We’re home from Chicago and the Business Marketing Association’s annual conference, a three-day information overload on all things B2B. Along with almost 1,000 other attendees, we got to listen to nearly 80 experts discuss B2B best practices, research and technologies.

Here are some of our key take-aways:

Gary Vaynerchuk may cuss like a sailor, but he’s one heck of an engaging speaker.

The CEO and Co-Founder of VaynerMedia and author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, made a compelling case for B2B marketers to embrace social media and tailor high-value content to the specific audience and social platform. He also dropped the F-bomb a reported 50 times, but very few people walked out insulted. The quality of his message was not damaged by his potty mouth. Follow him on Twitter: @garyvee

Whiteboard presentations out-perform PowerPoint for recall, credibility and impact.

Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Corporate Visions, got up on stage with an easel and markers to prove his point. When sales get in the room with the prospect, they can generate a lot more engagement with the right story, presented by hand instead of ‘death by slides.’ To Tim, it’s all about pairing the right stories with the right skills.

78% of salespeople who use social media out-sell their peers who don’t.

So says Jill Rowley, Founder and Chief Evangelist, Jill Rowley #SocialSelling; former Social Selling & Social Business Evangelism and Enablement, Oracle; and “Eloqueen,” Eloqua. Crazy title aside, she drove home something we’ve been trying to teach our clients for years – your sales team needs to be on social media, interacting and sharing expertise with the target audience.

B2B doesn’t stand for ‘boring to boring.

Beth Comstock, CMO of GE, shared the company’s experience with perpetual motion marketing – a constant reinvention and reassessment of the brand. Creative, customer experience, channels and big data all come together. Because as Beth said, “Mindshare comes before market share.” We couldn’t agree more.

Only 7% of actions match what people say they will do.

Finally a stat to back up our argument that stated intent has little or nothing to do with actual action taken! Thank goodness for Phil Clement, Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Aon. He looked into the brain research and put it all out there. Perhaps we should tell him about our Buying Conversation process?

It’s time for the ‘industrial musical’ to make a comeback!

We were in stitches during Steve Young’s – author of Industrial Musicals and writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman” – presentation on the lost art of the industrial musical, in which brands would put on elaborate stage shows complete with ditties about their products. This ‘mutant offspring of Broadway and business’ was a huge trend from the 50s to the 70s. You simply MUST visit his site to learn more and hear some of the songs!

In all seriousness, it was a great three days of information and networking. We came home with some new ideas, validation of our current practices and a renewed enthusiasm for the art and science of B2B marketing. We can’t wait to put some of the ideas into action (and to write our industrial musical).

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