HubSpot’s annual Inbound Conference never disappoints. It’s chock-full of brilliant speakers, intriguing new tools, exciting announcements and valuable inbound marketing insights. #INBOUND17 was no different; all of the attendees from Mojo Media Labs walked away energized and excited about upcoming changes on the digital marketing horizon.
While this was my second trip to INBOUND, I approached it with an entirely different perspective than last year, as I recently made the transition from Brand Journalist to Marketing Automation Specialist (MAS). Here are some of my main takeaways from the conference:
1. Chatbots are the Future
HubSpot Co-Founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh) unveiled the company’s sales and marketing chatbot, aka GrowthBot, at last year’s conference and it seems like he was ahead of the curve. This year, chatbots were all the rage, with multiple sessions focused on them.
According to Microsoft’s Purna Virji (@purnavirji) — in her session “Marketing in a Landing Page-Less World” — chatbots are the automation layer of the conversational world and people are eventually going to depend on them more than customer service reps or websites. But it goes further than that. Gartner tested chatbots as a shopping assistant and found that they increased profitability of 80% for businesses that used them.
2. Goodbye Forms, Hello Engagement
No forms? Say what? Inbound marketers have relied on them for years to capture visitor information and nurture them from leads into customers. But as the great Bob Dylan sung, “the times they are a-changin’.” Instead of using form submissions as the metric used to track the success of a website page or landing page, you should track engagement instead.
How? With account-based marketing software that lets you target ideal accounts, not just contacts. Using cookies and other back-end automation, you can see how often someone from a particular company visits your pages and determine who is a best-fit account. This is just one of the reasons account-based marketing software company (and Mojo Media Labs partner) Terminus was a star of the conference.
3. Authenticity Reigns Supreme
When it comes down to it, you can have all the marketing automation and tools in the world at your disposal, but if your visitors and customers don’t feel like they’re being treated like a human, they’re going to have a negative experience. According to SmartBug Media’s Jen Spencer (@jenspencer) in her session at INBOUND, buyers feel neglected and salespeople are frustrated that they’re not connecting. So what’s the solution? Here are three ways Jen says to help you market and sell like a human:
Create 1-on-1 personalized videos: Jen’s presentation mentioned that “the average retention rate for personalized videos is 35% higher than for non-personalized videos.” If you can personalize each video to make a lead feel valued, they’ll be more likely to engage with you. One way to accomplish this is with Vidyard, an innovative video hosting platform that also lets you record on-the-go.
Host small, value-first events: People want to hear real-world experiences from a peer, as well as network with each other and get their hands on something they want before anyone else. Mojo has hosted events like this and it’s a great way for people to truly understand who we are and what we can deliver as an agency.
Produce a podcast: 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast, Jen stated in her presentation. If your company doesn’t already have a podcast, it should, as this channel is growing. (By the way, did you know Mojo Media Labs has its own podcast?)
This is just skimming the surface of what one person (in one role) learned at INBOUND. Be sure to stay tuned to our blog for other inbound marketing insights!