Events: Top 5 Takeaways from INBOUND 2016
Nov 25, 2016
I’ve been in some big groups of people at concerts, rallies and the like.
But sitting in the middle of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, surrounded by 19,000 marketing and sales professionals there to soak up knowledge and motivation, was still pretty surreal.
Outside of the office, I spent time reflecting on the people I met and the sessions we all attended. Four full days of learning and inspiration in my first full-scale conference—overwhelming? Yes. But there are some standout takeaways that have helped me refocus now that I’m back in the office.
The words we are using are important.
Two of my favorite sessions were related to the importance of word choice for content creators. Beth Dunn highlighted avoiding red letter words – those that don’t align with your brand mission – as a way to help content look more like your brand. Meanwhile, Nancy Harhut shared the words that trigger most of us on a basic level to act on our email. By taking advantage of your customers’ loss aversion and helping them avoid mistakes or missed benefits, you can create content that motivates action.
Video, video, video.
As you scroll through your social media feeds, it’s likely not a surprise that video is dominating, but there’s data to back it up. While we’ve all seen the cooking how-tos, the Try Guys doing their thing or the latest hyperlapse, there’s room for B2B brands, too. Among other sessions mentioning video’s capabilities, Jeremy Goldman shared that while Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all favoring video content (and I bet LinkedIn will soon, too), there’s an opportunity to consider how to use video beyond the awareness stage, especially considering conversion or customer service intentions.
Brands are people, too.
There were quite a few A-list influencers that spoke that made me reconsider some of my motivations and goals, as well as my own brand, as the personal and professional lines fuse and blur for these individuals. Gary Vaynerchuk got everyone pumped on the hustle, and reminded me about how creativity is the competitive advantage that makes all the math and science work. Anna Kendrick provided a great reminder that your authentic voice is priceless and how important it is for brands to consider that when working with influencers. While Michael Strahan and Serena Williams talked, the issue of labels came up. Both Strahan and Williams have reinvented themselves many times over with different ventures, and inspired me to not be limited by my past experiences. Alec Baldwin reminded us all about our responsibility to the industry as marketing professionals to represent with integrity.
Great content creators create content that they like.
My own personal rock stars – Tim Urban and Ann Handley – got me thinking about what kind of content I am helping create. Urban shared his path to becoming a master creator, exploring his top viral posts. His spotlight had me thinking about the kind of content I’m obsessed with, and what characteristics I aspire to have as a creator.
Handley started her presentation by asking us to imagine we were at INBOUND 2017, and to reconsider what the standout brands did best: SLOW DOWN. By slowing down, we as marketers have a chance to think about what our audience is looking for, what is best for our business, and what we’re fulfilled by as individuals.
Everyone else is guessing, but there’s a way to do it right.
I spent about half my time in training sessions to get better at the way we use email and nurture leads. Some were more helpful than others, but in each of these trainings, I took a minute to look around the room, and realized that I wasn’t the only one with work to do, but my own experiences could still help others. Somehow, being among others with similar responsibilities and issues made my own a little more approachable. I sat with strangers to come up with solutions for ways to optimize their work and sought advice for my own issues. Taking the time to learn new tactics, start new strategies and prioritize tasks took some of daunting nature out of experimentation and planning.
Back in the office a few weeks without any blinders to keep me from the eventual “things that come up,” I’ve done my best to focus on these takeaways to keep moving forward. Anything else I should be thinking about?
If you want to get more systematic, John Lane was at INBOUND 2016 with me and shared his learnings on MarTech Transformation. It got me thinking on how I contribute to creating a collaborative system. What do you think?