Written by: The Partner Marketing Group Team
We always enjoy attending the Dynamic Communities eXtreme365 and User Group Summit conferences to share our marketing knowledge, learn some new tips and tricks and, of course, meet with some of our fantastic clients face-to-face. This year was another big success and here are a few of the top marketing trends we took away from both conferences.
If you hadn’t heard, the eXtreme365 event was held 2 ½ days before Summit started. This event was a partner/ISV only event that had an array of marketing, sales and product sessions that incorporated Dynamics 365, Dynamics GP and Power Platform. If you didn’t attend this year, it should be something to include on your schedule for next year!
One of our favorite sessions was the Marketing Panel Ask the Experts Fireside Chat. A panel of marketers (including our own Michelle Glennie) representing the Channel Marketing Alliance, partners and ISVs shared what’s changed in the last five years and key things to plan for in the future. The audience engagement – both asking questions and then hearing the answers from others – provides real value and is what these conferences and sessions do best.
Some stand-out points from the Ask the Experts session were:
- Personalization, including a strong emphasis on a need to stop blasting every email to your entire database and to instead segment your list and craft more personalized messages.
- Always be learning. A marketer that does not stay current with the latest trends and tactics will likely see poor results. In combination with that, the growth in marketing tactics means no marketing department of one (or even two or three) can do it all. Get focused on what you can do well and work with your peers and outside agencies for help with the rest.
- Across the board, there was A LOT of discussion about email platforms and marketing automation tools and the differences between each. A surprising number of marketers are still using platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact, but we all recognize that compelling email campaigns must be integrated with landing pages and social engagement. Marketing automation is on most marketers’ list for a must-have tool; however, budget and resources to effectively implement it are the big obstacles.
- Communication is key. You need to communicate regularly to your prospects and customers where you are going to be (if you are attending events), what your team is doing, what is new or upcoming.
Practical Account-Based Marketing
Everyone in attendance had heard about account-based marketing (ABM) but few channel partners were actually using it. Simplified, ABM is about putting the most resources toward those accounts that are most likely to yield a return. Rather than casting a broad net, you’re “fishing with spears,” targeting a pre-selected set of accounts for personalized, high-value touches.
Account-based marketing requires strong alignment between sales and marketing but it works. One data point that stood out was from the ITSMA: 84% of B2B marketers say that ABM delivers higher ROI than any other approach. It’s a strategy well worth testing and even the smallest partners can see success. ABM is also largely an outbound play and should not be considered as a replacement for other marketing tactics.
The number one content trend was quality over quantity. With thousands of technology partners (and software publishers) creating content and pushing it out—often over the same channels—poor content will eat up your resources without delivering the results you need.
One creative trend was to create a content franchise. Build pieces of content around a central theme and brand. It adds credibility and signals to your reader what’s coming. Strong franchises create demand for more content. Some franchises discussed were the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn that started as a single eBook and grew to podcasts, videos, magazines and blogs.
The Partner Marketing Group shared our own franchise we are excited to be releasing soon! “Marketing Matters” is a series of videos and fact sheets with short, quick tips and tricks on a variety of marketing tactics.
Another big trend was to create at least one piece of stand-out, original content (especially research).
For TPMG, this is our annual Technology Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Report. It’s our most downloaded piece and is a franchise in itself as we also deliver webinars and articles around the findings. If you’re a technology marketer, please go take the survey for our 2020 report!
A trip around the busy expo floor during Summit provided a couple of other great marketing nuggets we’d like to share.
Creativity. Using non-standard formats or fun designs for brochureware will help you stand out on a busy show floor. An original idea came from Dynamic Consulting, who created a game based on Chutes and Ladders which drew a significant amount of traffic to their booth.
Giveaways. These are standard at most shows and trends are always interesting to see each year. This year, we saw a good amount of bottle openers. Substantial, heavyweight openers that are branded are currently the ‘in’ thing! Socks are still in fashion, after all one can never have enough socks, and if they are bright and fun—even better.
Food. Treats are always a big draw, right? We enjoyed celebrating Rockton Software’s 20th birthday with some delicious cake and, based on the steady traffic to their booth, we all have a big sweet tooth! If you stopped by the Prophix booth, you could have your selfie printed on a cookie. What kid wouldn’t want a cookie with their parent’s face on it?
As expected, the expo floor was always busy around meal times—whether it was lunch, a mid-afternoon snack or happy hour. Happy hour always draws in the crowds and is a relaxed setting for conversation and deal-making. Conferences can be exhausting so if you need an idea for your booth, how about foot massages, massage chairs or hammocks? We will be first in line!
Looking forward to 2020!
With another eXtreme365 and Summit in the books, we look forward to seeing you next year in Nashville. If you need some help getting ready—let’s talk about creative ideas, content, campaigns, design and strategy for your 2020 tradeshow planning.