Last week, the entire ProFromGo team shipped up to Boston for HubSpot’s Inbound 2019 conference. If you’re wondering where every marketing pro is the first week of September, it’s here. 25,000+ marketers descend on BeanTown for a week of keynote speakers, panels, breakout sessions and the opportunity to learn the newest advances in our industry.
Of course, a week in Boston with your entire team certainly has some fringe benefits, too. For ProFromGo, it’s a time to come together as a team and strengthen our bonds—whether that’s over a few lobster rolls or a night on the town. We certainly learned a lot last week, and we’d love to share some of our key takeaways. Keep reading to learn a little about Inbound 2019 and the ProFromGo team.
What We Learned at InBound 2019
Chris, Owner and CEO
This year marked my 5th Inbound conference. Every year I look forward to the educational sessions, talking to the vendors about the latest and greatest in marketing technology, but most of all, spending some time outside the office with our team.
The benefits of sharing an experience like Inbound with the team are too many to list. In addition to getting to know one another better and appreciate the unique perspectives we all bring to the collective whole—we also get our heads just far enough out of the day to delve into ideas and topics along the lines of running a smarter & healthier agency.
I'll be the first to acknowledge that I don't know everything and don't always have the best ideas. If heading to Boston for good food and good drink is all it takes to get everyone feeling rejuvenated about what we can do together, so we can all open up and share ideas to perpetually improve on our journey towards becoming one of the best marketing agencies in our region, then it's a small price to pay for increased collaboration and idea-sharing.
Alyssa, Lead UX/UI Designer
My trip to Inbound 2019, was not only my first trip to Boston, but also the first time meeting the majority of my team in-person. Working remotely, however, did not seem to affect our coworking bond in any way. With that said, it was really rewarding to spend 3 days actually hanging out and learning from my colleagues face to face. In addition to all of the great information I soaked up at Inbound, I was given an amazing opportunity to really get to know the people I work with every day, even if it’s from 250 miles away.
I think we all had a breakout session or two that got us super motivated and eager to share what we learned with the rest of the crew. The one that really got me was Denise Jacob’s presentation on collaboration, called “Co-Create: Creating Better Together.” As a remote employee, it’s important to stay in touch with your fellow creative geniuses. However, creative geniuses already face so many hurdles in terms of working together. Denise hit on issues like overcoming your inner critic, dealing with a loud coworker, and making sure that your voice is heard but that you are also actively listening. The thing that really intrigued me was something I have learned to be true throughout my career working in agencies: all ideas are worth sharing.
“Stupid ideas” are at least a starting point and through sharing, laughing, arguing, and true teamwork we are able to pull out those really great one in a million ideas. When we work together we can take “Eyebrow Dude” and turn him into “Eyebrow Dude and Tweezer Girl”. Yeah, I don’t know. You had to be there. Maybe next year!
Corey, Senior Content Strategist
In a lot of ways, I’m a pretty stereotypical writer—definitely an introvert. A conference like Inbound certainly challenges that. Being surrounded by 26,000 other people isn’t necessarily my idea of a great time and I definitely get overloaded. I attended breakout sessions and keynote addresses and got a lot out of them, but my most meaningful experiences came out of one-on-one conversations with my colleagues and other folks. I love nothing more than “getting into it” in a conversation—two people really diving into an issue.
That was my biggest takeaway. The world needs one-on-one conversations, too. There’s room for it in marketing. I take the same approach when I talk to our clients. We have plenty of meetings where the ProFromGo team meets the client’s team, but they almost always result in a few breakout sessions of their own. A big part of my job is communicating a brand’s unique voice across the World Wide Web. That starts with a conversation. I want to hear it from you. What does your company want the world to know? Let’s grab a coffee or beer and figure it out together! So, introverts of the world, don’t worry. There’s room for us at Inbound.
Yusef, Senior Developer
I’ve been to Inbound several times now. My favorite part is simply walking around to all of the different vendors, platforms and agencies who set up booths. I get to learn about their various offerings and how they can solve your problems, sure, but I also get to pick their brains and take some of those tidbits back to ProFromGo. I spent a lot of time talking to other marketing agencies. A great thing about marketing agencies is that it’s not as cut throat as other industries. We want to talk shop with each other, share ideas and war stories. It’s nice to know you’re not alone sometimes.
In particular, I tried to seek out as many agency owners as I could find. The common theme I discovered across these successful agencies was that they were all creative problem solvers before anything else. Sure, we all offer the same list of services—design and dev, content creation, digital ads management, etc, but what really sets a successful agency apart is its ability to shut up and listen to its clients, to be great consultants and help them through problems, challenges or just check a few things of the wish list.
That’s at the heart of our methodology of Growth Driven Design (GDD). Through regular communication, we want to help organizations meet their goals—whatever they look like at a particular moment in time. The whole set-it-and-forget style of marketing doesn’t help anybody. Every organization goes through changes and priorities change. Our designers and developers are just as willing to hop on a call with a client as the account execs. Marketing is all about understanding your customers and becoming an active partner in their company mission.
Paul, Account Executive
Being around so many other marketing professionals, it’s easy to feel lost in the shuffle. Just like in the office, where it’s easy to hide behind emails, Slack messages and even camera-off Zoom calls, you can really start to miss those human connections. During my time at Inbound, I found myself thinking a lot about those softer skills an account executive needs to have.
Something that really stuck out to me was the idea of “compassionate commerce.” It’s the number one trait a marketing exec needs to have in business. You’re not going to be able to solve a customer’s problems if you don’t understand them as people. Other panels I attended helped reaffirm this idea. Whether it’s a presentation, a weekly status update or just shooting the breeze, you have to know who you’re talking to. Not only does this help build a deeper connection with clients, but also prepares you to understand their customers in turn. Compassion is at the heart of every aspect of marketing. If you can show people you care and make lasting connections, the rest is easy.
Inbound 2019 was the first conference I'd ever been to, and I've been working for quite awhile. That said, the experience itself is pretty intimidating, as you just have no idea of the scale of these things until you're there. My introverted heart was pounding! From the booths on the exhibition floor to the sessions themselves, there was so much to see and do.
A bit ego-driven, perhaps, one of my personal takeaways was that I'm on the right track as a writer. A session I attended touched on not overselling or overcomplicating the way you write, which resonated because I've always tried to be conversational in my approach to communication. Just as important as that self-validation, another session taught me that as an agency, it's not about pushing a client to invest in content, it's in helping them realize WHY they need it from a problem-solution perspective.
Jessica, Digital PR Specialist
This was my first ever Inbound, and it far exceeded my expectations! The most thought-provoking session to me was the interview with Katie Couric. She discussed her life, accomplishments and projects coming down the pipeline. However, her commentary on post-fact journalism is what left the greatest impact on me as someone working in digital public relations.
Couric talked about how we now live in an age when people aren’t consuming news for facts, but instead for validation in their own beliefs. These viewers/readers/listeners aren’t interested in a quick exchange of facts; they want to take part in a meaningful conversation. This is something she keeps in mind when choosing which stories to pursue, and as digital marketers, we need to do the same.
Writing guest articles or setting up campaigns is a big part of being an effective marketer for a brand. But what are you actually trying to say with these tactics? Don’t be afraid to take part in challenging national conversations - even if you know it’s going to upset some people. If someone is turned off by what you write or by a specific campaign, don’t panic. Look at it as an opportunity to have a meaningful engagement with your customers, learn, and grow as a brand. Don’t pursue fluff, make sure your brand is interesting, thought-provoking and unafraid to engage in meaningful conversations.
Reignite Your Passion for Marketing with ProFromGo
Perhaps the best part about the annual Inbound conference is that we all come away feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back to work serving our clients. We remind ourselves that we have a passion for marketing—whether it’s copywriting, UX design or just weekly check-ins with our clients.
The ProFromGo team would love to help you and your organization meets its marketing goals. Maybe you need some help with that website redesign you’ve been thinking about, or perhaps you want to get your marketing efforts off the ground. From simple sites to HubSpot integrations, ProFromGo can help you meet your goals. Connect with us today. We’d love to hear from you!