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With many member of the Slack team getting the opportunity to soak in the fiery discussions at BLAZE, the 2013 BMA Global Conference here in Chicago, we wanted to share with you some of the highlights and/or insights from some of Wednesday’s blazing sessions.

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Ron Klingensmith, Chief Creative Officer

The Expanding Role of Marketing in B2B Organizations

Today’s marketers are dazed and dazzled by the relentless pace of change and feel overwhelmed, and most who participated in the BMA-Forrester study, (97%) feel that the pace is likely to accelerate. Roles are expanding and there’s more pressure than ever even though budgets aren’t keeping up and most (97%) are doing things they’ve never done before. New skills are desperately needed to keep up with the change and over half (60%) are looking for younger employees to help them take advantage of new technologies.

The good news is that several (79%) said that they felt confident in their ability to navigate chaos and change. In order to survive, marketers need to knock down the walls and blow up the silos and collaborate and integrate within other functions within their organization and their external marketing partners.

Janet Anderson, Assistant Account Manager

The Expanding Role of Marketing in B2B Organizations

Kathy Button Bell and Laura Ramos were pure trailblazers as they kicked off the conference with the findings from the exclusive BMA-Forrester Research study. Their fiery presentation kept marketers on the edge of their seats as they showed reason after reason as to why marketing is destroying silos. Marketing’s role is broadening and expanding at a rapid pace, and company collaboration with all functions is crucial. As a Chief Marketing Officer (or in any marketing role, for that matter), you have to be ready to transform, integrate and inspire more than ever before.

Katie Schwarz, Campaign Manager

The Foundation to a Successful B2B Social Media Strategy

Kevin Espinosa, the Social Media Manager at Caterpillar, really summed up a social media strategy in four key components—Social listening, Promotion, Thought Leadership and Customer support.  However, what I found very interesting is the emphasis he put on employees.  He said the power of social media is in your people. Allow employees to become a brand leader, giving everyone, not just a small marketing team, the tools to communication your brand.  Embed social into your corporate culture, because if not, when people leave you will lose that presence.

Elizabeth Rambach, Account Director

B2B is the New B2C: What Consumer Trends Sweeping Through the B2B World Mean for You

In a dynamic conversation/friendly debate between Charlie Peters of Emerson and Scott Wingo of ChannelAdvisor, the impact of B2C trends on B2B distribution and purchasing was explored. One huge threat posed by B2C is ecommerce, specifically Amazon Supply, whose presence mandates that manufacturers pay heed to the potential demise of traditional distribution channels. Ultimately, the panelists’ advice was to replicate the B2C experience in the B2B space, both in the US and globally (especially China).

Katie Schwarz, Campaign Manager

The B2B Agenda: What is (and What Should Be) on the Minds of Forward-Looking B2B Marketers

Fred Wiersema believes in three make or break it imperatives that all Marketers must get behind.  First, as marketers we must reshape the innovation-marketing-sales interface, we are all on the same team, and marketing should be used to interject the customer perspective into all facets of the business.  Second, exploit technology and end better sameness, break out of the cycle of keeping up, and step out and change.  Which leads to an interesting quote from Malcolm Frank, “If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less.”  As marketers we must facilitate the changes in our business.  Lastly, the key role of a change maker is to be a culture shaper.  We need to develop our business to embrace change in order from becoming obsolete.

Michelle Fox, Account Supervisor

B2B is the New B2C: What Consumer Trends Sweeping Through the B2B World Mean for You

B2B companies are feeling the impact not only on sales volumes but also on profitability as margins are squeezed and customer expectations shift. These companies need to truly weigh the options on how to move forward with e-commerce compared to traditional channels.

A few tips to move forward with:

  1. Master search
  2. Engage marketplaces
  3. Build transaction-self service
  4. Embrace mobile
  5. Invest in brand

Stay tuned tomorrow for a recap of Thursday’s BLAZE events such as a recap of a heated discussion between legendary Phil Kotler and Neil Rackham, keynote speaker Dan Pink on his book “To Sell is Human”, and a panel discussion led by b2b legend Joe Pulizzi.

For more information regarding BLAZE, you can visit their website at www.bmablaze.com or follow the conversation on Twitter with #BMABLAZE.



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