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Takeaways from B2B Ignite 2019
Any event that helps us learn from like-minded industry people with a wealth of experience will always become an important part of Speed’s calendar. Earlier this month, members of our team attended the B2B Ignite conference in London, a fantastically varied event containing keynote speakers, networking opportunities and all manner of sessions and workshops to enhance our knowledge and awareness of marketing and its current trends. There were opportunities to explore a myriad of subject matters, focussed around the most prevalent topics in B2B marketing right now – everything from account-based marketing to employee advocacy and stakeholder management.
One of the most eye opening concepts that got us thinking was centred around the current debate on how data is used in B2B marketing. Introduced in the keynote presentation by Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, Rory Sutherland, the argument is basically this: Are we forgoing traditional, creative marketing techniques in exchange for our desire for numerical and concise data – techniques where we can prove they work?
Here at Speed, we value data immensely. We use our own PACE measurement system to collect important data and review how our campaigns deliver impact. We can visualise and track real business outcomes and gather information that provides us with the ability to produce content like social media activity and coverage, which then translates to things like sales and positive sentiment. Digital marketing techniques offer up huge volumes of data on engagement rates, while sources such as Google Analytics can tell us vast amounts about what content and channels work best.
However, we also understand that there’s a balance needed – the relationship between the measurable and the immeasurable is vital to producing successful content. Creativity should never be replaced or forgotten. It is at the core of PR strategies, and sometimes it’s okay to take the plunge with a truly out of the box idea that just gets you noticed. Being famous isn’t always something that can be tracked on a spreadsheet – it can sometimes be completely intangible, but remains of vital importance. Having a good reputation or a name that’s known could be the reason a prospective client takes a call from your sales team or attends your event. It’s not possible to attribute this fame to a single activity, so it’s a constant process of getting your name and your brand out there by a variety of means.
Indeed, this was the premise of Sutherland’s insightful talk. His summary that data should “inform what you do, not decide what you do” makes the case for just how important this balance is. It’s both undeniably reassuring to have numerical evidence that a campaign is likely to be successful, or some fresh and indisputable statistics to motivate a campaign choice, but also not forgetting that extra flair of creativity to propel everything forward.
The way we see it, and continually reflect this through our work, is that data doesn’t need to sacrifice creativity. They can very much work alongside each other and that’s what ultimately creates successful campaigns.