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 is underway and the StoryTeller team is here in full force. We’ll be working hard this week to bring you the news about HubSpot product announcements and takeaways from industry experts.
This week, Boston’s Convention Center is playing home to over 20,000 marketers, business owners and salespeople from over 100 countries, who have come together to share stories, be inspired and hear from others in the inbound marketing tribe.
If you are interested in the new products and features additions, check the video recap from the Product Spotlight session.
We’ve already heard from the amazing likes of Brené Brown, Piera Gelardi and the HubSpot co-founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. Brian and Dharmesh announced some pretty exciting new products, including a Customer Hub, that will be coming in 2018.
The Big Trends
It’s no surprise that the big buzzwords of the conference so far have been around Facebook ads, messaging bots and artificial intelligence, so here’s a quick overview of each one of those topics. We’ll be covering them in more detail as the week goes on.
Messaging Bots: With over 1.2 Billion active users on Facebook Messenger, this is a channel that cannot be denied. While this is still a little hard to comprehend for most marketers, the truth is that it’s here today and marketers are starting to use it. Especially if you are a B2C company, this is probably something that should be on your radar.
Artificial Intelligence: Don't get scared by the futuristic sound of this big trend, your jobs are not in danger of being overtaken by machines. However, artificial intelligence will become an increasingly important part of providing new data that will influence the decisions businesses make every day.
Facebook Ads: If you haven't heard yet, Facebook Ads are HOT. This advertising platform has gotten so much more intelligent over the years and now we are at critical mass. If you aren't leveraging the segmentation data that Facebook has, you're missing out!
Each one of the StoryTellers will be sharing their reactions, insights, and takeaways from their favorite sessions every day. Stayed tuned for more in-depth posts in the next few weeks.
The Psychology of Video (Tyler Lessard, Vidyard)
We process text in short-memory and we process video in long-term memory and that’s a primary reason video is more effective than text, according to Vidyard’s Vice President of Marketing, Tyler Lessard (@TylerLessard). Lessard’s 45-minute presentation emphasized the physiological reasons why our brains love video. Strange insight coming from a man with an engineering degree and yet, his messages were backed by neurological research that says yes, our brains love video. However, even more, Lessard pointed out that our brains are drawn to stories. Video stories.
Conversions in a Landing Page-Less World — How Technology is Changing the Way We Buy (Purna Virji, Microsoft)
With access to social media, mobile apps and bots, the way we buy is changing, according to Microsoft’s Senior Training Manager, Purna Virji (@PurnaVirji). Just think about the number of ways we can order pizza today compared to a few years ago! Virji’s presentation focused on helping marketers understand the difference between three types of AI that are changing the way people buy:
- Assistants (AI created to know humans really well) like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa
- Bots (AI created to understand businesses really well) like Growthbot and Trim
- Skills (Bots created specifically for screenless interactions) like using Alexa to order something from Amazon.
Marketers often feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the term “AI”, calling up images of futuristic movie scenes, but the truth is, it’s already here and it’s changing the way that people buy products. But just in case you were going to ask (because several people already have this week) bots and AI aren’t going to take over your job, they are going to be an important part of your marketing mix that can automate some of the tedious tasks that marketers do every day.
'Stealing' the Best Content Ideas from Reddit and Other Online Forums (Daniel Russell, Go Fish Digital)
Everything we hear these days about marking is content. Content is king. But what do you do when you have to come up with new ideas? ALL THE TIME. You don't want to keep writing blogs on the same ole thing – who is going to read that? The goal is to create valuable information that is relevant for your audience. But how do you find out what they are interested in? According to Daniel Russell (@dnlRussell), from Go Fish Digital, we should be turning to Reddit for our content ideas.
As an individual whose significant other spends the better half of his morning scrolling through his Reddit App for his "daily dose," I couldn't agree more. Familiarize yourself with Reddit, find subreddits where your audience hangs out - what's buzzing there? Take what you see and use it to spark new and creative ideas for content. It is the best way to stay fresh and relevant.
5 Copywriting Secrets, Backed by Psychology, That Triple HubSpot’s Sales Revenue (Scott Tousley, HubSpot)
Ever heard of the Zeigarnik Effect? It’s one of the secrets that Scott Tousley (@sjtousley), Senior Growth Marketing Manager at HubSpot shared in his Tuesday Session. The effect states that people remember uncompleted tasks or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. As humans, it's psychologically uncomfortable to not finish something we've started. That's interesting and all, but how can this be used from a marketing perspective. Click here to find out!***
Don't worry, we didn't forget to add a link there. This is an example of the implications of the Zeigarnik Effect. When telling engaging stories to your audience, don’t always give away the ending without requesting action. Rather, make them click on a CTA, fill out a form or go to your blog to get the rest. The biggest caveat: your story must be engaging or they won't care enough for the Zeigarnik Effect to be useful.
Try testing this approach — send an email to a group and A/B test giving them the whole story versus omitting the ending (with a CTA) and see what the results are. You may be surprised!
Smarketing: How HubSpot Drives Sales & Marketing Alignment (Juliana Nicholson, HubSpot)
Whether you have hundreds of sales reps and a large marketing team or a small to mid-size business with lean sales and marketing functions, it’s essential that you achieve smarketing best practices. What is Smarketing? In a nutshell, it’s aligning your sales and marketing teams so that both sides work towards accomplishing the same goals or sales enablement. Why? Because companies with sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual revenue growth. Tweet This
Juliana Nicholson (@JB_Nicholson), Sr. Field Marketer for HubSpot pulled back the curtain on how marketing and sales set expectations and alignment throughout the HubSpot organization which drives thousands of leads each month. Here are a few tried and true key strategies any organization can benefit from tightening up your sales and marketing alignment:
- Marketing Goals + Sales Goals = Company Goals: Remember, you’re all on the same team. If you don’t have a common playbook make sure you create a template BEFORE you create a campaign, that unifies both teams. It’s important that you clearly identify the mission, strategy, plays, targets, and omissions (make sure you are laser-focused and OMIT anything that doesn’t strategically help you accomplish the mission).
- Service Level Agreements: Get on the same page. You not only need macro alignment but individual department alignment as well. Know what marketing’s specific targets are for driving demand (leads and MQL’s) and what revenue targets sales is charged with closing. Agree on what good leads look like and define responsibilities across the funnel.
- Communication Strategy: Make sales and marketing roles easier with clear communication and have more than one channel of communication.
- Email: Marketers, when crafting your internal emails to sales, think like a marketer. Make it easy for sales to easily skim the email content, think about consolidating your emails into a weekly or monthly newsletter to provide easy-to-access updates.
- Meetings: Get everyone on the same page with team meetings.
- Slack: Create a sales and marketing Slack group inviting sales reps, product experts, customer service, engineers, marketing as a way to centralize communication, crowdsource information, and provide quick access to questions. (By the way, there are over 5 million people using Slack every day!)
Working together, aligning roles and goals, will benefit not just individual teams, but the entire organization.
Facebook TV: How to Maximize Your Reach & Results Using Video (Mari Smith, Facebook)
It's no surprise video has exploded in the world of inbound marketing, but covering the rise of that medium alone would take more than one session. What Mari Smith (@MariSmith), Facebook Marketing Expert, highlighted in her Tuesday morning INBOUND session was its prevalence in social media, primarily Facebook. In her session, she highlighted the reasons for the uptick of video on social. Those primary factors being; smartphones, shorter attention spans, binge-watching, the importance of context and the thrill of novelty. Makes sense, right? We've all been influencers in at least one of those factors.
The statistics from her session made you want to pick up a camera the second you get home from INBOUND. For instance, she told us that eighty-percent of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog. Yikes! She also shared in her session that Facebook Watch is determined to rise above Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Plus, you've got recent quotes from Mark Zuckerberg who predicts: “Video will be a much bigger driver of what we’ll do over the next 2-3 years than Messenger and WhatsApp." Feeling enlightened? Learn more about this session, here.
Stay Tuned for More
Tomorrow is just the second day of the conference, so stay tuned, we'll be back tomorrow with more great ideas, concepts, and topics from our sessions. Have questions? Leave us a comment!