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B2B Online 2022 – Recap & Highlights


B2B Online is the world’s leading eCommerce & digital marketing conference for manufacturers & distributors. It is an event targeted at B2B leaders from across the industry where they share the most disruptive digital, eCommerce, and omnichannel content. It happened on the 11th and 12th of April in Chicago at Chicago Marriott Downtown. 

B2B Online has helped companies develop and implement world-class marketing programs for almost ten years through interactive workshops, innovative keynotes, and intimate networking sessions. This year more than 500+ manufacturing and distribution executives came together to share their strategies to thrive in the new normal. Deep-dive panels, fireside chats, and interactive sessions helped businesses benchmark their current plan. This is where visionary voices get together to talk about innovation and agility in the B2B space.

McFadyen Digital had a booth at the show and was represented by Lee Riesterer, Chief Digital Officer, and Jeremy Blanford, Director of Sales. It was an excellent opportunity to connect with the partners and talk about McFadyen’s marketplace-focused service offerings.

Featured Keynote Sessions

While the two-day show had a wide array of topics covered by world renowned experts, we will just be focusing on few of them due to constraints of time and scope. Here are some of the most notable ones.

  1. Sir Boris LokschinCEO Spryker delivered a keynote session focusing on Composable Commerce, future-proofing business, and accelerating growth. This was a fantastic session covering the makings of modern enterprise architecture, digital best practices, and the building of MVP for a modern enterprise. It also talked about the approach needed to thrive in the digital era, which is the approach of digital mindset, innovation, and collaboration. The session then touched upon modern B2B KPIs that support innovation and speed. Some modern B2B enterprise KPIs discussed were market share for digital offering, customer experience, and attracting and retaining top-class digital talent. Lastly, it covered the strategy bit, which covered evolution in the B2B space, integrated customer journeys, and commerce of things. Overall, this was a highly informative session that laid down a roadmap for B2B enterprises wanting to create a future-proof business. Spryker had a few other sessions apart from the keynote that covered topics like “Technology Enabled Growth”, “Taking Hold of A Robust Marketplace Strategy to Grow Your Business”, “Manufacturers & Distributors, Creating A Seamless B2B Operation”, and “How to Identify and Apply 1st Party Marketplace Strategies In B2B To Fuel Business Growth”. Spryker enables transactional business models – beyond e-commerce, retail & desktop.

  2. Scott Monique ElliottSVP Global Marketing, Industrial Automation at Schneider Electric, presented “Taking a Stand as a Brand: Thought Leadership and Your Global Brand.” It has become increasingly crucial for marketers to assess how their brand and company values align around topics from sustainability to social injustices. In the new normal, it’s become critical for brands to develop meaningful thought leadership. Monique’s session handled this topic head-on with insights on how to be a thought leader on topics that customers care about, determining which positions you want your brand to be known for, and understanding when to “stay in your lane” within your industry segment.

  3. Sheila JordanChief Digital Technology Officer at Honeywell, spoke about Honeywell’s Approach to Digital Transformation. Sheila, in her session, gave an in-depth download about Honeywell’s journey to meaningful and impactful digital strategies, some of which had a lasting impact. This involved realigning business structure to enable digital transformation and the development of an end-to-end data-driven process to enhance customer experience. She also covered the topic of the most in-demand skills that will allow digital transformation. It was a very well-received session of the event as it addressed a critical challenge B2B enterprises are facing when trying to scale the business.

  4. Antonio EspinozaHead of Digital Marketing & eCommerce NA, Philips, covered a session called “Evolving Your Go-to-Market, with eCommerce to Drive Growth.” Antonio heads the company’s strategy, planning, and execution of digital programs for Philips Health. This session gave a comprehensive view of his team’s processes to take Philips’ B2B business online commerce via store and EDI. He emphasized the effective collaboration required at the global and local levels to undertake the mammoth transformation process. Having a lean management methodology was critical for sustained growth, as was an eCommerce engine to partner with sales teams while also enabling a direct customer experience. A great session that spoke to the changing dynamics of the B2B business in the face of pandemics and the pressures of going digital.

Key Themes & Takeaways from the Show

Here are some key takeaways from the show that we came back with. 

Talent Retention & Org Staffing for B2B enterprises was widely discussed across the board. Many of the newer organizations and start-ups often grapple with the problem of finding and retaining the right talent. This was addressed through many of the sessions by B2B leaders. The show this year was more about people than was about processes and technologies. So both ends of the business were discussed at length, that is, new business models and channels at one end and how to onboard and retain the right talent.

Customer Experience Management – The experience B2B buyers and decision-makers get as they interact with B2B goods and services providers is turning out to be a crucial piece for success. Many of the millennials are now entering into the roles of B2B buyers, and they expect an Amazon-like experience for their B2B purchase journey. That means B2B clients increasingly want the same transactional ease provided for B2C consumers, like total price transparency, ease of order configuration, more payment options, and a shorter purchase cycle. A recent LinkedIn survey has found that social media significantly influences three-quarters of B2B buyers. A whopping 84% of the senior executives use social media to better support purchase decisions.

Personalization – This was one of the pronounced themes at the show. Personalization in B2B marketing involves getting to know your customers, clients, and prospects on a deeper level to deliver highly targeted messaging and solutions at every point of interaction. Personalization has become a passe now; what we now hear more and more about is hyper-personalization. This takes things further by personalizing each customer touchpoint. Some of its uses are across email, videos, and remarketing.

Onsite Events to Connect & Learn

While there were great sessions through the 2-days event, there were plenty of opportunities outside the session room to spark conversations and enhance relationships. 

B2B Carnival offered delicious fare and entertainment at the expo. 

There was Beer Bucket Roundtables that provided the opportunity for the attendees to relax with a frosty beer at the end of the day, a fun environment to catch up with manufacturers and distributors for great advice and tech recommendations. 

Campfires was where you could hear e-commerce leaders share one success and one learning opportunity—a perfect spot to share and learn.

Expo was a one-stop shop where one could scout for current and future technologies related to B2B commerce and digital transformation. Here one could see product demos, discover new solutions or just grab refreshments and meet with peers.

For those wanting to unwind after a jam-packed day, the after-event jam at House of Blues provided the ultimate night out experience in Chicago.

Women in B2B was a special event full of fun and reflection on women paving the way for B2B business success.

There is a reason why this has become the most important conference in the B2B industry. It was yet another great edition of B2B online for everyone to connect, learn, and stay ahead of the curve. The quality of sessions and breadth of the topic were unparalleled; a stellar program built for B2B with laser-focused insights. We can’t wait for the 2023 edition in the windy city. For more information on next years event visit B2B Online.

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