We can’t stop talking about all of the amazing things we learned at HubSpot’s INBOUND Conference (sorry, colleagues). Here are some of the most memorable takeaways from our sessions:

  1. Your content is the soul of your business. A simple statement from Marcus Sheridan that makes you pause and think. Content really is the soul of your business —it says who you are and it helps people (your audience) connect with you.
  2. BIG Data should be simple. The world of “big data” in which we are all operating, simplicity rules the day, according to Noah Fleming, author of the book Evergreen: Cultivate the Enduring Customer Loyalty that Keeps Your Business Thriving. If you can’t explain to a 12 year-old what it is you want to learn from the data and why you’re learning it, then you don’t need the data.
  3. Social needs to be useful before anything else. When it comes to social media, don’t worry about timing of deploying messaging and all the minutia. Worry about having something useful to say in the first place. Also remember that you/your company do not need to be everywhere… fish where the fish are. Don’t blindly conform to the new world pressure of “needing” to be on every platform.
  4. Emotion over rationale. We engage with products first through emotion, not rational reasons. As a marketer, you have to change what someone does and you have to change how they feel, not just how they think. So reflect on your customer. Go past the “persona” and get to the person. Simplify your promise. Deliver it consistently on every point of contact with the market.
  5. Content is still King. Though, relevance is Queen. There were many unique ways this was presented. One of our favorites? Dr. Carmen Simon’s session that looked at the neuroscience of memorable content. “Your customers remember only 10%. Is it the right 10%?”
  6. Inbound Marketing is *just* another tactic. Inbound marketing, like PR, social media and advertising, is just another tactic. It’s not a cure all or a standalone tactic to be implemented at the expense of other valuable, proven communications tools. Some enterprises should consider it as part of an integrated, long-term, brand-building strategy.
  7. Cheaper is the wrong reason to choose Inbound Marketing. While inbound marketing by itself doesn’t require a national media buy or a large complex production team, it is not inexpensive. Sure the content you develop must be relevant, but it must also be high quality and consistently “remarkable.” Readers must take notice of your content and find it worthy of commenting and ultimately sharing.
  8. Remarkable content doesn’t just happen. Creating “remarkable” content takes creativity, skill and a high degree of subject expertise— or lacking that, fresh insights supported with primary research about the subject. So whether you choose an agency or an in-house solution, prepare to invest time and budget dollars to get content that your target audience will notice, share and/or link to their blog, social media property or website.
  9. Clutter is your worst enemy. Yes, “clutter” is a marketing 101 term, but even the most experienced marketers need to be reminded of just how detrimental it is to their efforts. Case in point: website conversion. Too many websites become rife with clutter. Ask yourself: When someone arrives at a specific webpage, what one thing do you want them to do the most? Web user experience research has proven – time and again – that every additional call-to-action cannibalizes the other(s).
  10. Understand social relationships strengths on social media. How many of your followers do you actually know on Twitter? Now what about Facebook? When considering the right platforms for your brand, it’s important you consider not only where your audience is, but how they engage with each other while they’re there. Word of mouth is a powerful force, and you need to know how to optimize it.
  11. 21st Century PR should be measured by 21st Century Methods. For decades, PR practitioners have sought clever ways to demonstrate the ROI of their efforts. (Yes, you. The one still using Ad Equivalency Values and Multipliers.) First, social listening tools can measure the total “buzz” and sentiment happening across the web. Secondly, you can measure and analyze spikes in your website’s organic traffic, referral traffic, social media traffic and direct traffic as a result of your publicity. You can even measure audience message comprehension and organizational trust with surveys administered automatically on your site. If you want to prove your worth, set out to try some of these new forms of measurement.
  12. Know where you’re going. All of the marketing tactics in the world aren’t going to help your brand unless you know what it is (and we’re talking REALLY know). Live it, breathe it, dance it, share it and then you will find success. You can’t (and shouldn’t) be everything to everyone.

Stay tuned for further insight into our learnings, and reach out with any questions or comments below.