If you are a lover of marketing and innovation, then Boston was the place to be last week. This year’s collaboration of Inbound 2014 with FutureM resulted in over 10,000 eager and educated fans lining the halls of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center—the chosen epicenter for all of this creativity and knowledge.
For participants, the Inbound and FutureM crossover meant one thing: 3 action-packed days filled with inspiring keynotes, hundreds of speakers, tons of educational sessions, delicious food trucks and endless networking opportunities.
While some sessions were more intricately tied to marketing than others, each and every speaker left audiences—myself included—with intriguing lessons that can be applied within any space—business or personal.
Here are the 5 biggest takeaways from my time at Inbound and FutureM that hopefully serve as a similar kind of refreshing inspiration for you that they did for me.
1) Have a Real-Time Mentality
My first, and quite possibly my favorite, session of the week was Ekaterina Walter’s presentation on the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of real-time marketing.
First, there was shock and awe, like when I found out just how much our world is dominated by a “newsfeed mentality:” every 48 hours we produce the same amount of content that was created between 2013 and THE BEGINNING OF TIME. Wow.
Not to mention the fact that Americans engage with seven different source of information everyday through multiple channels. So, how the hell do you compete with that?
Be a real-time thinker. Stop trying to shift conversations towards certain content; instead, shift content to meet the conversation. As Walter said, quite convincingly, “brand content you put out is only 4% of the conversation around your brand—control the other 96%.”
2) Make Marketing Personal
While this idea of making marketing personal seems pretty intuitive, the emergence of new technology, and the capabilities that come with it, makes it pretty damn easy to forget this cardinal rule.
When marketing is truly personal, it provides utility for the consumer—it makes his or her day a little bit better or easier. In order to do this, we need to abandon the idea that it’s some magic tactic or strategy, it’s really a mentality or a promise to be raw, to be authentic, to be HUMAN!
No more of this B2B or B2C nonsense. At the end of the day it’s always going to be P2P: person-to-person.
3) Tune Out the Naysayers
Best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell, was on my “must-see” list (along with everyone else who attended the conference, I’m sure), so I entered into the massive exhibition hall with high spirits and even higher expectations. Like with my experiences reading Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point, Gladwell simply didn’t disappoint.
To say that I left with marketing or business lessons would be a disservice to the presentation—everything that Gladwell spoke to with passion and ease was applicable to life.
Two of his best lines are ones that I’m sure to remember for a long time:
“Being a revolutionary isn’t about everyone loving you, it’s more likely about everyone thinking you’re a weirdo.”
“Disagreeable individuals are responsible for more of societal transformation.”
4) Build Content around Passion Points
When brands create content, it all comes down to one question: What resonates with the consumer?
During his keynote speech, the CMO of MasterCard, Raja Rajamannar, explained that the answer to that question and the foundation to the company’s timeless and dynamic “Priceless” campaign are one in the same: “Experiences matter more than things.”
By appealing to the things that truly matter to consumers—these “passion points”—marketers are learning to turn consumer insights into human understanding.
5) Storytelling over Everything
As a reader and writer of content of all kinds, there was one session that was worth the entire cost of admission: “The Future of Storytelling.”
The panel-based discussion seemed more like an intimate conversation, not surprisingly, as this ability to blur the lines between messaging and storytelling was the exact reason those four speakers sat in front of us.
Since I simply cannot, in good conscience, share each and every one of the amazing takeaways from this session alone (because that could be a novel in itself), I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the four panelists—Ben Grossman, Chad O’Connor, Jenna Lebel and Mike Farber—respectively:
“People are the most powerful vessels of stories.”
“If you can puree the vegetables and put it in the baked goods then the kids won’t know they’re eating it…find that way to sneak the brand message into the story.”
“When we tell stories we act as an enabler or sponsor of those stories…never the protagonist.”
“People get so passionate about a brand that they become salespeople for you. Find those people, love them, take care of them, feed them.”
The ViralGains Experience
For more of an inside look into all the happenings surrounding this year’s Inbound and FutureM conferences, watch our video recap: