May 30, 2014

For B2B Companies, Was BMA14 Worth It?

BMA 14, is the largest B2B marketing conference in the world. What we saw there was a diverse group of marketers from nearly 450 firms, 33 states and 12 nations. These marketers come from dozens of industries from manufacturing to tech to business and professional services. The educational sessions that BMA (Business Marketing Association) presents runs the diverse topics of demand management, social and B2B media, branding/storytelling, marketing creativity and sales and marketing. Which begs the questions…

What’s the Impact? A First Time Attendee Perspective

Katrina Fox, Marketing Coordinator

As a first time attendee of BMA14, I was highly impressed by not only the amount of speakers that I was able to learn from, but also the level these professionals were at in their career. It ranged from successful entrepreneurs starting their own companies to C-level executives from Fortune 500 companies. Throughout the conference we were given the resources to stay connected to all of 950 attendees through Livecube; and if you wanted to re-watch that fantastic presentation you had heard from that day, ISEBOX served as the hub to hold every presentation from the conference. With this jam-packed two and a half day conference not only did I learn a lot but it was also highly entertaining. The organizers were smart and sprinkled entertaining segments including the legendary Second City Company which has produced the likes of Tina Fey, AmyP Pohler, Chris Farley and the profane but insightful speaker Gary Vaynerchuk.

To conclude my portion, I would have to say that the biggest takeaway from the conference was the information on how to turn the marketing department into a revenue center and not just a cost center. Well, you heard from me (Katrina Fox), but now I would like to turn this blog over to my manager, Jonathan McGrew, who has been attending BMA’s global conference for the past three years so you can get a more seasoned perspective.

Seasoned, but Still Relevant?

Jonathan McGrew, Marketing Communications Manager

When you have attended a conference for several consecutive years, in my case three, you have to stop and ask yourself if it is still relevant at the end of the day. Like most department managers, I am constantly asking myself whether the activities we invest in are worth it…are they providing ROI, education or some other intrinsic value to our company and business.
With BMA14, I can safely place this in the value add column for our marketing department. BMA14 isn’t a conference our company comes to in order to drive sales. Or is it? Several years ago, I might have said we don’t drive sales by coming to BMA Global here in Chicago. Today, and I think this is the shift in everyone owning a chunk of the revenue generation process, I believe we are effecting sales at the end of our fiscal year by attending BMA14, BMA15 and beyond.

Conferences are investments in yourself, your people and the ability to step back and open yourself up to knowledge, learning and new ways of slicing the apple—just not your iPhone or iPad. Levity aside, at BMA14 this year we have been told, shown and experienced real life examples of how you can disrupt, use new technology and treat your market the way they expect to be treated. Coming out of these several days of jam packed content, high-octane networking events and over 950 people our team at Crawford has a renewed passion for how we can affect the Output Management, Customer Communications, Document Accessibility, Archive and Enterprise Content Management strategic areas of our business.

The best part of BMA14 for me and for our company? Actionable best practices for thanking your customers, how to align to the new age of buyer behavior, using social to drive connection in B2B (even when you say my customers aren’t on Social) and why Content Marketing doesn’t work without genuine insight and thought leadership is not insight.

We owe a big thank you to Gary Slack for his continued support and production of BMA Global, as well as, all of the board and chapter leaders that make it happen every year.

Finally, we hope you will share in the comments below what you got out of BMA14 or any questions you have around why you should attend BMA15 next year in Chicago at the Sheraton on the water.