Overarching Theme at Inbound Marketing Summit 2014: Content is the Future

20141112_150001When I first heard of the Inbound Marketing Summit, designed for content marketing visionaries and evangelists like myself who love to convene, share, collaborate and learn, I was all in. As the Boston-hosted event neared and the agenda was posted, I was particularly intrigued with how intimate the event appeared to be.

As someone who attends a fair amount of trade shows, I am used to darting feverishly between track sessions, networking on massive trade show floors and finding the most comfortable pair of flats I can locate to survive the miles of walking. So you can imagine my curiosity when I discovered this show had zero tracks and was being held in a historic castle. But, I have to say, it was a nice change of pace.

For two days, marketers were able to sit back, plug in, turn up and really focus on the series of quick-hitting presentations. Sessions were no longer than 20-30 minutes and the fast-pace was a marketer’s dream because, let’s face it, we struggle with silence and slowness. There were so many key sentiments shared that validate all that we are doing here at Content Boost. But here are a few of my favorite nuggets from the week:

  • Your Customers Are Tired: Specifically, they are tired from being bombarded by so much content. As Brian Glover, director of product development for Marketo, explained, customers receive 2,900 different marketing messages a day. Therefore, for a brand to stand out it really has to forge a trusted, valuable relationship with each and every customer. “Engagement marketing solves this problem,” he argued. “You need to engage people as individuals and engage with them over time. You need to be everywhere they want to be and have the content they want.”
  • It’s Hard to Find Good Marketers: This is nothing new to the industry—especially to our loyal readers at Content Boost. After all, we recently shared Adobe research findings that confirm that 52 percent of marketers feel they are not highly proficient in digital marketing. Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of Hubspot, confirmed this sentiment by arguing that the new marketer has to be “fascinating,” analytical, superior and impactful. He or she has to understand the nuances of Google’s algorithm changes, be well versed in the buyer journey and be skilled at creating compelling content that converts. As Halligan suggested, find “motivated people who create great content.”
  • Marketing is Only About Relationships: Jason Thibeault, the senior director of marketing strategy for Limelight Networks, shook things up on day one by starting his presentation with explaining everything marketing is not. For example, marketing is not about being the slick guy selling things; or obsessing over the sales funnel; or only focusing on technology. Quite simply, marketing is only about relationships, Thibeault argued. “When you have great relationships your competitors can’t steal your customers,” he said. So as marketers our job is quite simple. We need to hone relationships with the people who will help sell our products and foster long-term, trusting relationships with this group.
  • You Need to Be a Wealth of Information: From white papers to blogs to social media, make sure your brand is rich with information. Consumers are searching for helpful, valuable content across the channels they prefer. So how do you establish a highly-functioning resource center? As Yoav Schwartz, founder and CEO of UberFlip suggested, keep the following tips in mind: keep it simple in that it has to be easy to navigate; create an engagement path and send your buyers down a path toward conversion; include calls to action that are personalized for all your buyer personas; and regularly track and measure the performance of your resource center.
  • Content Marketing is a Team Sport: No one individual can do it alone. Over two days, presenters talked about the challenges that the content marketing landscape presents. Specifically, marketers grapple with a lack of time, resources and ideas when it comes to effective content marketing strategy. Just consider the fact that Hubspot has proven that brands that create 15 posts per month generate 1,200 new leads. But who really has the time to create 15 blogs a month, presenters asked? So hire right. Whether that means stacking your in-house team with more qualified writers or outsourcing a significant amount of your content marketing strategy, make sure your bench is deep.

It’s been an exciting two days here in Boston and even more excited to witness that the awareness of content marketing—and its inherent benefits—continues to climb every day. Were you in Boston for IMS 2014? Curious to hear your thoughts…

Carrie-SDubbed a “Chatty Cathy” from the time she uttered her first word, Content Boost’s Director of Content Marketing Carrie Majewski (née Schmelkin) is nothing short of verbal. Her love of talking matured into love of writing which inevitably transformed into a love of marketing. Carrie is responsible for overseeing the cutting-edge content marketing beast that is Content Boost—managing brand and editorial strategy, fostering client relationships, identifying new revenue opportunities and striking strategic partnerships. Carrie has worked with a variety of high profile clients on branding and copy creation from Sprint to Panasonic to AT&T to Emerson Network Power. When she’s not busy wordsmithing and debating content marketing versus traditional marketing, you can find her working on her swag in a hip-hop dance class, clogging her DVR with “Friends” reruns and trying desperately to make it up past 9:30 pm on the weekends with her hubby. #OldSoul.