If you missed Inbound 2012 last week, you missed something special. You can read the post-conference blogs and catch some of the recorded presentations, but there's no substitute for being there live and in person. I always learn a lot from the preso's and keynotes, but what I really benefit from are the one-on-ones with fellow Partners, our HubSpot family of sales and marketing folks, and prospective clients. That's where the real "meat" is. To borrow a phrase from sportswriter Peter King, here are six things I think I think following this year's HubSpot block party.
I won't cite any of the awesome statistics delivered by HubSpot's Dynamic Duo, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shaw, at the VAR/Partner Reception and Wednesday Keynote. They can release that data when they're good and ready. What I will tell you is that this rocket ship has already left the stratosphere. In the next year or two you can expect more exponential growth across the board—sales, customers, staff, VAR's, strategic partnerships and functionality. Enter the period of explosive growth when a relatively young company leaves its cash strapped days behind and moves aggressively to capture market share and achieve market dominance. This is where HubSpot is going. How they get there, via funding rounds, IPO, acquisitions and partnerships remains to be seen—but stay tuned. We aren't going to have to wait long to find out!
HubSpot's Pete Caputa and PR 2020's Paul Roetzer have been talking about ecosystems of developers, vendors, resellers and customers for a couple of years now. Only this year did I see first hand what they are talking about. In conversations with other HubSpot VARs and software integration partners, it's clear to me that we are finding ways to work together and feed off of each other's energy. Last year, I would have told you that we're really competitors looking for an advantage. This year we are all talking about working together and complimenting each other's strengths. This feels really exciting as we draft behind HubSpot's jet stream.
I was lucky enough to do a presentation for fellow HubSpot VARs, and in the middle of the preso, I decided to chuck the slides and just field questions. Why? Because this audience was totally engaged and wanted to talk about their challenges. We've been there since the beginning of this revolution, so we're glad to share what we've learned—and believe me, we've made every mistake in the book, and probably invented some of them. The net effect: There is a very strong group of smart marketers becoming HubSpot VARs, which is good for the future of inbound marketing, for the agencies and, of course, for HubSpot, as well. Do I see this as a threat to Kuno Creative? No way. We're moving on to new things like Enterprise Inbound Marketing.
Everybody at Inbound 2012 was talking about content. A couple of years ago we were talking about social media. Now it's clear that creating high quality content on a consistent basis drives everything we are doing in inbound marketing from the top of the sales funnel through lead generation, lead nurturing and conversion to customers. You can not afford to compromise quality and smart targeting if you want to succeed in digital marketing. I talked to several content gurus, including C. C. Chapman, who emphasized the importance of content delivered with a genuine voice and with passion. Talk about what you know and why you love it. This is hard to translate into a corporate content marketing strategy, but doing so gives you a leg up on all of the rest of the content floating around in your business.
The HubSpot folks kept up their new mantra "1 + 1 = 3" throughout the conference. Cool idea. The gist of it is that marketing software integration can be more than the sum of its parts. You can accomplish magic by making the diverse parts of inbound marketing work together in new ways that we could only dream of a year or two ago. HubSpot is already well down the road to delivering on this promise and blowing away its relatively static competitors with the new HubSpot3 release. Every company from "ma and pa" all the way up to Fortune 500 needs to rethink their marketing software strategy. For the bigger companies, there will be blood, thanks to their massive installed base of legacy platforms. My advice, get over it. Like the SaaS revolution, everything is changing really fast. You want a piece of this or not?
What blew me away at Inbound 2012? That a bunch of MIT geeks could put together such an impressive show and do it with a flare for both message and fun. These HubSpot guys really get it when it comes to marketing. Mike Volpe and his team of imagineers pulled off an amazingly entertaining, well-thought-out conference that was at the same time both lovably geeky and full of substance. Nice work guys!
Am I excited about this next year? Damn straight I'm excited. What about you? As Arnold would say, "We'll be back!"
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