Earlier this month, the Adventii Media team ventured to Boston, along with 25,000 other marketers to attend Inbound 2018. During the four-day conference and convention, we dashed between inspiring keynotes (including Shonda Rhimes and Alex Rodriguez), and breakout sessions with some of the best-known marketers and influencers in the industry.
After a few weeks of combing through notes, re-watching and listening to recordings and beginning to synthesize lessons, I want to share with you three of the major takeaways I personally took from the experience.
1. The marketing funnel is dead.
Maybe you've read some recaps from Inbound, but if you haven't, you're in for a surprise. For years, and even decades, we've focused on the marketing funnel. Phrases such as "top of the funnel" and "bottom of the funnel" have permeated marketers' vocabulary and sales calls. Sketches, vectors and animations of funnels are constantly seen in Facebook, Google and other social media content and advertisements.
So why is the funnel dead? I don't believe it's so much the concepts but the idea that we need to move in a new marketing direction. It's 2018 and things are rapidly changing in the business and marketing world. It used to be that you needed a product or service that stood out from your competition. Now, you need to have service that exceeds your competition.
How does that apply to the idea of a flywheel? As HubSpot's Jon Dick discusses in a recent blog post, a funnel has a very linear approach of handling leads and prospects. It guides them on a journey, only to end up at the bottom, or even worse, spit out into the "customer" category and nearly forgotten. A flywheel, on the other hand, is an energy-efficient wheel on an axis that can continually spin given low friction and continuous momentum.
Without getting too technical, this is how we need to look at our businesses. We're not throwing leads and prospects down a funnel to be forgotten like at the bottom of a trash can. Instead we're pulling them into a flywheel of momentum and energy. As we work to become more efficient with our work and put customers at the center of our flywheel, we use that momentum to help grow faster, longer and more efficiently.
We're more frustrated coming up with continuous blog content, video content and potentially podcast content (hopefully coming soon). That was until our breakout session with Colin Gray of The Podcast Host. Understanding that coming up with continuous content can be exhausting, Colin encouraged us to pivot our thinking to be more in line with television shows.
When you think about it, TV doesn't product 52 episodes per year, they focus on seasons. Why not bring that idea to the content you create? How about making a season (6-8 weeks) that focuses on a specific theme, service or product. Even better, you can plan out your seasons. Focus on the best way for you to communicate, and lead with that. From that medium, derive you other forms of content.
For example, personally I prefer to talk to someone about a new idea, thought or comment. Therefore, it would make sense for me to begin by simply recording myself talk (a rough podcast). After recording for 20-30 minutes, I can get that audio transcribed and create 3-4 blog posts. I can take each blog post and create one video per post. In what might be only 3-4 hours of total work (excluding transcription), I could knock out a month's worth of content: 1 monthly podcast, 3-4 blog posts and 3-4 weekly video posts.
While it's a simple formula, the idea itself can be game-changing if you're struggling to create consistent content.
3. It's not always about "marketing"
The opening keynote of Inbound 2018 was Deepak Chopra. It could be considered to be a strange choice for a marketing convention filled with marketers. Why not Gary Vaynerchuk or Mari Smith?
One of the major themes across Inbound 2018 was that of mental, emotional and spiritual health, going beyond the workplace to workplace balance, work-life balance and workplace health. I greatly appreciated this approach. As a business owner, I feel that it becomes more and more commonplace to fall into burnout and become overworked. With phrases such as "hustle" and "grind" thrown around, it's easy to get caught up and never stop, keep going and ultimately hurt yourself, whether physically or emotionally.
Listening to Deepak and a number of other keynote speakers, it became apparent that we all need to focus on what's important in life. Friends, family, and love is what is the most important. Having a successful company is a great achievement, but it's not the be-all, end-all in my opinion, and being attuned to that is an important topic that should not be left unfocused.
Did you make it to Inbound 2018, or a similar convention or conference? What was one key takeaway for you or your company? How will you implement it going forward? Let us know below!