Key takeaways from #INBOUND2016

By Stellan Björnesjö

Key takeaways from #INBOUND2016

During an intensive week in Boston, Zooma along with some of our friends and 19,000 others from 92 countries attended sessions on a broad spectra of subjects related to the inbound methodology. Here are our key takeaways from what was said at INBOUND2016. 

1. Make sure to always make bets

In the welcome keynote for the week, entrepreneur and evangelist Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) emphasised the need to dare to make bets and sometimes be wrong. The reasoning? If you’re late to the table you’re up against much tougher competition. His examples were among others that Uber really should have been invented by the guy in New York with the most medallions’, and Airbnb should have been invented by Marriott Hotels. Simply put:

‘If you don’t wake up every day and try to put yourself out of business, someone else will’

– Gary Vaynerchuk

2. Today’s opportunities won’t exist in 36 months

Related to above, Gary also pointed out his favourite mantra Marketers ruin everything’. Just like bulk email worked great in 1996 (he had a 91% open rate on his own emails!) it doesn’t work in 2016. Before marketers ruin it and people move on to other things, there are opportunities to seize. Mentioned was Facebook ads—an opportunity that he pledged won’t exist in 36 months because it will be way more expensive when the global consumer brands move in. Another one was Facebook video, because it combines opportunities for branding with marketing in an under-priced environment (compared to Google who enables zero branding). Bonus, and one to judge for yourself by measuring activities for your business: According to Gary paid Twitter ads and programmatic advertising is over-priced.

3. Go and learn the sh*t yourself

In classic Gary style, he made the point that it’s not an excuse to outsource work to younger people with the argument that you don’t know the ins and outs of a certain topic. You can learn almost anything today thanks to online.

‘I didn’t grow up with this, I simply figured it out’

– Gary Vaynerchuk

4. Look at these 6 signals when optimising conversion rate

When optimising a page for conversion, there are 6 things you should be looking for;

  • Message clarity; what do users get? What is the next step?
  • Friction; anything that would lower trust, add uncertainty/doubt or steps not necessary
  • Distractions; anything on the page that distracts from taking the main action you want the user to take
  • Urgency; is there anything that compels people to take action right now?
  • User intent; does the page match what those coming to the page are seeking?
  • Buying phase; what buying stage are they in when coming to this page? Are we asking for too much too soon?

And remember: Start with your low handing fruits, meaning high traffic pages with low conversion rates. 

5. Use MQLs for your Marketing + Sales Service Level Agreement


A Service Level Agreement (or SLA) is a formal commitment between a service provider and an end user, i.e. it defines what the level of service will be that the end user will receive. Now, how do you decide the right unit of measurement for an SLA between Marketing and Sales in a company? 

  • It needs to be a movable metric that Marketing can drive, and
  • that aligns with the sales process.

Customer closing rate is too far away from Marketing to affect, and Leads too far away from the Sales teams reality. Hence, start by using Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and then jointly between Marketing and Sales address what are the criteria for an MQL?

6. It’s never been easier and harder, to reach and interact with people

HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan in his keynote talked about what had happened to the customer buying process between 2006 and 2016. The main conclusion? That supply of products and services, meaning choice, is up in virtually every category across every industry compared to ten years ago. Or to put it another way, today; 

‘We compete for millimeters on the infinite internet shelf’

– Brian Halligan 



7. Inbound marketing is mandatory in a messaging world

Following Brian, HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah concluded that the shift to messaging is happening. Over 80% of our time spent on mobile is spent in (a few major) apps, not in a browser, and a large part of that is messaging. We’re messaging not just in personal life, but also at work with platforms like Slack, Facebook Workplace, Microsoft Teams or WeChat. What it means for marketers? Dharmesh concluded that;

‘In a world of messaging, you can’t buy a list and blast it.’
– Dharmesh Shah

Hence why Inbound is mandatory in a messaging world. The flip side is that with messaging you can now earn trust and build must stronger connection than was ever possible with e.g. email.

8. The chatbots are coming

The move to messaging also triggered something unexpected; chatbots, i.e. a software that you can have a natural conversation with. Why is this going to be huge very soon you may ask? Decades ago businesses started building websites because people had questions and websites were available 24/7 to give the answers. Bots will do the same, for the exact same reasons, only much faster.

‘The shortest time between a question and an answer is a Bot’
– Dharmesh Shah

Click here to access all the content from INBOUND2016

Stellan Björnesjö
Online Strategist at Zooma since 2012. 15+ years of experience as a manager, business developer and specialist within online and e-commerce.
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