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What We Learned at INBOUND17: Make Marketing Real Again

By: Andrea Panno

What did we think we were going to learn at HubSpot’s INBOUND17 last week? New features of HubSpot, the future of inbound marketing and better ways to reach our buyer personas with content.

What did we end up learning at INBOUND17? New features of HubSpot, the future of inbound marketing and better ways to reach our buyer personas with content. Yep, INBOUND17 met our expectations. But with such thought-provoking ideas and inspiration underscoring each objective, INBOUND17 didn’t just meet our expectations – it exceeded them by a landslide.

The hairs on my arms are still raised.

And it wasn’t just because the event floor was a millennial’s dream, bustling with free massages, hammocks, charging stations, food trucks, bean bags and artwork. It was because every single session, from Michelle Obama’s keynote speech to ‘How to Win at B2B Facebook Marketing’, was united under one theme: make marketing real again by throwing out the fluff and focusing on the truth.

Learn how HubSpot suggests adding authenticity back into these most talked-about inbound tactics.

How to Make Content Marketing Real Again

The time to double down on the quality, not quantity, of your content is now. There’s so much noise on the Internet, that the last thing your audience needs is another half-baked article on tips or tricks. Quality means your content has relevance, resonates with readers, solves problems and builds trust.

HubSpot discussed two major ways to accomplish this: storytelling and pillar pages. Storytelling uses novelization to take your reader through a fictional character’s journey and his or her subsequent emotions. Pillar pages offer a new approach that lets you cover a topic at the highest level (for example, What is Content Marketing?) and also dive deep with ten or more subtopics that describe its execution, benefits, frequently asked questions and so forth.

How to Make Account-Based Marketing Real Again

Account-based marketing (ABM) has been a hot topic around our agency and market lately, so it didn’t come as a surprise to us when INBOUND17 placed a heavy focus on the trend. ABM casts a small net on a group of accounts your company wants to secure as new business. As marketers, we know better than anyone just how many emails people receive on a daily basis; in fact, we’re the culprit some of the time!

But HubSpot didn’t suggest removing email marketing from the account-based marketing mix. Rather they suggested cutting through the clutter by sending only quality content and really understanding and underscoring our recipients’ emotions and feelings in the subject line. We often like to complicate things when really, the secret to ABM success lays in the adage, ‘people won’t remember what you say or do, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.’

How to Make Social Media Real Again

Social media and its recent reputation as the commissioner of fake news was a major topic of discussion at INBOUND17. What resonated the most about social media during the event was its unfortunate role in creating partial human connections. In other words, we’ve become programmed to think that likes and retweets are quality, substantive interactions.

HubSpot suggests we rehumanize social media by bringing real conversation back into the channels. Facebook messenger was underscored as one of the biggest opportunities to leverage in 2018, as more and more people are using website chat boxes and messenger apps to ask questions, communicate with brands and in some cases, even convert as a customer. The low-risk nature of messaging gives your customers a convenient place to connect without feeling pressure to convert.

How to Make Video Marketing Reel Again (See what we did there?)

Video marketing has traditionally been an expensive medium that many marketers have shied away from – but INBOUND17 was here to reverse that mindset. People take videos on their phones all day and post the content to social media – it’s an extremely common practice that B2B marketers need to tap into. We can’t avoid the medium because we think it requires professional equipment, when in reality, people are watching dozens of videos a day taken on the very phone that’s in your hand.

HubSpot even clued us into dozens of inexpensive iPhone or Android attachments that make any amateur video look and feel professional. Also, if your video is under two minutes or between six and twelve minutes, it’s ripe for maximum engagement.

In our line of work as creatives, writers, visionaries and account managers, the need for inspiration is never-ending.

In addition to all the tips above, the other huge takeaway we got from INBOUND17 was the need to ‘create the conditions for creativity.’ This idea was presented by Refinery29’s Piera Gelardi and explained how everyone has certain things or ‘conditions’ they need to let their creativity flow. It could be brightly painted walls, background music, solitude or chaos. It’s something worth identifying for yourself if you want to pump more creativity into your marketing. In fact, it’s the root of authenticity.

Were you at INBOUND17 and are you ready to take your marketing to the next level? Or did our biggest INBOUND17 takeaways inspire you to push the boundaries on your current marketing tactics? Either way, we want to talk to you. We want to learn what your current marketing efforts look like and help you determine the best ways to add authenticity back into your brand. Schedule a chat with us below.

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Are you interested in B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.