Biggest Lesson From HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Conference That Wasn't In A Presentation.

I spent most of last week with 10,000 other marketing and sales professionals at HubSpot’s INBOUND Marketing Conference which took place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC).

We spent 4 days discussing topics like Understanding Your Buyer’s Journey, The New Rules of SEO and The Future of Public Relations in this new era of marketing.  But for me, the biggest lesson actually occurred early Thursday morning away from all the meeting rooms, presentation slides and expert speakers.

There was a lot of activity in the halls of the convention center that morning.  I, like most of the other attendees, was on my way to listen to the keynote presentation.  

We were all in our own little worlds focused on the issues, problems and challenges of the day.  One man was calculating when he needed to leave the convention center to get to the airport on time. A woman reviewed the building’s map to determine the most direct route to her next session.  Still another man was counting the breaks throughout the day to see when he would have time to finish a report for his boss.  

I was among many attendees who had my head down, checking my phone and responding to emails that had arrived in my inbox overnight.  I was so involved in my own world that there wasn't much that was going to snap me out of it. 

Then, from somewhere in front of me I heard these words, “Some snacks for later, Lisa?”

I looked up immediately.  Who said that?  It wasn't a voice I recognized.  But, I was instantly interested in finding out who it was and what they wanted.  

That voice belonged to Jacqui Acqui, a convention center employee. She and her colleagues were offering granola bars, bags of nuts and other snacks to attendees on their way to the keynote presentation.  

It was early morning—7:45am. I had just come from breakfast. I wasn't thinking about being hungry later in the day.

Jacqui Acqui at the INBOUND Marketing Conference. She has served Boston's convention-goers for over 10 years.

Jacqui Acqui at the INBOUND Marketing Conference. She has served Boston's convention-goers for over 10 years.

But Jacqui engaged with me on a personal level.  Once she spotted me in the crowd, it took her seconds to look down at the badge I was wearing around my neck and find my name.  She personalized her offer of snacks and immediately made a connection. 

As a result, I looked away from my phone and all of the distractions of the morning and gave Jacqui my undivided attention.  The items on her tray were virtually the same as those being offered by the rest of her colleagues but I took a granola bar and bag of nuts from Jacqui. 

The Greatest Lesson From HubSpot’s INBOUND Marketing Conference

So here’s the lesson that Jacqui already knows and you should apply to all of your marketing activities.   

First and foremost, I am a person.  I don’t carry the title of B2B or B2C that we often assign to our prospects and customers when marketing to them. I don’t leave half of myself at home when I come to work.  I am the same person at 10:00am and 11:00pm so speak to me as a human being.

I also go about my daily life bombarded with marketing messages coming at me from every direction.  A makeup sample sent in the mail.  A direct mail piece for a conference in San Francisco. An email offer from a new clothing designer.  To attract my attention you need to stand out in this sea of messages.  

Jacqui needed to stand out in the sea of convention center employees who all had pretty much the same offer.

As inbound marketers, we all know that the days of spray and pray marketing are over but sometimes the urge to quickly launch a campaign overrides the need to slow down, truly understand our audience and personalize our messages to them.  

Jacqui understands this and took the time necessary to find out something about me.  She acknowledged my humanness and connected with me on a personal level. 

And, the most important thing for all of us marketing and sales professionals to remember… Jacqui’s efforts closed the deal.  I enjoyed the bag of nuts and thought of her later that day.

Thanks Jacqui.


Lisa-Masiello

About the Author
Lisa Masiello is an award winning tech industry marketing strategist, start-up advisor and founder of TECHmarc Labs. She writes on B2B growth, channel management, marketing strategy, customer experience, and CMO success. Chat with Lisa by email at Lisa.Masiello@TECHmarcLabs.com. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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