Leading Results spent the week of September 3rd in Boston at the INBOUND conference that’s hosted annually by HubSpot. With 23,000 other marketers (more than last year!), we attended breakouts, keynotes, a few parties, and ate from many food trucks (how else do you feed that many people in a short time?). And while you’ll get more detailed posts from our team in the upcoming weeks, we’ve gathered the most significant highlights from each attendee for you to read here.
LinkedIn is both useful and limited for paid advertising
For Dan Kraus, the biggest takeaway was the confirmation that LinkedIn serves as a useful place in the paid marketing mix – but that the use is limited. While almost all college graduates who want to join the workforce are on LinkedIn, the platform is a poor choice for reaching non-college-educated workers or candidates.
The three best uses for paid LinkedIn advertising are:
- High-value B2B lead generation
- White collar recruiting
- Higher education student recruiting for advanced degree programs
And while LinkedIn has progressed in its advertising platform, it still suffers from some deficits, most noticeably:
- It’s expensive
- You can’t control the devices your ads are shown on
- You can’t day-part your ads
- You can’t do lookalike audiences
- You can’t retarget
LinkedIn also isn’t a destination site like Facebook, so the time spent on the platform by visitors is limited, averaging 28-32 minutes per week (compared to Facebook’s 9+ hours). This limited time on the site/in the app is likely reducing the inventory available for advertising and resulting in the substantially higher cost-per-click LinkedIn charges.
So, LinkedIn by itself as a channel for lead generation has limited value. If your product/service/target matches the above best uses, put it into the mix, but it works best when coupled with a channel or medium that allows for retargeting.
Reusing content is critical in all mediums
For Matt Starnes, INBOUND 2018 was all about the breakout sessions. Choosing a favorite was difficult. (He felt like a judge on his wife’s favorite TV show, So You Think You Can Dance.) Although he enjoyed everything, Matt’s favorite session was ‘Conquering Consistent Content: Tools & Tactics to Become a Prolific Blogger, Podcaster, & Broadcaster.’ Long title, but what it boils down to is contact stacking, which makes planning and creating content easier.
The crux of the session (lead by Colin Gray, CEO and founder of the Podcast Host), is a three-prong approach to content:
Simple recipe: Write a blog, turn it into a video (or videos), and then turn it into a podcast. All this is from one piece of content!
Your brand needs a sound
‘Music, Sonic Logos, and the Sound of Your Brand in Video’ was Trevor McWilliams’s favorite session. David Scott discussed standing out in a time when access to content, especially video content, is at an all-time high. Standing out means two things: 1) getting the viewer to remember a video’s content and 2) getting the viewer to remember the brand associated with the video. Content must first be helpful to our audience, but if they don’t remember who provided the content, it’s a loss for brand recognition.
Enter the art of sound. Sound unconsciously triggers emotions and memories. For example, the movie Jaws – all you need to hear is the first two notes.
You can create a similar effect by consistently producing quality videos that viewers associate with learning. Add an intro and outro sound to your videos and people will soon connect that sound with your brand. Between 2-12 notes is best, and you can create your own sounds, pay someone to make you a sound, or use a stock sound. (Although another brand may use the same stock sound.) The key is consistency – the same sound in every video.
Bots are the future of task automation and engagement
Darling Jimenez’s biggest takeaway from INBOUND 2018 was bots and the movement to utilize them, along with messenger apps, to help marketers automate tasks and promote engagement. There are 1.3 billion(ish) users who interact daily with Facebook Messenger. As a marketer, you can use this platform to communicate with customers and prospects where they are – instantly and without an ‘operator.’
The online magazine Medium predicts that Facebook Messenger is the new content delivery platform. You can send images, PDFs, documents, and conversation-styled information to users instantly and with ease. For users, Messenger offers a self-service opportunity – answers to their questions 24/7. Bots and messaging are the next big shift in marketing. (You can read her whole blog on the subject here.)
Videos aren’t one-size-fits-all on social media
Katie Lorenz attended ‘Using Video in Different Social Platforms’ and learned what we already knew: you need a video marketing strategy. It’s not as simple as it sounds, though. If your video isn’t catered to the platform where you post the video, it might not get the ROI you want. Each social platform has a different use – Facebook for gathering breaking news, Instagram for keeping up with what’s new and interesting, Twitter is for short musings, and YouTube for education. It’s wrong to assume the same video would perform equally well on all platforms.
Takeaway: tailor your videos to the platform you’re posting on for a better chance of making your strategy work.
Improv comedy can apply to business
Claire Motz started INBOUND 2018 off with ‘4 Improv Concepts to Building a Culture where People and Creativity Thrive.’ The speaker, Kathy Klotz-Guest of Keeping it Human, offered four best practices from improv comedy that can apply to a business setting to help build creativity and create a thriving culture.
The first concept is psychological safety. Building a culture of trust and security allows people to try new ideas because they aren’t afraid of retaliation from others if the idea doesn’t meet their standards or fails.
The second concept is keeping a “Yes, and” mindset. Listen, agree, explore, and add to every new idea. Avoid stopping an idea before it has ample time to be explored.
The third concept is about storytelling and using inspiring stories to show your employees and customers you have their backs. The best stories come from outside your comfort zone, so explore creative ways of getting those stories.
The fourth concept is collaborative play. Practice role-playing to learn to think outside the box. And reward learning, not just outcomes.
These four concepts can help businesses expand their thinking, generate new ideas, and create a thriving culture.
Everyone needs perspective
Kim Hughes's most significant takeaway from INBOUND 2018 wasn’t product- or strategy-related, it was a reminder that everyone occasionally needs perspective.
We’re so driven by obligations, deadlines, and tasks that sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves, and INBOUND forced Kim’s eyes open on the need to pay attention to herself. Scott Harrison, a keynote speaker and the founder of charity: water, is, like Kim, a reformed event and nightlife marketer and event planner. Though Scott took his vices to extremes, they both lived a life of late nights, the spotlight, and a party atmosphere that left little time for self-care. Several years ago, Kim’s career purpose dissolved as she transitioned her focus to a new career passion.
Scott’s habits and lifestyle caught up to him, and he refocused to pursue a life of purpose, founding a non-profit in which 100% of profits go directly to the cause, giving millions of people access to fresh water.
The other speaker who spoke to Kim’s soul was Alex Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star and former New York Yankees shortstop and third baseman. (If you’re not a baseball fan, he’s Jennifer Lopez’s love interest and one of the faces on Shark Tank.) A-Rod (as he’s affectionately known) is also a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist.
As much good as A-Rod has done, personally and professionally, the PED (performance-enhancing drug) scandal of 2014 will never be forgotten – he was suspended for 162 games. Instead of shying away from the scandal, A-Rod faced it head-on, admitting to taking PEDs and acknowledging that the decision cost him $40 million and potentially a spot in the Hall of Fame.
INBOUND reminded Kim we all need to stay sharp personally to become our best professionally. To own our mistakes. To exercise our minds and bodies. To give unselfishly, without the expectation of receiving. And to own our pure authenticity and follow our life’s callings.
As you can see, INBOUND 2018 was an intense experience for the team at Leading Results and, we’re sure, the other 23,000 attendees. Stay tuned for more blogs about strategies/tactics we learned at HubSpot’s INBOUND conference! (And hey – you should go next year! We even have helpful tips to get ready.)