The Content Marketing Association’s B2B Summit was a day of forward-looking debate and ideas, writes senior content strategist Martin Bewick.
CPL One was in London last week for the 2023 Content Marketing Association B2B Summit. The full-day of talks from leading marketers and business and technology experts covered topics ranging from what content the C-suite is looking for to the role of social channels and AI in B2B marketing.
What did we learn? Well, lots of things. If there was one consensus drawn from the various sessions, it would be that we live in a very uncertain world with a changing world of work and rapidly advancing technology just two of the challenges we face.
Amid the insecurity, our clients want us to help them cut through the noise, disentangle and declutter their messaging, and help them to focus on the things that will let them achieve their goals.
Here are 12 take-outs from the day that might help us do just that.
1. Accept the connection paradox
It can seem like a paradox, but in an age of seamless and always-on connection, some audiences are increasingly disconnected. Our job isn’t just to reach these people, it’s to understand the disconnect and fix it with a product that really serves audience needs.
2. Make it good
The organisations we work with want good content, not just more content – because that’s how we reflect their customers’ needs and help businesses achieve their goals. Also, ‘good’ isn’t a synonym for ‘slick’, or ‘expensive’. For ‘good’, read ‘thoughtful’, read ‘useful’.
3. Be authentic
Authenticity needs to be at the centre of your business’s communications – that means hearing from employees and customers at all levels, not just replaying the marketing mantras of those at the top.
4. Take me to your leader
However, in B2B your CEO is a fine asset for your ‘leadership brand’. Peer-to-peer conversation works and leaders always want to hear from other leaders – about their hard-won successes, and also about where challenges remain. Keep it real.
5. Build long-term commitment
More than a sunshine-filled ad campaign built on KPIs, good content should be an ongoing expression of your organisation’s authentic purpose and values. Think of all the ways you can express those foundations, and keep demonstrating them.
6. Action it!
As well as being authentic, content should be action-orientated if it’s really going to stand out from competitors and create impact. Good creative work changes people’s minds and gets them to take action, so fill your content with purpose.
7. Use your currency
In an uncertain world, content also needs to be timely. Instead of future-gazing and going big on predictions, make sure your content is sharply ‘current’ and helps people answer the vital questions of today. Tomorrow can wait… for a while.
8. Serial love
Everyone loves video content these days – but no-one has time to watch your masterpiece. Instead of filming an epic, could you chunk up your content and serialise it, treating each short video as a building block? It’s all in the edit.
9. Get quirky
Be brave with your content, even when you’re not a consumer brand. It’s OK to be quirky. Who you are is defined by what you do and how confident you are doing it. So don’t be afraid of being ‘more you’. Forget audience pre-conceptions – and maybe lose some inhibitions.
10. School your tech
The latest tech can be seen as a super-powered tool, whether that’s the potential of AI-generated text, or using Tik-Tok as a search engine. But don’t let hype confine you. Creativity is always the real key, so school your tech, don’t let it school you.
11. Get positive
If the world looks too difficult and complicated, can we make it simpler? If it’s chaotic can we provide some calm? When the impact we have on the world and society is positive and beneficial, it makes us feel better. It also builds trust and loyalty. This is a good thing, right?
12. Stay curious
If there was one take-out from the CMA B2B Summit, it was that if you want to be relevant, stay curious. Don’t just do what you’ve done in the past. Try something new. Start a conversation. Test an idea. See what comes of it.
Okay, so you may not want to action all of these at once. Maybe start with the last point – and get curious. That’s the basis of what we do at CPL One, where we’re already talking to clients and working with these latest trends and insights.
If you’d like to know more about what we’re doing, get in touch.