Inbound Marketing Summit Boston 2012 Recap

I had the opportunity to attend the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston last week. What a fantastic event to learn from some of today’s leading thinkers in the field of digital marketing. IMS had three goals for us on the agenda:

1. DEFINE – The strategy and models driving the new enterprise marketing.

2. PRODUCE – The campaigns, content and creative for the new enterprise marketing.

3. BUILD – The tools, apps, demos and workshops needed to pull it all together.


Let me share a few highlights from some of the presentations that I think resonated with most social media marketers, and beyond.

The Mobile Revolution
Tim Haden, SVP Mobile Strategy at Edelman Digital gave a highly engaging presentation about the impact mobile is having and will continue to have on the way we engage consumers. It’s no secret that smart phone and other mobile device usage has significantly increased in the past couple of years. Tim really drove home how new – yet ancient – mobile is. Nearly 50% of smart phone users have had them for under a year. It’s a big learning curve. At the same time, humans have been mobile, well, since we began. Tim’s presentation showed us how to think of mobility as a behavior, rather than just another technology, which I think will be imperative moving forward with building mobile into our marketing programs.  We were also reminded that the #1 behavior exhibited with mobile phones is text messages. Smart phones primary use is for social and search. Tim’s full, eye opening look at mobile behavior in relation to marketing can be viewed here. The following are a few gems I got from his talk:

  • Mobile devices empower and liberate us.
  • People are more likely to use a mobile device to search than a computer, even if they are right next to each other.
  • Compelling offline experiences will drive people to their phones.
  • Data is everywhere, leave “bread crumbs” to be found.

Engagement Marketing
Corissa St. Laurent, Director at Constant Contact, presented an interesting case study about the “wow” aspect needed at digital touch points in order to entice fans to engage with a brand using new media channels. She shared with us how they were able to help Scribblers, a UK-based calligraphy company, through engagement marketing, or sharing a  message through new media channels to engage your audience in a conversation. The backbone of their visibility campaign was Facebook. The small business had two goals: 1) gain new customers, and 2) encourage repeat customers. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of creating engaging content, however, the following are some tips Corissa noted were successful in the case study, and will help turn your visitors into fans, and fans into business. Gain more insights from the Scribblers case study here.

  • Facebook has some built-in features that are effective in boosting organic growth. Promoted Posts worked really well for Scribblers.
  • Facebook is an image rich environment, so make sure your pictures pop.
  • Share your expertise (things that wow and help your audience).
  • Showcase your fans (people love to see pictures/content from themselves). The more user generated content the better.
  • Create something exclusive, such as a coupon, video, downloadable content or volunteer drive.
  • 96% of people never come back to your Page after “Liking” it..unless you keep them engaged.

The New Twitter
Everyone wants to know “How can I get more followers?”. Laura Fitton from Hubspot was just the lady to address this question. Laura co-authored Twitter for Dummies and founded She is credited with convincing thousands of tech execs that Twitter had a real business value. Laura founded the first Twitter for Business consultancy, Pistachio Consulting, in 2008 and has been speaking professionally about the business use of Twitter since 2007.

The crux of that question can be answered with more questions. Twitter users need to ask themselves:

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  • Who am I trying to attract?
  • What do they need to make their lives easier?
  • What are they dying to see?
After much discussion, Laura concisely stated what we should be doing via this quote from Benjamin Franklin, “Write something worth reading.” In this digital age, with so much content out there, you really need to focus on providing value, not more “noise”. The most valuable tip I gained from her presentation is to turn the content around, make it about your reader. Make the customer the heart of your story, because after all, tweeting is about building relationships. Take amazingly good care of the followers you already have, and they will take care of you.

The Future of Digital Advertising
This segment was an expert panel, so we were lucky to hear from the likes of Rob O’Regan, Editor,; Cameron Brown, CEO, King Fish Media; Eric Kim, Founder & CEO, Twlah; and Spencer Whiting, Senior Manager, Research and Strategy, MECLABS.

As marketers, we want to build relationships, however in the digital age, we’ve shifted to permission based relationships. There is so much information coming at us today, we have to think, what will make us want to slow down and stop (much like billboards of the past). Everyone emphasized the importance of storytelling, however, there is more to it that just that since the bottom line is you are trying to help clients sell their product or service, so there has to be an element of moving them to act, such as a call to action. Here are some other insights the panel shared:

  • Nurture the relationship with conversation and stories, don’t try to sell/close right away.
  • Ask yourself, “Is this my ideal client?”. Don’t waste your time if they’re not.
  • You need to be very effective overall to add value to the market. Why should your customer buy from you rather than someone else? What is your value proposition?
  • The content strategy needs to flow and fit into the main themes of the brand.

Real-time Marketing
Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital for PepsiCo gave one of the keynotes, entitles “Digital Disruption. Why No One is Equipped For the New Era of Marketing”. Shiv opened by emphasizing that all that matters is equity: brand equity and sales. He had a wonderful, rich presentation, however, the idea that stood out most to me was the idea of real-time marketing.

In an age where you are likely to check your Facebook news feed for information about the Hurricane taking place, like what happened this past week when Sandy hit the eastern  US, it just makes sense. It is tied with our newfound freedom with mobile devices: we are constantly connected. Why not provide value by adding in timely content as is happens, and build your brand’s equity but setting it apart? Dan Berthiaume captured Mr. Singh’s story:

Shiv asked audience members to imagine a scene of him walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City on a beautiful Friday morning.

“All of a sudden, I see Lady Gaga waking toward me and I notice she’s drinking a Pepsi,” he said. “I take a picture and video with my iPhone and send it to corporate headquarters, where they mash it up with other advertising and publish it online to millions of people worldwide and on social media.”

In addition, Shiv said Pepsi would run an immediate promotion for everyone within a two-mile radius of Fifth Avenue to take a photo or video of Lady Gaga drinking Pepsi and send it in. He said Pepsi could also immediately create and run a TV ad.

“You’re taking a cultural moment of true relevance and converting it to a form of marketing communications and sending it to the consumer ecosystem via digital or traditional media,” said Shiv. “It will resolute 100 times more than a piece of advertising concocted a few months earlier.”

This is obviously a whole new kind of marketing, and one that takes preparation to pull off when you come upon a moment of opportunity for your brand. I found it fascinating, and the presentation neatly summed up my experience at IMS Boston: as it has been stated, we are in the “Gold Rush” phase of the Digital Era. Stay curious and keep learning the technology, but also, study the effect the technology has on the behavior, because that is the key to unlocking connection. People are still human, technology is merely an extension of our communication tools. When we keep them sharp, we will strike gold in our relationships and campaigns.

Post written by Tia Marie Kemp aka @TiaMarieKemp. To learn more from Sociality Squared, become a fan!


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