The B2B landscape is constantly changing, and today’s buyers are more informed than ever, especially as new generations like Millennials and Gen Z make up more of the workforce. It’s crucial for businesses to abide by this change and cater their marketing efforts to buyer preferences and needs.
This may sound simple, but it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. At this year’s B2B Marketing Exchange, Brian Fanzo, esteemed Millennial keynote speaker and Founder of iSocialFanz, will take the stage to help attendees master a Millennial mindset and market, collaborate and connect with digital natives.
We caught up with Fanzo ahead of the event — taking place in Scottsdale, Ariz. Feb. 25-27 — to get a sneak peek at his presentation and hear the latest trends in B2B marketing when it comes to these digital natives.
Demand Gen Report: The event theme this year is “seeing B2B through a new lens” — what advice would you give marketers looking to evolve their strategies and successfully change things up this year?
DGR: What trends are you seeing in the B2B marketplace, specifically when it comes to the emergence of Millennials in the workforce?
Fanzo: With Millennials making up over 50% of the workforce, the B2B marketplace is slowly realizing that Millennial employees care a lot less about having an open workspace or food truck Friday. Instead, they want to know that their voice is heard, be empowered to have an impact on their company and know that the company they work for cares about the wellbeing of their employees and is focused on making the world a better place.
DGR: Your session will cover the concept of "experiences" and how there possibly may not be a clear understanding of what that means. Can you share a sneak peek of what you hope to teach attendees on that topic?
Fanzo: All consumers today — not just Millennials — are smarter and more empowered than ever, and they know when they are being targeted with an ad and don’t want to be sold to or marketed at. So, the question becomes: how do we connect with this empowered consumer to provide them with what they want, while also building trust to turn them into a customer? The answer is experiences, which require a mindset shift from creating marketing focused on what the brand or product does to creating content that makes the consumer feel included, highlighting the problems we will help solve and why they should care. All consumers today want to feel like their voice is heard, while being a part of something special. During my talk, I will explain the tools and tactics B2B brands can use to do just that.
DGR: You also plan to talk about how B2B orgs must embrace the hyper-connected world buyers now expect. How do you plan to help attendees position themselves to embrace this mindset?
Fanzo: In this new hyper-connected world, brands must understand it’s no longer about building something and having your buyers come to you. It’s about creating content and conversations where your buyers are currently engaging and, ultimately, building trust that inspires them to want more. I understand this change is hard and my goal is to not force you to change, but rather inspire you to shift your perspective and create a strategy that allows you to embrace change and plan for the future while marketing where your buyers are today.
DGR: What else can attendees expect to learn from your presentation at B2BMX 2019?
Fanzo: During my session, we will walk through the changing landscape of today’s buyers, while painting a picture of what the future will hold and creating a strategy for us to get there. The focus will be on putting ourselves in the shoes of our buyers, so we can shift our marketing from talking at our buyers to creating marketing that brings buyers on a journey with us through tactics such as employee advocacy, episodic video content and transparent, authentic conversations.
DGR: What are you hoping to learn more about at B2BMX 2019? Are there any sessions you’re looking forward to?
Fanzo: I’ve been a longtime fan and friend of David Meerman Scott and Tim Washer, both of whom I saw speak many years ago. I have yet to hear their new presentations happening at B2BMX this year. I’m also a huge advocate for influencer marketing and artificial intelligence, so I’m planning on attending Amanda Maksymiw’s session, as well as Samantha Stone’s talk.
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