Lessons Learned At INBOUND 2017

I had the pleasure of attending the HubSpot INBOUND 2017 conference, which was held at theBoston Convention & Exhibition Center from September 25-28.

This was my first time back at INBOUND since 2012 and wow, how it has grown!

This year there were more than 21,000 attendees making it the event to go to if you are in marketing and sales — even if it is just for networking.

INBOUND is well known for its amazing keynotes, and the 2017 lineup was exceptional.

Speakers included author Brene Brown, Disney Animation Studios President Dr. Ed Catmull, television star John Cena, award-winning digital marketer Piera Gelardi, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and, of course, HubSpot’s own Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

There were also hundreds of professional development sessions touching on the latest trends, technologies and best practices in marketing.

While I couldn’t attend all of the sessions, I did certainly learn a lot. Here are my key takeaways from my time at INBOUND:

Inbound 2017.jpgSpeak Less, Listen More

obama.jpg-w=411&h=273.jpgOne of the common themes echoed throughout the conference was the importance of listening. In these days of sharply diverse opinions, listening could not be more important.

Michelle Obama spoke eloquently on the topic, encouraging women to make their voices heard and men to take the time to hear what they are saying.

“We think 12 times before we open our mouths …” she said of the thought process many women go through. “We argue with ourselves in our head, and we think that, ‘Before I speak up, it has to be perfect.’”

On the other hand, “The guy is not thinking about perfect, right, or anything; he tells himself, ‘I’m used to hearing my voice.

“That’s what happens to a lot of people. If you’ve been socialized to think your voice doesn’t matter — and it’s done in very subtle ways: maybe it happened at your dinner table with the father you adored who would talk right over you, or the brothers who just took up too much space and you learned to be quiet, or the mother who told you that being ladylike meant that you watched your words and you didn’t interrupt.”

In his keynote, Cena emphasized the importance of speaking up and seeking answers.

“I got here today by looking stupid a whole lot … because I wasn’t afraid to ask questions,” he said.

Dr. Catmull believes that listening can not only benefit you, but those around you as well.

“Listening, empathizing & deep caring will make you better and the world better,” he stated.

At Gelardi’s agency, Refinery29, listening is part of the corporate culture. It’s also part of the corporate office space — there is a special room designated for speaking with Gelardi in confidence.

Personally, I learned, yet again, that we should take more time to listen to the people around us — our families, our colleagues, our clients, our prospects — and we will all be more effective and successful. And for the guys, you know how we say “measure twice, cut once” maybe sometimes we should “listen twice and talk just a little less.”

Make Your Emails More Personal

There were more than 300 insightful sessions at INBOUND. One of the sessions I most enjoyed was by Tom Monaghan, Director of Product,  Email, at HubSpot. Tom knows a lot about email, and his session, “When I grow up, I want to be an Email Marketer (said no kid ever)” was very informative.

customer.png-w=265&h=189.pngToday’s email campaigns have to be mobile-focused and data-driven, according to Monaghan. In addition, all emails should be personalized and personally relevant if they are going to be engaged with.

“Nothing is more impersonal than screwing up personalization,” he said.

Think about the emails in your inbox, then think about the emails you and your company send. Would you want to receive them? Would you open them? Would you click on them?

For many of us,  the majority of our daily work interactions take place over email. Therefore if you are sending out a lot of email campaigns, you are going to have a lot of competition for attention.

Take the time to step back from your keyboard, understand the user’s journey, define your goals, and build campaigns that will actually help you achieve them by using personalization.

Use Online Forums To Boost Your Content

Reddit, which bills itself as “The Front Page Of The Internet,” is one of the most popular websites on the planet. It offers a lot of opportunities — and ideas — for industrial marketers, though not many are taking advantage.

Daniel Russell‏ of GoFish Digital hosted an excellent session, “‘Stealing’ the Best Content Ideas from Reddit and Other Online Forums,”

When thinking about social media, most people focus on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These sites are very important, but there are a many other social media platforms out there.

Russell told a story about how he had a jewelry client that needed help with SEO. Dan did research on Reddit and found that there was a popular Hydraulic Press Channel. That led Dan to the Hydraulic Press Channel on YouTube.  Dan contacted the person who made those videos and sent him a diamond to crush. This video has been viewed more than ten million times on YouTube and has received a ton of brand mentions and backward links to the jewelers’ site.

Think outside the social box, and remember, just because you are industrial doesn’t mean you cannot crush it on social.

Till Next Year ...

With so much to learn at Hubspot INBOUND 2017, it is hard for me to imagine how any industrial business could stay up to date on all the things they need to do to be effective marketers. Fortunately, the  Thomas Marketing Team is a HubSpot Diamond Certified Agency Partner and is there to help. Get in touch to learn about our services or if you need more information.

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