From 18-20 November 2020, B2B Marketing Expo — Europe’s leading marketing event went virtual. After spending most of 2020 behind our screens, and missing out on the chance to network face-to-face, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the standard and format of a two-day long online event. With a whole host of world-leading marketers, sales experts and big-name brands like Microsoft, Smart Insights and G2 in attendance, it was the online place to be – there were also several high-profile speaker sessions, and great opportunities for networking. So, what did I learn from this event?
1. For the engaged B2B marketer, virtual events work
At this stage in 2020, we’re no strangers to a digital event. From virtual awards ceremonies to client calls over Zoom, we’ve seen it all. From the comfort of your remote desk, B2B Marketing Expo attendees could catch the seminars that most interested them, and stream the ones they couldn’t make — cleverly eliminating the ‘overlap’ problem so often faced at physical events. Plus, speaker sessions enabled real-time conversations, along with group and individual conversations taking place in the networking stream. Although face-to-face meetings and in-person networking are sorely missed in business, the virtual expo showcased the potential of what future events might look like;
2. The MQL is no longer the B2B marketers’ priority
The infamous Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) was once the most important thing to B2B marketers all over. But at this year’s B2B Marketing Expo, a multitude of high-profile speakers explored the changing world of MQLs — with discussions about the death of the MQL; they spoke of a new focus known as the Marketing Qualified Account (MQA), and the need to change internal follow-up and engagement processes to make the MQLs count.
3. Loyalty, video, demand generation and data are popular
Some clear trends were apparent across all virtual theatres, with popular topics including a focus on brand and customer loyalty in the wake of the pandemic, how to generate demand, through B2B intent data and tactics such as influencer marketing; and the real value of video in B2B, from using video to sell, and learning from the TV. Additionally, data was at the root of several discussions, from policy agenda through to using it to develop effective sales and marketing relationships.
If you weren’t able to attend the event, use these bite-sized takeaways to help inform your strategy ahead of 2021. Whether that’s a reminder to attend more virtual events; a new focus on optimizing your MQLs to deliver better results or enriching your strategy with high-value data.
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