As Executive Vice President at the Association of National Advertisers, Bill Tucker (pictured above) oversees the association's B2B division. In a conversation last week he said, "Sectors like tech, energy, financial services and manufacturing are major drivers of the U.S. economy, and marketers in those business-to-business sectors need to work differently than marketers in consumer companies." Those are the groups he is looking to honor and spotlight at theANA's Masters of B2B Marketing conference coming up in June.
"B2B marketers need to operate much closer to the sales organizations," Tucker said. "Their job is to create demand for sales contracts that are multi-year, can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and require teams of stakeholders on both the buy and the sell sides to align. It's a very sophisticated form of marketing." The companies range, he explained, "from dedicated business-to-business companies that everyone would know, like Cisco, to hybrid companies like a Stanley Black & Decker, or a Comcast, for example, which has a $10 billion B2B side, as well a huge consumer business. Business-to-business marketers are an important, critical segment of the ANA's membership."
Tucker went on to describe the goals for the upcoming conference and implications of the awards.
E.B. Moss: Please share more details about the Masters of B2B and how it differs from other ANA conferences.
Bill Tucker: The Masters of B2B marketing will be in Chicago June 6 through 8, and as the name implies is a master's level conference. We'll have more than eight Chief Marketing Officers on stage; it's a fantastic program and we'll probably have about 600 people. It's a substantial, national conference and is the leading event in the U.S. for business-to-business marketers.
Moss: What's an example of a session that comes to mind?
Tucker: Our opening keynote is Karen Walker, the CMO of Cisco, followed by Denice Hasty, the CMO of Comcast's B2B division. We've got Mike Simpson, the CMO from Stanley Black & Decker, and Aniko DeLaney, the Global Head of Corporate Marketing for BNY Mellon. Aniko is going to do a great case study on what they've been doing, leveraging knowledge about the bank's founder, Alexander Hamilton, in their communications efforts. As part of the conference, we will present the ANA B2 Awards at a gala ceremony Wednesday night June 6. Our call for entries is open now until March 16. There's a lot of great marketing that's done in B2B that doesn't necessarily get the attention it deserves, and we want to bring that out.
Moss: I understand you've changed a lot of the award product?
Tucker: We streamlined the B2 award categories -- actually eliminated about 30, so we're down to 60. But we added in 10 new ones including future-forward subject matters like artificial intelligence, and more video submissions, AI, etc. We have a jury for the first time; Xerox CMO Toni Clayton-Hine is our jury chair, and she'll also host the gala. We encourage all agencies who either have marketers or case studies that are supporting business-to-business companies or divisions of hybrid companies to get involved and submit their work, because it's all about elevating the importance of marketing for B2B marketers.
Moss: What are some of the things that have stood out as a constant among past winners?
Tucker: It's a combination of art and science. Creativity and innovation and breakthrough ideas -- and breakthrough content, of course -- always stand out. B2B marketers are results-driven marketers, so we're trying to balance the results and the inspiration. We have the ability to submit against many different types of touchpoints, whether it's integrated, campaigns or the most creative use of direct mail. It's all a source for both results and for innovation.
Moss: What has the ANA changed in B2B since acquiring the Business Marketing Association a couple of years ago?
Tucker: The integration has been accelerated within the ANA and the BMA as a brand has been assimilated into our business-to-business division. The BMA brought lots of great partners, agencies and marketers, so the combination of their membership with the ANA marketer membership has really made it a lot more powerful. In addition, the chapters continue to be a powerful local business-to-business community for B2B advertisers in major markets.
Moss: How is B2B evolving in the overall advertising and marketing landscape?
Tucker: There are specific techniques to B2B marketing that stand out. Content marketing and permissions-based marketing are huge tools. Account-based marketing is critical ... building organic growth into those relationships ... experiential marketing and, of course, the use of data and analytics and digital and social and mobile. Everything that you've seen in consumer is also happening in B2B. What we're trying to do is make sure that the B2B marketing community is elevated through the use of case studies and stories, because that's how people learn best. So, what we're bringing to this conference for the first time, as well as to the new B2B awards program, is to get those stories delivered by chief marketing officers on the stage, so that the B2B marketing leaders are on a par with the rock stars in the B2C community.
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