ignored by marketers!) on knowing target audience, building relationships with them and engaging with them with relevant content.
The final session of the evening was on ‘Selling in a Social World’. Apurva Chamaria shared his personal experience, insights and advice for marketers on how to leverage social selling. The key insights shared by Apurva were,
1. Social Selling is a oxymoron. Selling always has been social
2. Listening is the new prospecting! Listen well using social channels and reach buyers at the right time
3. Sales professionals who use social media for selling are 3X more likely to crush their yearly sales quote
4. ABC of selling – Always be connecting!
5. Advice for marketeers: Start small. Define KPIs. Handle change management well
6. Sales Management Process – 3Vs Value, Volume, Velocity, 2Es Efficiency and Effectiveness
7. Gamification of Social Selling process can help sales leaders excite about this phenomenon
That summed up the truly thought provoking evening. Full credit to LinkedIn for selecting great panelists and speakers. Moreover, their team did a great job in managing time and ensuring audience had enough time for networking too!
Last, but not the least one would always cherish this beautiful gift from LinkedIn for all event attendees!