ITSMA’s Marketing Vision Conference 2016 highlights some of the most advanced marketing in the world
As B2B Analyst firms go, ITSMA has been quietly cranking out some of the industry’s most compelling research on buyer behavior for more than 20 years. This week, Cambridge, MA played host to ITSMA’s annual Marketing Vision conference which is described as the only industry event focused exclusively on marketing excellence for B2B services and solutions.
I had the pleasure of attending the ITSMA Marketing Vison conference for the first time, and I can attest that B2B marketers of all kinds would leave the two-day event with big ideas and an even bigger network.
I jotted down a couple key takeaways from my time at the show:
Mature – Everything about ITSMA oozes maturity. From the leaner, more modern website design that was debuted at the show, to the professionally compiled and published research – ITSMA’s “Marketing Visions” conference is the responsible older sibling to some of its industry competitors. You won’t get black tie galas or top 40 concerts – but you will get the opportunity to make truly meaningful connections with other delegates. “This is the show with the most hugs!” remarked one of the ITSMA associates and I quickly learned what she meant.
Global – “About 21 hours” is the direct flight time from India to Boston. I learned this while having the opportunity to workshop with an ITSMA member from India, along with a member from South Africa and one from the UK – at the same time.
Focused – The intimate size and concentrated focus of the show made it feel more like a B2B marketing retreat than a conference. Sessions revolved around the ideas of insight-led marketing, with practical ways to ensure buyer’s priority initiatives and intent were at the center of any strategy. Also popular were the concepts of marketing agility and the digital transformation – with refreshingly practical applications of both by Mani Dasgupta, CMO at CapGemini and Laura Whipple, Senior Vice President at Optum.
Motivating – One of the unanimously popular sessions was given by Scott Snook, a senior lecturer in business administration at Harvard Business school. Snook, a West Point graduate and 22-year colonel in the United States Army Corp of Engineers delivered a talk on what it means to be a leader that was equal parts entertaining and compassionate. A master at his craft, Snook created an interactive classroom out of the entire conference delegation, and left everyone delighted with his command and charisma. Slotting Scott Snook at the end of the conference day one speaks to how well ITSMA knows their audience.
Minimally Sponsored – Seasoned conference attendees might find it refreshing that ITSMA permits only two, carefully considered sponsors of their event. The sponsors were Demandbase, an Inverta partner and software provider of account-based marketing solutions and Cramer, a marketing studio focused on creating brand experiences. Each received logo signage on all conference materials and a modest booth in the main networking area. The lack of sponsor saturation preserved the dignity of the show by eliminating the need for gimmicks and dedicated exhibition hall time.