logo-bma15I just got my media credentials for the Business Marketing Association’s BMA15 B2B conference, slated for May 27-29 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, and I couldn’t be more excited. I guest-blogged at BMA14 and was amazed at how much I got out of the experience by simply by doing one thing:

Listening.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Turn off your mind and let the knowledge soak in. Then apply copiously when you return to the office.

But it isn’t that easy. Consider our day-to-day work, where there are real, often immovable deadlines to meet, and customers, clients, etc. that aren’t always easily placated. We also exist in the digital world where emails, texts and yes, even calls, are a constant intrusion no matter where you are.

It seems that the sponsors of BMA15 want us to get to our zen place (which appeals to my sense of mindfulness), and I encourage you to make that your event strategy. Why?

I’m reading Madan Birla’s book Unleashing Creativity and Innovation, and he talks about the creative tension being the gap between where we are and where we want to be. “An overly stressed mind is not in creative mode,” Birla says. “When under stress the neurons take the path of least resistance: the known pathways. … An overly stressed mind says, ‘Don’t talk to me about the future. Let me get through today.'”

This is where BMA15 strategy comes in. The wide array of B2B sessions forces your mind to slow down, pay attention, take in information and work out new ways to solve marketing problems. I often said during BMA14, “Yeah, I can see where that would work” or “Wow, that makes total sense.” I filled a legal pad full of notes that doubled as source material for the posts I wrote last year.

And I had fun as well, connecting with old agency colleagues at Bader Rutter and CBD Marketing, and networking with new friends. I even got the chance to interview Jeffrey Hayzlett and David Meerman Scott, two guys I professionally look up to.

BMA14 was totally worth it. I learned because I listened.

Ergo, the call to action for BMA15 is simple.

Be there, both physically and mentally.

Let’s discuss: Take time to scan event agenda and tell me what sessions you’re planning to attend – and make a case for me to guest-blog there.

Image credit to Business Marketing Association BMA15

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jh5rw5urjf7rxrwdlmujGizmodo reported this week that it looks like Google+ is going to be split into two services, called Photos and Streams.

So does that mean G+ is dead? Maybe not yet, the Gizmodo piece said, but “it does suggest that Google is moving away from the pure Plus branding, which suggests an overhaul may be not too far off.”

Here’s the problem with G+: It doesn’t lack innovation; Hangouts proved that. No, it lacks expectation, one of the cornerstones of a strong brand, including (and especially) B2B.

I go to Facebook, and I expect – and receive, I might add – a good user experience, not only from the interface itself, but from my personal community.

I go to LinkedIn and I expect that it will position me positively among my professional connections, not only through the content I post but the interface; again, I am satisfied.

Twitter is a hybrid for me – I have a business/professional feed and a sports/personal feed and I expect that I will always find content that will help me build my knowledge. No issues there; Twitter is my favorite social media platform.

But I never felt any strong expectation with G+. Indeed, after awhile it was just another platform to manage that was too much like Facebook. It never fit a niche for me, and eventually permanently fell to the wayside.

Chris Brogan and I exchanged tweets this week about the Gizmodo article and G+, and he shared his own blog post. He’s of the belief that G+ isn’t a social network as much as it is a hub (or a backplane, as he calls it) for all Google has to offer.

Maybe. But for me, and I’ll wager most people, Google+ is ghost town and will eventually fade away. The question is whether anyone will even notice.

The moral for B2B brands, both online and offline, is to create great expectations so people will want to come back.

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Book Review: Being Tuned In Focuses Your Brand on the Buyer’s Problem

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It’s rare these days that a book will stop me cold and challenge me to critically assess what I do every day. But that’s exactly what happened when I read Tuned In by Craig Stull, Phil Myers and David Meerman Scott. Tuned In’s premise is simple: It’s the buyer‘s problem that matters. Are you and […]

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From time to time I wonder if social media is burning out as a communications channel. I thought that again this week when I read a story in WSJ titled, Paid ‘Influencers’ Undercut Ads on Pinterest. The story noted that some brands are investing in Pinterest, not in advertising, but in paying the channel’s influencers […]

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I love media relations. Hands down, it’s my favorite part of my job. See, I come from a journalism background, not pure PR, so I’ve got perhaps a little different approach toward media relations than colleagues of mine. Having been a journalist, I know what I would look for in a story topic that a […]

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What Does Change Mean for B2B Brands?

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Seth Godin has been blogging about the concept of change a lot lately, including this gem from a couple of days ago, which got me to thinking. What exactly is change for B2B brands? To me, it’s the inevitability of movement from one state to the next. That, of course, could be a desired state, […]

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Take a Cue from Uber: B2B Brands Should Never Go ‘Off the Record’

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Ragan.com had a piece this week that dove into the complicated waters of going “off the record” during a media interview. This is timely, of course, because of the unfortunate comments made by an Uber executive that he thought was off the record. This person basically said he would be for hiring researchers to target […]

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Twitter’s Struggle to Define its Vision a Cautionary Tale for B2B Brands

November 10, 2014

Friday’s story in the Wall Street Journal about Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s struggle to define the vision of the social media network is a cautionary tale for organizations of all sizes, including (and perhaps especially) of B2B companies. The story notes that, “Amid staff changes, Mr. Costolo has vacillated in defining Twitter, confusing investors betting […]

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Where Does Wearable Technology Fit for B2B Brands?

October 24, 2014

I have friends who work in IT that swear the next big thing is wearable technology, and the statistics seem to bear that out – the market is supposed to be anywhere from $5.8 billion to as much as $12 billion by 2018. Of course, we’ve seen Google Glass for a couple of years now, […]

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