4 Top Tips from #Inbound17

It’s been a month since we returned to our desk from  HubSpot’s annual INBOUND Conference, and we’re still reeling.   Thousands of professionals in content, marketing, graphics and sales gathered in Boston for the annual event, which focuses on education, networking, and recognizing innovation.

Self-described as “an event that celebrates the human, helpful side of business,” INBOUND’s scope has widened far beyond  inbound marketing. Among this year’s keynote speakers were Pixar Animation Studio’s Ed Catmull,  best-selling author Brene Brown, pro-wrestler John Cena, and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

It’s more than a little overwhelming — 273 speakers across four floors and two buildings — but very exciting.

First, it’s important to note that as a company, we’ve been eyeing Hubspot as a marketing platform for a few years.  At ECHOtape, our goal continues to be providing customized and personalized service while building relationships with our customers.  More and more, marketing is aligning with those corporate goals, and tools like Hubspot allow us to connect to customers by leveraging new technologies. It’s a win-win.

So, now that we’re finally ready to join Team Hubspot as a corporate marketing tool, INBOUND was a great way to spend quality time with product engineers and ask lots of questions.  If you are considering it, make a note to attend the conference next year. You won’t be disappointed.

For those of you who weren’t there, or need a refresher, here are 4 key takeaways:

Video. In the digital world, we’re transitioning from static to full motion. This is partially because people don’t want to read about your products or services anymore; they want you to interact with them, to show them how your products work. Consider this compelling stat from one:  People are 144% more likely to buy after watching a video.

Artificial Intelligence. AI is going to be playing a huge role in our daily lives and in marketing, which is a little unnerving. If you want to know more,  this post is a fantastic resource.

Adopting AI technologies and marketing automation tools will alleviate repetitive, mundane tasks and help marketers work more effectively. But that’s not the point. It’s not about “us” –  it’s about better serving our customers and buyers. The key to leveraging these tools is to remember that our customers are human beings. It’s a simple concept that can be easily forgotten when adopting new technology and processes.

Sales Enablement.  There are a lot of marketing tools available right now. 5,000+ to be exact.  Consider this infographic:

It’s completely overwhelming.  How do you choose? Where to begin??  What’s important to keep in mind is aligning sales and marketing in such a way to meet you end goal. In our case, that’s building customer relationships.   Currently, the big buzz word is Sales Enablement, meaning give your sales team the knowledge, tools and content to deliver a more valuable buyer experience.  You can read more about the idea here.

The Leadership Challenge is an amazing framework for leadership but also for Sales.  There are five practices to the concept, but in her presentation which was based on research she just completed, Deb Calvert pointed out that the most important one for B2B business buyers is Enabling Others to Act, especially in this world of info overload.  We found this to be really practical,  so chances are pretty good that we’ll explore this idea in another blog post later this year.

All told, we’re still unpacking our notes and letting the experience sink in.  However, # INBOUND17 reinforced the idea that by better understanding ECHOtape’s customers’ wants and needs, we can use content to build meaningful connections.  In an ever-growing sea of information, your brand perspective, and experience, is the only way to truly stand out.