Good conferences change the way you think. Great ones change the way you work.
Uberflip’s Conex 2018 has changed the way I work in several ways.
Here’s my take on five excellent sessions, and how each has altered my approach to marketing—and to account-based marketing in particular.
Joey Coleman – The Vital Importance of the First 100 Days
Joey Coleman kicked off with a great story of meeting someone, dating, falling in love and eventually marrying. On the wedding night the happy couple walks into the honeymoon suite… and the handoff occurs.
“This is Bob, he’ll be taking care of you from now on. See I’m in sales and marketing. I’m here to convince you to do business with me, but I’m not going to service your account. Bob is going to take care of that. I’m going to go find somebody else to date!”
He went on to share all sorts of data about the vital importance of the first 100 days with a new client and the huge positive impact on lifetime value from getting it right, but as usual, it’s the story that stuck with me. More on that later.
With my ABM hat on – No more stopping when the contract is signed
ABM planning often over-emphasizes new client acquisition. We talk about “sales and marketing partnering all the way to the finish line,” but what about after the contract is signed? We have a perfect opportunity to use all the great research, customization and more that we developed in pursuit of the sale to enhance the onboarding and customer marketing experience. Let’s pull Customer Success and others into the ABM team and build an amazing customer experience long past the point of sale.
You can maintain massive amounts of attention if you do it right, but (spoiler alert) most marketers do it wrong.
Andrew Davis – The Vital Importance of Curiosity
Where to start with Drew? Exploding watermelons… aggressive and highly focused goldfish… mystery boxes…. He covered a lot of (hilarious) ground, but the point was clear: You can maintain massive amounts of attention if you do it right, but (spoiler alert) most marketers do it wrong.
Too often we fail to create and sustain a “curiosity gap” between what people know and what they want to know. That curiosity, and the resulting tension as we go from wanting to know to NEEDING to know, is what makes compelling, engaging content stand head and shoulders above the rest.
With my ABM hat on – No more data dumps or boring testimonials
The best targeting, data, research and channel planning will be for naught if we then deliver a routine experience that spoon-feeds all the answers from the start. I’ll now be explicitly challenging myself and my colleagues to bake a meaningful curiosity gap into everything we do.
Amy Landino – The Vital Importance of Video
Handshakes are vital to human interaction. They are the most important thing you can do to create a good first impression, and skipping (or flubbing) the handshake is a huge missed opportunity.
Video is today’s handshake. Seize the opportunity. If you don’t take this opportunity to build human engagement, you’re giving a big leg up to your competitors who do. Added bonus: YouTube videos have a much longer effective life than other social media posts.
With my ABM hat on – No more hiding behind the printed word
Video presents a huge ABM opportunity. Personalized for the account or even for the individual, video can cut through the noise, engage your customers and future customers, and build the foundations of strong relationships with your people.
Matthew Luhn – The Vital Importance of Storytelling
Some people wish they were movie stars or professional athletes. I wish I was Matthew Luhn. He was the youngest animator on The Simpsons. His work at Pixar began with the original Toy Story and ran through the sequels plus Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Up and more. And now he teaches storytelling to leaders of some of the best companies in the world. Wow.
A great story needs a great hook to draw people in. It needs to follow a path of transformation. It needs to emotionally connect with the audience. It can’t just tell people the theme or the message, it needs to let the audience find it. Feel it. Live it. It needs highs and lows as it moves you from the world as it is to the world as it could be.
With my ABM hat on – No more unemotional, uninspiring content
ABM probably provides the best-ever opportunity for storytelling in business because we know exactly who we’re talking to. We know their world as it is, and as it could be. We have every opportunity to build deeply engaging experiences, yet too often we instead serve up dry reams of information that violate every rule of great storytelling. That’s not good enough.
If some people say it can’t be done, or shouldn’t be done, then you know you’re doing something that matters.
Bonin Bough – The Vital Importance of Standing for Something
Conex ended with a bang as the bundle of frantic energy that is Bonin Bough took the stage. He’s the marketing leader behind all kinds of bold and provocative campaigns, including a 25,000 foot skydive without a parachute (for a gum ad), an Oreo video game that got massive engagement, custom 3D-printed cookies that had SXSW attendees standing in line for hours and more.
His brands also took bold stands on divisive issues, including embracing interracial marriage (which drew a fair amount of hate mail that they brilliantly redirected into ten times as much brand love) and rainbow Pride cookies back in 2012 (long before most brands had the courage to take such a public stand).
At every turn the message was clear: Be bold. Be brave. Never be afraid to stand up and stand out. If some people say it can’t be done, or shouldn’t be done, then you know you’re doing something that matters.
With my ABM hat on – No more playing it safe
I’ll be always asking myself and my colleagues if we’re being bold enough. Brave enough. If not, we’re missing an opportunity to build a real connection and powerful engagement. Better to be disliked by a few and loved by many than to be ignored by everyone. This is just as true for ABM as it is for cookies, crackers and gum.
Hats off to Uberflip for an excellent job in every way. Looking forward to next year’s event!