This month we travelled to Boston Massachusetts for the annual Inbound 2015 Conference. The convention centre welcomed more than 14,000 business owners, marketing professionals and Inbound experts who shared practical, actionable tips with each other and discussed the future of Inbound marketing.
We are constantly looking for ways to further our Inbound knowledge and found the sessions both inspiring and incredibly practical (which you don't often find at a conference!). We learnt a wealth of actionable tips and strategies that we feel every marketer should not only hear, but implement today. We've compiled some of the best bits that every marketer should know below:
Seth Godin opened the event and reiterated that customer psychology is at the heart of inbound. He gave us a memorable key takeaway - "People like me do things like this". A powerful tool to use in your marketing message that people tend to do things they believe people like them should be doing.
Brene Brown surprised us with an engaging and informative keynote following on from her infamous TED Talk on the power of vulnerability.
Acknowledging vulnerability in marketing can enable us to challenge the 'conspiracies and confabulations' we (and our customers) create internally. She discussed how recognising emotion will empower us to create better content that that ultimately connects.
Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah once again kicked off the week with exciting announcements about the Hubspot platform.
We were particularly excited about the Ads Add-On - a new tool that allows users to purchase, amplify and track paid ads within HubSpot. Managing paid ads can be complicated, especially for our clients - we are delighted to hear that the integrated reporting dashboard will make measuring ROI and tracking conversion extremely clear and much more efficient.
One log in for all your paid search needs...
The week drew to a close with an energising keynote from Daniel Pink. He reminded us that the old sales playbook is dead, and that the buyer now holds the power, information and knowledge about a purchase.
A poll revealed the first words that came to the minds of buyers when thinking about salesman!
As Inbound marketers, business owners and sales people we need to recognise that our potential customers are well educated and completely aware of their options - let's not forget that 57% of the sales cycle is complete before a prospect reaches out to a sales rep.
But it wasn't all about the big keynotes. Each day was packed with informative sessions covering everything from content strategy and analytics to agency growth and internationalisation.
Tamsen Webster - The Content Marketing Blueprint
We were blown away by Tamsen Webster's direct and actionable session on content creation. Reminding us that belief is preceded by knowledge, we learnt that crafting engaging content starts by asking yourself the questions your potential customer may already have in their head.
If you can quickly answer these in an engaging way you will receive greater value from your message, promoting greater action.
She provided a blueprint which puts the right content, in the right sequence with the right engagement to focus all content on an action.
Paul Roetzer - Marketing Growth Hackathon
Paul highlighted the need for action first, review later. In a world of projected strategies and 'planned implementations' we often get lost in generating ideas rather than actioning them.
He walked us through his 'Hackathon' model for goal creation and idea testing. This gave us some great tips on how we can quickly turn pen and paper ideas into tangible offers. He also passed on a great idea grading technique. Any offer idea should be graded by:
By focusing on those scoring the highest in both fields, you immediately prioritise what is worth your time and only work on the ideas that have the highest chance of success.
Robert Michael Murray - The Power of Storytelling
Robert's session explained how we must act upon or respond to specific 'moments' in the buyer's journey:
As marketers, if we can recognise and appropriately address each of these moments, we will be able to contextualise our message and deliver relevant, memorable experiences that create greater value.
Shama Hyder - The Art of Marketing to Millennials
Shama Hyder, the 24 year old CEO of Marketing Zen enlighted us on a) what it is to be a millennial, and b) how we should adjust our marketing techniques to appeal to this misunderstood generation.
Whilst debunking a few myths, she explained that millennials ultimately desire to be informed and that we must build trust organically. As a brand, you must provide the consumer with a sense of identity, a cause to be a part of.
Ask yourself these questions:
This tech-savvy, digitally enabled group are the most educated ever and are therefore much more sceptical and ultimately savvy with their resources. They desire to be eductated, for brands to be transparent and to provide them with multiple choices.
Jessica Gioglio - Pushing Boundaries and borders with global content
Jessica focused on the human stories behind our product and showed us how we can utilise these in our marketing.
One example of this was the Money Supermarket advert with the guy in the shorts, which focuses on the feeling the customer gets when they use the service. However, as one of the only Brits in the room I didn't want to mention that we're not all walking around like this (she told the room that we all are!)...
Another example was Ikea's 'Shelf Help' campaign which focused on the issues their products are solving in people's private life. Which we thought was great...
Sahil Jain - How to Leverage Marketing Automation with Paid Social Ads for B2B
Sahill gave us an in depth process for using social media ads as part of the nuturing process. Using a combination of content offers, contact exports and pixel re-targeting you can show people your content across the relevant social networks. The process is illustrated well in this slide...
We've only touched the surface here but will be sharing a more in-depth analysis of some of the above as well as other sessions we were inspired by over the week.
But of course, it wasn't only learning.
We got to meet up with clients from the USA and UK...
Went to visit a US landmark (Fenway Park) to watch baseball...
and ate lots of typically American food...
We've finally conquered the jet-lag and are looking forward to bringing the new ideas to life over the next few weeks. Roll on next year!
Over 14,000 people can't be wrong. Before you spend another penny on marketing you must read our introductory eBook which quickly explains how to get started with Inbound Marketing:
If you attended Inbound 2015 we'd love to hear what you thought of the week and if you have ay additional notes please share them with us below!