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3 things Illumine8 learned at INBOUND

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Inbound Marketing

Several members of the Illumine8 team, including myself, attended my all-out favorite marketing conference last week, “Inbound."

Inbound is hosted by HubSpot, a marketing and sales software company.

We spent four days soaking in everything from marketing trends to thoughts on leadership. Now that I'm back home, it's time to ring that sponge out.

Here are my top three take-aways from Inbound17:

Inbound Marketing Is In The 7th inning

Listening in on a Diamond Partner panel, one statement really struck me: “Inbound Marketing is in its 7th inning."

Not to say that inbound marketing is going away-it isn’t. Inbound's widespread adoption in the business and marketing community means that this type of marketing is no longer “special. It's become a default tool for any business communication and sales strategy,

Remember when we used to talk about “SEO” all the time?

The market responded with SEO agencies and SEO services… heck even Yellow Pages got in on the gig. None of us doubt that SEO is important today; in fact, it's more important than ever.

But as the market got more complex so did the art of SEO. Now, marketing professionals are expected to be SEO experts by default, in addition to other specializations. So what does this mean for inbound marketing?

  • It means that this is not the time to use inbound marketing as your only specialization-its not enough for the long haul
  • Just like SEO, inbound has grown up and become more complex. If inbound is your only specialization (your business or your own personal skill set), start investing now in deepening your knowledge beyond content, clicks and conversions
  • This time next year, you're going to be in trouble if inbound is your one-hit wonder

Do Dat Bot

I’ll fully admit it–I’m not a big fan of bots.

Even as a self-identified early-tech-adopter, I’ve found all of my digital assistants to be more frustrating than helpful. What I learned on Partner Day (thanks Paul Roetzer), and also in SESSION,is that I had the definition of AI (artificial intelligence) completely wrong.

Unbeknowst to me, I’ve been using bots for quite some time and they have made life easier. Those contacts Siri reminds me to add to my address book, appointment reminders on my watch telling me its time to leave so I’m not late and even those suggested reminders for found calendar events in email have all been welcome additions to my work processes.

In a world that is now open 24/7/365, bots are a solution that, when deployed carefully, allow us to help customers and get those much needed eight hours of sleep. The key to integrating machine-assisted living into our lives is the challenge of making these interactions more human, which will be within our grasp soon through deep learning and the proliferation of data among us.

With Hubspot’s purchase of motion.ai, expect more integration of bots into not just our casual day-to-day interactions, but also in the software we leverage daily.

  • These new tools will give marketers access to more strategic data processing that we could possibly ever process on our own
  • Expect more mundane processes like automated marketing emails to become less tedious and require less time to execute
  • The key will remain in the modern marketer’s ability to know not only how to leverage these new AI driven tools, but also, like any good math student, to know not just the answer but how we got there

Good Data In = Stronger Profits Out

Speaking of data, all these lovely new AI tools, bots, bells and whistles will mean nothing unless you have clean, accurate data.

Simple, good data in means good data out. Nothing is more annoying than getting an email that has your data incorrect (example that I receive weekly…ahem, my name is Christina.. with an A people, not Christine).

Your customer relationship database is the most important asset your company owns. Lets repeat that…

YOUR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP DATABASE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASSET YOUR COMPANY OWNS.

Having good data is more important now than its ever been.The internet gave businesses of any size a level playing field in which to engage the market.

And look what's happened in the last 20 years since that big bang happened…. Small businesses have generated over 65% of the net new jobs since 1995, according to Forbes.

The only way your business, large or small, can leverage these new technologies and bring a more human experience to your customers is to have clean, accurate data.

It's really just that simple.

So sea air, oysters and great coffee aside, thanks Boston and Inbound. Its been great as usual. Till next time...

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