A few thoughts from sitting in on Marketing Profs B2B Forum in Boston:
Are conferences too basic?
This question is just to head off the inevitable complaints – and I considered them at times – that the content was “too basic.” There was some “101,” but there were also some more advanced sessions To answer the question: in general, I don’t think so. Speakers need to know the level of their audience, but if you think you are too advanced for sessions you should wither push to speak at these conferences, find events with more advanced curricula, or take advantage of interactive formats to raise the level of discussion within the sessions.
At B2B Forum, there were many opportunities to take advantage of the last point; there, the attendees can reveal their levels of expertise and the more knowledgeable ones can contribute (and be seen as leaders).
What is the theme of B2B?
Unremarkably, B2B themes echo B2C themes. I saw some complaints on Twitter that there were too many B2C examples. I’m not extremely troubled by that, as many tenets of communications are transferable, even if the audiences and many of the tactics are not. It also begs the question I don’t have a complete answer for: is the lack of B2B examples a case of there being fewer examples, or that companies aren’t willing to talk about it? I tend to the former, but that icecap will continue to melt; the problem of companies being willing to talk about their cases is a universal one, so I’m less inclined to accept that excuse. We take our examples where we can get them, and smart people know how to apply the lessons across industries, sectors and verticals – and where that comparison needs to end.
Don’t Forget the Hallways
I hear this – and have said this – a lot, but it still applies; whether you feel like the sessions are valuable or not, you will always get something from the general networking conversation? Me? I learned about some tools that may be of use to me. A small example: Chris Penn told me about Sofa Statistics (http://www.sofastatistics.com/), an open source data compiler that I am checking out. All from a casual conversation.