“A lot of people come from different backgrounds, but all found something in marketing to grasp on to…and they all bring that breadth of knowledge, to the table, that can completely change the way we do marketing.”
Rob Zaleski from MarketingProfs and Jeff sat down this past week in Austin, Texas to discuss the world of Marketing and upcoming events that allow all these diverse individuals to connect and share that breadth of knowledge with one another.
Like many of our fellow marketers, Rob did not come from a marketing background. His degree was in Media Studies, from the University of Illinois, where the main focus was on how media affects human culture, and how our messages shape consumer behavior. So while this wasn’t marketing out-right it did provide an easy Segway into it. After working in Direct Marketing for a while Rob moved to Austin where he joined a social media startup and was given the opportunity to be the content marketing manager.
From here he did what we all have done, expanded his network. But his story has a fun twist. After connecting with Mark Schaefer (Director, Keynote Speaker, and Adjunct Marketing Professor) on social media and interacting with his blog posts, Rob entered a contest to win Mark’s book about blogging. After the exchange of several messages Rob attended the South to Southwest event to hear Mark speak and ran into MarketingProfs’ resident podcast expert, Kerry O’Shea Gorgone. He spent the remainder of the conference with her and other MarketingProfs staff at this event and another; so when a position became available Kerry reached out. For Rob the moral of this story is that he wasn’t nudging his network with a “hey, can you get me a job” it was a genuine connection and shared interest.
Having this honest networking experience inspired Rob to help MarketingProfs provide that same kind of environment for the attendees at this year’s B2B Marketing Forum. One of the main themes this year was coined by Ann Handley, “Build Your Squad”. The focus is to foster an open environment where marketers can find other people who get their struggles, and geek out about the same topics.
There’s something for every level and every stage of marketer! There are events outside of lectures and seminars that promote honest connections and shared experiences; a morning run, a yoga class, and a photography walk. Last year Rob took advantage of the morning run and ended up breathlessly chatting with Jim Beretta, of Customer Attraction, the whole time. Not only that, but the people in the expo hall are experts in their fields and are there to offer their expertise and advice, not to give sales pitches. The environment is truly focused on meeting everyone where they’re at and helping have real, meaty conversations about what’s bugging marketers now. And if a morning run or yoga isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of after dark events available as well (including a 10-year celebration).
Jeff shared his own experience with applying to speak at the Forum; he had submitted his information and got an email back that Ann had changed his title to a “How-To” and asked him to reformat the presentation into a 20-minute lecture with the rest being a hands-on lab. Of course Jeff was all over that! Labs allow for attendees to have a tangible experience and not just hear these pie in the sky ideas. Jeff explains it this way: It’s like walking into a store and the salesperson handing you a leather bag. They don’t care as much about the bag as they do getting you into the store and having you hold a product. Once you hold it you start to feel ownership and you don’t want to give it back. It’s the same with the hands-on labs, it lets everyone walk away with the “I got this! This is mine now!” feeling.
So whether you’re just starting in marketing, or you’re the CMO, Rob encourages everyone to attend the B2B Forum October 18th through the 21st. He also informed us that there is an offer for $200 off the registration price now through August 31st. Click here to register to attend.