Rapid changes are occurring in the business-to-business space, and one of the takeaways at this week’s BMA15 conference is how marketers can – rather, must – adapt.

The Chicago event by the Business Marketing Association, a division of the Association of National Advertisers, has brought together hundreds of companies from around the U.S. and countries from Japan to Saudi Arabia. The industries represented vary greatly, from transportation and publishing to health care and software solutions.

But there is one common thread for all attendees: Changes are afoot, thanks to two trends in the B2B space.

Technology, for one, is rapidly evolving and mobile is playing an increasingly important role in how B2B buyers make purchasing decisions. In fact, 42% of B2B searches on Google now happen through a mobile device, according to Google’s Jim Lecinski. And on LinkedIn – the primary B2B social network – half of unique visiting members are mobile visitors, added Russell Glass, head of products for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.…

(read more…)

People love to joke that robots are going to someday steal our jobs.

Don’t panic — nobody is being replaced just yet. You can put down your stapler.

But don’t relax, either. Because it’s time to revolutionize the way middle management utilizes Big Data.

The role of data collection and analysis commonly falls on the shoulders of middle managers. Given our increasing reliance on data, many business decisions are only made if they can be supported by data. This raises an interesting question: Do we still need middle management if Big Data is making all of their decisions for them?

My answer: Yes and no. Big Data should replace some traditional management positions and help to evolve the roles of the remaining ones.

For example, Tom Montgomery, co-CEO of clothing brand Chubbies, explained that traditional marketing events were developed by managers who thought about the “why” behind their companies’ events — and an associate would make the “how” work.…

(read more…)

This post is sponsored by TraceGains.

Everyone in an organization has a role in providing our customers superior quality products, says Alejandro Cebado, senior director of quality systems at Bimbo Bakeries USA.

Bimbo Bakeries USA has become the nation’s largest baking company through a series of acquisitions, and now operates more than 60 bakeries across the country. Cebado says working in that kind of environment has enabled him to learn and grow from the influence of the various corporate cultures that have been melded together.

“I have the privilege to lead the BBU Quality and Food Safety team in building, implementing and operating a comprehensive and effective quality system that will support BBU operations in delighting our consumers every day with safe and superior quality baking products,” said Cebado.

SmartBrief recently spoke with Cebado about his role at the company and his advice for young quality professionals.

What are the aspects of your position that you are most passionate about, and why?

(read more…)

leadershipI recently delivered a talk at an advancement conference on the topic of identifying and communicating a school’s unique qualities and mission. During the presentation, an issue emerged that sits at the forefront of the minds of many of the professionals who were in attendance.

I spoke of the need for advancement personnel — development, admissions, recruitment/retention, communications, marketing, etc. — to connect deeply and continually with academic leadership. Too often, the two offices operate as independent silos, with each group focused almost exclusively on their respective domains without much awareness or interest in what is occurring across the hallway or elsewhere on campus.

Part of this dynamic may come from each group’s familiarity and comfort level. Academic leaders are usually promoted from the classroom. They excel as instructors and instructional leaders and prefer to talk about pedagogy, to engage with teachers and students, and to deal with the kinds of tasks that are typically associated with school function — scheduling, supervision, curriculum, etc.…

(read more…)

It is nearly impossible to be taken seriously as a brand without establishing a social media presence. This holds true in the food and beverage arena — brands are expected to communicate and connect with their consumers online through social media in order to stay relevant. According to Razorfish, 64% of consumers have made a first purchase from a brand because of a digital experience, and more than half of consumers use the internet before making a purchase in shops.

One St. Helena, Calif.-based winery, Whitehall Lane, understands the value and necessity of doing social media effectively. Katie Leonardini, vice president of retail sales for Whitehall Lane, created social media pages in 2008 and saw immediate benefits in the way these accounts allowed the brand to connect directly with its audience. She decided social media was worth the effort, and began a working relationship with The Abbi Agency to manage Whitehall Lane’s social media content.…

(read more…)