Last week, some of our ferocious marketers and business development team made like sponges and soaked up all the juicy new marketing tips and tactics we could at HubSpot’s hottest event of the year: INBOUND.
#INBOUND18 brought together 24,000+ attendees (from content marketers and SEO analysts, to directors of production and CEOs, and beyond) to learn, be inspired, network and grow—all in the name of inbound marketing. Here’s what our team enjoyed the most from this year’s event:
A Shift in the Inbound Methodology
INBOUND has always been a great opportunity for the DZ team to really grow—from rekindling relationships with fellow marketers and other agency owners, to engaging in world-class sessions and keynotes, and more. But one of the more valuable things we got out of this year’s event was learning about a major shift in the inbound methodology, as presented by HubSpot’s CEO, Brian Halligan. It was refreshing to hear that HubSpot, and inbound marketers alike, are taking a hard stance on putting the customer experience at the heart of their business through the new HubSpot Flywheel.
At Designzillas, we have long prided ourselves in our disruptive approach to customer service, but the new Flywheel approach to inbound marketing has helped outline a framework and methodology to give business owners the ability to drive business decisions inside of Sales, Marketing, and Service departments. With some radical changes to the HubSpot software, they are investing in providing us the tools to keep our customers at the center of our focus while maximizing retention and growth opportunities—a big win-win for everyone.
Consumer ignorance is no longer a viable sales and marketing strategy.
— Marcus Sheridan
Doing the Right Thing—Especially When It’s Hard
In the keynote to follow, Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot CTO and Founder) shared an often-overlooked concept of doing the right thing when it’s hardest to do—and that really hit home. As obsessed with growth that we may be as marketers, it cannot come at a sacrifice to our customers. Just because a business has the right to do something, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing for its customers. So do the right thing—especially when it's hard—and you'll automatically differentiate. HubSpot recently rolled out their Customer Code which was an exceptional stance on building a better future between businesses and customers.
Do the right thing. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
— Dharmesh Shah
There’s got to be a better way to grow — a growth attained without compromising the customer experience. We need to grow better.
Fueling Growth Through an Evolved Customer Success Strategy
One of our favorite speakers this year was Alison Elworthy—VP of Customer Success at HubSpot. Her breakout session, “How to Evolve Your Customer Success Strategy to Fuel Brand Growth”, touched on a ton of great information from a customer success standpoint. Some of the main takeaways were:
- Customer success is different than customer support.
- Customer success is nurturing, valuing and actively growing a relationship with the intention of it lasting a lifetime, whereas customer support is reactive—the intervention of when things go bad.
- Customer success is a team sport that everyone plays a role in.
- Marketing + Sales + Operations + Administration + Everyone Else = Departments That Should Be On the Customer Success Roster
Companies must invest in customer success. Being proactive allows them to be future-proofing their business.
Networking for People Who Hate Networking
In Strother Gaines’ breakout session—“Networking for People Who Hate Networking (That’s Everybody...)”—he called out the elephant in the room about networking: it can often feel forced and manufactured. That’s where Gaines challenged us to do something “crazy” and, you know, just be ourselves. Authentic networking is meaningful networking and that means being your authentic self is the most important thing to do for your brand.
Here are the highlights of his session:
- Vulnerable is valuable. Focus on what’s meaningful to you and things that come from the heart to attract organic, magnetic connections.
- Save your speeches for those that connect authentically with you. Those are the people you’ll want to work with anyway.
- Authentic networking not only attracts more connections, it also sustains more of them in the long run.
- Elevator pitches are garbage. Have an honest conversation instead.
- There are many levels of engagement. You can react (show up and go with the flow), plan (have a set of questions to ask based on the event’s topic or people you may know attending), respond (think about a response—don’t have to just respond instantly), or improv (build your conversation around the “yes, and” improv technique).
Taking Risks (and Giving Yourself Permission to Take Them)
Another great takeaway was from keynote speaker, Beth Comstock, who shared some inspiring advice that encourages us to push the boundaries we often set for ourselves.
- When you hear “no” to your ideas, take it as “not yet”.
- Keep telling your story until you get tired of it. That’s when people start listening.
- Don’t wait for people to give you permission. If failure isn’t an option, then neither is success.
What would I say to my 30-year-old self that could have helped her then? You will fail. But you will learn. That will open up the path for success. Don’t tell me you’re not empowered. There is power that is yours. Take permission yourself because no one is going to give it to you.
— Beth Comstock
You don’t just work submissively for a company you tolerate, you agitate—sometimes rebelliously—to make something great. If failure is not an option, then neither is success. Risk is what wills us to act on imagination, and it’s what ends up saving us.
Marketing in an “Age of Consolidation”
We used to live in an “age of information”. In this age, we saw the internet as the great equalizer—anyone who produced great content earned credibility. Today, powerful algorithms created by giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google are changing that.
In a breakout session by Meghan Keaney Anderson (HubSpot VP of Marketing), she shared some of the new rules of getting found on Google and how to engage on Facebook. Here are some highlights:
- Google and Facebook now have direct influence over 70% of internet traffic.
- Structure matters far more than content.
- Remove all internal links except those that link to the pillar or other cluster posts.
- Consolidate content—if there’s too much on your site that could otherwise be consolidated, do it.
- Update and optimized high-traffic posts with low conversion rates.
- Identify broad topics and create related posts to tie all similar topics together.
- You need a budget and a lot of testing.
Getting a Temp Check on GDPR
If you’re one of the many marketing and web agencies across the globe that was freaking out about the May 25 GDPR compliance deadline earlier this year, you weren’t alone. Even for those of us who were proactive in ensuring we (and our clients) were compliant, it was still a huge ball of stress because we were dealing with something brand new that had lots at stake. (If you’re not familiar with what GDPR is and how it can affect businesses online, check out our “What You Need to Know About GDPR Compliance” article for more info.)
Mike Piddock, founder of Glisser, decided to dig deep into what we can still be doing today to ensure compliance, highlight which companies delivered the message of data consent well, and share some helpful strategies to ensure all our future marketing efforts are set up for success in a post-GDPR world. Here are the highlights from his session:
- GDPR Paranoia – Don’t cave in to the GDPR paranoia and ruin the onboarding experience for your users. You don’t need 1,000 fields on your forms. We should be slimming them down, and making them more applicable to what we need that information for.
- Don’t Leave Your Head in the Sand Either – You also don’t want to be the people on the other side of the spectrum and do nothing. GDPR is here to stay and pulling up the drawbridge and acting like it doesn’t exist isn’t the way to go either.
- GDPR Is a Positive Thing – GDPR is actually good. You want to ensure your customers are very clear and consensual to the information that’s being collected from them.
- What to Do Now – A good way to help stay compliant is to assess your data. If someone hasn’t interacted with you in 6 months, take them off your list and mark them as inactive. Analyzing your data can help you understand who’s interacting with you online, where they’re dropping off and what forms are being avoided (and need to be altered).
That’s a Wrap!
We had an awesome time at #INBOUND18 and are excited to continue sharing more information about what we learned in more detail. Stay tuned for related articles that deep dive into topics like these coming soon!
Hearing about growth-driven design for the first time? Learn more about the three pillars of GDD and how this methodology can help you solve your greatest marketing challenges.