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Inbound Marketing Goes Global

More than 15 excellent speakers gathered last week in Berlin to talk about European B2B marketing, sharing best practices, case studies and sage advice.  The event was among the richest I’ve had the pleasure to attend in some time and it revealed that all across the globe – some things are the same.  Because regardless of our heritage or language, we are all the same – we are humans.  We crave knowledge.  We make choices based on facts and emotions. We want to be spoken with not to. Netting it out, I realized that Inbound Marketing truly is globally relevant, because the way people research, interact and buy has changed the world over.

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Though Twitter and Facebook started in the US, they were just as popular at this conference as any North American event I have attended.  In fact, after a very fragmented beginning for social media in Europe, with geographical divergence in the popularity of varied platforms like Bebo, MySpace and ASmallWorld, Facebook is emerging as a leader across the continent .  With almost 100 million European users, Facebook is the number one social network #1 in the UK, ranks as the second most visited site in France, after Google , and is growing in Germany and further east .

I used Twitter as the basis for this post.  So much great content was tweeted and retweeted that this relatively small conference became a Global Trending Topic ! I have grouped some of the best tweets from the event in categories below.

Some of the topical takeaways that resonate regardless of where you practice marketing included:

Buyer Behavior is Changing, So is Marketing

  • “70% of the buying process of IT is completed before consulting the vendors”
  •  “buyers are in control in today's b2b digitally powered world”
  • “What are the most prevalent emotions in B2B buying? Panel says: Fear, doubt, pride “
  •  “Philips: “U don't need more leads. U need more TIME with QUALIFIED leads. This is Sales Enablement when Mktg and Sales work together””
  • “Philips: “from pushing your products to looking what your target audience needs. Inside out to outside in””

Email is Still Relevant & Adapting to Social

  • “learn from successful B2C emails from @ groupon @ woot - shorter 1 topic emails & with great open rates”
  • “Optimize your email: no more than 300 words and add a 'like' button”
  • SilverPop research: companies across the world get a “24% increase in reach by including social sharing links in emails”

Mobile Growth Means Changes for Your Marketing

  • “Google: “Half of all new internet connections are via a mobile device””
  • “Google @johngerosa: “If you do nothing else re: mobile readiness in B2B marketing - optimize sites for a great mobile experience!”
  • “Google: Consider tweaking your PPC campaigns - different for mobile vs. full screen experience to reduce CPC”

Social Media is Now a De Facto Channel

  • “Chris Brogan: “Listening is the new black””
  • ”Philips Healthcare- 4 effective social media, u've got 2 b where your customers r. u can't make them come to you.”
  • “Accenture: Our social media policy can be boiled down to ‘Don’t be stupid’”
  • “Kodak's chief listener & chief blogger roles give social media cred & engage 150+ employees to share in the conversation!”
  • “Kodak: Once you have started with social media you can't stop”
  • “Accenture: Blog is your Online HeadQuarters, and social media provide paths to connect to HQ”
  • “The @ dassaultsystems @ collabtribe campaign seamlessly spans Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email. Very solid!”
  • “Dassault Systems - Facebook ads are cheap and effective in B2B.”

Many thanks to the team @KGSglobal for putting the event chock full of amazing presenters together and to the avid tweeters who helped create this stream, including: @ chrisbrogan , @ GyroHSR , @ joel_b2beditor , @ jortpossel , @ madleen , @ rlevans , @vandenboomen, @wisequeen and certainly more that I apologize if I’ve forgotten.

The similarities in European marketing versus North American marketing weren’t limited to soundbites either.  During a workshop I led, participants broke into groups, picked a company and brainstormed persona and content strategy ideas.  They got as far as creating three different content offers for different parts of the sales funnel.  The common challenge they all faced was really defining that persona – it wasn’t a simple task, but was at the core of their content creation.  Once this persona was defined, the ideas for content flowed!  Many participants realized that they already had a lot of ideas in their minds or in existing materials and could easily repurpose them for lead generation.  Several left with actionable ideas that I look forward to seeing implemented online soon!

If you liked some of what you read, check out a few great summary posts from Jort Possel of Accenture and Peter O’Neill of Forrester , as well as a conference overview here .

At the end of the day, no matter where in the world you sit, marketing is undergoing a shift – and now is the time to take advantage of that shift – inbound marketing is already helping customers in Europe .  Do you think inbound marketing will work in your country or for your audience?  If not, why not?

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