Dreams do come true – well, they do when the event goes virtual. Just last week, I got to attend INBOUND 2020. It’s a conference created by HubSpot that brings together marketers, sales executives, customer service representatives, and other professionals from all over the world. The conference had keynote speakers like Bob Iger and John Legend, breakout sessions, and opportunities to network with other people in the field.
“Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them.”
The INBOUND conference is traditionally held in Boston each year. However, like everything else, it had to move to a virtual platform due to COVID-19. While I haven’t attended too many conferences virtually, I have to say my overall experience was AMAZING! I participated in the conference as a Powerhouse Pass holder, which gave me unlimited access to all of the content pre-recorded and live, along with a few perks like a swag box, comedy show, and more.
The platform HubSpot used to host the virtual conference was incredible. I loved that people could create their own avatars and profiles. I especially enjoyed the look and functionality of the conference. Each session had its own virtual stage/room, and there were customized sponsor booths, which I thought was really cool.
One piece in particular that shocked me was the “Black Lives Matter” building in the virtual Boston city. As a Black woman, it meant a lot that HubSpot was acknowledging the fact that Black lives do, in fact, matter. Throughout the conference, they had speakers, such as Alicia Garza and Jesse Williams, talk about social injustice. While this might have been a marketing conference, I appreciated the fact HubSpot took an opportunity to educate people about a movement that affects so many lives – like mine.
What did I learn from INBOUND 2020?
The primary purpose of attending INBOUND 2020 was to learn more about inbound marketing and how I can help my company’s marketing efforts grow. Out of all the sessions I attended, there were two that really excited me, Critical Email Marketing Techniques to Crush the Competition with Jay Schwedelson and B2B Trends for the Contrarian Marketer: Why to Bet Your Business on Marketing Trends That *Don’t* Change with Ty Heath and John Lombardo.
After both sessions, I was excited to share what I learned with my team. The session about email marketing provided a lot of insight on how to create compelling subject lines, and in many ways, changed my thought process on email marketing. I especially liked the idea that you can’t get comfortable when you are marketing to your contacts. Changing when and what you send them allows you to learn more about your audience.
Another brilliant idea Jay suggested was the “graduation” process for unengaged contacts. Instead of removing them from your mailing list, you would put them on a separate list and send them big offers, and as each contact engages with you again, they would then “graduate” back to the main mailing list. The purpose of this process is so that the unengaged contacts don’t affect your open and click-through rates.
“Every email that goes out is a chance to learn something new.” – Jay Schwedelson
In the session with Ty and John, I learned three key points:
- If you want future growth, invest in brand building
- If you want profitable creative, invest in blockbuster franchises
- If you want category leadership, invest in category targeting
The main focus of their session was, “What won’t change in the next decade instead of what will change?” It’s the idea that we, as marketers, are always trying to stay on trend, but we don’t necessarily have to when we already know what won’t change. Overall, I found their presentation informative and engaging.
These are just two of the sessions that impacted me, but there were so many more sessions. If given the opportunity, I would definitely attend the INBOUND conference again. I truly learned a lot, and I enjoyed getting to listen to some of the world’s best marketers. I can’t wait to check out the rest of the sessions available to me on-demand within the INBOUND platform.
Have you attended any virtual conference this year? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
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