The Direct Marketing Association's annual convention and expo, DMA 2011—which runs through Wednesday at the Boston Convention Center—adds a new segment in this year's programming: a dedicated track of sessions specific to b2b marketing.
The new B-to-B Symposium, sponsored by BtoB and running
today through Tuesday, offers sessions dedicated to b2b marketing initiatives, trends and case studies. The symposium sessions will be moderated by IBM Corp.'s Marketing Optimization Manager Pam Evans, a member of the conference's advisory committee and DMA's B2B Council.
“In years past, we held a specific b2b conference annually but, as the economy retrenched, it became more challenging for people to attend,” Evans said. “This symposium is a result of a push from the ranks. It's meant to be a conference within a conference, addressing the unique needs of b2b marketers.”
B-to-B Symposium sessions include:
Also, DMA's B2B Council breakfast meeting will be held Tuesday at 8:45 a.m. In addition to addressing specific b2b marketing needs, the council will present its b2b marketer of the year award to Cindy Humphrey, VP-product and marketing at telecommunications company CenturyLink Business.
“Pam Evans was adamant that we needed to double-down on providing education specific to b2b at the national show,” said Paul McDonnough, DMA's group show director. “Within the reams of tracks we have at the show, there are sessions that address b2b issues, but there is a population that has demanded more.”
BtoB Publisher Bob Felsenthal said the special symposium at this year's DMA conference offers a means for b2b marketing to achieve a measure of attention it might not ordinarily get at such a large show.
“While there are always similarities between consumer- and business-oriented marketing, b2b marketers grapple daily with specific database challenges, long sales cycles, dealing with multiple decision-makers and the inexorable shift to digital channels,” Felsenthal said.
“We felt that by sponsoring this symposium, we can provide a closer examination of those needs, along with a powerful overview of trends and case studies,” he said.
While DMA does label some of its sessions as containing b2b content, they are sparse. Out of the 100 sessions in the main block of educational offerings, only five are labeled with a “B2B Focus” icon as being most appropriate for b2b marketers.
Other sessions, such as email, direct mail, search and social marketing, may contain topics of b2b interest as well.