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What this Platinum Blonde, Platinum Partner Learned at INBOUND 2017.
(Quote stolen from the slick and incredible Brian Halligan.)
We didn't just have fun at INBOUND, we learned so much! If you followed social media, it seemed like we spent a lot of time hanging out in hammocks and at food trucks. What you didn’t see was a schedule packed with expert-level education and marketing enlightenment.
Every day started between 6 and 9 a.m., with a short 30 minutes between each session. With between five and six sessions a day, I was completely brain dead by five (and totally deserved that Pinot Grigio.)
Sure, I spent a lot of my time sitting in a chair listening to someone else talk. But just like our photos, there was a lot happening below the surface. I was surrounded by passionate professionals, digging into my career, learning how to serve clients better and understanding how to improve my team.
Our time was totally our own to spend learning what we wanted. So I took a mix of classes covering everything from leadership to content creation, new HubSpot tools and cutting-edge marketing techniques. I soaked it all in like a project-managing sponge, bursting with excitement to start executing new ideas.
My first class on day one was “How to Use the Power of Story to Influence Action”, with Lisa Gerber, owner of Big Leap Creative. This class was an interesting take on storytelling and how it’s the connective tissue of marketing. It connects real people with real problems and creates emotional ties.
I’ll be honest, at some point during her presentation I looked up connective tissue. Here’s what I found:
Tissue that connects, supports, binds, or separates other tissues or organs.
Tah dah! This made so much sense! The story connects the customer through every section of the buyer's cycle. Through awareness, consideration, decision and loyalty. People are searching for products, they looking for answers to a problem. By using stories, you are connecting their problem to your brand and influencing action!
Out of all the leadership classes I took, one stood out as being the most inspirational and empowering. Jordan Benjamin, principle partner executive of HubSpot, spoke about, “The One Skill Leaders Need to Develop for their Teams”, and ways to incorporate it into your agency. The word was empathy.
Empathy a red thread at INBOUND 17 and on the lips of almost every speaker. It’s word that, as a project manager, I should be thinking about everyday and exemplifying with my clients, my team and even myself. A little empathy goes a long way for a leader and brings us closer to our authentic selves.
As Jordan Benjamin discussed empathy, he explained the traits of a leader:
- Tough empathy
Another great takeaways from his session was the L.E.A.D.S. Coaching Model:
- Learn: Background data and information
- Enroll: Create a safe and trusting environment
- Assess: Understand where they are today, and where they want to be
- Discuss: Be curious and facilitate change through inquiry
- Support: Confirm what's needed for successful outcome
Empathy was a big part of the LEADS discussion and a tactic I will definitely use more at Impulse Creative. My team is full of different, creative personalities. What hinders any one of them, hinders us all, and I need to learn to better help them. This way the team stays happier and our clients continue to be delighted.
If you read my Blog Inbound: A magical marketing experience, you already know how awesome it was to hear Michelle Obama speak. If you haven't read it (and you should), this was an amazing experience, her presentation was inspirational and educational.
Follow me on Twitter (@Audreykatelyn5) to see how on fire I was during her speech. The former First Lady explored topics such as empathy, girl power, learning how to trust and believe in your voice, leadership, kindness and grace. I was in awe by her sense of confidence and poise.
Another speaker that stood out was Marcus Andrews, senior product marketing manager of HubSpot. His class was, “Growth Through Success: How Companies That Embrace Customer Success Grow Faster and Retain Customers Longer.”
I was primarily interested in this because Hubspot has just announced their new Customer Hub coming early 2018. Since I pride myself on being an advocate for the clients at Impulse creative, I knew I needed to learn more about it so that I could share that knowledge with clients. Essentially, it’s a support system for the client, keeping track of their needs and recording communication between the client and the agency.
Mr. Andrews discussed the ideas of promises and keeping clients happy. After all, clients are more of a sales tool than marketing and sales efforts. If you have happy clients that are nurtured all the way through the sales process, they’ll be delighted and loyal to your brand, happy to refer friends and other businesses to you.
FInally, he ended with this comment that really spoke to me. He said, “We have to be the change we want to see in business. We have all been the customer at some part in our lives. Have empathy for your customers, after all we are all human.”
That, was the essence of what I learned at INBOUND 17 and I can’t wait to start seeing it in action.