This week, 25 of ThomasNet RPM’s employees converged in Boston for the premier inbound marketing event, appropriately named INBOUND 2015. The goal? To trade and share marketing wisdom with some of the top names in the industry. The result? Great concepts to apply to our own business strategy and personal lives.
What sets INBOUND apart from other conferences is the mix of technical information and inspirational stories. Attendees can expect to leave not only with a list of actionable ideas for their customers, but for their own lives, as well.
Among the keynote speakers, Brene Brown, a researcher known widely for her TED Talk on vulnerability, delivered a personal address that focused on how our internal sense of shame impacts how we relate with others. She explained that there are so many instances in which another person acts in a certain way, so our brain comes up with a back-story to explain the situation. Of course, these fabricated stories are often far from the truth, but our inner dialogue can be very convincing when trying to make sense of another person’s actions.
It takes a high level of vulnerability to actually confront the person in question and get to the bottom of what’s going on. It’s so difficult because we’re often afraid of the truth, she explains. It takes courage to be vulnerable.
What does this have to do with marketing? Everything, believe it or not, because marketing isn’t about playing it safe. It’s about having courage and taking risks. At work, as in our personal lives, we’re often afraid of saying the wrong thing or making a mistake. We don’t want to fail or show weakness. But if you want to achieve the greatest results, you’ll need to step outside your comfort zone. And for companies that want to foster a culture of innovation, you’ll need to develop employees who feel free to take risks.
“If you really want to create a culture where people are willing to take risks and fail. You need to understand what that feels like,” she said. It all starts with leadership.
The sentiment was echoed by Todd Rowe, Global Managing Director at Google during a breakout session. His talk, “How Google Drives a Culture of Innovation,” discussed the importance of leaders empowering their employees to take risks and be prepared to fail.
The concept is so engrained in Google’s strategy, that they even have a “Courageous Penguin” award that can be awarded to risky product ideas – even ones that end up tanking. Rather than stifle creativity by limiting employees’ ideas and potential, the company allows employees to devote 20% of their time to personal projects they think will be worthwhile.
But perhaps the greatest takeaway from the discussion was the idea of turning “No, but…” into “Yes, and…” By replacing two simple words, the entire mood of a conversation changes. This freedom can create unmatched potential. The results won’t always be good – but sometimes, they’ll be great. And that’s the point.
Sometimes, beyond the freedom to create, you also need a certain amount of time (and reassurance) to really start seeing results. Many people make the mistake of giving up to early on before their ideas have really had a chance to take root. If you ever find yourself on the cusp of something amazing, but are having a hard time justifying the amount of work and resources you’re putting into a particular project, consider the following quotes from speakers at this year’s INBOUND event.
5 Best Quotes from INBOUND 2015
“History uses the most unlikely people… Often in history people think that the people who created the big changes had everything in their corner. It’s not the case.” – Meighan Stone, President of the Malala Fund
- So, even if you’re not as well-known as Elon Musk, don’t discredit your own ideas and potential. Often, it’s the little guys solving local problems that have the greatest impact.
“Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and be seen. It is the greatest measure of courage.” – Brene Brown, Researcher and Storyteller
- Your boss might not like your ideas to update the facility. But if you don’t bring them to his/her attention, who will? The worst that will happen is your ideas will be shot down. Go ahead, and try to make things better, even if you’re not sure of what everyone else will think.
“You grow attracted to people the more time you spend with them.” – Aziz Ansari, Comedian and Actor
- Just because your first blog post didn’t gain traction doesn’t mean that the next one won’t, either. You may not like the idea of becoming an “acquired taste,” but sometimes, you really do need more than one interaction to make an impact.
“Get things around you that remind yourself of past successes to get yourself over the hump of what you think you can do.” – Denise Jacobs, Creativity Evangelist
- We all have feelings of doubt. Don’t let those feelings stop you from moving forward. For manufacturers, this might mean walking over to the glass case of successful pieces and projects you’ve done, and remembering that if you’ve done this before, you can do something even better now.
“It is important and satisfying to control what people remember.” – Dr. Carmen Simon, REXI Media
- Whether you’re a marketer or a maker, you have the potential to create something that people want to remember. Always think of your personal power and impact in people’s lives.
Are you feeling inspired yet? The process of inbound marketing might seem scary and overwhelming at first, but as with all big ideas, the payoff will be worth it. Want to see how inbound marketing fits into your digital strategy?