Business Development / March 13, 2020
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I was very fortunate to have received the SMPS Boston scholarship to attend the 2019 Pinnacle Experience on November 13th to the 15th in Denver, Colorado. The three-day program was exactly as it was described: a thought- provoking event providing executive marketers a platform “to discuss fresh ideas, exchange unique perspectives, and share inspiring successes.”
I arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel mid-morning (Boston lunch time) which allowed me to explore downtown Denver for a few hours while waiting for my room to be available. Within walking distance was the famous 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian strip lined with gift shops, street food vendors, and al fresco bars and restaurants. I took the opportunity to relax a bit before the program got under way.
We eased into things on Wednesday night with an opening reception. It was a great opportunity in getting to make some new acquaintances and reconnect with a few familiar faces. We shared travel stories, business backgrounds and our accounts on our unique paths to SMPS and the experiences behind it all. With a packed schedule facing us on Thursday, most of us made an early night of it and bade our goodnights.
As promised, the next two days were filled with a line-up of dynamic presenters that offered perspectives on resiliency, strategic planning, technology and other A/E/C trends designed to advance business practices. I filled almost an entire notebook with my notes-but don’t worry-my brief highlights and biggest take-aways below will spare you the minute details!
2019 Pinnacle Highlights:
Carla Johnson, The Evolution & Awakening of the Modern CMO
Through a fun and interactive exercise, Carla made us aware of how, as we get older, not only does our creative capacity diminish due to narrow thinking, but that we also inhibit creative communication with those that don’t “think like us.” If we learn to recognize and accept the strength in others, we build trust and become aligned, turning ordinary people into extraordinary people.
Blair Enns, Pricing Creativity: Profit Beyond the Billable Hour
Blair brought a unique approach on how to approach pricing. His premise is that all value is subjective and that if you price the client and not the job you can strip out the values that you think the client wants and focus on their actual needs. He offers that as a service provider you should control the context via the “Value Conversation” by asking the client: 1. What do you want? 2. What will you measure? 3. What’s it worth to you? (risk) 4. What would you pay for this?
Kabri Lehrman-Schmid & Ciara Seger, The Business of Diversity & Inclusion
Everyone in the room agrees that the most diverse workforce offers the highest level of creativity and range of best business perspectives that lead to success. But how do you get there? Kabri and Ciara suggested that you can begin by offering unconscienced bias training, change where you recruit, establish a brand (statement inviting diversity) and using inclusive language.
Deborah Knupp, You’re Not Selling! Re-imagining Your Client Experience Strategy
According to Deborah there are three philosophies in sales fundamentals that will turn your business fans into superfans that include: 1. Authentic relationship building. 2. Knowing what your client is trying to achieve (not need). 3. How you execute with sincerity. The client journey is about suspending self-interest, investing in the relationship through invitations, introductions and information and managing expectations by asking for protocol preferences. The difference is a satisfied client verse a loyal client.
Lea Stendahl, Engage & Inspire Through Branded Experiences
As the new VP and CMO of Suffolk Construction, Leah’s message reinforced the value of a strong brand. She reasons that a strong brand creates more motives to choose beyond price and schedule and gives partners more cause to talk about you. She also shared that the Commercial Construction Industry is an industry waiting to be disrupted through the paradigm of technology and making human connections. By using next-gen content, the industry can come to life through contemporary experiences.
Greg Kihlstrom, An Agile Approach to B2B Branding & Marketing
Stay nimble. Be authentic. Greg’s platform summed up the three day experience by reiterating the value of continual improvement and the benefits of the long-term client over short-term sales.
Tanya Mas, Being Human in the Age of Technology Disruption
Building meaningful connections was a common thread with many of the presenters. Tanya shared that is this era of digital transformation it is critical to balance automation by scaling personalization. Leading with emotion inspires action, purpose and intention shows appreciation and customer advocacy makes it immersive.
As you can tell my brain was straining by Friday, but I walked away with invaluable information, advice and business connections impossible to get anywhere else in such a short time span. Thank you to the SMPS HQ team that pulled Pinnacle together-I can’t wait to go back!