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Marketing B2B Marketing B2B World Fest

The best of B2B World Fest: creativity, disruption and delivering brand promises

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By Richard Draycott | Associate Editor

November 7, 2023 | 8 min read

More than 100 B2B marketers, including CMOs from brands such as Uber, Vodafone, EY, Deloitte and the Wall Street Journal, gathered at The Drum Labs in London last week for B2B World Fest, The Drum’s annual deep dive into all things business-to-business.

B2B World Fest

B2B World Fest: Disruption Panel

Hosted in conjunction with global B2B marketing specialists Stein IAS and supported by LinkedIn, B2B World Fest saw senior brand and agency-side marketers come together to explore the hottest burning issues impacting the global B2B sector during what is being touted as the ‘Decade of B2B’ as B2B brands look to further embrace creativity, new technology and techniques to build brands and relationships.

Topics thrust under the B2B microscope during the event included how brands are pushing the creative boundaries of B2B and how B2B marketers can encourage the C-suite to increasingly accept more creative risks in pursuit of delivering better results.

Speakers discussed how B2C brands are increasingly creating innovative new B2B products and services to drive future revenues and how AI and associated new technologies are driving this unprecedented period of disruption across all sectors.

The live event also looked at how B2B marketing teams are future-proofing themselves and what the B2B team of the future will look like with Salesforce, Infosys and Winterberry Group sharing their insights into how the B2B marketing sector is managing the disruption that is currently affecting brands and marketing teams.

Creativity to the fore

Speaker: John Brockelman, CMO, State Street Global Advisors

B2B World Fest kicked off with more evidence of the continued rise in creative standards in B2B marketing with John Brockelman, CMO of State Street Global Advisors, talking through his tried and tested seven-stage process that his business goes through when devising global B2B campaigns:

  1. Always keep the client front and center

  2. Understand business objectives and set stretch goals

  3. Be clear about what your brand stands for

  4. Rally around a big, compelling insight

  5. Nail the message, then nail the creative

  6. Be consistent with your tone and voice

  7. Be open to ideas that come out of left field

Disruption dead ahead

Host: Hannah Bowler, Senior Reporter, The Drum

Panelists: Jo Pettifer, CMO, Salesforce; Bruce Biegel, senior managing partner, Winterberry Group; Sumit Virmani, EVP and global chief marketing officer, Infosys

To say the marketing industry is going through a period of disruption is an understatement and B2B brands need to be at the forefront of that transformation. In conversation with The Drum’s senior reporter, Hannah Bowler, to discuss how B2B brands are embracing disruption were Jo Pettifer, CMO at Salesforce, Bruce Biegel, senior managing partner at Winterberry Group and Sumit Virmani, EVP & global chief marketing officer at Infosys.

Getting the conversation started, Pettifer stated: “AI is hugely disruptive, but in a positive way if used correctly. We are hearing it’s the number one priority of CEOs agendas to transform their organizations with an AI-first strategy. It’s going to transform every department from marketing to sales to services to commerce and the marketing teams we are talking to are overwhelmingly positive about it.”

Bringing creativity and humor to the B2B Awards

Host: Lynn Lester, managing director, The Drum

Panelists: Stephen Davis, EMEA marketing director and UK president, RolandDG; Lauren Swinnerton, EMEA head of marketing communications and brand, RolandDG

For so long considered the ‘uncreative’ end of the marketing sector, B2B brands have been hot on the heels of their ‘creative’ B2C marketing cousins for many years and that pursuit of becoming a creative equal is today driving many impressive B2B campaigns.

Continuing the creative thread of the day, Stephen Davis and Lauren Swinnerton of print firm RolandDG outlined their cheeky ’50 Shades of Ginger’ campaign, which is taking B2B (and ginger-haired people) to new and interesting places.

Swinnerton outlined the brand’s initial challenge: “We know that as a B2B brand, we need to work harder, so the first question we asked ourselves was how can we be different, how can RolandDG as a brand stand out and produce a campaign that stands out in our market?”

The B2B decade starts here (and now)

Host: Craig Duxbury, global president, Stein IAS

Speaker: Suzanne Kounkel, global and US chief marketing officer, Deloitte

The Creative B2B Lions jury president recently said on stage at Cannes, “the B2B decade starts here.” Is that true? In this session, Stein IAS global president Craig Duxbury set out to stress test this statement. Joined from the west coast of the USA by Deloitte’s global and US chief marketing officer Suzanne Kounkel, they discussed how the B2B giant’s recent partnership and campaigns with the WNBA is delivering for the brand, but also reinforcing the statement that the decade of B2B is well underway.

Kicking off the session, Kounkel said: “B2B brands have to guard against complacency and that is certainly something we think about. We are a 187-year-old brand, so there is no standing still with that. A brand should always be in a state of evolution, so we have continued to think about what the market needs us to be with respect to our brand. We have been doing quite about of work from a marketing transformation perspective and our northstar for that has always been about building trust and delivering value to our clients and people, which is an important part with respect to B2B as the relationship sakes is so important to B2B companies. We are modernizing how we talk about the brand and talking in new ways about who we are and how we are different.”

Team future

Host: Hannah Bowler, senior reporter, The Drum

Speakers: Duncan Chater, managing director, Europe, Bloomberg Media; David Tiltman, senior vice-president of content, Warc

Given the profound changes being thrust upon us and those yet to come, it is vital that B2B marketing organizations futureproof themselves and ensure that they have the right people with the right skillsets to succeed. Joining The Drum’s Hannah Bowler to discuss how B2B teams are evolving and integrating new skillsets from different walks of life were Duncan Chater, managing director for Europe at Bloomberg Media and David Tiltman, senior vice-president of content at Warc.

Beginning the exploration of what is driving change and the team of the future, Chater said: “It’s all changing very quickly. Technology is accelerating everything, but there are many different factors. We have done a lot of work looking at the CMO role more broadly and we are seeing the CMO now being pulled into so many different conversations and in different directions as the C-suite expands. They are being asked to have a view and to deliver around sustainability messaging, they are being pulled into conversations around employment engagement and so on and there is just more complexity than ever in the marketing role.”

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