Sales enablement, video marketing and AI dominate HubSpot’s INBOUND16

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Unable to make the trip this year to HubSpot’s INBOUND16, the annual gathering of over 18,000 marketers and thought leaders operating in the digital space?

Interested to learn what created the biggest buzz at the conference and what you and your business team should be aware of as you head into the new year? 

No worries. We've got you covered.

We were there and are ready to share Illumine8 Marketing & PR’s key takeaways from our week in Boston:

Sales Enablement: The Final Piece to Implementing Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

Until recently, customer data was at higher risk of remaining siloed within separate departments, which could result in the crippling the efforts of sales, marketing and customer service teams to engage in meaningful real-time customer interactions.

The more recent introduction of integrated CRM software suites into marketing and customer service software packages isn’t new, but continues to improve. In the two years since HubSpot introduced a CRM product as part of its suite of marketing and sales tools there has been dramatic improvements made to the software, creating a technological tie-in that helps align sales and marketing processes and teams.

HubSpot’s CRM can empower marketers, managers, owners, sales and customer service representatives via access to the same full-cycle communication data generated by brand and customer or prospect engagements.

This tool allows companies to truly implement an impactful IMC strategy across an entire enterprise.

Illumine8 Marketing & PR’s Unbound Marketing method is founded on the principles of IMC. IMC is an approach that enables customers to have the same brand experience at all stages of the buyers journey no matter what channel they engage, be that social media, a website landing page, on the phone or in person.

Leveraging customer behavior data across all departments gives your company a strategic edge to deliver customized marketing experiences, individualized sales and exceptional customer service, all leading to results that help your bottom line.

Actionable Insight: 

Download the Free HubSpot CRM

That’s right, if sales and marketing alignment is your goal for 2017, you can take a step in the right direction without fear of buyer’s remorse. Download Hubspot CRM and take it for a test drive.

Develop a Service-Level-Agreement (SLA)

Does the relationship between marketing and sales feel like an reenactment of West Side Story? Start singing “one hand, one heart” by implementing a SLA- a consenus document that standardizes goals, terms and processes-across marketing and sales functions.

  • According to the 2016 State of Inbound, only 22% of respondents stated that they had tight alignment between marketing and sales and of those that reported effective marketing strategies, 82% reported tight alignment.
  • For those reporting misalignment between sales and marketing, only 20% felt their marketing strategies were effective.
  • If you combine an inbound marketing approach with tight alignment via an SLA, 84% of respondents felt their marketing strategy was effective.

Enter the Video Age

It’s no secret that video has a huge impact in the marketing space. In fact, we’ve been hooked on video since the glory days of MTV. More video content is uploaded in 30 days than all the major networks have produced in...wait for it... the last 30 years.

Is this the beginning of video content shock? Perhaps. But for now video marketing is a must have component of any marketing strategy.

Thinking about implementing video in 2017? Consider the following stats:

  • 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text
  • Enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%
  • 75% of online video viewers have interacted with an online video ad in the last 30 days

INBOUND16 keynote speaker Gary Vanynerchuck of Vanyer Media emphasized the use of video in marketing and branding.

“This is now the television,” exclaimed Vanynerchuck, holding his iPhone. “And the television is now the radio. Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are ABC, NBC, ESPN, and MTV and the businesses that realize how to make MASH and Seinfeld or the best shows on those platforms will win.”

Actionable Insight: 

Consider a Vlog

Video blogs are short video clips that offer helpful information in bite sized segments. Ideal for social media promotion, Vlogs require less technical set-up than traditional production shoots and produce quality content quickly.

Trailer Format Videos

Have a longer story to tell? Consider a trailer format video that tells a story at an emotional level. Unlike 1 minute Vlogs, trailers last 3 to 5 minutes, giving your brand more runway to connect with your audience. Unlike Vlogs, trailer style videos require more crew and technical expertise but the results can have long lasting brand impact.

The Marriage of Marketing and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The marriage of marketing and AI started years ago, long before you could say “Would You Like to Play a Game”.

Hubspot’s co-founder and CTO Darmesh Shah stated during INBOUND16 that we are now at time when we are beginning to finally fall in love with change - technological change that is.

AI and the Internet of Things (IOT) stand at the forefront of the ongoing, rapid evolution of technology. Today, more and more businesses and marketers are adapting new technology and predictive data to shape campaigns, sales strategies and business development practices.

The Internet of Things relates to the development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. We are no longer searching for information solely on our smartphones and laptops.

Now we turn to other consumer technologies in our homes and cars for information.

Where we go to search is changing and where we are at the time of the search is changing as well. Search and messaging is happening in homes through devices like the Amazon Echo, while in cars and while donning wearables.

In a world that is moving to messaging, sending mass email blasts to a purchased list is becoming less and less effective.

Now, your customers can message brands directly and ask questions through their preferred communication devices.

This move to messaging has also brought about the emergence of Chatbots, or software that allow humans to interact naturally with an AI. The idea of your consumers interacting with Bots to solve simple tasks such as creating to-do lists, reporting the weather, and even ordering laundry detergent is already happening.

“Siri, please locate a chinese restaurant near me.”

“Alexa, please order laundry detergent.”

“Allo, please schedule a meeting with Joe Doe on Friday at 1pm.”

With over 31,000 Bots in Facebook alone, the trend away from traditional search to Bot-driven communications isn’t going away.

Bots go even further than simple digital assistant tasks. They use predictive data to help users find content, research companies and to make purchase decisions.

With more and more users interfacing with AI, how will you position your company’s communications, website and brand for bots?

Actionable Insight:

Move to messaging

During Q1 of 2015, messengers surpassed the top 4 social networks in their number of active users. If you've been struggling to implement a social media strategy for your business, you'll now find yourself completely behind the eight ball with the emergence of these messaging apps.

Customers and leads want to get services from the place where they spend most of their time online. Data doesn’t lie - messaging apps are the places where you need to reach your customers. Consider the integration of a Chatbot in your social media messengers, like Facebook Messenger, and even on a website that is programmed to answer common customer inquires.

Develop Your Own Bot

In April 2016, Facebook announced its Messenger platform for Bots at the Annual F8 Conference. In just a few months 34,000 developers signed up for the program and 31,000 Chatbots have been developed. Facebook Messenger has over 1 Billion active users. The number is too big to be ignored. Integrating a Bot into your digital marketing not only can help customers with frequent FAQ questions but also can send helpful information, suggest products and even help move prospects to purchase.

Content is Still King for Bots

When interacting with Bots and AI it is now more important than ever before to consider the quality and authority of your content, as Bots commonly return only 10 search results to a user on average. Review your SEO and content strategy for keyword relevance and authority. Bots do not return paid ad search results.

Movement at the Speed of Message

From the growth of short-form video content and customer-centric technology enabled systems to the future of marketing for AI enabled consumer electronics, the way we message and communicate continues to change rapidly.

When considering your plans for 2017, we highly suggest incorporating some our key-takeaways and actionable insights from this year’s INBOUND16 conference.

INBOUND16 was a fantastic trip for all of us at Illumine8 and we look forward to sharing more insights with you in the near future.

Contact us if you have more questions, or if you’d like some assistance implementing new marketing approaches to reach your business goals.

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