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Sep 21 2015

It's hard to believe that INBOUND 2015 has come and gone already. HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software provider, has been hosting this rapidly growing conference on our turf (Boston, MA) for a few years now, with an attendance of over 14 thousand professionals this year.

This was my first year attending all three days of breakout sessions, in addition to the keynotes and newly added spotlight speakers. In this post, I've highlighted the top 10 takeaways from all the speakers I was able to catch in this action-packed week of inspiring talks, tactical training and networking.


1. Process becomes practice, falling becomes learning

Brené Brown - Researcher-Storyteller

Brene Brown has done extensive research on vulnerability and has found that in those moments when you allow yourself to be vulnerable that you will find success. You are bound to fail, but it takes falling to learn. This is incredibly inspiring for any professionals who are hesitant to take risks or expose their emotions. 

2. If you have the passion, everything else can be learned

Jason Miller - Sr. Manager, Global Content Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

It's important that we are passionate about our work, whether in marketing, sales, support, product development, etc. If the passion is there and you have a willingness to learn, then you have a much greater chance of being successful.

Are you passionate about your job position or your company's products? 

3. Building a better world requires building better organizations

Bob Gower - Author

In Bob Gower's Bold Talk, he spoke about how important community and culture are to an organization. And if we want to build a better world, we need to build better organizations. He breaks this down into 3 parts:

  1. Build better people
  2. Take better collective action
  3. Be able to course correct

We need to think of the community and culture we create in our workplace as deeply valuable.

4. Popular content may not be memorable or spread the message you care about

Jonah-Peretti-BuzzFeed-at-INBOUND-2015Jonah Peretti - Founder and CEO, BuzzFeed

Jonah Peretti raised a good point that the popularity of content should not be the only metric you measure. If your blog posts generate thousands of likes and shares on social media but don't drive quality traffic, then perhaps your business is creating the wrong type or subjects of content.

Make sure your content is unique and valuable to the audience you are targeting.

5. If we are not on the top of people's minds, we are no longer in business

Dr. Carmen Simon - Cognitive Neuroscientist, Rexi Media

People forget up to 90% of what we share with them. The content we create needs to be unique and attention grabbing. Attention paves the way to memory and memory leads to decision making.

Find out what you would like your prospective customers to remember and create clear, crisp, and attractive messages that will have a place in their 10% of memory.

Marketing Tactics

6. Retargeting can be done in an "Inboundy" way

Niti Shah - Asia Pacific Marketing Manager, HubSpot

Remarketing can be done on social media or third party websites to put website visitors into your inbound marketing funnel, where you can then nurture them to become a customer. This less salesy use of remarketing is a great way to keep your company front of mind and convert site visitors who may have gotten sidetracked from converting previously. 

7. Relevance is essential to effective marketing 

Russell Glass - Head of Products, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

The digital marketing space is cluttered with irrelevant or non-compelling messaging. On average, only 5% of website visitors convert, and 20% of emails are opened. The crux of the problem is relevance at scale. As a marketer, it's essential that we track and analyze which questions site visitors or leads need answered and create content that solve these problems. In a digital age with social media and advanced analytics, it's much easier to engage with a larger audience by creating relevant content. 

8. There is no silver bullet for blog post formats

Ginny Soskey - Section Editor, HubSpot Marketing Blog

The HubSpot marketing blog team ran a month and half long study to solve the quality vs. quantity debate for business blogging. Their blog consists of several different article formats such as top of the funnel (TOFU), tactical, deep tactical, promo posts, curated, etc. As they decreased the frequency of posts per week, they wrote more in-depth tactical posts. And as they increased the frequency, naturally they wrote less time-consuming posts.

Based on their results, the blogging team decided to stick with the benchmark posting frequency, but took a deeper dive into their editorial distribution strategy to determine which blog post formats provided the most value for HubSpot. The 3 metrics being measured were blog views, subscribers, and leads.

The HubSpot blogging team came to the conclusion that there is no silver bullet for blog post formats. Some of their blog post formats generated more traffic, while others had higher conversion rates. Determine which goals your business is looking to accomplish, and base your editorial distribution strategy around those goals. 

9. Implicit data and explicit data should be used in conjunction

Damon Cronkey - SVP, Corporate Dev and Strategy, SurveyMonkey

Damon-Cronkey-LinkedIn-at-INBOUND-2015Using big data to predict what pain points potential customers need solutions for can be a challenge. Damon Cronkey explained in his session that we should start by gathering implicit data (implying something based on data collected), determine which questions need to be answered, and track down explicit data (fully revealed data you've collected) by means of a survey, social media indicators, and so on to fully utilize big data. 

Cronkey used one of Ford's tactics for avoiding the big bailout in 2008 as an example of how the two types of data can work in conjunction:

Ford recognized that a lot of people were buying SUVs in 2007, asked themselves questions about whether this was still consumer's most desired vehicle type, and found out from a survey that fuel economy was more important to vehicle shoppers due to high gas prices. This gave them the foresight to move forward with smaller vehicles.  

10. Big names don't equal big results

Corey Eridon - Managing Editor, HubSpot


Many marketers believe that if they can get the biggest industry influencers to contribute on their blogs, then their content will go viral with the thought leader's audiences. Your content still needs to be relevant and attractive to prospective buyers in order to produce big results. 

Make sure the industry influencers you reach out to and the content you have them contribute is of value to and will grab the attention of your buyer personas.

Sold on INBOUND 2016?

If you have a hand in marketing, sales or business development on any level, I highly recommend you make it out to INBOUND at some point. There is a lot to be learned for growing your business and retaining customers. Let's not forget the awesome entertainment and great networking opportunities. Learn more about INBOUND here.

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