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The 10 Most Fascinating People in B2B Marketing in 2020

B2B marketing quickly adapted to the challenges of the global pandemic, thanks to the many talented people who have chosen business markets as their professional focus. I am pleased to introduce ten standouts here. This is my sixth annual list (see 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015). We are lucky to have all these skilled B2B marketers in our camp. 

Gary Skidmore reinvented Aberdeen into a data-driven content marketing powerhouse and sold it to Spiceworks Ziff Davis just last month. I take pleasure in noting how the deal takes Gary full circle, as he started the business by buying the Computer Intelligence database from Ziff 22 years ago. Wishing Gary well as he moves out of an operating role and into teaching and writing.

I’ve known Shellye Archambeau since my IBM days, and follow her career with interest. This year she published a terrific new book, Unapologetically Ambitious, which was just named one of Fortune’s ten best business books of 2020. Woo hoo! 

Andy Hoar, former Forrester analyst, saw a hole in the B2B events marketplace and co-founded B2BNext, a lively conference dedicated to B2B eCommerce.  If you haven’t attended before, you can find the free Takeaways report on key topics discussed at the 2019 conference, and several articles from the 2020 virtual conference published by their partner DigitalCommerce360

Cyndi Greenglass, SVP of Diamond Marketing Solutions, the Chicago-based B2B data-driven marketing agency, decided some years ago to take up college teaching and share her knowledge and experience with the next generation. To get the post-grad credential required, she enrolled at West Virginia University’s online master’s degree program in integrated marketing, and immediately on graduation joined the faculty and helped develop a new program in data-driven marketing communications. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2018.

Koen de Witte, founder of LeadFabric, the Antwerp-based demand gen agency, is one of the best-informed B2B marketing technologists around.  LeadFabric helps companies across EMEA upgrade their marketing stacks. Koen thinks the big news in B2B for 2021 will be “sales engagement” technologies like Drift, to ease the load carried by SDRs.   

E.B. Moss, marketing executive in the media world, was an early adopter and advocate of podcasting as a driver of B2B revenue. She runs a successful podcast outsourcing service for media brands and was recently named editor-in-chief of the new marketing publication The Continuum.

Of all fascinating B2B marketers this year, Franki Chamaki takes the cake.  Or the soda bottle. His Sydney-based firm Hivery, developed inside a Coca-Cola startup incubator, helps vending machine companies optimize their locations and assortments using AI to analyze sales patterns. Just think of the merchandising possibilities when you know the exact sales history of products by their placement on the shelf or in the machine. Brilliant. 

Mark Dancer reminded me this year of the importance of distribution channel strategy in B2B marketing— a key element of the marketing mix often viewed as mere logistics, or neglected altogether. Among other activities, he runs a think tank for the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors. You can find plenty of wisdom in his Network for Business Information website. 

Wayne Cerullo, founder of B2PPartners, a B2B advisory firm in the Bay Area, is a longtime friend. This year he faced down the pandemic by launching a private group called Marketers at Home Getting Coffee, where a gaggle of B2B marketers meet weekly for solace, laughs and deep conversation about business and life— 40 sessions so far. Thanks, Wayne, and collaborators Dennis Flynn and Scott Hornstein, for the much-needed camaraderie.

Joanne Persico, a former CMP executive, created a B2B marketing and data platform called ONEcount, which allows businesses to, in effect, outsource their customer files and the technology needed to support omnichannel outbound and inbound contacts and attribution. A nifty CDP/DMP solution of especial interest to B2B publishers. Coincidentally, Joanne also manages a weekly meet-up called Bold Minds, for women in B2B media, just completing its 36th session. See? More B2B marketers making lemonade out of the lemons of 2020.

A tough year in B2B marketing, to be sure. Let’s hope for a happier 2021! 

Ruth Stevens

Ruth Stevens advises clients on customer acquisition and retention. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the business accelerator in New York City. Ruth is an author and contributor to many notable business publications. Her books include B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results and Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, Trade Show and Event Marketing, and co-author of the white paper series “B-to-B Database Marketing.” Ruth is a sought-after speaker and trainer, and has presented to audiences and business schools in Asia, Australia, and Latin America. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff Davis, and IBM.

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  1. Cam

    This is an outstanding list, Ruth. Our company was built for B2B attribution marketing and has big plans for helping existing and new B2B customers in 2021. Related blog:

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