Whew. Back from Boston and The B2B Marketing Forum presented by Marketing Profs.
What a fantastic event.
You expect great ideas and inspiration from this kind of thing. But you don’t expect warmth, fun, humour and soul.
Ann Handley and her great team did a super-human job with this one.
If you missed it, you missed it.
Here’s a brain dump of highlights (in no order) as a consolation prize. Of course, I could only attend a small subset of sessions so there were lots of great things I missed:
• Wake up! – A hyper-energetic street dance team woke us all up on Thursday morning. I needed it too. Twenty talented dancers and a killer beat actually out-perform caffeine. Didn’t know that.
• Make nice – Jill Foster, Founder and Blogger at Live Your Talk, kicked it off with “Stuck In Elevators and Other Unsavory Networking Disasters”. Charming as Jill is, my first reaction was that it was weird to kick off a B2B conference with a talk about meeting people, confidence and successful networking. Then I realised: we’re 600 strangers in one venue for two days. What a great way to remind us that the biggest resource of the event is each other. Jill nailed it.
• West Wing —Teddy Goff, the Digital Director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign, gave us the inside view of his pioneering work. Three word strategy: “Don’t be lame.” Check. He’s one of those smart people that make you feel smart just by listening. I had a twitter debate about which character from West Wing he most resembled. I went with the guy Rob Lowe played.
• Six Words – Larry Smith—Founder and Editor of SMITH Magazine and creator of the Six-Word Memoir Project, let us in on his amazing ride, started by a single idea. I am now a confirmed fan.
• Let’s Sprint – Scott Brinker, President of ion interactive and an advocate of Agile methodologies, ran an interactive introduction to Agile and SCRUM for marketers. Fantastic. Waterfalls are so last decade.
• Test Everything – Justin Rondeau, Chief Editor & Testing Evangelist at WhichTestWon, did a great session on conversion optimization and testing. Totally convinced now: Hunches suck. Testing rules.
• Sore Loser – Velocity lost out in the B2B Bright Bulb Awards presented in full-Hollywood style by Ann Handley and Tim Washer. I had to sit there and watch the Wilde Agency walk away with Small Agency of the Year. Cheating bastards. (We should have bribed the judges more). Time to lawyer up. David Meerman Scott won a lifetime achievement award and stood on a chair. I was too bitter to watch but I hear he was fantastic. Not a surprise.
• Follow Fear – The brilliant and VERY funny Tim Washer ran a great session on what video content marketers can learn from improv comedy. Turns out a lot. The “Yes, And” stance and “Follow the Fear” tips alone would transform most content programs. This guy does something very cool to a room. I think it might involve hypnosis. And I like it.
• Home Runs – I did a talk on why you need Home Run content these days and how you can increase your chances of hitting them. Referenced Follow the Frog, Dumb Ways to Die and Paths of Flight. People seemed to like it. Suckers.
• Party Time – Drinks. Food. Nice folks. Yadda-yadda-yadda. I met some really interesting people. One was called Ruth. Swore like a trooper. One was Ron Ploof who has a son doing ‘sound design for gaming’ at college. (Pretty sure that didn’t exist when I was in college). One was Hunter Boyle, one of my favourite people. Another was Kerry O’Shea Gorgone who I always love talking with. Another was from Indiana. Also Cindy Valadares from Tripwire. Must figure out a way to work with Cindy.
• Power Panel – Ann led a group of smart, smart, smarties in a great talk about content marketing: The Two Joes (Chernov and Pulizzi); Lee Odden (TopRank Marketing); Michelle Kessler, (Qualcomm Spark, which is way too cool for a telecom vendor). This session was so influencer-heavy, Klout crashed. Here’s the panel laughing at something Ann is saying:
• 7 Awesomes – The closing session blew everybody away. Tamsen Webster, Erica Napoletano, Tim Washer, Marcus Sheridan (The Sales Lion and Pool Guy and all around BRILLIANT marketer and person); Andrew Davis on I’m-not-sure-what-but-boy-was-it-funny; Buck Shocklee, an insane man on social media crack; and a brilliant Jon Miller, ex-physicist on physics and marketing.
• Bottom Line – Ann has cool friends because Ann is a cool person. She gets them together to put on a fantastic show. You can watch the sessions on-demand by paying her a ridiculous amount of money. Half what it should be.
• Best snack: The pretzels. Or maybe the ice cream.
• Best party: Compendium’s on the 36th floor. What a view. Also nice prawn action.
• Best costume: I’m going to go with the lederhosen thing.
• WiFi prize – I actually memorized bslr4mql.
• Visual magician – Kelly Kingman, whose graphic recordings added so much to the event (and who I think I may have insulted when I referred to her as ‘the doodle artist’ in a tweet).
• Kindness & Courtesy & Fun & Hardworking Award – Profs team. To a wo/man. They’ll have to get a restraining order to keep me away next year.
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