The Big Lessons on B2B in Benelux: The B2B Marketing Conference 2015
If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll have seen that last week was the B2B Marketing Belgium Conference: ‘The Culture of Content’. The conference was organised and well chaired by Erwin Knuyt from Skein, in conjunction with Joel Harrison of B2B Marketing publication; it was aimed at all levels of B2B Marketers who were looking to implement Content marketing – from absolute beginners to seasoned pros – and featured a dozen speakers from across the marketing spectrum. I was one of them.
Although I was primarily there to offer my own advice on ‘Intelligent Engagement through the use of Marketing Technology in B2B’, spending the day in a room of over 120 B2B Marketers and buzzing with enthusiastic debate meant I learned a lot too.
Content strategy and buyer journeys dominated discussions throughout the day, and the event provided some great insight into the way our friends in Europe approach the different aspects of their marketing strategy.
As in the UK , it seems one of the biggest obstacles for B2B in Benelux to overcome is their sales and marketing alignment, as each still struggles to appreciate the other’s role. A customer case study from Xerius, however, revealed marketing innovation usting marketing automation in the Belgian market too. Xerius specialises in helping promote Belgian start-ups and entrepreneurs as they start their businesses; using their own success in doubling their visits from Google in just one year as an example, Dominique Verniers (Project Manager – Sales and Marketing) gave an enlightening talk on the combined powers of inbound and outbound SEO. In particular, Verniers revealed that an inbound lead was eight times more likely to concern than an outbound one, and offered some fantastic and actionable best practices about the content creation process.
Another great little insight I picked up about our continental cousins was that while the Dutch do business based on price, the Belgians focus primarily on quality – as such, we’re much more likely to enter the Belgian market first. Although Marketing Automation adoption in Belgium is still a little way behind the UK, my time at the B2B Marketing Belgium Conference revealed a strong interest in and appetite for it. It’s my prediction that the rest of mainland Europe will quickly catch up to our level of uptake, especially as the thinking around the key business issues and pain points is already at a similar point in Belgium as it is here in the UK.
In all, the B2B Marketing Belgium Conference offered a brilliant opportunity to meet marketers at the top of their game, and opened up some interesting debate on the future of marketing both at home and abroad. The great thing about marketers, irrespective of where they are located, is that they are happy to talk happily and openly on the issues surrounding them in their day to day roles – I certainly left with a lot of food for thought.