Top 10 Takeaways from Inbound 2013

I recently had the pleasure of attending HubSpot’s Inbound 2013 conference in Boston. What an incredible experience. For those who couldn’t make it, I have summarized my top 11 takeaways from the conference in this post.

For those of you who attend or have attended conferences, you can likely relate to how overwhelming and exciting they can be. Workshops, sessions and the connections you make are all valuable. For this conference, I came prepared to gather actionable information for our business.

Here are the big ideas I gathered that apply to all businesses and marketers:

1. Successful businesses of tomorrow need to embrace Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales and Inbound Service. (Dharmesh Shaw)

Dharmesh Shah - Inbound 2013

Dharmesh Shaw, the co-founder of HubSpot, extended the concept of ‘inbound’ marketing to include sales and service. In today’s information age, leverage has shifted from the seller to the buyer and companies must deliver an exceptional experience throughout the buyer’s journey. Shaw asserted that “It’s no longer about what you sell, it’s how you sell it.” As marketers, we need to solve for humans. In sales, we need to deliver an exceptional buying experience while sharing as much information possible up front. In service, the goal should no longer be customer satisfaction, but customer “delight-ion”.

2. ‘Smarketing’ is the future of closing deals. (Matt Schnitt)

The “Smarketing” concept describes strong alignment between marketing and sales departments, which alleviate many classic conflicts between marketing and sales departments. When sales misses quotas, marketing is often blamed for poor or insufficient leads. Shortly thereafter, marketing questions sales ability to close deals. HubSpot’s Matt Schnitt describes this scenario during his session titled “Smarketing with Salesforce”.

At the core of achieving Smarketing (optimal marketing and sales alignment) are:

  • Proper qualification and assigning of leads so that sales may connect within 1 hour of filling out a form.
  • Continued efforts by marketing to win the deal throughout the sales process.
  • Demonstration of marketing’s role in the success of closing the deal.

3. The secret ingredients of better marketing are in the TAGFEE code. (Rand Fishkin)

During Rand Fishkin’s Bold Talk, he delivered the framework for Moz’s core values or “TAGFEE code”. TAGFEE stands for Transparent, Authentic, Generous, Fun, Empathetic and Exceptional. As cited by Rand, 98% of Americans distrust the internet. Source: (Harris Interactive). This fact, coupled with the notion that the internet provides a platform for everyone to share and find information at warp speed, companies can no longer hide. If you want to succeed as a brand, you have to demonstrate these human characteristics. People want to deal with people and if they sense that your company exemplifies these qualities, you are more likely to earn their trust.

 4. Recharge and create an energy of renewal. (Arianna Huffington)

Ariana Huffington - Inbound 2013

Arianna Huffington humorously leads off her keynote presentation with the notion that “sleep is a leadership and performance enhancement tool…It’s time to sleep your way to the top.” For 45+ minutes, Huffington captivated an audience with a call for us to take care of ourselves and our lives, which will ultimately make us better leaders. Today, we are surrounded by technology. From time to time, we need to disconnect, reflect, and…recharge.

5. Great content does not have to be exciting or go viral to be effective. (Dan Moyle)

Dan Moyle runs corporate brand marketing for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. In an industry that many consider ‘boring’, Moyle has unlocked the secret to creating content that has transformed AmeriFirst’s business. Moyle points out that content does not have to be ‘sexy’, it just has to be ‘helpful’. If you consider the buyer’s journey when creating content, you will achieve success by guiding the buyer through this journey.

 6. Newton’s 3rd law of motion and sales have a lot in common (Jill Konrath)

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Jill Konrath led her session with this famous discovery by Isaac Newton. Konrath candidly explained that the key to sales is not to sell. As Newton suggested, the more we push, the more another will pull back. In order to ‘speed things up’ in the sales process, you have to ‘slow things down’. Today’s buyer is overwhelmed with the features, ideas and tools. If we want to resonate with today’s buyer, every conversation we have must tie back to business and metrics.

 7. The key to inbound marketing is solving problems. (Marcus Sheridan)

Understanding the value of your marketing is about asking the right questions. If you want to hear an entertaining and compelling speaker, attend one of Marcus Sheridan’s sessions. What I love about Marcus is that he knows how to keep ideas simple and cut through the clutter. Whether you are a business or a marketer, you need to ask the following questions. How much is this issue costing the company? How important is it to the company? What impact is the problem having on the company? By asking the right questions that cut to the core of business, we then can build a plan to address the issues with marketing.

8. The power of connection is significant and we are now separated by 4 degrees of separation. (Porter Gale)

Porter Gale delivered a compelling message in her talk about how the data revolution has accelerated our connections. We are no longer connected by 6, but 4 degrees of separation. If you believe it’s possible, the power of connection is significant. Our circle of empathy is increasing and has grown from 4 to 150+ people. Gale cited that people with larger, more concrete networks, tend to be happier and get more jobs. Believe it or not, 97% of people have a phone in front of us all the time and the average person has more power to influence connections. Companies need to realize that power is moving from the boardroom to the living room, which changes the interaction we have with consumers.

9. Great communicators change the world. (Nancy Duarte)

Nancy Duarte, author of Resonate and a world renowned speaker, drew a brilliant connection between some of the great orators throughout history. Martin Luther King, Jr., Eva Peron, and Scott Harrisson, all share a rhythmic style that moves crowds with great emotion. These speakers have also changed the lives of millions. We all can benefit from learning how to communicate and present more effectively.

10. We are exiting the Industrial Economy and entering the Connection Economy. (Seth Godin)

Seth Godin, often declared one of the greatest marketers in history, delivered an incredible keynote that hinged on these points. The customer is in control. When we win customer loyalty, we earn the trust of the community. We are all living in the connection economy, which is built upon:

  • Coordination
  • Trust
  • Permission
  • Exchange of ideas

All of this is based on 2 ideals:

  1. Generosity – No one wants to connect with a selfish person.
  2. ART – Don’t want to connect with someone who does the same as they did yesterday.

The bottom line is that value is created where connection occurs.

These are just 10 of many gold nuggets I gleaned from the conference and am ready to put into action.

If you were at Inbound 2013, what else did you take away?

 

About Erin Carpenter

Erin Carpenter is the co-founder and CEO of Hidden Peak Interactive. She started the company in 2010 with a vision to transform the antiquated and ineffective ways that many businesses market themselves. Erin’s background in multiple disciplines, from Digital Marketing, to Finance, to Operations and Aviation*, enables her to think strategically about how marketing fits into the big picture of driving revenues for businesses.

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