Ignite USA 2023 — A Glimpse of the Future for B2B Marketers

Some of us at ANNUITAS just returned from the Ignite USA conference in Chicago hosted by B2B Marketing. It was an interesting mix of marketers from both client side and agency side, making up a true picture of the go-to-market reality of today. The event featured a variety of excellent speakers, including industry experts, thought leaders, and practitioners.

Ignite kicked off with a compelling keynote from Demandbase’s Jon Miller about how “the B2B playbook is dead.” Miller argued that the traditional B2B marketing playbook is no longer effective in today’s digital age — a provocative statement coming from one of the founders of Marketo. He called for a new approach that is more personalized, data-driven, and focused on the customer journey. Still, he emphasizes that these new elements surrounding targeting and personalization are meant to add, not replace, the tried-and-true methods of connecting with buyers and addressing their pain points across the go-to-market experience. 

No surprise to anyone — one of the obvious hot topics at the event was generative AI for marketers. By now, we’ve all heard how tools like ChatGPT can be used to create new content, such as blog posts, emails, and marketing materials. And we’ve all heard how this technology has the potential to revolutionize the way B2B marketers create and deliver content. But two sessions really brought this new reality to the fore. Mike Kaput from the Marketing AI Institute and Christopher Penn from Trust Insights gave in-depth presentations on the future of generative AI in B2B marketing, going so far as to provide laundry lists of innovative technologies that can streamline the production, editing, distribution and optimization of all types of content, including podcasts, blogs, other audio and video, and  emails. 

Another key trend featured front-and-center at the event was the importance of personalization. It seems we have come to a point where the intersection of traditional digital marketing, account-based marketing, and AI/analytics is finally enabling hyper-personalization along the customer journey in some new and exciting ways. The technology is finally at a “ready for prime time” moment. 

The event closed with a keynote delivered by myself and ANNUITAS CEO Adam Needles. We discussed our vision for transforming go-to-market via a Converged Growth lens. Converged Growth is a new approach to B2B marketing that combines traditional marketing with sales and customer success, orchestrating engagement across pre- and post-sale touchpoints. We spoke about how Converged Growth is the only way to achieve sustainable growth in today’s competitive marketplace, covering:

  • Converged Growth organizational design — bridging marketing, sales and customer success
  • Rationalizing system architecture and other technologies to enable the Customer Data Value Chain
  • Re-thinking GTM KPIs and accountability for a Converged Growth mindset

The response we received to our keynote was both positive and eye-opening. So many attendees were either grateful to see stronger talk around a “full journey” approach to the demand experience, as well as our admission that the legacy vision for sales and marketing alignment is unattainable. 

Not at the event?  Catch a recording of our keynote session here. You can also listen to Adam and Martin discuss the topic as part of the B2B Ignite podcast series here

During our keynote session at the Ignite event, we also  announced the release of the latest publication from ANNUITAS, the Chief Growth Officer’s Handbook: Transforming Go-to-market, Building a Growth Engine. 

The Chief Growth Officer’s Handbook is a comprehensive guide for any growth leader looking to establish themself as a Chief Growth Officer, or for executive teams looking to add the office of the CGO to their go-to-market strategy. The book covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • The role and responsibilities of a Chief Growth officer
  • A sample position description 
  • Actionable Converged Growth frameworks and strategies 
  • Technology stack analysis in a Converged Growth organization 

Want a copy for yourself? Register now to get a copy of the handbook delivered right to your inbox. 

Overall, the Ignite USA event was a well-produced event with a wealth of useful and illuminating content for B2B marketers. And judging by the enthusiasm of attendees, it is clear that B2B marketers are hungry for new ideas and insights. We are glad the B2B Marketing team is here to provide just that.

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