10 Things We Learned at INBOUND 2022
Just a few short weeks ago, tens of thousands of marketing, sales, and business leaders filled the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center for INBOUND 2022. Even Möve Marketing made its debut appearance at the annual HubSpot event! And wow, what an exciting experience it was to be part of INBOUND. 🤩
This year’s event was chock-full of insightful industry news, developments, and trends that we’re taking to heart and to market. That’s right, with each session led by industry experts and each inspiring story told by change-makers in the world like Viola Davis, Emma Grede, Dr. Jane Goodall, and Former President Barack Obama, we learned a lot. So don’t worry if you didn’t get the chance to attend INBOUND this year, because in this article, we’re sharing the top 10 things we learned from the event. So sit back, relax, and dive into these key takeaways and insights from INBOUND 2022.
Note: Each of the 10 key takeaways listed below is segmented into one of three categories: content, data, or business growth.
Content is King… Still
Even though marketing and sales strategies have shifted since the pandemic changed the way we live our lives, one thing remains the same—creating and distributing killer content is essential to connecting with your target audience and customers.
During the three days we spent at INBOUND 2022, here’s what we learned about curating, creating, and distributing killer content:
1. Digital Fatigue is Crushing Your Buyers
We’ve all experienced receiving an overwhelming amount of emails from just one company in any given day or week. Only to then be bombarded by another company’s extra six emails in the same week. And so on and so forth. The truth is companies today are prioritizing quantity over quality to get their brand’s name out in the world. However, inundating buyers with low-quality marketing content is only leading to digital fatigue, not revenue.
In a session from the LinkedIn research team at INBOUND 2022, they shared the following statistics:
- 66% of B2B decision makers say the pandemic spawned a huge increase in the amount of thought leadership in the marketplace.
- 71% say less than half of thought leadership they consume gives them valuable insights.
- 55% say if a piece of thought leadership does not pique their interest within the first minute, they’ll move on.
The key takeaway here is that content of lower quality is bombarding buyers online to the point where, collectively, brands who put out content of lesser value are being tuned out completely.
2. The Voice of the Customer is More Important Than Ever Before
Today’s buyers are less likely to trust marketing content, but actually trust the current or past customers of a brand. In fact, 94% of buyers are more inclined to purchase from a company with excellent feedback from customers. Leveraging the voice of the customer (VOC) in your marketing content will increase your brand’s credibility and conversions.
Here a few tips we learned at INBOUND 2022 to collect and distribute VOC effectively:
- Create short, engaging video testimonials and share them across all your marketing channels
- Get your entire company excited about customer success stories—invite customers to share their stories with the key business players
- Establish a customer advisory board to gain rich insights consistently
3. Creating Provocative Content Will Help Your Brand Stand Out
According to LinkedIn, 81% of decision makers prefer thought leadership content that offers provocative ideas that change their assumptions regarding a topic over content that validates their current thinking. What does this mean? Today’s buyers want to have their thoughts and ideas challenged. At INBOUND 2022, we learned 71% of decision makers report wanting to consume thought leadership to stimulate their thinking and generate innovative ideas for their business.
To ensure your content stays above the noise, it’s important to make a provocative statement with each piece of content you share. How?
- Share your brand’s opinion on a hot topic
- Provide insights into future trends and predict how these trends may impact your industry
- Create content that forces readers to rethink their positioning on a topic or situation
4. Navigate Social Media Algorithms with Content Optimized to Each Platform
Too often, marketers push out the same content to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter without restructuring images or optimizing copy for each platform. Just like you would alter the messaging for each of your buyer personas, it’s just as important to tailor your content to fit each social media channel. In Neil Patel’s session at INBOUND 2022, How to Navigate Marketing Around Search and Social Algorithms, he shared these tidbits about various social media algorithms: It’s important to take note of these signals and to always be on the lookout for new signs that pop up over time. Identifying, understanding, and optimizing content for these signals is what will help your content stand out from competitors in social channels.
Data-Driven + Data Protection = Satisfied Customers
What does it mean to be data-driven? To be data-driven in how you're developing campaigns, content, programs, and more is to actually collect, measure, and use data to stimulate meaningful conversations about the direction of certain initiatives. And at INBOUND 2022, data-driven strategies were at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
5. Integrated Data Insights Optimize Content Performance
It’s no surprise that consistently monitoring and tracking content analytics is essential to optimizing content performance. However, one thing INBOUND 2022 taught us was to integrate your data collection and usage. Why? Regularly collecting and analyzing performance data on published content helps to create an internal feedback loop to guide future content development.
One way to integrate your paid and organic data to drive better content performance is by measuring paid search performance for various ad offers and keywords. To strengthen the performance of your organic content, try optimizing for the keywords and phrases that lead to the most conversions in paid search. This will not only help your content rank higher in search engines, but attract the right audience as well.
For instance, by reviewing Google Ad campaign performance (with KPIs like cost-per-click, impressions, and conversions), you can determine which keywords and phrases your audience resonates with most. Based on this data, you’re better able to optimize your organic web content (blogs, landing pages, etc.) to attract and convert organic traffic.
6. Data Privacy is Changing for Better or for Worse
Have you noticed the uptick in company emails about data privacy agreements? That’s because data privacy standards are changing, which means the way marketers engage with customers needs to change too. Conversations at INBOUND 2022 focused on companies having to find ways to warehouse and integrate their data independently to adhere to Google’s plan to dissolve support for third-party cookies by 2024.
According to Gartner, 65% of the world’s population will have modern privacy regulations protecting their personal data by 2023. What does this mean for marketers? Subscribers will have greater autonomy to opt-in or out of marketing campaigns and greater authority over how their personal data is being used. This will cause a major shift in the way marketers are able to engage with their leads and customers. For smaller companies with fewer resources, in particular, this will pose a great challenge, requiring assistance from outsourced marketing experts.
7. The Customer Experience Must Be Driven by Data Insights
We all know the importance of the customer experience. Research shows that companies earning $1 billion per year, can expect to gain $700 million in revenue within just three years of investing in the customer experience. So… yeah… offering great customer experiences is key to business success. The question is how? Data-driven insights are the answer. It’s vital to garner feedback from your current customers about their experience with your brand at various points in their customer journey (i.e. after onboarding, during a period of renewal or churn, etc.). To do so, it’s best to send out surveys at opportune moments to capture this feedback. From here, you can take these insights and leverage it to improve the customer experience you provide.
For instance, say a customer felt the onboarding process was quick and as a result, they’re still unsure of how to use your product. Or the data shows that only 20% of customers renew their contract with your brand. Taking this feedback and data into account is key to optimizing the customer experience.
Business-Minded Growth Trends for the Win
8. You Need a Connected Customer Growth Strategy
During Founder and CTO of HubSpot, Darmesh Shah’s speech at INBOUND 2022, he made the claim that today, there is a disconnect between companies and their customers. Why? Because we now live in a privacy-first world where giving away your email to get a resource in return doesn’t feel “free.” And the truth is legacy go-to-market strategies won’t work in this new world. Marketers need to shift their mindset from customer management to customer connection.
Today, marketers need to create a connected customer growth strategy to:
- Attract: Be first to the party with first party data and diversify your distribution
- Engage: Earn your open rate by bringing context to your conversation
- Delight: Make buying a breeze by offering payment and giving customers channel choice when it comes to being notified by SMS and email
9. Startups Should Be Preparing for the Recession
The recession has been hanging over our heads for a few months now. Are we in it? Is it coming? According to The Washington Post, the S&P 500 is down 1.51% and experienced its worst month since March 2020. To prepare for the unexpected, startups (and all enterprises) should focus their energy on how to thrive in the recession. While it may take a few years, when the rebound happens, you need to be ready to take advantage of the market upswing. And let’s be real—continuing business as usual is a recipe for disaster, and exiting the market is a mistake. The only way forward is through.
How should you prepare? There are many options—here are just a few that were discussed at INBOUND 2022:
- Outsource your marketing team to scale up and down easily
- Attract venture capitalists by hitting revenue goals in a smart and financially efficient way
- Create impactful content based on data-driven insights
10. The Key to Effective Leadership is to Provide "Feed-Forward"
Whether you’re a leader or a dedicated associate looking to grow your skill set, the ideology of “feed-forward” is the way to do it. We’ve all heard of the term feedback, where leaders and associates alike give or receive constructive criticism to improve communication, collaboration, and deliverables. The idea of “feed-forward” is to first praise what the person did well, and then focus on growth by answering the question, “what can be improved?” By offering both positive and constructive feedback, the employee will feel appreciated and as though their leader believes in their capabilities to do even better next time.
One phrase we heard to describe the act of “feed-forward” is “glow and grow.” Here is an example:
Glow: “The presentation you created was very effective at capturing and keeping the audience’s attention.”
Grow: “Next time, try speaking louder so the people at the back of the auditorium can hear you better.”