Here’s what happened at B2BMX 2024

Every year, B2B marketers gather in Scottsdale, Ariz., to mingle and talk shop. This year, they talked a lot about AI.

The B2B Marketing Exchange (B2BMX) conference takes place annually in late February or early March at The Phoenician hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz. I was in attendance, along with a good 250 to 300 marketers. It was my first event since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Toss in representatives from about 75 vendors and the event was thick with pitches, presentations and promotions.

My goal for the three-day event was to check out and learn more about new technologies from the sponsors and gain insight into the top issues that practitioners are wrestling with day-to-day. 

Here are my takeaways. 

The major themes of B2BMX 2024

Artificial intelligence was everywhere

AI was everywhere — the vendors in the exhibit areas, the presentations and in conversation. That said, I didn’t really see anything that knocked my socks off. A bunch of generative AI content tools were on the vendor floor and featured in presentations, but nothing that was game changing. 

Vendor consolidation

Vendor consolidation was not necessarily an official event theme, but martech consolidation was a definite vibe. From what I heard from vendors and marketers, the day of reckoning is upon us. Marketers are drilling into ROI, contract terms, spend and functionality.  Ironically, Scott Brinker’s Chiefmartec newsletter came out during the event and announced that SaaS martech stacks shrunk 8% from 2023 to 2024. I expect that number to be much higher next year. 

My favorite sessions


Dan Gingiss, author of “The Experience Maker,” presented a lively and entertaining discussion of his WISE framework for creating notable customer experiences. Here’s the key point from his presentation: If something is expected or “normal” do the opposite. But to do that, you have to make time for it. Too many people are just going through the motions. To create truly memorable experiences, you have to take the time to think about it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as how you respond to a customer on the phone. In fact, one of his examples was hold music. 

Favorite workshop session

My favorite workshop was called “From Strategy to Tech Stack.” I actually never got to see the presentation — they couldn’t get the projector to work. So it became a “fireside chat” with Megan Crone from Palo Alto Networks and Amy Holtzman from CHEQ. The topic centered around cybersecurity for marketers, specifically protecting pay-per-click campaigns from bots. We’ve long known that bots are a nuisance on blogs, etc., but AI bots have become much more sophisticated in evading standard bot protection mechanism like CAPTCHA. 

Most interesting vendors

  • Writer. Writer is probably the best LLM (generative AI content) provider of the bunch with an impressive client list to boot. The template-driven approach was smart and well thought out. 
  • CHEQ. CHEQ is the vendor I didn’t know I needed. It’s ugly out there, and getting more dangerous every month. This is the tool you need to protect your marketing investments. 
  • The B2BMX event app. To me, the most impressive technology I experienced was the event app itself. The app allows you to customize your agenda, reach out and connect with others, download the presentations, track your points for visiting with vendors and apply the points you earned to SWAG. 

Best vendor SWAG

Speaking of SWAG…

I don’t know if it was the “best,” but I will say it was the most usual giveaway I’ve seen at an event: an eye mask. But here’s the funny thing, there is no company branding on it so I don’t remember the vendor. A stand out giveaway with no branding… hello, marketing?! 

Final word

B2BMX is an event for practitioners: managers, senior managers and director level attendees. I was surprised that many of the sessions didn’t reveal new insights (particularly relating to ABM) despite the fact that I hadn’t been to a conference in nearly five years. 

It left me with the impression that we are still chasing the shining new technology instead of performance improvement. As an example, the sessions with the highest attendance (from what I observed) all had AI somewhere in the title or description. 

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About the author

Scott Gillum


Scott is the Founder and CEO of Carbon Design. Prior to founding Carbon Design, he was the President of the Washington, DC office for Merkle (a Dentsu agency), the world’s largest B2B agency.

His career follows the pipeline. Starting at the bottom closing deals as a sales rep. Then as a management consultant after graduate school, helping clients build sales and marketing channels. Advertising broadened his knowledge and experience in building brands and creating awareness.

Along the way, he’s been the head of marketing for an Inc. 500 company, and an interim CMO for a Fortune 500 company. Today, Scott helps clients improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts up and down the funnel. From transitioning to digital to finding new ways to communicate, connect, and motivate audiences.

Scott has been a member of the Gartner for Marketing Leaders Council and he writes a monthly column for several publications on business marketing.  In the past, he has been a regular contributor to publications such as Forbes, Fortune, Adage, the Huffington Post and he has contributed to various books on marketing. Additionally, his work on sales and marketing integration was made into a Harvard Business School Case Study and is taught at leading business schools across the nation.