With INBOUND 2020 come and gone, the Nextiny team reflects on a truly unique experience. From innovating during a pandemic to adapting to survive, INBOUND addressed the positive change and how we can take the challenges presented by 2020 to improve ourselves—as people and professionals—in the future.
1. Successful Companies Will Embrace Change
Throughout 2020, every single one of us has had to overcome challenges that nobody could have seen coming. With many of us working from home now and finding digital solutions to replace what used to be done in person, questions will soon be asked about what happens when things start to return to normal.
Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO, talked in length about how companies are going to have to tackle these changes in the future and their responses will help direct the future of business.
Gabriel / CEO: The world has changed, and we need to get used to it. Like Brian Halligan said in the keynote, there are going to be two types of companies coming out of this pandemic, the ones that adapt and embrace the change, seeing change as an opportunity, and the ones that will fail because they will try to go back to the way things were.
2020 has brought challenges and opportunities to us, but how will it affect the future of our work and the future of marketing?
2. Don’t Lean on Past Success; Try New Things
You’ll probably notice a theme develop from our main takeaways and the main ideas expressed at INBOUND 2020. That theme is: innovation and change. This goes hand in hand with the idea of not “leaning on past success.” This doesn’t mean ignoring what you’ve done that works well, it means learning from that success to further improve rather than just committing to doing the same thing over and over.
We live in a constantly changing world where marketers have to adapt or risk falling behind.
Megan / Creative Director: Life has changed for us all, and as marketers and humans, we need to realize this fact and start doing things differently. My main takeaway from this year's inbound event was that we are living in a laboratory. We must test everything. We cannot rely on the copy, send times, automation, etc. that has worked in the past when our customers' habits, mindsets, and needs have shifted drastically.
Kalynna / Account Manager: Being solution oriented, as a business and as a human, allows you to turn change into an opportunity for innovation.
3. You Can Teach an Old Blog New Tricks
It’s easy to fall into routines when it comes to stuff like blogging which is so “tried and true” that it’s easy to forget that you can continue to innovate how you do it. It’s crucial, especially in the crowded world of internet blogging, that you are constantly thinking of new ways to present useful information to your customers and how you can use your content to find new ones.
Dylan / Content Manager: I was inspired to never stop thinking about what you can do with content. Marcus Sheridan, in his ‘they ask, you answer’ presentation, reminded me that you can't just sit back and do the same old same old all of the time and expect more results. You can't stop innovating and finding more ways to utilize content.
The same goes for emails and email marketing. Though it’s been around seemingly forever, we can’t stop innovating and finding new ways to do things. Even if you’ve written a million emails, remember to take time to analyze, test, and improve because the way people view emails isn’t the same as it was in the past and as people and the world change, your work must follow.
Kara / Agency Strategist: As much as email is an older technology compared to other digital tools we use as marketers, the way people interact with email campaigns and the ways marketers should adapt and change their email strategies over time is very complex.
If you aren't making simple changes based on current events, the data you have about consumers at large (thanks to companies like World Data), or the data you have based on your past email performance, you will not have effective email marketing campaigns.
Don't underestimate the power of small details like the subject line when it comes to sending well-optimized email campaigns.
Just because something has been around for a long time doesn’t mean it can’t evolve. Continue to push boundaries to discover new potential for old strategies.
4. SEO is a Human Experience
Sometimes, when thinking about SEO, all we want to consider is how Google feels about our content and websites, but Dale Bertrand reminds us that SEO strategies should be focused on a human experience. After all, the end goal of good SEO isn’t to impress Google, it’s to drive traffic from real people.
Bryan / Senior Account Manager: I loved Dale Bertrand's session on the ‘end of technical SEO.’ Making sure our SEO strategy is focused on the human experience first is something that we've really taken to heart as an agency in the last couple of years, so there was real validation in hearing from him that we were doing things right.
SEO today is about engagement, so focus on your mission and how you can position your content to resonate with your ideal audience.
It’s not the 'end of technical SEO,' but with improved algorithms from Google and the abundance of content, it’s becoming more important than ever to tailor your SEO strategies to the people you want to attract.
Mary Brooke / Digital Marketing Specialist: SEO is evolving so as marketers we have to as well.
5. Virtual Can Work
One thing we’ve learned from INBOUND 2020 and our experiences this year is that digital marketing can be done digitally. Whether it’s Zoom meetings, online collaboration, or working from your couch, 2020 has presented many unique opportunities to test virtual work.
It’s also tested marketers' dedication to innovating because we’ve had to find so many new solutions to not only our own problems, but those of our clients and we’ve worked hard to find creative ways to continue to do the same work. This is extremely evident in online events like INBOUND 2020.
Samantha / Account Manager: Seeing how HubSpot has gone above and beyond in such a difficult time is inspiring. They are passionate about more than just software, and that was evident in the content available at Inbound.
I've never attended any sort of event like this, but HubSpot did a wonderful job with the digital format, the amount of content, and the diversity of the content available.
For many, this digital experiment has been a booming success, so much so that we question if the ways of the past are going to stay there.
6. The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace
One topic that’s been widely discussed not just at INBOUND but in the world is how we can encourage diversity in everything we do. From the hiring process to showcasing different views in our content, it’s up to each of us to do the things that make a difference.
Gabriel / CEO: It is more important to be on the right side of history, now more than ever before. We are living in hinging times, and we have to be outspoken about diversity and inclusion, and about protecting the most basic human rights to once and for all eradicate racism, sexism, homophobia, and all forms of hate against certain groups. The work starts with me, with you, with everybody, and we can’t hide anymore. Now is the time to speak up, to vote, and to do what we can.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot, as part of our Martech Masters show to discuss diversity and something stuck with me. Katie said “You don’t have to do it all, you can start with something and make a difference for one group today and another group tomorrow, you can include them in your conversations, and invite them to your shows, so more and more people see them out there, and hire them, etc."
Here’s Katie Burke’s episode of Martech Masters, one of my favorite episodes and proudest moments of this year.
2020 has been a year of challenges and finding innovative ways to overcome them and that was the main takeaway our team took from INBOUND 2020, too. Marketers across the world have been presented with a huge number of chances to overcome challenges, test new things, and push the limits of technology for our agencies and clients. Will these changes make a lasting impact? Only time will tell.