Gain actionable insights to help you better understand what your customers truly need

Business-to-business (B2B) and marketing leaders recognize that understanding what the customer truly needs is key to accelerating revenues. But there are many obstacles that get in the way—lack of alignment between product management, marketing, and sales organizations; focusing customer conversations too heavily on your products; or not having an effective process for customer conversations. Also, there are natural biases that cause us to make wrong conclusions based on bad assumptions or misinterpreted customer feedback.

Based on the feedback of previous Summit attendees, our half-day event this year will focus on practical, proven strategies and insights designed to help you boost your customer knowledge and leverage it to accelerate revenues. In these sessions, you’ll learn:

  • The obstacles that get in the way of collecting and understanding your customer's true needs
  • The best practices and processes for conducting meaningful customer conversations (and the real risks of not doing it right)
  • How to help ensure your product development efforts aren’t wasted on products nobody wants
  • Why most B2B marketers don’t understand the role that emotion plays in their sales—and miss a valuable opportunity to better differentiate their products

Best yet, our sessions include a real-world case study presentation by Experian Data Quality providing valuable insights on how they were able to boost their customer conversations to better align their Marketing, Product Marketing, and Sales organizations on customer needs. The result helped Experian’s retail team achieve 157% of plan with 6 months to go in the year.


Waltham Woods Conference Center
Waltham, MA (just off Route 128)


Friday, January 25, 2019


8:30 a.m. to noon

2017 Summit Attendee
Overall Satisfaction Rating

4of5star rating


Comments from previous Summit attendees

Great session on being market-focused!
Very useful to look at the company in a different manner.
Great combination of content in a short period of time.
Helped me generate questions and refocus on how to get more customer-focused.
Great topics. Great case studies.
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Friday, January 25, 2019

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Registration
8:30 – 8:45 a.m. Introductions
Neil Baron, Managing Director, Baron Strategic Partners
8:45 – 9:30 a.m. Understanding What Customers Truly Need Starts by Talking to Them
Rich Nutinsky, Product Management Expert & Pragmatic Marketing Instructor
9:30 – 10:15 a.m. Case Study: Our Journey to Better Know Our Customers (and Boost Sales)
Sarah Herlihy, Product Marketing Director, Experian Data Quality
10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break
10:30 – 11:15 a.m. The Right Customer Conversations Can Accelerate Revenues
Neil Baron, Managing Director, Baron Strategic Partners
11:15 – Noon Leveraging Emotional Value to Better Differentiate Your Products and Boost Revenues
Rod Griffith, Chief Client Officer & Co-Founder, MarketReach, Inc.
Noon Wrap-up
Register Today

“Terrific content, delivered in a well-organized manner, would recommend it to any product management/marketing leader.”

Paul Pilotte
Dir. Product Management

Session Abstracts

Our Journey to Better Know Our Customers (and Boost Sales)—A Real-World Case Study

Sarah Herlihy, Product Marketing Director, Experian Data Quality

Do you know your customers as well as you think you do? Are you aligned across your product, marketing, and sales functions to speak to buyer needs and communicate how your organization is uniquely positioned to solve challenges for your clients?

At Experian Data Quality, we asked ourselves those hard questions, and found we didn't exactly like the answers. So we set out on the journey to better understand our clients' realities, in order to serve them better and generate more revenue. The result helped our retail team achieve 157% of the plan with six months to go in the year.

In this session, we will explain how we approached our retail vertical in a new way and describe the process we implemented to ensure internal alignment of our product, marketing, and sales organizations. We will discuss the results that we’ve seen to date—and share some of the valuable lessons we learned along the way. Additional insights and tips will be provided to help you assess whether this type of effort would benefit your organization.

Understanding What Customers Truly Need Starts by Talking to Them

Putting the NIHITO Principal to Work for More Meaningful Customer Knowledge

Rich Nutinsky, Product Management Expert & Pragmatic Marketing Instructor

Marketers tend to rely on their sales organization, industry analysts, and subject matter experts within their company to help them understand the market problems, obstacles, and fears that customers face. Fully understanding exactly what is driving buyer behavior is vital to developing the solutions that customers will buy—and marketing those solutions with impactful, differentiated messaging. Successful marketers recognize they won't truly learn anything about those customer problems and challenges while sitting at their desk, they need to get out and talk to customers. That's due to what we call the NIHITO Principle: "Nothing important happens in the office." But even seasoned marketers may not realize that there's specific processes behind the NIHITO Principle that can impact your ability to truly learn what you need customers to tell you. In this session, we will discuss the NIHITO Principle and provide some real-world proof points to help you understand how you can leverage this principle to better focus on the market problems your current and potential customers face.

The Right Customer Conversations Can Accelerate Revenues

Neil Baron, Managing Director, Baron Strategic Partners

A key to revenue growth is the ability to conduct external conversations that will enable vendors to understand what problems potential customers face. Without the market insights that these conversations provide, it is difficult to develop impactful messaging and positioning. Most product and marketing organizations find a variety of obstacles that prevent meaningful dialogue with customers. They often fail to get in front of the true decision makers. And in the rare occasion when they are talking to the right person, they miss the opportunity to collect meaningful insights by not asking the right questions or listening effectively.

World-class organizations know it is not enough to just instruct product and marketing teams to "go talk to customers." In this session, we will discuss best practices and a structured process for conducting these critical conversations. Attendees will gain insights that can be immediately applied the next time product or marketing people talk to customers.

Leveraging Emotional Value to Better Differentiate Your Products and Boost Revenues

Rod Griffith, Chief Client Officer & Co-Founder, MarketReach, Inc.

Marketers of complex products and solutions today rarely have the advantage of simple, easy-to-communicate differentiators they once did. The days when new technologies and innovations provided significant and highly apparent competitive advantage are gone. Most competing products today have strikingly similar features. It can thus often require significant customer time and attention to communicate the subtle, complex differences of your products. But most decision makers have less time and attention to offer these days. To overcome this dilemma, business-to-business marketers must look to other means to differentiate their offerings.

That's where emotion can help. There's a longstanding belief that personal emotion is rarely, if ever, a major factor in business-to-business buying decisions. Many marketing professionals believe that B2B buying decisions are based only on systematic, objective investigation, review, competitive evaluation, and analysis. But this "impersonal buyer" is a myth. And even when they do try to infuse emotion into their marketing, they often rely too heavily on fear—which can itself become an obstacle.

Recent studies tell us that personal emotions play a much larger role in business purchase decisions than had been thought. In this session, we'll show you how to identify the emotional value that your products offer—and then infuse those emotional values into your marketing to strengthen your differentiation, build more effective messaging, and accelerate revenues.

Speaker Bios

Sarah Herlihy
Product Marketing Director, Experian Data Quality

About the speaker:

As Product Marketing Director at Experian, Sarah Herlihy works closely with clients to maximize the value from their most important asset–data. By understanding her clients' needs and ever–changing market drivers, she helps define the market opportunity for Experian's data–management products. She works closely to coordinate go–to–market plans across multiple industries and ensure the right solutions are delivered to clients. Sarah has held a variety of roles in product, client services, and sales in her more than 15 years in the software industry. 

About Experian Data Quality:

Experian Data Quality enables organizations to unlock the power of data. We focus on the quality of our clients’ information, so they can explore meaningful ways to use it. Whether optimizing data for better customer experiences or preparing data for improved business intelligence, we empower our clients to manage their data with confidence.

We have the data, expertise, and proven technology to help our customers quickly turn information into insight. We're investing in new, innovative solutions to power opportunities for our people, clients, and communities.

Established in 1990 with offices throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific, we have thousands of clients worldwide in retail, finance, education, insurance, government, healthcare, and other sectors

Rich Nutinsky
Marketing Instructor, Pragmatic Marketing

About the speaker:

Rich Nutinsky has more than 25 years of experience in the software industry, including extensive experience in product management, product marketing, business process design and strategy development. As an individual contributor and leader, director and board member, Rich has worked in large global firms – such as D&B and MSA – and small startups, including Spring Lake Technologies where he was a founding partner and chief product officer. He also has an extensive background in consulting, working with senior-level executives at market-leading companies such as AT&T, IBM, Siemens, Coca-Cola and Microsoft, to improve their product strategy, product management and marketing processes. Prior to joining Pragmatic Marketing, Rich launched several successful software products using the Pragmatic Marketing Framework.

About Pragmatic Marketing:

Pragmatic Marketing is the leading authority on product management and marketing. We train technology companies around the world on how to build products people want to buy, and how to market them effectively. To find out how your company can join the growing international community of more than 100,000 product management and marketing professionals trained by Pragmatic Marketing, visit

Neil Baron
Managing Director, Baron Strategic Partners

About the speaker:

Neil Baron is an internationally recognized authority on selling and marketing complex products, services and solutions. He has served in a variety of senior marketing and management roles at companies such as IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation, Sybase, Art Technology Group, Brooks Automation and ATMI. An MBA from Harvard Business School with a graduate degree in chemical engineering from Tufts University, Neil served as an expert advisor to the HBS faculty in the new class commercializing science. He is an expert contributor to Fast Company and several other publications, focusing on product marketing and specializing in selling value to risk-averse industries.

About Baron Strategic Partners:

Baron Strategic Partners ( is a business management consulting firm and trusted business advisor that helps smart businesses significantly improve the success of their products and services with well-proven marketing and organizational approaches. Baron Strategic Partners enables companies from a range of industries to maximize the value they deliver to their customers, generate profitable new product and service revenue, reenergize aging products, thwart formidable competition to gain market share, and revitalize their financial health.

Rod Griffith
Chief Client Officer & Co-Founder, MarketReach, Inc.

About the speaker:

Rod Griffith is the Chief Client Officer and co-founder of MarketReach, Inc., a leading marketing services integrator specializing in technology markets. Rod brings more than 30 years of business-to-business marketing experience in IT, healthcare and industrial technology markets, and is an early pioneer in strategic alliance marketing. Prior to starting MarketReach in 1994, Rod spent more than 10 years developing and managing strategic partner marketing programs for companies such as Data General and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).

About MarketReach, Inc.:

Recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the U.S., MarketReach ( is the most experienced technology marketing services company in the U.S. with more than 20 years of experience helping pioneer new marketing approaches and implement integrated marketing initiatives for companies such as AT&T, EMC, Hitachi, HPE, Intel, Iron Mountain, Oracle, VMware and many others. MarketReach is headquartered in Nashua, NH with additional staff in Arizona and California.

About the Marketing Leadership Summit

The Marketing Leadership Summit is a series of executive seminars designed to help marketing and business leaders understand, discuss and implement new approaches, methodologies and tools designed to boost the long-term success of their strategic and tactical marketing efforts.


Please fill out the registration form below.
Registration fee: $149 (seating is strictly limited)

This Summit event is designed exclusively for qualified marketing and business executives. Your information is strictly for the use of the event organizers and will not be otherwise shared or published.

Cancellation Policy
You must notify us by Friday, December 14, 2018 to cancel your registration to receive a full refund. Otherwise a 50% refund will be provided if cancellation is received before Friday, January 4, 2019. No refunds are available after that date.


Thank you for registering for the Strategic Marketing Summit on January 25, 2019 at the Conference Center at Waltham Woods.

Contact Us

If you need additional information or have questions regarding the event please send an email to: Sue Yarger

“As the head of a product management team, I seek good insights to better focus my team on our customer needs. The Strategic Marketing Leadership Summit offered concrete, practical ideas we could implement at PAREXEL. It is a great opportunity to hear what worked in real-life case studies.”

Anne Pelz
Sr. Dir., Product Management