Less than 12 hours removed from touching down in Appleton with associate Frank Isca after 4 incredible days in Boston with HubSpot and 5,500 users and partners, my mind is still racing (OK, sleep deprivation and hangover contributing!) with all the incredible insights, reveals, tools, relationships, reminders and stories shared. Before I risk losing any of the biggest ideas I took away, here's my attempt at sharing my top take-aways from INBOUND 2013.
- Customers determine the value of what we do, and we need to price our products and services accordingly. According to Ron Baker of VeraSage Institute too many professional service providers focus on cost (especially time sheets) as the price driver, and then wonder why the customer doesn't seem to care about how much it costs to provide a service.
- HubSpot continues to amaze with the introduction of COS, Signals and Social Inbox. To paraphrase Mr. T, "Pity the competition!" If as marketers we don't love this, it's time to look in the mirror for answers.
- Greatness can't be achieved without collaboration 2.0. The best conversations we had at the show were with other HubSpot partner agencies, offering advice and exploring all the ways we might work together. That wouldn't have happened 10 years ago, but it's the new normal today. Seth Godin nailed it when he described the Inbound Marketing community as a tribe, which we all play a role in leading.
- Every business has the potential to create compelling content that can catapult their SERP rankings and make them impossible to ignore to a global market of potential customers. Pick an industry, and there's a valid example of someone outperforming their competition because of Inbound. Sonya Pelia of Thermo Fisher Scientific provided a compelling example that should be a wake-up call to large enterprise B2Bs about how targeted content can entice the most attractive prospects to opt-in.
- It's no longer an option to NOT participate in Inbound Marketing. To stay on the sidelines is to risk your organization's future. As search becomes the way most vendor research starts, to ignore this business source is to commit professional malpractice.
- Businesses today have to be enthusiastic and aggressive testers and tryers of new methods, technologies and strategies. Innovation is moving so fast that agility has to be a core competence.
- Culture crushes strategy every time. HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah gave a presentation this week on HubSpot culture that made it clear to me that their culture is their greatest source of sustainable competitive advantage.
- Good enough is the enemy of great. Each success story we heard, whether from a user or a agency partner, shared the common thread of an unwillingness to accept anything less than great, and the commitment to do what it took to get there.
- charity: water showed us that Inbound Marketing can help change the world by telling and spreading stories of humans helping humanity. And that individuals stepping up can be the most powerful force on the planet.
- As the gap widens between what we know and what we think we know, judgment and critical thinking become even more valuable and essential to success. Which is why Inbound Marketing is about people using their brains and hearts to create experiences and results that people love.
And they saved some of the best news for the end. The date's been set for Inbound 2014: September 15-18 at a new Boston venue, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Seems all the success HubSpot is experiencing means a bigger site is needed. Mark your calendar now. I'm confident it's an event no inbound marketer will want to miss.