B2B InTech 2018: my route through the day

16 tempting sessions. A tonne of must-see speakers. And eight hours to fit it all in. Impossible? David makes his plan for B2B InTech 2018...

B2B InTech 2018: my route through the day

It’s a 594-mile round trip, from Penryn to City Road, London. So it takes a lot to convince me to travel up for a conference – and when I get there, I want to make the most of it.

But with a shedload of speakers I’ve never heard, talking about all manner of intriguing subjects, B2B InTech 2018 is that conference. And fitting in all the sessions I want to attend is taking some doing.

Here’s the plan so far…

0800-0920: grab coffee and pastry. Meet people.

Yes, OK; turning up at the start makes me a super swot. But I’ve come a long way, and it’s not often I get the chance to meet so many new faces in the industry where we specialise. B2B tech marketers are my kind of people.

(With any luck, there might be one or two who’ll remember the breakout session Fiona and I gave last year, spilling unicorns’ copywriting secrets, in which case we’ll have plenty to chat about.)

Failing that, the pastries are usually delicious anyway. Nom.

0920-1240: keynotes about innovation

The morning part of this year’s InTech agenda is actually pretty easy to navigate; just strap yourself in, consume caffeine, and let the awesome wash over you.

Jada Balster from Workfront‘s talk about culture sounds great, and I’m both curious and slightly scared about Jane Morrin‘s assertion that we now have both a human audience and a machine audience… but the sessions after morning coffee excite me even more:

Malin Linden, SAP: “How to influence people: the marketing innovator’s guide to success”  I sincerely hope Malin’s going to talk about risk taking, and convincing people to challenge the status quo… and I’m especially looking forward to learning about how diversity drives innovation. These are things B2B tech marketing sorely needs to hear (I’ll be the one at the back, shouting “preach!“)

Phil Harvey, Inmarsat: “Think like a start-up and truly innovate to create out-of-this-world marketing”  In particular, the bit that grabs me about Phil’s session blurb is “the importance of a brave client”. As a content writer, I see firsthand how a bold client can galvanise a team, and it’s an experience I’d like more of. It’s intriguing to know a global satellite tech leader finds a similar pattern.

1340-1420: the science of reading (stream 3)

(This is why Cornish conferences are better than London ones. You get finger food, or funky little street food boxes. We get pasties. But no matter…)

Straight after lunch, there’s a tough choice. Nick Worth‘s talk on not letting AI make your customers hate you is sure to be fun, and I’m sorely tempted to hear Ricky Abbott‘s take on using data to make your ABM more agile (ABM is always fascinating, and I bet Ricky’s a good speaker, too).

But I’m a copywriter first and foremost. So if there’s a chance to glean something new on the nuts and bolts of content, and how it’s consumed, that’s where I need to be. Hence:

Nick Mason, Turtl: “The science of reading – why understanding readers’ behaviour will help you deliver content that lasts” – this sounds a bit like Sarah Richards’ talk that blew everyone’s minds at the Copywriting Conference 2017 (you can hear our writers waxing lyrical on the podcast), and if Nick is even half as good, this could be incredibly valuable stuff. (I’m picking it over some strong contenders, so I really hope it’s not just a sales pitch for the platform.)

1415-1445: “the best B2B marketing hacks ever”, apparently (stream 3)

If digital product innovation or the rapidly-changing buyer experience are your bag, then Kieron McCann and Hendrik Isebeart’s talks sound great. There’s a whole lot of disruption about, and these sound like the chaps to help you navigate it. (I reckon Hendrik‘s point about the growing “knowledge gap” between buyers and sellers is definitely worth considering in more detail.)

But “the best ever” is a big claim. And I’m keen to see if Paul Cash can walk the walk as well as he talks the talk, so I’m choosing:

Paul Cash, Rooster Punk: “#CashHacks – The best B2B marketing hacks ever!” – He has a hashtag. He has an exclamation mark (and we all know how copywriters feel about those). But most of all, he promises I’ll “laugh and cry and then skip back to the office”. We shall see, Paul. We shall see…

1450-1520: bolder B2B marketing (stream 1)

I’m not sure if crossing the streams would be bad, but that’s what I’m planning to do if it’s allowed.

I’ve heard Robert Norum speak before, and he’s always informative, but feature adoption just isn’t a challenge I face often. And likewise, I try not to think too much about MarTech stacks when I’m not actually writing about them, so Lisa Schurter‘s play-by-play guide will be more relevant for others than for me.

But by contrast, helping B2B brands to stand out is something I really, really care about.

Sophie Leang, OpenGamma: “Be Bold, Be Brave – Enough with the B2B branding clichés”  – this one sounds like another “hallelujah” moment. Because most B2B brands could be so much braver than they are, and often that paralysis isn’t actually based on anything other than misapprehensions about what other people might think. I do hope Sophie talks about writing as well as visuals, though; brands have to sound different as well as looking different. And goodness knows B2B copywriting has its own share of clichés.

The home stretch: innovation; innovation everywhere…

The day’s agenda ends as it began, with a wealth of female speakers. Respect to B2B marketing for including an all-female discussion panel (other than Joel the host), and booking women for both the opening and closing keynotes.

Whoever picked this year’s lineup, I salute you.

It looks a heavyweight panel, too, so the discussion should be well worth hearing. Caroline Scott, Nicola Anderson, Julie Woods-Moss and Dr Christine Bailey seem to have a tonne of varied experience between them, and will be talking about when to innovate, and when to leave well alone. I’m expecting no punches pulled.

And then, it sounds like Christine will close the day with a call-to-arms – firing us all up to tackle our limiting beliefs and impostor syndrome head-on. By the time we get to the post-event drinks, we’ll be about ready to change the world. (No pressure, Christine.)

Meeting bolder marketers, all day long

It’s no coincidence that I’ve picked the sessions about being bolder, and finding ways to stand out. And it’s not just because that’s the kind of writing work I like to do (like Phil Harvey, I adore a brave client).

It’s because I’m hoping I’ll spend my day bumping into likeminded people. Marketers and content creators who want to take B2B, and make it better. Those conversations are the thing I’m looking forward to most about InTech (yes, even more than the “best hacks ever”). They’re what I enjoyed last year, and the reason I’m going again.

B2B tech marketers are my kind of people. But B2B tech marketers who think differently? They’re my tribe.

If that’s you, please do say “hi”.

(I’ll likely be in a stripey jacket, and geeky tee shirt of some description.)


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