Four members of our plucky team were fortunate enough to convene in Massachusetts at Inbound 2016, a massive conference where speakers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Anna Kendrick, and Serena Williams convene to inspire, educate, and connect business leaders. The impressions and takeaways of our team are compiled below in all of their honest and candid glory. Enjoy!
“Part business conference, part frat party, Inbound 2016 turned Boston into a Mecca for pilgrims who worship at the altar of digital marketing. For me and countless other agency owners, Inbound provides a gut check on how’s and why’s we’re in this business. The value of the conference lies in the small gems of inspiration that reveal themselves in learning sessions and more often in late night conversations at the bars with colleagues and newly found friends. It’s sometimes difficult to quantify the value of attending a conference where the takeaways are inspiration and renewed vigor and vision for your agency. Let’s call it a spiritual retreat, one where you’re realigned with your source of balance and vision, where the commotion of the everyday melts back into the simplicity of just being the best at every moment.”
“If you enjoy waiting in line, then this year’s conference was for you. Lines to get into sessions. Lines to get out of sessions. Lines to charge your phone. Lines to use the bathroom. Lines to eat or get a drink. Lines to go up or down an escalator. Lots and lots of lines. This year Inbound had approximately 4,000 additional attendees compared to last year’s conference. Which was approximately 4,000 too many. While the breakout sessions, key notes, and special talks with celebrity guests were all very good the feeling of being jammed onto a subway car was not. This seemed to be a common complaint from the attendees I spoke to about the crowds. It is a very good conference and I hope the organizers hear the feedback and revert to a manageable number of attendees for 2017.”
“Inbound 2016 in Boston had a lot in common with the sharing economy; for nearly every breakout session the theme was sharing marketing information of some sort or another. Glancing back over the 300+ sessions available some key words and phrases jump out that give you an ideas of the tone struck— “hacking the conversation”, “agile marketing”, “down & dirty”, “survival guide”, “secret-sauce’, “niche”, and finally, “radical candor”, which I first misread as “radical condor” and thought it would be about catching prey. It was not.
What I really appreciated were the presentations that were more of a case study than a lesson. With these you could glean the best ideas for your own agency through comparisons to someone else’s business journey. Scott Meyer from Cloud 9 did a great job of this. He chronicled the journey from his complete lack of understating of a specific market to “self-mastery” and finally “industry-mastery” for niche marketing. It was a great story on how to stand out and grow an agency by going narrow, and I’m still thinking about it a week later.
There were way more sessions I wanted to go to than time would allow. However, skipping one of the keynote entertainers in favor of dinner and margaritas with my colleagues was a worthwhile sacrifice. That’s the kind of sharing economy you need to end a busy day at Inbound!”
So there you have it; Inbound might be a mixed bag but we can all agree on the value of idea-sharing, collaboration, and that everything is better after a few drinks. See you at Inbound 2017!!
Not sure what inbound marketing is? We talk about it over here.