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BBN – Out of this world B2B Marketing

Carl Derks

Lucky me! I was chosen to visit the annual BBN Academy in 2017. About fifty sales and marketing experts from our agencies across the world gathered in one inspiring location. This time we met in a beautiful venue near Paris. It was good to see some familiar but also some new faces. With a total of more than 1,100 BBN marketing and sales colleagues it’s an honor to visit the Academy. It always is a mind blowing event.

Even though the Academy consists of four long days of hard work, there’s always time for some fun. The approach is strongly pragmatic. BBN agencies are united by strong principles and methodologies. BBN committed at an early stage to creating world-class, best practice B2B marketing processes and tools which have been adopted in all agency locations.These are developed with 30 years of experience, extensive research and worldwide knowledge. All BBN professionals embrace these processes and work with the same models and tools in their countries.

Think global – act local

But what always amazes me, is the fact that everyone has finetuned the tooling and processes to their country’s specific needs. We all work according the BBN Navigator from Strategy, to Creation, to Connection and finally Activation. Looking at Strategy, in some countries agencies primarily work with a brand identity map to work on the future identity of a brand and in other countries the planets and the moons tool is used to help reshaping a brand. At Referro both tools are used. And why not, after all they are available in the BBN toolkit. Depending on the customer we decide which one to use.

There’s also a wide range of competitor insight models at BBN, that are used by the agencies to do research. But again it differs per country and it is really stunning to see what impact that has on the outcome. During a Strategy process we gain insights on personas, plot journeys and investigate influencers. Who has impact on the buying decision and in what stage? Again BBN gives us all great models.

An actual case

During the Academy we were challenged to pitch as an international team before a BBN jury. In this case we were asked to help a nonprofit youth theatre in Houston named HITS theatre. We received a brand identity map, one persona, a SWOT analyzes, all existing communications and the names of the competitors.

As a team we plotted a brand positioning statement. And during those 4 days we did a lot of research on competitors, insights on the market and sectors and media possibilities. All teams came up with a creative brandconcept, a big long idea. Here you can see some ideas of what BBN teams can develop. I had to lead one of the teams, so I am curious if you can pick the winner? Just let me know your thoughts on the creations.

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Of course it doesn’t stop with Strategy and Creation. As a pitch team we also have to explain how to gain results, how to connect and how to activate. We have to make clear how and when we want to reach the correct persona, with the correct message and through which channels and with what assets we do that. Via the BBN methodology we help companies and bring to light business opportunities for driving revenue growth.

All BBN colleagues enjoy the Academy. To experience other cultures, other behaviors, different point of views on marketing and sharing customer ideas is always rewarding. We learn a lot from each other and we work intensively as a team. In the end this all really benefits my own customers. I can share my learnings with them and this helps in achieving better results.

Referro has a saying by Joe Chernov on one of our office walls:

“Good marketing makes your company look smart, great marketing makes the customer feel smart.”

Let’s go for great marketing together. Hope to speak to you soon.

Proud the be a BBN-er.


Carl Derks | Marketing Architect
+31 (0)13 523 27 24 | LinkedIn
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