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The Phonexa sales and marketing teams descended on Boston last week to attend HubSpot’s massive Inbound conference to meet industry professionals, refine our marketing expertise, and get inspired by forward-thinking tech, media, and business luminaries.
The conference, which takes place over four days at the Boston Convention Center and draws over 24,000 attendees, gave content writers like myself and the rest of our team the opportunity to unplug from many (but sadly not all) of our daily responsibilities and take a valuable step back to reflect on what concepts and strategies can help create more effective marketing.
In doing so, we had the opportunity to not only better manage our own marketing strategy, but also help Phonexa users as they use data, creative content, and paid ads to improve their marketing return on investment.
Marketing and Sales Insights
Inbound is all about marketing, but what many of our team members found valuable were discussions about the intersection of marketing and sales. The truth is that it can be all too easy for marketing departments to get caught up in strategies and creative briefs while neglecting to ensure that they are properly aligned with sales team.
While some great marketing can inspire the public and help with brand exposure, the number one goal of marketers should always be to drive sales. Here are a few of our team members who came away from Inbound with an enhanced understanding of how sales and marketing departments can work together.
Director of Business Development
Favorite Inbound Session: “How to Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams with a 90 Day Roadmap” with speaker Samantha Brenner
“Samantha’s talk was one of my highlights from Inbound. My biggest takeaway from this session was the general concept of aligning a sales and marketing strategy based off 90 day intervals. Doing this creates cohesive initiatives where sales, branding, message and content, marketing strategies, and product roadmaps align to create a powerful unified strategy.”
Director of Sales and Client Relations
Favorite Inbound Session: “How to Write Newsletters People Actually Want to Read” with speaker Margo Aaron
“I really enjoyed Margo’s insistence on creating marketing materials that approach people in a conversational way. We all can get caught up in technical jargon when we discuss our product and all the amazing things it does. Her session was a reminder that we should simplify our message and keep it in terms that everyone can relate to.”
Favorite Inbound Session: “Magical Content: 7 Secrets to Content That Generates the Greatest Results, ROI, and Lasting Impact” with speaker Marcus Sheridan
“Seeing Marcus speak was a great reminder that effective marketing needs to keep the human element. Everything we do is geared towards a live person making a decision at some point, so it’s really important you relate to then on a personal level and earn their trust.”
PR and Your Brand’s Story
In addition to getting a better understanding of how marketing should work in tandem with sales, there were also plenty of sessions at the conference that focused on how you can position your brand and ensure that your message resonates with people. It is in this marketing realm that PR can play a major role: zeroing on the careful crafting of your brand’s story so that it can find a larger media audience.
“The speakers from BerlinRosen and West Wing Writers did a phenomenal job explaining how important it is to frame your brand’s story in a way that has a chance of resonating with media professionals. Most useful was a discussion about how to effectively include your brand as part of a wider narrative without falling flat—as did one infamous Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner. The key to threading that needle? A focus on authenticity.”
There is no shortage of strategies and tips for marketing available at Inbound, but the conference is also useful as a forum for major figures in business, tech, media, and sports to share big ideas and personal experiences on Inbound’s “Spotlight” Mainstage. In this massive space with giant screens, guests as varied as actress Jennifer Garner or Red Sox coach Alex Cora spoke to thousands of attendees about some of what they have learned over time balancing personal and professionals goals.
These Spotlight sessions offered something more than the pinpoint accuracy of the breakout sessions—instead they offered valuable insights on being a leader in business, creating a personal brand, or just how to live and work happier and healthier. Below are other sessions that stood out to members of our team.
“It was fascinating to see the differences and similarities between two companies, Reddit and Magnolia, that both began from humble roots and grew into the massive entities we know them to be today.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian focused on his journey to become a father and his decision to take leave in the same way any employee would. He spoke from experience of his own difficulties during this time: his wife, Serena Williams, nearly died in childbirth. He highlighted how challenging this was for someone in his position, let alone for a typical employee and discussed the importance of accommodating employees and understanding that each one of them has a life of their own.
The conversation with Chip and Joanna Gaines of Magnolia was a valuable lesson in the importance of balance between two partners in business (who also happen to be married). Chip is funny, silly, and always making jokes, whereas Joanna is more serious and mature. Both are incredibly different personalities, but as leaders of such a large company, they complement each other well. In closing, Chip remarked, ‘If you’ll literally buy into that idea to never quit, you can do things that you never, ever thought possible’.”
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Favorite Inbound Session: Spotlight with Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot
“My favorite part about Inbound ‘19 was HubSpot’s founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah’s presentations. Both Brian and Dharmesh were amazing speakers who put a comical twist in relaying valuable insight into important business leadership strategies. They discussed some of the new innovations coming out of HubSpot while also highlighting the vital importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their company culture.”
In all, Phonexa’s inaugural trip to HubSpot’s Inbound conference kept us all exceptionally busy with breakout sessions and marketing forums. Luckily, the team did get to take in some of the fun and culture around the beautiful city of Boston. Lobster rolls were eaten, local establishments were patronized, and some of us got to walk a few steps of the Freedom Trail.
On Thursday night we had time for a real treat—a visit to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox take on the Minnesota Twins. It was a Fenway first for many and a major league baseball first for one team member! Like any good conference trip, it was a perfect blend of learning, networking, and spending time just taking in the experience of it all.
This week back in our Glendale offices, it has been incredibly helpful to look back at our notes from our favorite sessions and start to apply them in our everyday work. For other professionals working in sales, marketing, or any aspect of tech, our team can’t say enough good things about our time at Inbound.