There was a lot of buzz leading up to this year's INBOUND Marketing Conference in Boston, put on by HubSpot. After being virtual for two years, INBOUND 2022 was in person again! The HIVE team was pumped for a week packed with influential speakers like Viola Davis, Dr. Jane Goodall, President Barack Obama, Yamini Rangan, Dharmesh Shah, and Brian Halligan. We attended sessions led by HubSpot experts sharing their knowledge, did tons of networking and booped badges (more on this later) with like-minded HubSpotters, had very little sleep, walked about 420,000 steps, toured the HubSpot campus in Cambridge, ate a lot of good food, and even managed to squeeze in some sightseeing and culture. We definitely made the most of our trip to Boston!
As a fully remote team, another big part of INBOUND for us was meeting each other in person — for the first time. The HIVE team wasn’t very hard to find. We were the team all decked out in bright yellow Converse. Talk about a great conversation starter!
We were fortunate enough to be able to send six members of the HIVE Strategy team to Boston this year, two of whom were first-timers. The rest of the team attended virtually as they held down the fort at the HIVE.
The overarching theme at INBOUND was community. As connected as we all are, we are living in a crisis of disconnection. That’s where community comes in.
“A community whispers to you with a quiet confidence, you belong, you have value, you matter. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are.” - Dharmesh Shah
As the conference wrapped up, we had a lot to reflect on professionally and personally.
Use the links below to jump to the topic section you’re interested in or read at your own pace.
- Actionable Tips to Reinforce Our Inbound Marketing Knowledge
- Our Love/Hate Relationship With Algorithms
- Digital Burnout and Noisy Channels
- Community and Connection
- Transforming How We Work in the Digital World
- Community Building is the Next Frontier of Brand Building
- The Way We Target Audiences is Changing
- Discover the "Why" That's Most Important to Your Customers
- Inspiration from HubSpot CEO, Yamini Rangan
- The Call for Compelling Content
- Three Key Elements to Connecting With Buyers
Actionable tips to reinforce our inbound marketing knowledge
Dustin Brackett, Founder + CEO
INBOUND for me is not necessarily about discovering some marketing secret or hack that no one knew about. Instead, it's about reinforcing things we may have forgotten, getting inspiration, and learning new ways to do things while connecting with an amazing community of marketers and salespeople.
This year was no different. No earth-shattering revelations came up, but there were some very interesting takeaways. Neil Patel gave us a lot of actionable tips to succeed on different networks. Nothing that isn't at least somewhat common knowledge, but great reinforcement on the things that we need to keep in mind.
Otherwise, I think my biggest takeaway was that marketing and sales are continuing to evolve. We have gone through a lot of transitions over the last several years, and we're continuing to have to figure out how to market and sell in new and creative ways. It is so much fun to see how others are tackling that challenge. I always come home so inspired after INBOUND!
Our love/hate relationship with algorithms
Yvonne Hall, Director of Team + Client Success
There are always a lot of inspiring people saying inspiring things at INBOUND, and this year was no different. Whether in a personal or a professional context, I have so many inspiring sound bites jotted down. But the one session I keep coming back to from an implementation stand point is Neil Patel’s. Neil is no-nonsense. In his presentation, he helps us get shit done with real actionable steps and insights based on data.
He shared that although, as marketers, algorithms make our jobs more difficult, personally we love how they customize our user experience. And with more transparency, we can navigate better.
For our B2B clients, the items he shared that were most beneficial are the algorithmic aspects that currently affect optimization on that platform:
- For Google — links, keywords, search intent, quality, thoroughness, technical, and site speed ALL MATTER.
- For LinkedIn — comments, videos, fresh content, punchy text-based posts, and employee activities ALL MATTER.
Digital burnout and Noisy channels demand a shift in marketing strategies
Mallory Fetchu, Director of Marketing Operations
INBOUND22 was an experience like no other. First of all, it was the first time we were able to hold the conference in-person in two years, so I got to connect with friends I hadn't seen in years and I also got to meet the people I work with every single day but had never had the chance to meet in person. That was something I didn't know was missing from my life. The overall theme at this year's INBOUND was centered around connection and with that here are my key takeaways:
- Digital burnout is real and is more prevalent than ever before. People are tired of their screens. Which means we must shift our overall digital marketing strategies. Does this mean digital is going away? Not at all. But I think we as marketers are going to need to be extremely careful about who we are targeting, when, and how.
- Channels are noisy! When everyone was forced to shift into a digital company, it inherently became more crowded online. So we are working to cut through a lot more noise and competition in an already crowded landscape.
- Storytelling is more important than ever. With all the noise out there, building trust and nurturing meaningful connections is where digital is moving towards. One important piece to this is effective storytelling. It's been a buzzword for years, but now it's going to be a necessary part of your marketing strategy to tell your message via stories.
community and connection with HubSpot's Kyle Jepson and President Barack Obama
Jill Schneider, Content Manager
Heading into INBOUND 2022, I was excited to be getting back to a sense of normalcy with the in-person event. Having been to INBOUND before, I knew the buzz of inspiration and renewed creativity I would walk away with. And it was the first time most of our remote team met face-to-face. I won't lie — I was a bit nervous. I knew we had great chemistry working virtually, but could we live together for five days? I'm happy to report that the conference only solidified the bond we have as a team. Each one of us is resilient and determined, and we learned surprising things from each other. This is ONE GREAT TEAM! Other than my team, I was most excited about seeing HubSpot Academy Professor Kyle Jepson and President Barack Obama — not necessarily in that order.
Kyle's session, "Things Every HubSpot Admin Needs to Know," was packed with great tips on automation and data quality tools in Operations Hub and new features like the digital sandbox for developers to build and test early proof of concept development work before implementing them.
To help reinforce the idea of building connections and community Kyle had us "boop" badges with the HubSpotters seated around us (this allowed us to connect via the INBOUND app by touching our badges together). Halfway through, he even had us change seats and "boop" with the new people we were sitting by — what a great way to build connections and community. Due to some unfortunate circumstances with the App, Yvonne, our Direct of Team + Client Success, couldn't attend the session. We were lucky enough to catch Kyle hanging out at HubSpot Academy the next day, where we got a quick photo and "booped" badges with him. #starstruck 😎
President Barack Obama's words were inspiring, profound, and relatable to everything we do surrounding inbound marketing. He talked about how the technology that has transformed our lives is a result of a scientific process. Similar to a democracy. In a hypothesis, there are differences between facts and opinions. For us to know something is true, we have to observe it. We have to be able to repeat experiments. If we're wrong and it doesn't withstand criticism, then we start over with a new set of hypotheses. This is one of the philosophies inbound marketing is built upon. As always, we leave INBOUND inspired and ready to hone our inbound marketing strategies!
Transforming how we work in the digital world
Mason Yarber, HubSpot Manager, HIVE Hub
I had a great time at INBOUND with the rest of the HIVE team as we learned about HubSpot’s philosophy in-depth and in-person. Hearing from such influential founders and creators was a transformative experience and seriously shook up my preconceived notions about marketing and doing work in the digital space. I feel more knowledgeable about best practices in digital marketing, social networking, and being a better advocate for the INBOUND strategy.
Aside from that, I came away from the conference incredibly inspired by the selection of speakers that INBOUND had brought together for the week. Viola Davis’ talk about creating your own opportunities in an industry that makes it hard for outsiders to succeed struck a chord with me. I don’t come from a background where many people find themselves working in tech, so I’ve had to hustle a bit to get where I am. Of course, my experience doesn’t mirror Davis’ for a number of reasons, but I think the core of her talk can apply to folks from various walks of life. It’s so important to blaze a trail, stay confident in your abilities, and work to prove your worth to the powers that be. Hard work pays off, but it isn’t everything. You have to prove yourself in a number of ways in order to get a seat at the table.
community building is the next frontier of brand building
Jory Nickles, HubSpot Manager, Operations
This was my very first INBOUND in person. The sheer size of the event blew me away. It was the largest conference I’d ever attended, and I imagined how exhausted my feet would be by the end of the day…then I walked into the other half of the space 😱 WOW!
We all know the last 2+ years have been a lot, with few of the things we used to enjoy, like the company of our peers and the contagious energy felt by being around them. After being apart from one another for so long, after two digital INBOUNDS and more Zoom meetings than anyone should have to think about, the excitement and positive energy in the air was palpable and wafting from room to room, stage to stage, and person to person. I know INBOUND is a business conference on paper but to me, being back together was so much more. It was beautiful.
My biggest takeaway from INBOUND 2022?
Community, and how significant it really is. Not just the importance of community societally or individually, but how community fits within business and our collective success. From smaller speakers in more intimate deep dives to Dharmesh and President Obama center stage, this theme repeated itself, and it stuck with me. Not just because the speakers so eloquently elucidated how community building is the next frontier of brand building, impactful marketing, and successful business scaling but because we all felt the importance of community more than ever, just being there together, again. The saying that we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone couldn’t have rung more true.
On the last day when we all collectively had blisters from our new fancy bright yellow shoes, no voice left, and reinvigorated business morale, President Barack Obama reminded us of something so simple yet undeniably powerful. I hope whoever is reading this can think deeply about this just as we all had the opportunity to, and always remember — no matter your background, race, gender, identity, income, politics, or choice of CRM (maybe)…we all have MUCH more in common than we could ever have setting us apart.
My biggest takeaway from my time at INBOUND is community, and how grateful I am for it.
The way we target audiences is changing
Chris Queen, Marketing Manager
INBOUND 2022 was interesting to me as an online viewer. It left me with a lot of time to think about where the future of HubSpot and marketing is going. In the past, INBOUND had a large focus on the technical aspects of marketing. It was about how to take the data you had and to use that to reach out to your customers. That view seems to be changing at HubSpot.
With privacy concerns rising across all parts of the population, it is going to be vital for all marketers to function in a restricted data world. Instead of focusing on list management, you need to focus on people management. It is going to become more important than ever to have marketing material that is able to engage your customer when and where they find it. While it isn't totally going away, being able to pick the audience you want and then target them is going to be much harder in the future.
Discover the 'why' that's most important to your customers
Amber Bolusan, Marketing Manager
I virtually attended INBOUND this year — and it was amazing! Creativity and insight never sleep in the marketing industry, and this year, HubSpot proved that by bringing together thought leaders and industry experts.
One of my favorites featured Chief Message Strategist and author of Find The Red Thread, Tamsen Webster, who titled her session "The Logic of Emotion: How To Make Inaction Impossible."
During the session, Tamsen talked about discovering the why that's most important to your customers. The why behind starting your company and the way you do things isn't always the most important to your customers. Consider primal world beliefs, core values, or proverbs. Make sure your marketing messages allow your customer to build a story in their minds — people will supply their own emotions based on your stories. Create moments of truth that makes inaction impossible.
Want to learn more about how emotion plays an important part in your marketing effectiveness? Let’s talk about Psychology & Inbound Marketing.
Inspiration from Hubspot ceo, Yamini rangan
Alejandro Rodriguez, Junior Web Ops Developer
INBOUND 2022 was such an icebreaker for me as a developer. I have been working with HubSpot technologies for a few months now, but I had never thought how in demand this particular skill set was until I attended the HubSpot Spotlight sections led by Yamini Rangan, HubSpot CEO, Stephanie Cuthbertson, HubSpot CPO, and Dharmesh Shah, Co-Founder and CTO. Imagine the hype.
One of the main highlights for me came before the speakers took the stage. See, for people like me who attended INBOUND 2022 virtually, before our sessions started, we had the opportunity to join a virtual meeting where you could interact with other professionals attending virtually as well. Let me tell you, it was quite the experience. As a Jr. Developer, this was my first experience where I was able to talk to so many senior-level developers. It felt like a dream to ask questions about how to thrive using HubSpot technologies and keep up with innovation.
My next highlight came straight from Yamini Rangan herself, who told us the main focus at HubSpot is to help every single one of us grow. I felt so great hearing that. As a developer, it is a delight to use tools created by others to impact my professional growth and productivity. Hearing Ms. Rangan say that the goal of the company is to make everyone around it better and help them grow gave me the inspiration to keep reaching for the stars, to keep growing as a developer, and to tell others about HubSpot and its technologies. Furthermore, I was able to question myself about what is holding back my personal growth and the things I can do about it.
INBOUND 2022 was an eye-opener on the opportunity I have been given to work for such a great company, HIVE Strategy, that allows me to learn and work on so many cool projects using HubSpot has been a blessing. I would love to attend INBOUND 2023 in person next year and experience what it is like to be in the same room with people that believe that we can achieve anything. People who always ask questions on how to improve on a personal level. And most importantly, people who actually believe in helping others to grow as well.
The call for compelling content has never been louder
Evan Burns, Marketing Copywriter
There was a large amount of great information at this year’s INBOUND. But two sessions really stood out to me. The first one was from Ali Haeri, who spoke about how B2B businesses can break the mold on delivering their message and create compelling narratives through Connected TV.
That’s right — TV for B2B marketing. Sounds crazy, right?
In the old days of linear TV, reaching your target audience was unreliable at best and definitely not cost-effective. You had to rely on Nielsen ratings and spend ridiculous amounts of money. But today, 87% of households have at least one Connected TV.
Connected TV is any device connected to or embedded in your TV that supports streaming content. Devices like smart TVs, Roku, PS4, and Xbox are all Connected TVs. And they give you precision audience targeting, accurate measurement, and the ability to A/B test.
My main takeaway from Ali Haeri’s session was that B2B marketers have no excuse not to create compelling content.
The second session was Jay Schwendelson’s email marketing tips. Jay listed off so many tips in such a short time that I could barely keep up. There were so many insights on how to boost open rates and click-through rates, as well as tips for creating effective landing pages. Here are a few takeaways:
To Boost Open Rates:
- It’s okay to use the word “Free” in your subject line. Your email won’t end up in spam.
- Use “Tomorrow” instead of naming the day of the week.
- Most email campaigns are sent on the hour. Send yours a few minutes later to be at the top of your audience’s inbox.
For better click-through rates, take advantage of user-generated content by mentioning customer reviews and testimonials. Reviews build confidence among potential buyers for your product.
Don’t treat your landing page like a mall. Just point it to the offer. Landing pages that only navigate to the offer have more than double the conversion rate of those with multiple destinations.
Want to learn more about content marketing? Here are 10 powerful tips for effective content marketing
3 key elements to connecting with buyers
Robert Mwangi, Marketing Strategist
The session that I found most insightful was LinkedIn's Global Director, Customer Insights, Allyson Hugley's session "What's Next, Connecting with Future Buyers: Winning Mindshare to Grow Marketshare". She talked about how B2B marketing has evolved over the years, and there are various tools on the market that exist today to accomplish marketing and advertising goals. But with this massive growth, brand trust is vital. We live in a society that has a lot of information and misinformation. A new generation of workers entering the workplace has new values and frameworks influencing buying decisions and buying groups.
The new post-Covid norm of B2B and B2C is a must for businesses to survive in this new remote/hybrid environment. Innovation, work-life balance, connection, and socialization have never been more critical. These are three elements that are key for this new ground for connecting with future buyers.
- Break through barriers and evolve your content expectations.
There has been a massive downfall in management confidence levels. Many older frameworks are not evolving; thus, the shift has left them behind. They are hungry and unaware of these and other unknown factors. Future buyers want provocative content that validates their existing thinking and new thoughts within said framework. Not being pushed toward new frontiers.
- Creating mental availability.
There are now more decision-makers than ever before. A committee is now the norm.
- Understanding future buyers and changing buyer demographics.
Gen Z is leading the reshuffle. Job transitions amongst these groups are about 80%. They are the “Mobile generation.”
To survive in this new evolving era, corporations will need to have their brand DNA at the heart of the content and communications to build consistency and trust.
We know that was a lot! A lot of great insights and inspiration come from INBOUND each year, whether virtually or in-person. Bookmark this link to keep up to date on what's coming to INBOUND 2023. We can't wait to see you there!
For more great tips on HubSpot, check out our How to Use HubSpot Library!