What I Learned at Inbound22 by HubSpot
Hot Dog Marketing has been a HubSpot partner since 2019 and a Platinum partner since 2020, but because of the pandemic had yet to attend their famous user conference Inbound in Boston.
Finally, after years, our leadership team got to go and check it out, and for all of our clients and friends who didn’t get to Boston this year, here are my major takeaways.
This Year’s Theme: Deeper Connections
The conference opened with a stark and truthful look at the reality of our digital marketing situation. There’s too much noise. People are ignoring the noise and EVERYONE is struggling with inbound marketing and disconnected technology platforms. 11 million bits of information are received in the human brain every second and our brain filters out all but 50 bits so we can focus. The same ol’ strategy isn’t working.
Between the ongoing digital fatigue, everyone is feeling since 2020 and movements towards more and more privacy online, marketers and sales teams are really struggling with lead generation. One staggering stat during the opening keynote was that 65% of Google searches result without a click. That’s how little we’re engaging with content.
Rather than relying on the rote inbound marketing strategies of the past, marketers need to look at Community-Led Growth for their businesses. This means digging deeper into the customer persona, making decisions based on customers’ needs and wants, and getting creative with community building amount your customers, your prospects, and your network. Just using your first-party data on your existing customer and contact base to produce online ads results in 20% more conversions.
LinkedIn acknowledged the difficulty marketers are having connecting with B2B buyers on their platform because of the amount of content flooding users daily. Not to mention that companies increasingly have committees making decisions with about 7 people influencing that decision. Sales teams used to connect with prospects have 3-5 attempts. Now it takes 12-15 interactions to get the meeting. That’s how difficult the landscape has become.
One of the major takeaways I heard has me thinking about marketing in the future differently: Your new customers are going to be influenced by your retention strategy. We’re looking at growth from within your current customer base. What can you do to create a better customer experience? Can you shift your attention away from the acquisition of new customers to your current happy customers and inspire them to sell for you? Create ambassadors.
HubSpot is addressing these needs with a robust list of new features rolling out. Check it out here: Hubspot.com/new.
The Demographic of Your Buyer is Changing and Brands Need to Listen
As a proud Xennial, it’s been easy for me to relate to current buyers on the market because I relate to both demographics. Now as an over-40-year-old, I find myself having to learn about the next group of up-and-comers – Gen Z. According to LinkedIn, 27% of buyers will be Gen Z by 2025. So, what can we do now to build connections with them? Here’s what we know:
- They change jobs and they move more geographically
- They care more about social issues
- They are digital natives
- 86% have done some online learning
- They’re driven and career ambitious
Branding and creating memorable purpose-driven content is how to start growing your connection with Gen Z now as they mature in their roles and become a part of buying committees at companies. Branding plays an important role in the decision-making process. Jeff Rosenblum from Questus pointed out in his talk about branding that marketers should be empowered buyers and make their lives better, not sell to them. We might think it’s obvious to know your customer and deliver value, but empowering them is a new level of hands-on engagement that can’t be done through the constant interruption of advertising. It takes creativity, deeper connection and investments in a world-class experience. Rosenblum referenced a study of professional firms and stated that the ones that focused on empowerment instead of advertising were more successful 8:1 when compared to firms that engaged in traditional marketing efforts.
That’s not the only consideration. How do you build marketing systems that can cut through the noise and build deeper connections with future service buyers? Meet them where they are. Most digital users are engaging with premium, thought-provoking, provocative content via podcasts, videos, and TikTok. Digital natives appreciate SMS communication and reminders over email marketing. Your marketing, sales and service delivery systems should be seamless so anyone at your company interacting with a contact knows the history. Rosenblum points out that frictionless customer experiences serve your brand better than a big campaign. Evolve your systems now.
Every day, we make an impact. What is your choice today?
This year’s Inbound was full of inspirational speeches. To wrap up my major takeaways, I thought I would share the quotes that I’ll be thinking about long after the conference is over.
Dr. Jane Goodall grew up with a crazy dream of living in Africa and studying animals in a time when it was uncommon, rare, or unheard of for women to pursue an exotic career like that. Not to mention, her family had little-to-no money. Her mother told her though that if she took advantage of every opportunity, worked hard, and didn’t give up, she could find a way to make her dream come true. Now, she shares that we have a choice every day to do something great for ourselves or someone else that needs an opportunity. What will you do today?
Along the same lines, Emma Grede, the CEO and co-founder of SKIMMS and Good American spoke about her fearless journey in business which required a lot of confidence and bold decision making. When asked what kind of advice she’d give to ambitious founders, she said, she thinks about who helped her along the way and how they helped her. She strives to return the favor when the opportunity to do so arises. The good you put out into the universe returns to you. No one is successful alone.
The final speaker of the week was President Barack Obama who had nothing but insightful tidbits to drop along the way about how we’re doing as a country and we’re going, but one of my favorite takeaways from his talk was about having a framework for deciding what to do in tough situations. Along the same lines as our other inspirational Spotlight Speakers, no one can do big things alone. He often asks for the opinions of multiple people before making a major decision. Having a diverse group and more women around you helps you make better decisions, he said. Sometimes the decisions you make are not always the right decision, but you can certainly make it the best decision you could make at the time.
In the last two years, our world has changed and as leaders, we’ve had to make many tough decisions. As we move forward into a new world of marketing and branding, think about others. I walked away feeling like my company needs to do something to change the life of the people we serve. How will you create growth through customer experience and service moving forward?
I’m a mom, a small business owner, and I’m a marketing professional with over a decade helping businesses with their branding and online presence. When I’m not spending time with my family or on my business, I love cooking (and eating) and snuggling with my dogs while I binge on TV shows. My favorite authors are Malcolm Gladwell and Steve Martin. My favorite movies are L.A. Story, Little Mermaid, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Trainspotting.