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The 4 Key Lessons We Learned from Inbound 2014

Ryan Parlee

By Ryan Parlee

Last week, six members of Flying Hippo took a trip to Boston for Inbound 2014, one of the largest content marketing conferences in the world, drawing thousands of marketing and sales professionals from almost every industry imaginable and from all corners of the globe.

Reflecting on what we learned at the conference wasn’t an easy task. On the day we arrived back in Des Moines, we met and hashed out everything we learned – and we were astounded at how many great takeaways we had. Here are a few of the key things that Inbound 2014 taught us. Hopefully you’ll learn something as well.

What we learned

Before the digital age, the mantra was “buyer beware”, today’s mantra is “seller beware”.

— Eric Groves

In today’s market, the buyer has the advantage over the seller, not the other way around. With a smartphone or computer, you can compare costs and features on anything from sneakers to speedboats nearly instantaneously. There’s not much excuse for a buyer to make a poor purchasing decision when 100 other people have purchased and reviewed it on Amazon. Therefore, sellers and marketers must be on their toes to adapt to the changing marketplace. Adapt or perish.

Business isn’t about money or numbers. It’s about people.

— Jesse Peters

Your shiny MBA can only take you so far if you sit in a room all day by yourself. Businesses and brands: don’t lose sight of your goal, but don’t forget about the people that can help you get there. You’ll need them just as much as they need you.

Old-school marketing is an arms race for attention. New marketing should be about giving something useful.

— Ryan Rogness

In order to understand the current state of marketing, we need to look at previous methods of advertising. Think about billboards, radio commercials and TV ads: their success is more or less unmeasurable, and relies strongly on the “spray and pray” method. There’s no way of knowing who looks at your billboard, or if their interests are even relevant to your ad.bcec

Inbound marketing offers something of value (an ebook, a white paper, etc.) in exchange for a bit of information (email address, phone number, etc.). When customers come to you, they’re already interested in what you offer. All marketers have to offer is something useful. Who would have thought it would be that easy?

Content should listen, communicate, help and teach.

— Drew Deubner

When you write, design, shoot video or create any other sort of content, don’t make it with self-promotion in mind. The best way of proving that you’re the expert in your field is simply proving it through thought leadership.

If you’re the best water bottle manufacturer in the world, write about the process of making water bottles. Shoot a video at the factory. By helping your clients learn more about what you do, your company comes across as transparent, knowledgeable and ready to work for your customer’s best interest.

Find out how Flying Hippo and inbound marketing can rock your brand!

Did you attend Inbound 2014? Leave us a comment!

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