A content marketer’s guide to the B2B Marketing Expo 2019

Two days. Twelve theatres. Hundreds of seminars, masterclasses and exhibitors. If you're a content marketer attending the Expo, where do you even begin? We delve into the listings, so you don't have to.

A content marketer's guide to the B2B Marketing Expo 2019

The sheer size of a big marketing exhibition can be both promising and frustrating. With all those exhibitors and talks, there’s bound to be a few unexpected gems that can add value to your work – but how do you cut through the parts that aren’t relevant, to find what you really need?

As a company that’s both speaking and exhibiting at London’s B2B Marketing Expo in March, we have the same concern. The niche we work in (writing content for B2B tech agencies and brands) means we’re bound to be of interest for content marketers visiting the show. But will they find us amid all the videographers, Hubspot aficionados and branded cupcake firms?

To help, we’ve combed the listings (don’t even go there… Soooo. Many. Buzzwords…) to come up with a focused tipsheet for content marketers in particular – with the keynotes, seminars and stands you won’t want to miss.

Into content marketing? Go on the Wednesday.

It may seem counterintuitive – what with SAP’s Jack Dyson giving his big content keynote on the Thursday – but we think there’s marginally more for a content marketer to see on Wednesday 27th. (And no, it’s not just because that’s the day we’re speaking.)

Here’s one potential route through the day…

11.00–11.30 Scaling visual content marketing (Keynote theatre)

This clashes with a promising-looking Inbox Insight talk in Theatre 27, but that’s also on Thursday (see below) so we’ve gone for Grant Munro from Shutterstock. Tailoring a message at scale is a tricky thing to do – whether it’s writing or visual content – so the “tools and strategies” Grant promises should be helpful. (We just hope this isn’t simply a big stock photo pitch in disguise.)

11.45–12.15 How to plan an inbound campaign in 20 minutes (Theatre Hall 26)

If Ian Guiver from Axon Garside can deliver what he promises, there should be plenty of good ideas here to set your content within an effective sales and marketing strategy… with ten minutes to spare!

13.15–13.45 Five terrifying risks you should take with your content (Theatre Hall 12)

A good hour to grab some lunch, browse some exhibition stands and hit the networking area before joining the queue for the undisputed highlight of the event. Yes, it’s Radix’s own seminar, which will give you five calculated creative risks that will help your content to stand out.

(If you’re attending on the Thursday – or if you can’t get a seat – don’t despair; we’re also planning to run this session as a webinar. Sign up for our copywriting advice emails, and we’ll keep you updated.)

14.00–14.30 Cut the crap: transparency in video (Theatre Hall 28)

This is the year video marketing is supposed to take over (which is what they said at the start of 2008, and every year since). Whether that’s true or not, we’re big fans of the insane honesty school of B2B content, for video and writing alike. Most B2B marketers could do with an occasional reminder to keep it real, so if Paul Hamblin of The Video Club has some practical tips to share, you can count us in.

15.30–16.00 10 key pointers on B2B market research (Theatre Hall 14)

OK, this one’s a bit of a curve ball. But a great, original piece of primary research is always a brilliant starting point for a tasty bit of content that really stands out. (Don’t believe us? Ask Orbit Media, or Grist and Coleman Parkes.) A basic grounding won’t go amiss, and Teresa Hadfield from The ICG’s talk promises a key pointer every three minutes on average, which seems like a pretty good return to us.

Thursday’s agenda: content marketing in context

OK, so you’ve booked to go on the Thursday. No problem; there’s still plenty of promising sessions for you to attend. Some will improve your content directly, others are more about the context where it sits.

11.00–11.30 Content that Works (Keynote theatre)

With a capital “W”, no less. Jack Dyson from SAP is promising hacks that can save your life, squeeze every last drop of value from your marketing, and takes your content from bland to brilliant. SAP create some good stuff, so this should be worth a listen (even if it’s just to find out what “couture content” is).

11.45–12.15 ABM: what it is and how to do it in B2B services (Keynote theatre)

Don’t move a muscle; stay right in your seat. Account-based marketing (ABM) is the close cousin of content marketing, and we think there’s lots of scope for crossover between the two. Andrea Clatworthy from Fujitsu is as good a speaker on the subject as you’ll find (and we’re not just saying that because she contributed some great advice to our ABM content ebook). If you want a crash course in ABM, this is the place to be.

12.30–13.00 You’re looking at the funnel the wrong way (Theatre 27)

We’ve long agreed that the funnel is a useless metaphor for the buying journey, and that other alternatives would be much more fun. But we’ve never heard the thought applied to content amplification before, and we’re intrigued to hear what Ross Howard from Inbox Insight has to say.

14.00–14.30 7 steps to creating the perfect explainer video (Theatre 25)

There are few things to beat a really good explainer video. Sadly, few explainer videos are really good. If you’ve never wondered why some work and others don’t, these seven steps from Eden Videos’ Martin Ray-Jones could be just the ticket. We’re certainly hoping to learn a few tricks and tips for our own script writing efforts.

14.45–15.15 Make B2B prospecting great again (Theatre 11)

Yes, this is Leadfeeder (one of those services that tells you which companies have been looking at your website). And no, we haven’t lost our marbles. As long as it’s above board, and not personally identifiable data, the more intelligence we can all get about who’s enjoying what content, the better we’ll all get at writing for the clients we most want. The speaker, Dipak Vadera, is a sharp guy, and we reckon this will be full of tips for bridging the gap between content and sales, without being weird about it.

Our pick of the exhibition stands

You might want to mark a few stands on the floor plan, to visit between the talks. But unless you have a military-grade tolerance for marketing clichés, we recommend you steer clear of the online exhibitor list. Seriously; we barely made it out alive.

While we were there, though, these stands struck us as worth a visit:

Animation and video production

If you want to make video content, you’re in luck. It seems like very third stand at the expo you’ll find a videographer, lying in wait. Unscientifically, the ones that caught our eye include FLETCHERWILSON (we like corporate documentaries so we’ll overlook the all caps) on stand 1582, and we like No Magnolia’s brand (stand 1986). The Animation Guys (stand 2374) have a brilliant animation showreel and The Videonauts (stand 2348) have a brilliant name. And finally, we love a whiteboard video – the more of them in B2B, the better – so we’re delighted to see Eden Videos on stand 1584.

Site search

There are any number of SEO companies to talk to at the expo, but Sooqr Search (stand 2422) are a bit different: they optimise your on-site search so your visitors can find exactly what they’re looking for. Sounds like a good idea.

Translation services

Getting content into a language your buyer is comfortable with is so important for engagement and search. And if 101translations (stand 1732) can deliver everything they promise (cultural analysis, international SEO, etc) then theirs could be a good business card to have in your pocket. We’re slightly freaked out by the lack of a space in their name, but what can we say? We’re writers.

Branded content

If branded content’s your bag, you might want to make a point of visiting the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) on stand 1580. Apparently, they can connect you with experts, but we can’t say much more than that because their exhibition blurb is kind of… intense.

Content delivery

A tonne of B2B content gets shared on LinkedIn, so if InSurge (stand 1922) can help you make it that bit more successful, that’s got to help your content ROI. Maybe even see actual LinkedIn themselves on stand 2350 while you’re at it. And Landingi (stand 1982) reckon their platform can make your landing pages better – which means more downloads for your assets. Could be worth a look.

Market research

As we’ve mentioned, original primary search is always a content winner. So you might want to chat with Ardent Fieldwork (stand 2382), or The ICG (stand 2284). And we reckon there are all sorts of fun ways you could use Wizu (stand 1546) to collect useful information.

Digital asset management

There’s no point making content guidelines and assets if nobody knows how to use them. So maybe have a chat with Asset Bank (stand 1740). Widen (stand 2346) looks fancy, too.

Something a bit different

We’ve no idea how it works, but apparently CoolTabs (stand 2321) can make your written content into an “interactive experience”, which sounds intriguing. DataSine (stand 2614) say they have a “personality-based marketing content augmentation tool” (no, us neither) and it’s called Pomegranate, which is cute. Peek and Poke (stand 2349) make addictive branded games. And if you want something *really* clever, maybe talk 3D modelling and AR with bloc digital (stand 2512).

Branded cupcakes

OK, it has nothing to do with content marketing. We just love Eat My Logo’s name. If you go to stand 1784, bring us back a couple of samples.

B2B copywriting

And of course, if you’d like to talk about any aspect of B2B content writing, come and have a chat with Radix, on stand 2184 (we’re over the far side, near seminar theatres 11 and 12).

We’ve had a load of free writing guides printed, so if you want the inside track on creating good web copy, ABM content, case studies, B2B comics, blog posts or messaging, we’ll give you something helpful to take away.

If you play your cards right, you may even get a natty pencil, made from a recycled CD case. (And if that’s not worth coming to ExCeL for, I don’t know what is.)

Be there, or be an equal-sided parallelogram.


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