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NOTE: INBOUND is Hubspot’s annual conference. The conference features three days of instruction, networking, and keynote speeches from national figures (like which ranges from Bob Iger to Chrissy Teigen.) This year, instead of heading to Boston, we headed to our laptops for a two-day virtual event. Our shop (MINDSCAPE) has attended for years and this year, we learned a ton (we always do.) We wanted to give everyone a taste of what we took away from this year’s conference, #INBOUND2020. This was going to a post on the MINDSCAPE company page, but it was just too big. Also, a huge tip of the hat to Chief Strategy Officer (and co-fonder) Paul Ferrier for sharing his 200+ pages of notes from the event.

  1. JAY SCHWEDELSON taught us to not let the loudest voice impact our email marketing. That is, don’t be swayed by one person sending an Angry-gram. Instead, look at your unsubscribes.  
  2. FROM AJ WILCOX, we received recommendations about when to switch LinkedIn ads from CPC to CPM — and why. In our opinion, this was one of the very best sessions of #INBOUND2020.
  3. CONNOR CIRILLO, Hubspot’s Head of Conversational Engagement, told us that the biggest chatbot mistake is to not properly set expectations.
  4. FROM AN UNNAMED PRESENTER, we learned that you had better bring some data or we are going to doubt everything that you say.
  5. FROM CAROLE MAHONEY of Unbound Growth, we learned five reasons that training doesn’t stick.
  6. FROM KARL SASKA: Common sense is not common practice — which came up during his customer service session focused on dealing with difficult customers. 
  7. FROM DALE BERTRAND, who is not only a really smart guy, but a fantastic presenter, we learned that “schema isn’t dead, but it shouldn’t be the focus of your SEO.” 
  8. JOHN LEGEND AND CHRISSY TEIGEN taught us to choose projects that align with your values and that, if you’re cool enough, you can do interviews from your bed.
  9. FROM VIVEKA VON ROSEN: Don’t automate your LinkedIn outreach “because it’s just sucky.” She’s not wrong.
  10. HUBSPOT demonstrated the value of building in social spaces within your virtual event to allow for questions, conversations, and some atrocious jokes. 
  11. FROM SURVEY MONKEY’S LEELA SRINIVASAN (AND PEPPER MILLER): Surprise your audience.
  12. FROM HUBSPOT: Enhance your online event with dimensional mail. 
  13. From Katya Andresen, we learned that the brain is awesome. For example, Neuroscience has proven that when something is new, it releases dopamine in a person’s brain — and that when someone pays for something, the same part of your brain is activated as when something physically hurts you, so there’s a real pain in paying.
  14. We saw the value in understanding how Hubspot evolves. As successful as they are today, they are constantly uncovering areas they need to improve.
  15. We learned from attending dozens of virtual sessions over two days that remote learning is every bit as exhausting as onsite learning — but you can’t sleep on the plane.
  16. Hubspot reminded us to measure leading, not lagging indicators. If you focus on lagging indicators (profit, for example), it’s too late to adjust to improve it by the time you get the data.
  17. Someone (we think it was Joy Brandon, but the sessions blur together) told us that when you’re A/B testing, go big. It’s not about running small tests of button colors to create small wins. Instead, test big changes for big wins. 
  18. From a session on Social Commerce, we learned that reciprocity ebbs and flows. Every time you ask someone for something, you deplete your reciprocity bucket. You need to add to your reciprocity bucket before making more asks. (So give, give, give.) At MINDSCAPE, we call this “a lopsided value equation.” 
  19. In a surprisingly data-rich debate on gated versus un-gated content, we learned (again) that “traffic doesn’t pay the bills, leads do.”
  20. Finally, from Hubspot, we learned that the biggest takeaway from INBOUND is the massive sense of inspiration. We’ve been digital marketers for (checks notes) a couple of decades, and we still walk out of this event filled with new ideas and itching to implement them.

Did you attend #INBOUND2020? What did you think of this year’s event? What sessions did you love, hate, or skip altogether? We’d love to hear your take on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.