ubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference is one of the fastest-growing business events in the world. This year, more than 26,000 attendees came to Boston from all over to attend the event.
At New Perspective, we place great value on professional development, which is why we send our team to INBOUND every year. INBOUND gives our team the chance to meet with other marketers and to continue to grow and adapt to the modern marketing world.
We had a great time at INBOUND 2019, and we wanted to share all that we learned. So to celebrate the 7th year of the event, here are our top 7 key themes from INBOUND this year.
7 Key Themes from INBOUND 2019
1. Customer Experience is Number 1
When it comes to digital marketing, customer experience is still king in 2019.
Dan Gingiss is an international speaker and customer experience expert. He is the author of “Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media.”
During his talk, Gingiss emphasized that simply creating content is not enough. Instead, brands should focus on providing an unforgettable experience for their audience.
To do this, brands must adopt the W.I.S.E approach:
- Witty: Being witty means to stand out by being clever. Finding a new way to present your information is sure to engage your audience.
- Intentional: Positive experiences are not created by accident. How do you want customers to feel about your brand?
- Shareable: The experience you create has to be easily sharable by others. For example, create a brand hashtag or give personalized thank you cards to your clients.
- Extraordinary: Think outside the box. What can you do to add extra value to the customer experience?
2. Face Your Fears and Grow Stronger
Everybody is scared of something.
And you know what? That’s okay. Overcoming your fears can be the bridge to unlimited growth and success.
Dharmesh Shah is one of the co-founders of HubSpot. During his INBOUND talk, he gave a powerful speech on the power of facing your fears as a business. According to Shah, brands that don’t achieve their potential share 5 common fears:
- Fear of commitment: Nothing kills your business more than doubt and hesitation. Make a commitment to something, otherwise, you compromise on everything.
- Fear of differences: Shah discussed how a lack of diversity was a major mistake in the early years of HubSpot. Building a diverse team is not only okay—it’s better!
- Fear of change: How customers and employees want to connect with brands is changing. The future is flexibility and remote work—for example, Hubspot currently has 200 remote employees.
- Fear of disappointing: It’s best to avoid offering too much choice for your audience. Don’t be scared of disappointing a few of your customers by focusing on some products more than others.
- Fear of inferiority: Accept that there will always be competition. Build trust with your customers and focus on delivering the best experience.
Take a look at Darmesh’s great speech to hear more about these common fears:
3. Be Authentic!
Want to know the secret to successful branding? Simple: be authentic.
A great personal brand should tell a genuine story about your personality, skills, and values. Ask yourself: what does your business stand for? What message, values, or causes does it defend? How do you plan on making the world a better place?
Christine Ntim is the founder of the Haiti Tech Summit. Her business strives to find solutions to worldly challenges via entrepreneurship and tech. During her talk, she explained how authenticity was key to becoming a brand influencer.
— Dan Gingiss (@dgingiss) September 6, 2019
According to Ntim, she was able to build her business by applying the “Triple-A” rule:
- Attract: Attract your audience with your personality, topic, and passion.
- Automate: Think about how you can scale your communication and automate your process.
- Amplify: Use the power of social media and virality to grow your community.
She also described the benefits that come with monetizing your personal brand:
- Independence: You’ll create wealth and be self-reliant.
- Influence: You’ll be able to shape the future, connect with important people and offer great experiences.
- Impact: You’ll get to have an impact on the world and make a difference.
4. Don’t Stand Out—Be Chosen Instead!
Standing out from the crowd is not enough anymore in 2019. Successful personal brands don’t chase opportunity—opportunity chases them.
What do Elon Musk, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Oprah have in common? They all have followers who are passionate about their every move. They don’t need to look for new business—instead, people come to them for offers or business ideas.
Marc Ensign is a leadership speaker who helps his clients improve their personal brand. He explained that if you want customers to choose you, you need to reframe how you define your buyer persona. Here are three important questions to ask yourself:
- Who am I here to save? vs. Who is my target audience?
- What’s keeping them awake at night? vs. What problems do they have?
- How can I help them in a way that is unlike anyone else? vs. How can I solve their problems?
3 critical #branding questions:
1. Who am I here to save? vs. Who is my target audience?
2. What’s keeping them awake at night? vs. What problems do they have?
3. How can I help them in a way that is unlike anyone else? vs. How can I solve their problems?#INBOUND19 pic.twitter.com/EUDpKcnM8y
— Dan Gingiss (@dgingiss) September 5, 2019
5. Storytelling is Still Important
Storytelling has been around for thousands of years, and there’s a reason why. From teaching lessons to our children to connecting with your audience, storytelling a powerful tool to get your message across.
Chip and Joanna Gaines are the founders of Magnolia, first launched in 2003. Over the years, they have grown from a simple site for interior design to hosting their own show on HGTV.
At INBOUND 2019, they discussed the secret to their success: storytelling. Through the story of their relationship and lifestyle, they were able to grow an audience and create an empire from their TV success. They were also very open about their difficulties as a couple, especially during the 2008 housing crisis.
Umm.. y’all! @INBOUND was absolutely incredible. The menu. The venue. The seating!! Laura (pictured in the middle)! All of it. If you’ve never been, put it on your bucket list. Til next time Boston.. pic.twitter.com/X2jIcSFJcG
— Chip Gaines (@chipgaines) September 6, 2019
Kit Pang of Boston Speaks also took the time to discuss the importance of storytelling. Here are the key insights from his INBOUND talk:
- Data appeals to the head, while stories appeal to the heart. By leveraging stories, brands can successfully connect, engage and inspire their audience.
- Effective storytelling starts with passion. What are you most passionate about? Why are you excited to get up in the morning?
- Think about the problems that your audience is experiencing. How will sharing your story help others?
To craft a captivating story, Pang encourages brands to use what he calls the “XYZ” method:
- My story is about X (topic).
- What’s interesting is about it is Y (story).
- And I’m telling you this because of Z (purpose).
6. How You Sell is How You Win
Brian Halligan from HubSpot was a keynote speaker at INBOUND this year. He started off his talk by describing his evening routine, which includes listening to Spotify, ordering food from GrubHub, and falling asleep to Netflix.
What do these brands have in common? They are changing our consumer experience. They’re part of a new wave of companies called “experience disruptors” which are transforming how we do business. Experience disruptors go through 5 different adaptations:
- Experience-market fit: Experience disruptors take great products and improve them for a great experience. We can look at how Facebook surpassed MySpace for example, even though they had the same target audience.
- Remove friction: Innovative companies remove any friction during the user experience. They do this by listening to customers and their complaints.
- Personalization: Disruptive brands take a hospitality approach to their marketing. This involves personalizing the product experience for their audience.
- Sell through your customers: Experience disruptors are great at getting their customers to sell for them. One way they do this is by encouraging their clients to share content about their products on social media.
- Business model busters: Companies that succeed rethink the old business model. They find new ways to serve customers and create value.
7. Healthy Work Balance Matters Too!
Alexis Ohanian is one of the founders of Reddit and an invited speaker to INBOUND 2019. He’s a vocal critic of workaholic culture and is in favor of a healthy work-life balance for employees.
Building a family shouldn’t be an obstacle to career success. He highlighted the importance of a workplace culture that encourages family life. He dreams of an environment where men can take paid family leave as often and as long as women do.
Ohanian spoke about his personal experiences which led to this belief. In what he calls a “traumatic time for the family,” his wife Serena Williams had a difficult pregnancy—he could not imagine having to think about work. It gave him the drive to make workplace culture more family-friendly for everyone.
What Do You Think?
We had a blast this year at INBOUND 2019. We left the event with new friends and knowledge about the latest trends in marketing.
Did you attend the INBOUND conference this year? We’d love to talk to you about your experience! Which speakers did you see? What did you learn? Reach out to New Perspective—we look forward to speaking with you.