In June 2020, the 8th INDUSTRY COMMUNICATION DAY (TAG DER INDUSTRIEKOMMUNIKATION – TIK) took place, a B2B marketing conference organised by bvik, Germany’s industry association for communication and marketing. The insights gained from the event are revealed to us by Ramona Kaden in a Visable interview. She has been on the association’s Board since it was founded and Managing Director of bvik since January 2020.
Ms Kaden, TIK took place for the first time completely digitally, in the form of TIK DIGITAL 2020, in June 2020. What have been the participants’ reaction to this?
Due to world developments and the ongoing hope of organising a live event, we ultimately chose to put on a digital event at very short notice. It’s clear that a digital event cannot completely replace an in-person event providing personal networking options and the special atmosphere of TIK. But the many positive responses have shown us that this digital format was really very good and offered participants a true experience. The talks and speakers were excellent and precisely catered to individual interests. Thanks to films and highly professional moderation, the live feeling and emotions were able to come alive. Our gamification elements, various rooms, chat functions and network components in the form of the Marketing Eye-opener Bar allowed for interaction. The haptic TIK box, too, with numerous goodies from our partners, were sent to each participant personally for opening up together at the online conference – providing an extra portion of community character.
What was missing compared to previous years?
The evening networking event INDUSTRY COMMUNICATION NIGHT (NACHT DER INDUSTRIEKOMMUNIKATION) with its great food and easy-going, personal dialogue. But I think we got the most out of everything for our partners that the virtual world offers. Meeting professional expectations and providing a transfer of knowledge was achieved for our participants. As bvik takes the role of being a model and pioneer for B2B marketing, we were very aware of the fact that we must make the digital event a true benchmark. We can also imagine offering this event digitally again in future and expanding it with additional network components. But if we were to wish for something, it would be to present a symbioses of both worlds at TIK 2021.
Is the B2B world still a bit behind, in your view, when it comes to the digital transformation?
In our opinion, you cannot and must not generalise this. In B2B marketing, too, there are companies which had been successfully driving the digital transformation long before the corona crisis. Of course, the current situation has given this a big push and budgets have certainly now been allocated differently. And in the years to come, a lot will change in this direction. Digital working worlds, marketing automation, social selling, digital lead generation, virtual product presentations are just a few examples we can give. The big challenge will always be building trust, fostering personal contact with customers and creating the buying experience.
The big challenge will always be building trust, fostering personal contact with customers and creating the buying experience.
At TIK 2020, three key points were focused on: Identity, Technology and Emotion. Can you sketch out why these topics in particular will shape the future of B2B marketing? How can marketers make a significant contribution to this?
When it comes to the topic of Identity, we focused on how marketing can become the driver of transformation. The case studies from Dr Uwe Seebacher (ANDRITZ AG) and Dr Valentin Langen (IONIQ Skincare) show how the role of marketing must change in order to achieve this goal in a stronger position. For instance, using predictive intelligence (PI), forecasts on developments can be made based on data models. PI is a kind of radar, allowing you to monitor internal and external areas with the aim to support management and Sales without delay. As a marketer, it is our responsibility to leverage technical data in order to deliver solid groundwork in the form of figures, facts and data to our stakeholders. But data without a story are not relevant. Which is why the task of us marketers is to create targeted storytelling around innovations and products. What’s more, huge potential lies in the start-up mindset, which you should use for your company.
For the topic of Technology, the focus is on increasing performance and gaining efficiency …
The experts agree that technology results in an increase in performance. Account-based marketing is an interesting approach which can, without a doubt, lead to a higher return on investment and higher customer recommendation rates. When interested persons receive relevant and customised content via various touchpoints, chances are naturally high that a purchasing deal will be closed. To be successful, however, cross-department teamwork is essential. This is why Marketing and Sales must work closely together and companies’ ongoing way of thinking in silos must be finally overcome.
But the topic of digital platforms has been a focus in the B2B marketing world for quite some time now, and it is becoming more and more relevant. It involves clearly weighing up the goals which you want to and can reach. On top of that, the necessary skills must be available, as well as a clear delegation of the competences. Only once the teamwork is in place, and the strategy, technology and organisation seamlessly link up, can you be a success.
The topic of Emotions rounds out TIK DIGITAL 2020.
Emotions result in more identification. Our experts see it this way, too. Seventy to 80 per cent of all decisions are taken subconsciously on the basis of emotions and values, concluded Dr Hans-Georg Häusel, one of the world’s leading brain research experts and pioneer in neuromarketing, at TIK in 2018. In his opinion, everything that does not trigger emotions is senseless, useless and meaningless for our brain. Emotional campaigns offer the chance to generate recognition value and to tie stakeholders to the brand.
In the process, it’s important, first, that all employees and, above all, management are on board and excited about the change. As we know, only those who are excited themselves are able to excite others – and emotions are the key to this. However, you should not overdo it with the emotions. If you cannot deliver on your promise, you run the danger of losing credibility. Michael Ibarth, Director of Marketing at Sennebogen Maschinenfabrik, really hit the nail on the head when he said in his talk, “Focus on emotions – but dosage them!”
Ramona Kaden is Managing Director of bvik
You mentioned the term neuromarketing, which was a focus of a keynote at the conference. How meaningful is this marketing discipline?
Neuromarketing is without a doubt hugely meaningful in B2B, which is why we once again, after 2018, focused on the topic at this year’s conference. Neuronal processes subconsciously control emotions which, as previously explained, are essential to the decision-making process. Our keynote speaker Reneé Moore, who is a very successful entrepreneur and also an expert in the area of neuromarketing, introduced four fields of emotion in neuromarketing that influence our purchasing behaviour. These are security, excitement, autonomy and social influence. She made it clear that advertising speaks to one of these emotions in a targeted way and must thus take local influences into consideration if it is to work. This is a significant aspect which should receive attention when Marketing communicates messages.
Note: bvik is organising two exclusive master classes, featuring high-calibre experts, within the scope of TIK DIGITAL 2020 in mid-September.