UPDATE: The Inbound 2017 Conference has come and gone. Check out our #Inbound17 feed of event coverage and stay tuned for more recap blogs on our favorite sessions!
Inbound 2017 day two is officially in the books. In the four years I’ve attended the show, I’ve seen Gary Vaynerchuk, Brené Brown, Cyndi Lauper, Aziz Ansari, Arianna Huffington, Scott Harrison, Malala Yousafzai and many other amazing people who have inspired the attendees of Inbound, but nothing quite compares to the experience we had today.
The Former First Lady
With a line around half of the BCEC, a standing ovation, and a PACKED room, it was clear that a lot of this audience was eager to hear from Former First Lady Michelle Obama. Interviewed by New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay, Michelle Obama shared comments about her life before the White House, her role as First Lady, and her plans for the future (including the book she’s writing).
She spoke about how she wanted to change the narrative of her story by showing the media and the country that she was more than a figurehead who wore pretty shoes. She made a commitment to work hard and show people what she was capable of through her actions.
The mainstage sessions were filled with other notable speakers today like Billie Jean King, Mario Batali, Andy Cohen, Jeff Rosenblum, Brit Marling, Issa Rae, Bozoma Saint John and Andrew McAfee. But we’re bringing you another day full of recaps from our favorite breakout sessions:
What’s Missing From Your Message? (Tamsen Webster)
Recap by Kathy Heil
You have your solutions, you know the problems they solve, and yet your messaging isn’t connecting or converting. Sound familiar? What a message means to a prospect may not be the message you think they are hearing. Herein lies “the gap,” which is the barrier from having your prospect move from here to there, or from interest to customer.
Skipping what the audience needs to hear, “building the bridge" prevents you from closing more deals.
Tamsen Webster (@tamadear), strategic thinker and speaker extraordinaire, encourages you to focus on three key areas to mind the gap:
Understand the PROBLEM that stands in the way from the goal. What is the real reason someone needs to change? A problem is only a problem if it prevents you from reaching your goal. Make sure you clearly know what the GOAL is. The drive that determines everything else.
Have a revelatory IDEA that is a single concept that explains both the problem and the change needed to solve the problem. The diagnosis of the problem. The keys that hold the kingdom to hitting their goals.
Articulation of the CHANGE that will result in a shift or solution to their problem. You have identified the problem, bridging the gap is helping them understand that you have the only change that makes sense to address their problem.This is what must be done to achieve your goal and the specific things needed to make change happen.
Tamsen went on to say that messages can’t actually be heard, and move the audience from here to there, without understanding your RED THREAD; the filter in how you see the world, how you uniquely make meaning out of it, and your role in what’s happening around you. Deep Stuff!
Unicorn Marketing: Getting Unusually Great Results Across Every Marketing Channel, Larry Kim
Recap by Kevin Page
I love the analogy I heard from Larry Kim (@larrykim), CEO of Mobile Monkey during his session today. He compared content marketing to the game of Battleship. In Battleship, you fire missiles at your opponent in an attempt to identify where their ships are located and to ultimately sink their ships. This is a lot like content marketing in a way, except instead of trying to sink ships, we're striving to get our audience to engage with our content. And, in order to accomplish that, we "fire missiles" in the form of blog posts and other marketing activities to our audience to figure out what works.
So here's the interesting part! If we get a hit in Battleship, we respond with a full force attack on that area to sink the ship. In content marketing, we often times say "Nice! That really worked!" And might be influenced by the success of that content during future strategic planning. But we don't, often enough, immediately respond with more articles, infographics, videos, webinars, presentation decks, and paid ads on that topic similar to the full force attack in Battleship I referred to. Instead, marketers typically go back to the campaign calendar we created and carry on, business as usual. This analogy is a huge help in understanding the way we need to shape our content strategies on the fly to react to data.
How to Create Cross-Platform Social Videos (and Keep Your Sanity), Salma Jafri
Recap by Julia Tiedt
Video seems to be all we are hearing about these days – we at StoryTeller preach the importance of it frequently. However, just because you are using video, it doesn't necessarily mean you are using it right. Are you thinking, wait a minute, I thought all I had to do was produce great video content? Sorry to disappoint you, but different platforms have different video needs. That is exactly what Salma Jafri (@salmajafri), Channel Partner at entrepreneur.com spoke about during her conversation. And just because you need different video for different platforms, doesn't mean that you need entirely different videos - what I mean is that you can take the same video and break it up in different ways to better cater toward the different platforms. For instance, Salma recommends the shortest video snippets be featured on your Twitter channel, think 15 seconds, but you can link that to the full video on YouTube.
Also, think about HOW your audience is watching the videos. Do they listen to audio? Or do they prefer the subtitled videos? AND which platforms do they hang out most on? There are so many questions, but really it comes down to building a solid strategy of attack. Like anything, you will want to test and see which works best for you.
The Science of Storytelling: Beyond the Buzz (Dr. Carmen Simon)
Recap by Ed Heil
What good is it to craft a piece of content that no one remembers? Why is it that you remember some stories and find other stories completely forgettable? Those are some of the questions Cognitive Neuroscientist, Dr. Carmen Simon (@areyoumemorable) of Memzy, a San Francisco based content consultancy, broke down in her talk, “The Science of Storytelling.”
As it turns out, according to Dr. Simon, memorable stories have to appeal to people on three levels: Perceptive, Cognitive and Affective. Unfortunately, she says, in many cases, content creators fail in one or all three of these areas. Among the eyebrow-raising findings shared in Dr. Simon’s talk:
Stories do not guarantee memory.
Not all emotional stories are memorable, rather relevance is more important.
The more descriptive the story, the more areas of your brain are impacted.
A memorable story is never about you. It’s how you shed light on someone else’s story.
To be memorable, you don’t have to talk about emotion, you just have to talk from it.
Adventures in Emerging Channels: What We Learned from a Year With Medium, Podcasting, and Live Streaming, Meghan Keaney Anderson
Your Company Podcast Doesn’t Have to Be Boring, Kierran Petersen
Recap by Steph Marsh
If you're looking to stay ahead of the pack and take some risks, then you might want to consider firing up a podcast for your business. In the session Adventures in Emerging Channels: What We Learned From A Year With Medium, Podcasting, and Live Streaming, HubSpot’s Vice President of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson (@meghkeaney) gave the scoop on what's working – and what isn't – for HubSpot in experimenting with emerging channels, like podcasts.
From that, she shared these key ingredients to get a podcast off of the ground:
Invest in first impressions: Primarily, your host. They need to be likable. They need to have charisma. After all, they’ll be the one carrying the show and will be influencing its brand moving forward.
Don’t start with just one episode. This is the era of binge listeners! You’ve got to give them a chance to invest and fall in love. She recommends starting out with a minimum of four episodes to get the ball rolling.
Social promotion isn’t effective for podcasts. Seems odd, right? We’re all on social! But the truth is, podcasts can be inconvenient for users swiping through a newsfeed. Unlike video which catches your eye, podcasts lack visual draw. In order to stop and listen to a podcast, social media users generally have to read what it’s about, plug in their headphones, and dive in. Podcasts are easy to pass by on social and can interrupt quick browsing,
LISTEN to other podcasts. Do we even need to explain this one?
That last message is the most crucial. LISTEN to other podcasts. If Meghan didn’t emphasize that one enough, it was drilled home even further in the session that followed: Your Company’s Podcast Doesn’t Have to Be Boring. This was presented by fellow HubSpot'er, Kierran Petersen (@kpetersen1228) who works as an associate producer on HubSpot’s Podcast: The Growth Show. She came out with some very frank "dos and don’ts" of podcasting, telling the audience, once again: “Go home, and listen!”
Stopping the Massacre of MQLs of Falling Off Cliff, Melissa Alvarez
Recap by Britt Laeger
I think if we’re honest, sales and marketing alignment is something that we all, but few of us take the time to really work to create. It requires communication, process, and measurement to implement successfully. In her session, Sparkrock’s Director of Marketing, Melissa Alvarez (@melisonit) shared her small-business story of foraging through the confusion and chaos that was sales and marketing to create a process that could work for both teams.
She shared the steps that her team took to really learn what sales needed, how to improve the quality of the leads that made it to each salesperson and how to make the sales process more efficient.
Here are the steps she covered:
Increase Leads: In order to have metrics to measure, marketing has to have leads to pass to sales. The first step in the process was to create an effective content strategy that was driving a predictable amount of new leads to the funnel.
Narrow the Focus: Sparkrock found that they were trying to be too many things to too many people. They dug into personas, settled on a focused content strategy and focused on quality content that met the needs of their (more targeted) audience.
Refine the Lead Process: By shadowing sales and opening the lines of communication the marketing team was able to deeply understand the sales process and develop a strategy that would allow them to create a system that works for both marketing and sales. For them, it included the addition of a new Business Development Rep as a conduit between the two departments.
It’s All About the Money: By shifting their focus from vanity metrics, like views and shares, to the same dollar-driven goals as the sales team, the Sparkrock team was able to create better alignment and, more importantly, conversations between your sales and marketing teams.
Marketing for the Full Funnel: It’s a common misconception that marketing just gets to convert the leads and lob them over the wall to sales. Especially in the world of helpful, inbound content marketing, we don’t want to get prospects that loved your audience-centric content and then get passed over to a salesy, pushy business development rep.
Implement a Sales and Marketing Summit: We need more than weekly meetings to truly understand the people behind the jobs. Alvarez suggests hosting a yearly Summit to bring together these two teams to create better communication and synergy.
That’s all for today! We’ll be back tomorrow to close the week with day three’s session recaps! Stay tuned.