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On August 24 and 25, Toronto was the place to be for marketers as Uberflip, a software company specializing in content experience, held its debut conference, The Uberflip Experience. The two-day event featured some of the most prolific names in the marketing space and included keynotes from Jay Baer, president of digital marketing agency Convince and Convert, Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs, and Lee Odden, CEO of consulting services company TopRank Marketing.  

Here’s a recap of the conference’s top themes, along with tweets that capture the best takeaways.

1. Don’t force your product.

Kyle Lacy, VP of marketing at the venture capital firm OpenView Venture Partners, gave one of the most tweeted-about keynotes at the conference, claiming that “marketing is dead.” He argues that traditional forms of promotions are no longer as effective, and marketers must think about the experience they’re providing.

Lacy’s talk highlighted the need for content marketing to deliver thought leadership. Marketers need to create useful content for customers instead of simply pushing product.

The best customer stories and videos don’t just showcase the product—they focus on the people who use and benefit from the product.

2. Love your haters.

“Customer service is the new marketing,” says Baer. Much as he did in a Vision Critical webinar on how to minimize the impact of angry customers, Baer gave an electrifying, well-researched talk arguing that companies, more than ever, need to listen to customer complaints.

Baer says feedback from your company’s ‘haters’ is a good source of effective content. The issues raised by your customers can inspire your next blog posts, e-books, infographics and other types of content.

3. Think bigger, braver, bolder.

In her keynote, Ann Handley, founder of MarketingProfs, busted the myth that you need a big budget to create great content. “Engaging content is more about brains than budget,” she says.

Handley challenged content marketers in the room to tell more provocative stories and provide better experiences to their audience. To do so, you need to empathize with your buyers. Telling bolder stories starts with really knowing your customers.

4. Know your customers really, really well.

The importance of really understanding your target audience was a recurring theme at the event.

Baer’s keynote, for instance, reiterated the importance of listening to customers on all channels and responding accordingly. Hana Abaza, VP of marketing at Uberflip, also said that content marketers need to use martech tools like content discovery platform BuzzSumo to understand what type of content resonates with customers. Reaching out to customers and prospects (as well as to your internal teams) can help increase the relevance of your content.

5. Embrace data.

I had the pleasure of speaking at a panel session alongside Dan Levy, content director at Uberflip, and Charlie Liang, marketing director at Engagio. We discussed the role of content in the B2B customer journey.

The sales funnel was a hot topic in our session. Smart B2B marketers today know that you can’t force buyers down the funnel. Buyers have the power over their experience, and you can’t trick them into taking additional actions if they’re not ready.

But that doesn’t mean B2B marketers are completely hopeless. A data-driven funnel analysis can help identify where buyers are stuck in the funnel and how content can help progress them along.

Congrats to the Uberflip team for a stellar inaugural conference. To learn more about content experience, watch How to Use Customer Intelligence to Identify the Right Audience for Your B2B Content, a webinar featuring Uberflip’s Hana Abaza and our very own Nick Stein.

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