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Message Consent

Decoding the Future of B2B Marketing: Sagefrog’s Key Takeaways from HubSpot INBOUND 2023

By: Jack Clark

At this year’s HubSpot INBOUND Conference, Sagefrog had the privilege of networking with and absorbing insights from international industry leaders and experts across various marketing domains. The event was an immersive experience that offered new insights into the ever-evolving marketing landscape.

While a recap can never quite capture the grandeur of attending this event in person, we’ve distilled the conference’s wealth of knowledge into five key takeaways that are slated to shape the future of marketing strategies for our clients.

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  1. SMS Marketing Matters
  2. Sharpen Your SEO Skills (Then Do It Again)
  3. Build Brands by Embracing Authenticity
  4. How Productive Teams Impact the Customer Lifecycle
  5. Put Human Back into Marketing
  6. Leveraging Behavioral Science
  7. Reese Witherspoon’s Wisdom

Takeaway 1: SMS Marketing Matters

SMS, better known as text messaging, is a powerful marketing tool that shouldn’t be overlooked when targeting specific audiences and can be a fruitful tactic for modern businesses. While this growing marketing trend is generally easy to implement, there are some prerequisites and rules of thumb to keep in mind to avoid excessive unsubscribes or blocks.

For example, registration for SMS campaigns takes several weeks for approval, and securing legal approval for SMS consent is vital to avoid potential violations, especially given the complexities of international regulations. Building trust and loyalty is paramount while avoiding spammy practices, and maintaining brand consistency can go a long way in building these relationships with your prospects. As with effective email marketing, personalizing SMS messages is essential for effectively connecting with your audience. Consider using SMS for various purposes, from website promotions to customer service interactions, and always compare your results for optimization and work to find the most effective strategies for reaching and connecting with your unique audience.

Takeaway 2: Sharpen Your SEO Skills (Then Do It Again)

The SEO landscape is evolving rapidly, driven by Google’s AI-driven ranking algorithms. The focus has shifted decisively from rankings to revenue in this dynamic environment. Updating your SEO strategy approximately every six months is imperative to stay competitive. This entails prioritizing critical metrics like engagement and organic sales over traditional fixation on rankings and organic traffic. Successful SEO now involves targeting high-intent customers and adopting a conversion-centric approach before building authority, content, and on-site optimizations.

Essentially, brand campaigns are now performance marketing campaigns, demanding a focus on tangible outcomes like traffic and revenue. This transition necessitates the establishment of precise campaign goals, catering to incremental growth in audience capture, full-funnel dynamics, brand recognition, equity, and, ultimately, revenue. Understanding your audience’s demographic, support network, and skill level is crucial, as is crafting a compelling narrative that resonates with emotional and functional values.

Takeaway 3: Build Brands by Embracing Authenticity

Brand building remains at the forefront of marketing strategies.

Authenticity is paramount, and brands should celebrate and elevate their unique stories while differentiating themselves from competitors. Disruptive marketing is on the rise, challenging traditional B2B approaches and urging a shift towards a more human-centric “B2H” strategy. Connecting with audiences through emotional values is essential, especially with the growing influence of millennials, who comprise a majority of today’s marketing audience. It’s time to embrace storytelling, a shift substantiated by an increase in global Google searches for business storytelling. Customer storytelling is also a potent tool, and many more brand champions exist than we might realize. By aligning customer traits with brand offerings, marketing becomes more effective. This strive toward authenticity supports performance-oriented campaigns that are the way forward, focusing on driving traffic and revenue with engaging, audience-centric messaging.

3 Steps to Building and Measuring Brand Trust

Takeaway 4: How Productive Teams Impact the Customer Lifecycle

Efficiency in marketing teams plays a pivotal role in shaping the success of customer lifecycle management and brand building. Our insights at the conference reaffirmed the importance of streamlined processes and effective collaboration within marketing teams comprised of both in-house and agency experts. Organizations can significantly enhance their productivity by optimizing project ownership and decision-making processes.

One standout takeaway was the role of AI in boosting efficiency within marketing teams. AI-driven automation can alleviate the burden of repetitive tasks, allowing team members to redirect their efforts toward high-impact activities. This saves valuable time and ensures that marketing resources are deployed strategically.

Moreover, a data-driven approach emerged as a cornerstone of productive marketing teams. By prioritizing projects based on data-driven insights, organizations can identify high-impact tactics that align with their overarching company objectives. Harnessing data helps set clear benchmarks and offers valuable insights for better decision-making and strategy refinement.

Additionally, it’s crucial to recognize that customer lifecycle management extends beyond acquisition. While customer acquisition is vital, focusing on customer retention and engagement is equally essential for prolonged success. Investing in strategies that nurture existing relationships and foster ongoing engagement can lead to long-term customer loyalty and sustained or amplified business growth. In summary, achieving productivity within marketing teams requires a combination of streamlined processes, AI-powered automation, data-driven decision-making, and a holistic approach to customer lifecycle management.

Takeaway 5: Put Human Back into Marketing

Marketing should always prioritize the human element, ensuring each interaction resonates with authenticity and value. It’s not about the quantity of customers acquired but the quality of those relationships nurtured through accessibility to information, pricing transparency, collaboration among teams, personality showcasing, and live interactions.

Accessibility to information is critical, and using calculated account-based marketing (ABM) strategies can be transformative in this regard―educating C-suite executives about marketing strategies is essential as it bridges the gap between departments and aligns organizational goals.

Pricing is pivotal throughout the customer journey, influencing decisions at various touchpoints. Collaboration with sales teams is paramount, ensuring marketing efforts align seamlessly with the sales process. Embracing your team’s unique personality, as long as it remains in harmony with your brand’s authenticity, can yield remarkable results.

Consider embracing live marketing efforts while they still possess novelty. Live interactions provide real-time engagement and can set your brand apart in a crowded digital landscape. To foster deeper connections, look beyond personas and dive into the individual behind them. Craft personalized marketing campaigns that address their unique needs and aspirations. By focusing on these principles, marketing can humanize the brand and build lasting connections that drive success.

Account-Based Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: The New Approach to Integrated Marketing

Bonus Takeaway: Leveraging Behavioral Science

Emotional appeals are a potent tool in any marketer’s arsenal, proven highly effective in driving engagement and delivering an impressive return on investment. When we tap into the emotions of our audience, whether through heartwarming stories, relatable experiences, or empathetic messaging, we create a connection beyond mere transactions. This emotional bond can lead to lasting customer loyalty and advocacy.

To effectively motivate our audience, we need to understand that human psychology often responds more strongly to the fear of potential losses than the promise of gains. We can urge our customers to act by highlighting the potential risks associated with inaction. Additionally, offering choices can enhance the customer experience by making them feel in control of their decisions.

Crafting persuasive messages requires skillful use of language and reasoning. Choosing words, tone, and logical arguments can influence decisions and sway opinions. Strategic framing and anchoring can also shape perceptions and preferences that align with our marketing objectives and customer expectations. By incorporating these insights from behavioral science, we can create successful campaigns that genuinely connect with our audience.

Reese Witherspoon’s Wisdom

To top it all off, Reese Witherspoon left us with some inspiring takeaways:

Be the author of your story, and if you don’t like the stories, change who’s writing the story. Keep your promises to build trust with your audience, and remember that no one believes in your dream more than you do. Take daily actions to move your vision forward.

Ready to Elevate Your Marketing Strategy?

If you’re eager to explore how these takeaways can be applied to your marketing strategy and leverage HubSpot’s tech stack, we’re here to help. Let’s chat about enhancing your marketing efforts in alignment with the industry’s future.

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