4 Sessions and 3 Tips for the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit

MarketoNation_blog-post_v0.2Marketo’s annual summit is in a few short days, and as I was doing my pre-game prep to decide which sessions I want to attend, I noticed three are scheduled at the exact same time on Monday. Irritating as that is, I thought I’d explain the merit of each in case you find yourself in the same dilemma. Fortunately, the fourth session doesn’t conflict with the others – it’s simply a discussion I think anyone who’s involved in content marketing will want to attend.

At the end of post, I also include three tips on ways to make the most of your Marketing Nation Summit experience.

“4 Steps to Cloning Your Best Customers With Buyer Personas”

Date/Time: April 14th at 2:00pm
Location: 2000
Speakers: Justin Gray (LeadMD) and Vincent Yang (EverString)

Like so many marketing terms and phrases, “Buyer Persona” has been thrown around so much that it now means little more than “people I want to engage.” In this session, Justin and Vincent will give us what we so often crave but seldom get: useful advice on assembling meaningful buyer and sales engagement data to refine personas so they actually mean something.

“Marketing in the Year 2020: A Perfect Vision”

Date/Time: April 14th at 2:00pm
Location: 2014/2016
Panelists: Kaitlin Stich (BrightTalk), Derek Slayto (Dun & Bradstreet, NetProspex) and Jason Seeba (BloomReach)

I’m a sucker for marketing predictions; they often offer enlightening perspectives on current industry trends. More importantly, they often provide great content fodder down the road when the vast majority of predictions end up being wrong. Unfortunately, I have a feeling this panel’s prophecies are likely to be fairly accurate.

They'll be discussing the rapidly evolving technology landscape (another favorite topic of mine) and “how it will color the stories with which we engage our customers.” The session will include: 

  • Predictions for marketing technology over the next 5 years
  • Recommendations of emerging technologies in the Marketo ecosystem that embrace the future
  • Predictions for storytelling and feedback leveraging these new marketing technologies
  • Best practices for personalizing customer journeys and relationship marketing

“The Economist: The Rise of the Marketer”

Date/Time: April 14th at 2:00pm
Location: 2006/2008
Speaker: Jeff Pundyk (The Economist Group)

The Economist is by far my favorite periodical. So, it goes without saying that I’m definitely looking forward to hearing Jeff Pundyk, Global Vice President of Content Solutions at The Economist Group, discuss results from a recent Economist study on marketing’s current technological transformation.

“Design a Content Strategy that Moves the Needle”

Date/Time: April 15th at 2:00pm
Location: 2002/2004
Speaker: Ardath Albee (Marketing Interactions)

I read, write, edit, critique and envy a lot of marketing content. So, naturally, I’m attracted to a session that focuses on creating effective content strategies. Moreover, this session will address a topic that is so often neglected in marketing: context. Specifically, Ardath will be addressing the ways context disrupts conversion bottlenecks. Very interesting stuff…and quite a deviation from the normal high-level talk about being “customer-focused.” She’ll also discuss:

  • How to develop relevance that raises your content above the noise
  • Why kissing a campaign mindset “goodbye will improve the results you can get with marketing automation
  • How to prove content marketing contributes to business objectives during longer buying cycles.

 

3 Tips for Experiencing Marketo Marketing Nation Summit

Tip #1: You gain a lot more if you plan ahead

There’s a lot going on, and without a plan, you can end up spinning your wheels and accomplishing little. First, think about what you’re hoping to accomplish at the event. Then spend some time researching who’s going to be there (influencers, prospects, talent, etc.), who’s speaking, which sessions/events overlap, etc. You’ll likely have to make compromises when deciding on sessions to attend.

I also suggest broadening your scope of objectives. It’s always good to network and market your company, but the best networking comes as a byproduct of trying to learn about new technology and industry developments. As Ardath Albee so kindly wrote after I requested a quote on the summit’s biggest value:

“There are many benefits, but I find the biggest one to be the array of perspectives, topics and expertise available to learn from. Whatever level you are at with using Marketo, you’ll find a way to advance your knowledge and move your marketing strategy and execution to the next level. As a speaker, I know the effort that the event planners expend to ensure that every session brings useful takeaways, in-the-trenches insights and applicable expertise that will be useful to their attendees. I always find sessions that bring new ideas at the summit. The Gala party is also an event not to be missed!”

Tip #2: Jot down notes on cards you receive

Despite my previous advice, I know that everyone will be striving to build relationships that benefit the business. A great tip given by Justin Gray of LeadMD is jotting down notes on the back of business cards as you exchange them. As he puts it:

“In my opinion, the biggest value of Marketo summit is getting insight into successful best practices that have yielded tactical recipes others can follow. The easiest way to do this is not only to take advantage of the event itself but to make connections with others who are facing the same challenges so you can create an ongoing idea exchange.”

Of course, it’s going to be difficult to remember all the people you speak with, “and you don’t want to wind up with a ton of cards and no idea of which card connected to which person and conversation.” Taking quick notes greatly amplifies the value of every conversation you have. Read Justin’s recent blog post for more useful event tips: “Attending Marketo Summit? A Cheat Sheet for Success.”

Tip #3: Parties are central to the summit 

This isn’t an embellishment: you’ll likely learn and achieve more at the parties and side events than at the actual event. Notice that in her quote, Ardath Albee mentioned that attending the Gala is a must. Booths serve their purpose, but they also create an atmosphere of salesmanship that can limit the development of real connections. The social events, on the other hand, provide environments much more likely to facilitate relationships. The irony is that the reason these events are so productive can be the same reason you miss great opportunities: open bars. 

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