Back from #INBOUND2014 and Drinking the Coolaid

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This week I attended HubSpot’s annual conference on inbound marketing called INBOUND 2014. The conference had over 10,000 attendees, almost double the 2013 numbers and was held in the Boston Convention Center (that place is huge by the way).

The conference spared no expense and brought in several of the heavy hitters in the industry  from throughout the content marketing and inbound marketing world such as; Chris Brogan, Malcolm Gladwell, Guy Kawasaki,  David Meerman Scott, Simon Senik, Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi and Jeanne Hopkins just to name a few. All sessions had the central theme of personalization, content, promotion and tracking. If you don’t do any one of these and do them well, you are missing something.

Inbound marketing, for those that are not familiar with it, is a marketing methodology that focuses on attracting, converting, closing and delighting prospects and helping to move them down the buyer’s funnel  with helpful and educational content offered at the right time. This methodology may not seem so new to some, however the concept of closing the loop between marketing and sales and creating a fully integrated approach is what sets it apart. Instead of having four or 5 marketing tools that do not talk to each other (MailChimp, Google Anlaytics, Hootsuite and so on), a tool such as HubSpot combines them all into one platform and allows marketers to track the buyer’s activity and journey at every visit, click and download.

Utilizing digital marketing tools such as SEO, email and social media, brands can promote their content to targeted personas written for a specific stage of the buyer’s cycle. Using other tools such as analytics, CRM, lead nurturing, CMS and content marketing rounds out the concept as all these tools are integrated. Marketers for the first time can tie a specific marketing event to a sale, proving which channels produce revenue, which content produces leads and which blog attracted the first point of contact and track that prospect down the funnel to revenue. Inbound marketing has worked so well that it in fact is proven to be 61% cheaper than traditional outbound marketing efforts as stated in the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report published by HubSpot.

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As the world continues to evolve in the way it shops online, having the ability to attract customers, convert them into leads and close them into buyers and being able to track it all is only going to grow in importance. Marketers are becoming more important than sales and brands are noticing it. Dharmesh Shah, co-owner and co-founder of HubSpot went as far as to say that marketer’s salaries will increase dramatically over the next coming years. I believe it after this week after what I saw and witnessed. Its a great time to be a marketer.

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