In September, INBOUND 2018 took place in Boston, MA. This event, hosted by Hubspot, is an annual meeting of marketing minds from around the world focusing on core areas of marketing tactics, customer service, sales and empowerment. Those who attended gained insights on topics ranging from SEO, social media, content strategy and more. The event setup allows every attendee to personalize their experience and focus on the insights they are interested in gaining. We came away with four takeaways from INBOUND 2018 that we thought you could relate too.
1. Utilize the Flywheel: A modern way to measure business success.
For marketers and sales leaders alike, the funnel is the familiar and widely used model for measuring growth. However, there is a weakness that was highlighted at this year's event. A traditional funnel produces customers but doesn't consider how those customers can, and in many cases will, help you grow.
Enter the flywheel, a customer focused replacement for the funnel. Hubspot founder Brian Halligan focused his keynote around introducing the flywheel growth model to the INBOUND audience. In utilizing the flywheel, you Attract audience through the initial value in your content, Engage with those you attract to find potential customers, and Delight them when they become a customer, converting them into a promoter of your brand. By keeping a customer-centric approach and minimizing friction in each of these stages, we drive growth.
2. Personalize the customer experience.
Customers are human and building trust through value, from the moment you start engaging with them, has never been more important. At INBOUND, it was highlighted that too often legacy processes and organizational structures can get in the way. So how should marketers build trust and drive value?
According to the 2017 IDG Customer Engagement research, 90% of IT decision-makers value content tailored for them. Marketers have more ways today to personalize their content to ensure this relevancy than ever before. By utilizing marketing automation for example, you can create strategic touchpoints where you implement smart CTAs and landing pages. Or incorporate greater personalization into your social media strategy, through re-targeting campaigns that focus on guiding to a conversion directly related to the stage of the lifecycle the lead is currently in. At IDG, we work with our clients to strategically implement strategies in this same methodology through our targeting programs.
3. Content strategies are changing.
As you look to personalize your customer experience, this can have a significant impact on how you approach your content strategy. How customers consume content online has changed, especially as the technology behind search and social media continue to develop and evolve. Focusing on search, in 2015 Google made their Quality Evaluator Guidelines public. These are the actual guidelines Google's own ranking evaluators utilize to help do their job. Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness are the metrics by which Google ranks pages. For example, those with a high level of E-A-T rank higher than those who are lower.
As we mentioned in a recent blog, having a content and website strategy centered around topics that your customers focus on and provide value to your visitors is something Google actively looks for. Using newer methods of structuring your content on your website to adapt to how search has changed (such as pillar pages) directly feeds into your content strategy by prioritizing what you want to be known for, and is relevant to your target audience.
4. AI Marketing is here now and into the future.
As technology changes and tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are utilized, it's important to understand how this will impact marketing. According to Paul Roetzer, who had a session on AI at INBOUND 2018 and is the creator of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, 80% of what we do every day will be intelligently automated to some degree in the next 3-5 years. AI is everywhere from social media platforms, to marketing tools and everyday tools such as GPS. Hubspot's Product Manager Shay Redmond, discussed how they are leveraging machine learning to develop "continuous optimization" that will serve the most relevant content to a consumer. AI marketing will continue to develop as an asset to marketers, allowing new ways to automate further, test more and save time.
As we move into the future, we are excited to join our marketing peers in testing new emerging technologies and techniques to create strong customer centric marketing strategies.
BONUS: 6 Popular Marketing Tools/Resources from INBOUND 2018
- Google Trends
- Google Marketfinder