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3 Tech Takeaways from INBOUND 2017

October 17, 2017

So, let me set the scene for you … Sunday morning, 7 am … I join four of my coworkers in a 15-person van (leg room, major key) and begin our drive in Concord, NC. Fourteen hours later, we ended our journey in Boston, MA for the annual HubSpot INBOUND conference. With four long days packed full of amazing speakers and great content ahead of us, we got some sleep.

We all had different sessions planned so we could learn about our respective fields in marketing; my role at Leading Results includes graphic design and web development, so anything related to technology peaked my interest.

Inboung 2017.jpg

These are my three tech takeaways from INBOUND 2017.

Artificial Intelligence

This is a scary topic to a lot of people for a couple of reasons. The first is that most people don’t know a lot about it and, as humans, we’re afraid of the unknown. A more prominent reason is that people think AI will replace their jobs; at INBOUND, they explained how artificial intelligence isn’t going to replace you – it’s going to enhance your performance and let you focus on the big picture tasks.

A major business area for AI is customer service. Artificial Intelligence I is getting increasingly smarter, which enhances the customer experience. Imagine adding a chat bot feature to your website that answers customers’ questions … anytime. Instead of 9:00-5:00 customer support, now it’s available 24/7. In addition, AI is changing from a world of pre-written answers; AI is now learning and writing its own helpful responses. These responses make it seem like you’re talking to a real person and further builds relationships with customers.

There are many other applications for Artificial Intelligence, but don’t worry – it won’t replace your job … at least that’s what they want us to think. 🤔

ABC's of InBound Marketing eBook

Video

If you aren’t using video in your marketing, you should be. We’re moving from a static world to a world full of motion. This is partially because people don’t want to read about your products or services anymore, they want you to tell them about them and even show them how they work. In one session, they put up a very compelling stat: people are 144% more likely to buy after watching a video. If that alone doesn’t make you want to consider video, we have other problems to address.

One of the best tips about making videos seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many videos don’t do it: tell a story. Don’t talk at your customers about your products’ and services’ features – show them. Show a customer going through the journey of having a problem, finding your product or service, and how it made their life easier by solving their problem.

Photography

This resonated with me because I work with photos every day, and I often find myself seeing the same photos and models on people’s websites. In our team, we’ve been talking about how to cut down on stock photos for a while now, and it’s a very good conversation to have because we don’t want to look like our competitors. I’m not saying you should hire a professional photographer – that isn’t the best financial tactic – but luckily, we live in 2017 and almost everyone has a high-quality camera in their pocket. Take pictures of the environments you’re in every day and eventually you’ll have a library of images to repurpose.

One more note on photography: can we end the headshot trend on the “our team” pages? Now, we’re just as guilty of this as the next company (and we’re working on a solution), but do these pictures make people want to work with us? We’re missing a crucial opportunity to let people know about our personalities and what it’d be like to work with us. Look for some alternatives to the uninviting headshot.

Inbound Marketing: A Fishing Story

That’s only the tip of the iceberg in regards to the content I gathered from INBOUND. If I were to tell you everything, I’d still be writing this post and you’d never get to read it, so these are my top three takeaways from my tech experience, and I recommend conducting your own research on implementing them into your marketing strategies.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from an INBOUND session: “The only way to solve a ridiculous problem is with a ridiculous solution.”

Trevor McWilliams
Written by Trevor McWilliams

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