BMA15 Takeaways: Millennial Buyers, Data and Transformation

Marketers Must 'Change Their Game' to Reach a New Audience of Buyers

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Motorola mashup: (from l.) CTO Paul Steinberg, CIO Greg Meyers, Chief Innovation Officer Eduardo Conrado
Motorola mashup: (from l.) CTO Paul Steinberg, CIO Greg Meyers, Chief Innovation Officer Eduardo Conrado Credit:

At BMA15, the annual conference of the Business Marketing Association in Chicago last week, b-to-b marketers discussed how they're transforming their businesses to meet changing customers and their needs.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the show:

1. More b-to-b buyers are millennials. During an opening keynote presentation, Jim Lecinski, VP-U.S. sales and service at Google, pointed to recent research which found that 46% of b-to-b buyers are now millennials. "If our buyer is changing, then we as b-to-b marketers need to change our game and pivot how we grow, change and sell our brands," Mr. Lecinski told nearly 1,000 b-to-b marketers attending the conference. "Are you considering this influential 18 to 34 audience as your primary target when you're building b-to-b marketing campaigns?"

2. Data is transforming companies. Even established b-to-b companies are using data and analytics to transform themselves. GE Transportation, a 100-year-old division of the industrial manufacturer, created a cloud-based analytics system called Predix, which railroad operators can use to optimize the performance of locomotives, as well as improve supply-chain operations and other elements of their ecosystem. "This really enables big data analytics at the machine level," said Russell Stokes, president-CEO of GE Transportation, during a presentation.

3. Marketing, information and technology must work together. Marketing, information and technology can no longer operate in silos. "These three groups play a huge role in making innovation happen in the company," said Eduardo Conrado, former CMO and now chief innovation officer at Motorola Solutions, who co-presented with his CIO and CTO. "The three of us are trying to transform innovation at an 87-year old company."

4. Content strategy is key. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, noted that 83% of b-to-b marketers have some kind of content marketing strategy, but most say they are failing at it. During a panel on marketing cloud technology, Adam Blitzer, senior VP-general manager of Salesforce Pardot, said, "The biggest place you see people fall down when they adopt marketing technology is they don't think about their content strategy. By thinking about that upfront, you will save yourself some pain down the road."

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