The state of B2B marketing, in our own words

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In October hundreds of B2B marketers get together to attend the Marketing Challenge Forum 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic.

As one this years’ keynote speakers, Steve Kemish, our very own managing partner, was asked to share a few thoughts on his career and the world of marketing, through his eyes.

You have twenty years of experience in marketing. Could you briefly describe your beginnings and your journey to the very top of this branch?
SK: My career neatly divides into two. I spent the first ten years working in client-side roles; back last century I was helping brands build their first website and the broader marketing channels. I did this in IT/Tech/Publishing and TV industries and learnt lots (chiefly that most business have the same types of challenges in fact) Then in 2006 I decided to leave to work consultancy/agency side – to get a broader experience and to test that theory of businesses have similar challenges. Since then I have started and grown two well-respected b2b2 marketing agencies, which is something I’m really proud of. But every day I’m still learning, which is part of the joy of my job.

You have won five awards for B2B Marketing, two awards for Database Marketing, an award for New Age Media, and many others. Which of your achievements do you value the most?
SK: Winning awards is a great thrill! It’s really special to get recognition from the industry and your peers. Of all of the accolades I’m actually most proud of our last (which wasn’t even a win) Junction is one year old in October and we recently were awarded runner-up for best marketing agency in the UK, this was a really proud moment for all of us here, to see recognition early on!

How fast or how often do marketing trends change?
SK: Marketing is still marketing. Digital marketing, where I spend most of my days, is rooted in the same principles that have been with us in traditional marketing for decades. The platforms and media may change, but the same rules apply. Today a smart marketer has to be evaluating the broad mix of marketing channels and map them back to their own audience – it’s critical to always ensure you are thinking like your customers, not like yourself!

How should a marketer go about searching for new trends?
SK: Events and conferences are a great place to start! Not just to hear the speakers share their experiences and views but to chat with other delegates – to be able to take an idea from somebody in a different market or industry and reimagine it for your own marketing is a key skill. “Benchmarking is not theft” is a favourite saying of mine!

In which direction do you think communication will follow in the coming years?
SK: The digital and social world has forced brands to become more open and transparent, I think we will see a continuation of the humanising of brands. B2B marketing has traditionally been quite formal and serious and very unemotional. This two-way world we now live in forces brands to be more human and to therefore communicate in a more emotional and human way. I expect to see more honesty and simplicity to the way we communicate – if a brand focuses on trying to help and add value to a customer, prospect or audience, that will pay back in terms of engagement, loyalty and trust – key virtues for us to attain as marketers.

What are the greatest mistakes people make in advertising?
SK: Doing first, thinking second! Far too often brands just either copy what others do (without thinking about the relevance to their audience) or just get excited by the latest new trend, platform or channel and start to use it – only latterly do they then start to ask why. It’s key to think first – to plan and set objectives before you start doing any tactical work. Far too much budget and time gets lost every year to this and it undermines marketing as a profession.

What can your listeners look forward to at the Marketing Challenge Forum 2015?
SK: I’m lucky that in my role at Junction and as a lecturer I spend a lot of time with many different business and marketers and I plan to share the best of the work I’ve seen over the last few months – outstanding examples of putting rock-solid marketing principles into practice that show real business value. If I can achieve one thing at the forum it will be to prove that b2b marketing is creative, engaging and human!

Learn more about this event and how to attend via their website

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