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#INBOUND15 Recap: 8 of the Biggest Industry Takeaways From This Year

#INBOUND15 Recap: 8 of the Biggest Industry Takeaways From This Year Blog Feature

Ramona Sukhraj

Associate Director of Content, Strategized Initiatives That Increased IMPACT’s Website Traffic From ~45K to ~400K

September 17th, 2015 min read

inbound-2015-recap-highlightsThis time of the year, it seems like everyone’s having a family reunion.

In fact, last week, over 13,000 members of the HubSpot and Inbound Marketing family descended on Boston to catch-up and see how grandma has been doing -- Well, not exactly, but you get the idea.  

Beginning on September 8th, the annual conference, hosted by HubSpot, welcomed Marketers from all walks of life for four days of educational sessions, networking, (and of course, a healthy dose of happy hours.)

While there, attendees enjoyed talks from industry experts like Seth Godin, Oli Gardner, and Pamela Vaughan as well as celebrity names like Aziz Ansari and Marc Maron.

In between these sessions, Marketers could explore Club Inbound, where they connected with their peers, recharge their devices, fueled up on Dunkin Donuts coffee, browsed through HubSpot merchandise, or even collected some free swag from one of the vendors.

Amidst all the sights and sounds, the conference, as always, offered numerous opportunities to learn from each other and grow both professionally and personally.

Here are just a few of the key tips, trends, and themes that our team brought back from this year’s gathering.

1. Innovation is Key:

“I always come back with some big takeaways from Inbound. This year the biggest lesson for me was the importance of innovation in the workplace. Many of the sessions I went to touched on why it’s important to create an environment that fosters free thinking and the exploration of new ideas. Innovation is something that keeps our companies moving forward; it’s what helps us to differentiate ourselves from one another and stay competitive.

Todd Rowe of Google had the best session on this, diving deep into different tactics you can implement to create an innovative work environment. He looped it all back to encouraging your employees to not fear taking a risk and stressing that failure is ok as long as you learn from it.”  - Joe Rinaldi, Creative Supervisor

2. Prototyping:

"As always, Hubspot's INBOUND conference was incredibly valuable and of course, exhausting! It's always great to take time in Boston to meet some awesome new people and reconnect with vendors, clients and other agencies. This year at INBOUND, I found the sessions I chose to attend extremely actionable for my role as Account Strategist.

One of my biggest takeaways was the information I learned from Nichole Kelly in her "Lean Rapid Prototyping" session. Nichole Kelly reviewed a step by step process her team uses when prototyping any Marketing or Advertising activity for a client or themselves. Her process opened up my eyes to a new way to not only add value for my clients with more strategic decision making but also how we can more realistically predict ROI on any strategy we choose to implement towards their goals." - Erica Dube, Account Strategist

3. Sales Enablement:

To me, the biggest theme of this year’s conference was Sales Enablement. HubSpot has recognized the universal need for Inbound Marketers to become better aligned with their sales teams to better work and close leads.

They need coaching and technology to get there and HubSpot is attacking this head-on with their suite and impressive improvements to the CRM and Sidekick. It’s exciting to see the company changing the game for sales, just as they did for Marketing a decade ago.” - Bob Ruffolo, Founder & CEO

4. Your Marketing Needs to Be More Human:

“I think the biggest takeaway from INBOUND this year for me was to be more human with everything you publish - from a one-off email to social media.

From Seth Godin’s keynote, to the Sidekick updates, to a LinkedIn groups session I attended,  they all promoted content that is actually helpful and reads more like a human than robot.

The world that we live in has made it so much easier to send out massive amounts of content to people with the click of a button. It’s easy to get carried away in thinking that sending a blanket email will ‘at least get in front of everyone’ and that it’s quicker to do, but we’re not fooling anyone.  

The fact of the matter is that by spending more time writing better content and humanizing your brand, you will have a larger impact on whoever you’re trying to reach.

The people you’re trying to engage with get tons of robot-like emails every day - and as humans we need interaction with others to thrive. The best thing you can do is give them that in the content you’re sending their way.” - Katie Pritchard, Account Strategist

5. The Right Way to Keep Clients Happy:

This was my first time at INBOUND, and it was an amazing experience. Although everything left some kind of mark on me, I have to say that Robert Solomon's session, "What Clients Want & How to Give it to Them," gave me the most insight and advice to act upon.

He talked about common client criticisms and how to properly deal with and resolve them. I've already brought these notes back to my team, and we're working on creating strategies to ensure we can better avoid client issues in the future. - Kaitlyn Petro, Account Strategist

6. Growth Driven Design is the Next Big Thing:

“My one objective at INBOUND15 was to get as much information about Growth Driven Design (GDD) as possible. Between networking with other agencies, attending Luke Summerfield's info session and secret sessions I learned so much about the potential GDD has.

Talking with him about the pros/cons of GDD in relation to Traditional website design was a huge eye-opener to the potential GDD has. It's the future of the industry, so if you haven't heard about it go check out here and start learning!” - Vin Gaeta, Account Strategist

7. The Value of Industry Connections:

“If there was a moment I had to coin for INBOUND15, it would be the official launch of Luke Summerfield's Growth Driven Design Methodology to the entire Inbound community. I would've considered Luke's presentation more of a compelling performance, marking a huge shift in the way agencies are going to be retooling their client's websites.

Beyond that, INBOUND is the absolute best opportunity to connect with some really smart minds from other agencies. I spent time with leaders in Inbound sales, operations, and marketing. Those conversations always help to validate our internal efforts as well as spark some ideas for how we can do things differently or better moving forward.” - Tom DiScipio, Chief Strategy Officer

8. Female Empowerment & The Malala Fund:

“While I can definitely echo my colleagues on themes of humanizing your brand and supporting innovation, the most unexpected trend I found at INBOUND15 was that of Women’s Rights, Empowerment, and Equality.

From Amy Schumer to Sophia Amoruso, there was an undeniable sense of “girl power” throughout the Boston Convention Center and this was only made stronger by the presence of the event’s charity partner, the Malala Fund.

Started by 18-year old, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, the mission of the Malala Fund is to help secure and fund safe, quality education for girls across the globe.

Between powerful presentations from the organization, an advanced screening of the upcoming documentary He Named Me Malala, and Chelsea Clinton’s shocking statistics about the educational and professional disparities between men and women even in the US, the need for awareness and change was palpable.

With such confident, accomplished women gracing the INBOUND stage, it was hard to imagine an environment where they would have never been allowed to enter a classroom, and with the help of the Malala Fund, there hopefully never will be again.

It was inspiring to see HubSpot to partner with a cause with such a vast vision. Everyone should take some time to check out the fund’s website and see what they can do to stand #withmalala!” - Ramona Sukhraj, Content Marketing Manager

Want to learn more from INBOUND 2015?

If you couldn't make it up to Boston this year or you missed a session, check out all session notes and slides here

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