Our marketing organization is at a tipping point.
Traditionally, marketing is interruptive. We run ads, send direct mail (aka junk mail), and push our priorities. Inbound marketing flips this on its head to focus entirely on the customer experience. How can we serve up content that they need or are interested in? How can be their partner and guide in a world saturated with sales and marketing messages?
Essentially, in the words of Hubspot’s founders, we need to “Market unto others as you would have them market unto you.” I recently attended Inbound 2015, a Hubspot-sponsored conference in Boston’s seaport district. Over 4 days and what felt like a million sessions, I learned about what makes inbound marketing work, how to build better
content, and even went to “business school” for an hour. Without further ado, here are my top five takeaways:
We spend so much time getting our ducks in a row to become “qualified.” But what does that really mean? He encouraged us to make decisions, take responsibility for our actions, and get on the spot to make a bigger difference, rather than just checking something off our to-do list.
How many of you compromise to get something out of the meeting? How often should we evaluate our goals to make sure they make sense?
If you don’t know who Brene Brown is, stop reading this and watch her TED talk right now. Her work on vulnerability, courage, and failure inspires me to take risks and make changes. She talked about the physics of courage—you are guaranteed to fail. But she also challenged us: are we willing to choose courage over comfort?
Also, she is the nicest human you'll ever meet.
Rowe spoke a lot about innovation at Google and how we can create a culture primed for thinking outside of the box. Our programs like Launch Pad have started this process, but how can we build a culture and climate of innovation within our day jobs? My favorite concept he talked about was “yes, and…” It’s a classic improv trick. Rather than shut down someone’s idea in your next meeting, build upon it and see what you can create. Try it next time you’re thinking of saying “No.”
One exercise that really stuck with me from a content perspective was taking off the label. If we printed out pages from our webpage, emails we send, or banner ads and redacted the name and product names, would we know which was ours against our competitors?
Being part of a website redesign made this especially relevant to me. How are we changing the site to build our brand? How can we differentiate our sites from our competitors? As a writer, how can I make a company's voice stand out?
Sales is changing. Marketing is becoming closer and closer to sales. Pink spoke a lot about negative perceptions of sales teams and the flip from seller advantage to buyer advantage. With so much information and research out there, our buyer is more informed--think about the last time you bought a car. Instead of taking the sales pitch for granted, we can make smarter decisions. So what does that mean for marketing?
We need to provide relevant information that helps our customer and solves their problems, rather than push traditional "marketing" content at them--the crux of inbound marketing.
Needless to say, I was sufficiently inspired. Other conference highlights? Amy Schumer is. so. funny. Can't wait to go next year!