This year’s CONEX conference was all about exploring the unknown. And we’re still buzzing from it! It was full of great lessons on connecting authentically with your audience, preparing for the future of marketing, making the most of your existing content, and thinking outside the funnel (just to name a few).
We put together a roundup of the top 12 takeaways from CONEX to give you greater insight into the best practices that were shared about producing a better content experience for your audience.
1. Want to build authentic connections? Get video in your corner
Tyler Lessard of Vidyard explained why video is an effective part of a great marketing strategy — its inherent ability to build trust with your audience. Having someone in front of a camera and speaking to your audience adds a level of humanity that makes your messaging more genuine and authentic. Plus, video taps into your audience’s long-term memory, while text is only short-term (…yep, we know you might not remember that).
2. Structure your content like a TV channel
What if your content was so good, people spent their weekend binging it? Jay Baer and Anna Hrach of Convince and Convert explained how to direct your audience towards your content by structuring it like a TV channel. Focus on creating three types of content “shows”: your binge-worthy content which targets at least two personas and is executed 1-2 times a month, your quarterly special features that cover a major customer need/pain or question, and regularly scheduled content that’s planned a month in advance and is your bread and butter (most oftenly a blog post). Alright! Go on and make your content the next B2B Netflix.
— Anna Tannas (@annatannas) August 20, 2019
3. Creating content your audience pays attention to starts with an objective
In this opening keynote, Randy Frisch of Uberflip tells us how environment, structure, and engagement factor into the content experience. These components play a vital role in what people pay attention to and how much they consume. He also encourages producing a content experience that lets your audience choose as well as always starting with the “why” and then working back to the “what” when creating content.
4. Don’t be a poop polisher
Go from “poop polisher” to “championer of unicorns”. April Dunford of Ambient Strategy explained that accepting a weak positioning (poop) has its consequences (polished poop). Your marketing results are only as good as your positioning. The right positioning can completely change the way audiences perceive your product. So what makes it a unicorn? Let your positioning tell your audience.
Real talk with @aprildunford about the importance of positioning yesterday. With crappy positioning, even with your mktg genius, you just end up with shiny poo. Great presentation! #conex pic.twitter.com/BoG3Lg7p4m
— Bri Krantz (@bridays28) August 22, 2019
5. Spend most of your time updating existing content
The single most important thing you can do to boost your traffic and conversions is to update your existing content—and that’s coming from expert Neil Patel of Neil Patel Digital. That could mean different things depending on your business. You might think about translating your content to other languages to reach new audiences, updating your SEO or titles, or repurposing in other formats for other channels. With his tips, you can start making easy, but significant wins by improving the reach of content you already have.
6. Reaching ABM nirvana is all about identifying intent early
Peter Isaacson of Demandbase laid out how to get to a state of eternal ABM bliss: reach the buyers and influencers at the target accounts that matter to your business. The key here is to reach them while they’re at the beginning of their buyer journey. This is when they’re doing their initial research and showing their earliest signs of interest. By the time they’ve visited your website or requested a demo, it’s too late. They’ve already found their way to you. You want to identify intent early so they come to you over the competition.
— Demandbase (@Demandbase) August 21, 2019
7. Your audience expects multimodal content
Multimodal content is already here, and it’s shaping the expectations of your audience. Zontee Hou of Media Volery explained how engaging multiple senses in your content activates more emotions and deepens the experience for your audience, making it more memorable. Multimodal content doesn’t have to start with a high-tech, expensive VR experience. It can be as simple as creating custom pages based on your audience’s interests to provide multiple pathways to your content (think: your customized recommendations in Spotify or Youtube).
8. Forget thinking outside the box. Think outside the funnel!
Ryan Bonnici of G2 (formerly G2 Crowd) encouraged expanding your strategy and thinking outside the funnel (or “OUFU” as he coins it) to engage with website visitors that may not be aware of their needs/pains. This means identifying what symptoms signal your audience’s challenges early on and using these insights to create useful content that establishes you as a trusted source.
9. Want to be a content master? Start thinking like Disney
When it comes to content, Linkedin’s Megan Golden wants you to think less like a newsroom and more like Disney! All of Disney’s recent box-office breaking movies have been remakes of their already successful stories. She made the case that familiarity turned relevant often wins out over net-new. So, take it from Megan: start with content that is already performing well for you, boost its reach with paid advertising, and don’t miss out on the value of testing what works better. Great minds think alike. We recently wrote a blog post about this very topic.
10. Tactics don’t make organizations high-performers, but these things do…
Mat Sweezey of Salesforce let us know that if you want to be a high-performing organization, don’t focus on tactics. They’re not the differentiators. Here’s what to focus on: 1) Executive buy-in into marketing that’s about creating experiences, not messages. 2) Marketing cost that has a different role and outcome depending on your objective. 3) Investment in the right technology that connects to create a cohesive, personalized experience. 4) Agile workflows that change the way you work. 5) Collaboration across the customer lifecycle. Phew! That’s it. Get cracking!
Great presentation at #CONEX19 Ms. Weezey! Loved the content, especially the tactical idea to have real phone conversations with prospects to get feedback on the experience and content you just delivered to them. Lots of valuable insights here, thanks for sharing the deck!
— Tyler Lessard (@tylerlessard) August 22, 2019
11. Knowing your points of friction sparks growth. Focus on your strategy, execution, and results.
The B2B digital landscape is constantly changing. Brainrider’s Jon Kane laid out the 3 things to start focusing on in order to adapt: strategy (controlling what goals and metrics you look at), execution (what does your messaging look like, what is your audience, and what CTAs are you using), and results (who’s accountable, what kind of reporting and analysis is being conducted). He shared this roadmap to identify where your business sits, understand where misalignment is causing friction, and how to gain alignment for more successful B2B digital marketing. Use the roadmap to analyze your overall marketing initiatives and prioritize your activities for the future.
12. Create content that triggers action over generating traffic
Don’t go creating content all willy-nilly. In this session, Jay Baer and Anna Hrach explained that successful content marketing is always linked to your business goals. Start your content creation by defining 3 – 5 business success metrics and content objectives. Focus less on generating traffic and more on triggering action. Use trackable URLS everywhere and make sure your content has a next action.
Are you itching for more B2B content and learnings after CONEX? Subscribe to our newly-launched newsletter, Brainwave! It’s all about creativity, leadership, growth, and technology. And, of course, it’s about our favorite thing — B2B marketing. Ride the wave. Subscribe here.
Brainrider is more than just a B2B marketing agency. We’re a natural extension of your marketing team. We help you plan, execute, and scale better content, web, and digital programs. We deliver tangible results and insights for continuous improvement. Looking to accomplish your marketing objectives and then some? Get in touch with us.
Is your business ready to adapt to the shifting digital marketing landscape? Our B2B digital marketing roadmap is a great guide to identify where your business currently sits, and how to create more alignment in your organization for digital marketing success.