Digital Marketing Trends 2017 by CX Network

28 07 2017

CX NetworkMy colleagues at CX Network, led by the amazing Zarina de Ruiter, just published their annual Digital Marketing Trends report.



The report outlines 4 key trends:

  1. The brave new world of content marketing – Looking at the increased impact of video and the growing reach of influencers
  2. Customer driven marketing decisions – Experience is everything now!
  3. Data big & small; From actionable insights to changing regulations
  4. The future of Marketing tech – AI, AR, Alexa and more!

It also features an update on GDPR, a case study on social influences, and great tips for staying ahead of all these changes. There’s also insight from multiple marketing experts at Revlon, Westfield,, Bloomsbury Publishing, Duck & Waffle, Jones Day and yours truly. It’s well worth a read You can download your copy of the report at CX Network or click here.


Are you buying clicks?

15 07 2015

The Modern Conference Dilemma – It’s a problem of choice

23 02 2015

ChoiceI recently came across this great article from Chris Brogan that highlights the challenge facing many conference marketing teams. Call it a problem of choice, a proliferation of events, an abundance of information in a heavily connected world or whatever you like but either way the benchmark for success continues to rise.

As Chris points out, he can get most of what a conference offers online, with out the strip search at the airport, without dropping his business card in a raffle for a free iPad, and without spending a cent! He can search for presentations on, you tube or any number of other channels, he can network with people via any number of social networks, he can review any kind of technology solution and most importantly he can be inspired all from the comfort of his home office!

How can a conference compete?

Speaker curation – It’s no longer simply about the best brands. Your speakers must be the ones changing the way people work, defining the new industry standard, changing the rules and defining the future! It might even be a vendor, or a person working for a NGO or some other organization who through necessity has created some ground breaking work! Our speakers must include a combination of inspiration and information. We have to look deeper and further!

Speaker training – Some of these innovators may not be the best presenters, so we owe it to them and the delegates to help them become engaging presenters.

Networking – It’s more than a cocktail. Facilitated networking and one to one meetings should be for more than just sponsors. Networking sessions need to be facilitated and built into the agenda to ensure all attendees get the most out of the event.

Format – We must formulate new connections and debate. Less power points (More on that here).

Provide tools – Delegates should leave armed with new tools, and templates (that they can’t get online) that can help them solve their challenges. Those tools and templates need to be researched ahead of the event, curated and peer reviewed and made available to the delegates when they leave.

Chris also points out “You must attend live events if you want the full effect”, so there’s hope yet! Nothing can replicate the true magic and serendipity of a well curated, researched conference full of like minded individuals looking to the future of their industry or profession.

Most Marketable Skill

23 05 2014

ownershipI do a lot of interviews, on average at least 2 a week. Sometimes for an open role, but often just looking for talent we may need one day in the future and sometimes to see what exciting things other marketers are doing! I was recently asked what I consider to be the most valuable marketable skill. What is it that I think is essential for success in today’s job market? The skill that I feel is the most important, and why it’s so indispensable for people going into the workforce. To me that skills is:


You have take ownership. I know it may not be perceived as a skill, but basically I think ownership means:

  • You go beyond your job description, shed light on the gray areas, and help the team reach the goal.
  • You go the extra mile for customers and colleagues.
  • You have passion for what you do, and make sure you are always learning and listening for new ways to improve.
  • You always spend money (or allocate budget/expenses) as if the money was yours. If you owned the company would you spend the money on this activity?
  • It’s about taking pride in your work!

If you feel like you can’t own the project or job then find something else, because your lack of interest will show up in the way you walk between meetings, they way you discuss challenges with your colleagues and ultimately in the results!

It’s telling that in a business context you can always tell instantly when the owner is in the conversation. One of my lecturers at University (a long time ago) once told a story that has always stuck with me.  She once ran her own restaurant and she felt none of her staff wiped down a table the same way she did, and that it essentially came down to the fact that she ‘owned’ the table, she viewed it as hers, and as a result, she wiped it cleaner and showed that extra level of care and passion for doing even these simple tasks. It shows!

Choosing one word is always difficult. I could have easily gone with leadership, initiative, grace, passion, sharing, learning, resilience or any other number of skills which I also think are important. But ultimately I think taking ownership of your role, project, team or development embodies all these things. It also makes you more valuable to a team!

I share, therefore I am

9 10 2013

This is the strangest and one of the most interesting videos I’ve seen in a long time. Conceptually I think it has implications for the events business, good and bad. It’s not new that social media is revolutionizing many aspects of marketing and some of the social aspects of life, I’ve blogged about it a few times and a Google search will flood you with information. But this video does a great job of capturing some of the more unique customer level issues.

For the B2B conference marketer:

  • Interactivity at events is more important than ever, but it’s also probably going to become harder to get people to interact.  We must move beyond speed dating into formats that can create in-depth conversations and potential connections between buyers and sellers.
  • The ideal number of people in a break out session may be changing?
  • If you are using social media to promote your event, driving engagement may be linked to the your ability to provide social recognition amongst peers and a deeper role in facilitating peer to peer interaction.
  • B2B online communities around events must drive real long term value and interaction beyond the events. They also need to make sure they provide ways for people to validate their skills in the community.
  • Similarly for events, endorsements and accreditation will become key. Exhibitions should also gamify the experience!

Food for thought – Anyone feeling lonely?

The Content Marketing Equation

8 10 2013

I’m a fan of content marketing! I believe it’s the best way to reach out to new customers and engage existing ones. It helps marketers cut through all the noise, but done well it also does a lot more than that!

The problem is it’s easy to over simplify, like all great concepts. But as a result it’s also easy to hide from the complexity of factors that really drive the performance of your content marketing. So at our last global marketing directors meeting, (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) I came up with this content marketing equation for B2B events:

The Content marketing equation

Without going into the details, roughly 19+ variables, all with variables of their own, all of which are hard to measure! But in essence it means:


Or to put it into English, the performance of your content marketing strategy is a function of the quality and quantity of your content multiplied by the promotion of the content, divided by the number of events and the ability of your inbound sales team.

The quality is a function of how your audience perceives the value of the piece, the format of the piece, it’s ‘shareability’, it’s relevancy to the event and audience, it’s recency, the authorship, it’s news worthiness and a lot of other factors.

The quantity is also not as simple as most marketing communications. Can your piece of content be re-purposed into 50 different tweets, an infographic, a blog post, a white paper, a power point presentation, a press release, a video, a webinar, a cartoon, a face book post, a linked in post, a group discussion, a ??????

The promotion is also more complex than the size of your internal database or your budget! How much external (social?) traction can you secure, how much influence can be leveraged  and can we find a way to nurture those leads within the tight event marketing lead times?

All of these factors need to be divided by the number of events and your inbound sales teams ability to stay attuned to the customer, prioritize all those leads and drive conversion. Which is also wrapped up in the process behind the creation of the content and communicating that to the team.

All of this without event touching on things like the SEO implications of the title…. As always the devil is in the detail!

The Future of Conference Video …Prepare for a Video Sprint!

15 10 2012

I’ve written about the emerging part I think video has to play in the future of B2B events many times (Here, here, and here amongst a few…).  



I believe it can help promote events, enhance the on-site experience, and extend learning beyond the conference room or exhibition hall into the wider community, all of which helps promote your event.

Through an excellent guest post on the excellent site Conference basics (and @gchicco) by Gabriel Shalom, founder of the KS12 Creative Studio I just had an insight into what that future might look like. You can read all about here:  (including some great examples) or better still visit this post on Conference Basics and here Gabriel tell you about his business model.

The most interesting aspects of Gabriels model is the image above (I also liked how there wasn’t any shots of a speaker podium or power points, or people entering and leaving the conference hall but I digress). Gabriel outlines how video can help extend the conversation, the sharing, the learning and the networking both at the event, into the hallways, the online back channels, and after the event into the wider business community by leveraging social media. The future of conference marketing involves video, but like all tools, it will be how you wield it that will make the difference.