40 Bite-sized Insights from the 2010 Inbound Marketing Summit

You can’t help but be impressed by the “new marketing” thought leaders in the Boston area, our hosts for last week’s annual Inbound Marketing Summit (IMS). Their capacity for pushing new ideas is matched only by their spirit for sharing. For me, it was a rare chance to interact with industry rock stars like David Meerman Scott and Chris Brogan, and other smart folks like Gail Goodman, John Jantsch and Robbie Vorhaus.

I returned to my B2B marketing agency with some great ideas and a forward perspective—as well as a few notes reflective of the diverse IMS sessions.

If you’ll pardon my narrow categorizations, here’s a sampling of the rich conversation:

Customer Engagement

  • “You’ve got to have faith that customer engagement is the anchor that will hold your business together.”
  • “You have to engage the people who will engage others.”

Content Marketing

  • “Make content that equips and grows your buyer.”
  • “You must produce a full range of content so people don’t get stalled in the buying process.”
  • “Story trumps messaging—but have a purpose. Keep it personal, entertaining and useful.”
  • “Best SEO tip: Write great freakin’ content.”


  • “You are far better off with a small, engaged audience than a large following.”
  • “Look at personas and find where their pain points are—and build your content strategy around it.”
  • “You live and die by your database. If you have no list you have nothing.”

The crowd at the Inbound Marketing Summit was vibrantly engaged with the speakers and each other.

Integration Conversation

  • “The challenge of today is fusing online and offline.”
  • “Key question: How do you link content, community and marketplace (CCM)?”
  • “Distribution to mobile devices requires a different strategy.”
  • Email Marketing

  • “Email marketing is not dead. Shi##y email marketing is dead.”
  • “Email is still important ,,, it’s the currency for Facebook, Twitter, etc.”
  • “Ask a question with email. Bring it to social for an answer.”
  • Content Management System

  • “Who owns the CMS? … There’s now a big shift from IT to marketing.”
  • “The less we get Technology involved, the faster we get to market.”
  • Analytics

  • “In terms of ROI: We need to stop treating social media harder than any other media just because it’s different.”
  • “You need to know the difference between a monitoring tool and a measurement tool.”
  • “As of yet, marketers just don’t know what to do with this data: mentions, likes, comments, influence, shares, sentiments, retweets, replies.”
  • “Leverage your success. Match expectations to investment. Set reasonable expectations.”
  • Real-time Marketing and PR

  • “Marketers are so focused on the future, they forget about what’s happening now.”
  • “In real-time marketing, agility and speed are decisive advantages.”
  • “Social media are tools. ‘Real-time’ is a mindset.”
  • Location Based Services (LBS)

  • “Place marketing: How do you bring foot traffic to the people that only know how to market to foot traffic.”
  • “’Checking in’ is an unnatural behavior.”
  • “Location based marketing will get a lot more interesting when commerce/transactions are built in.”
  • Customer Service

  • “Marketing happens every time you have an engagement point with your customer—including customer service.”
  • “Don’t wait until things go bad to give special treatment.”
  • “Put your most loyal customers in the front row.”
  • Blogging

  • “Don’t get hung up on blogging frequency. Blog when you have something passionate to say.”
  • “Successful blogs are about an experience—putting people where they can’t be.”
  • “Seek intimacy with your audience, not publicity.”
  • Social Networking

  • “Online networking is not a replacement for offline networking; it’s an enhancement.”
  • “Social networking is Publicized Customer Service.”
  • “Social media has the same issues as lead nurturing. You need a content engine for each.”
  • “Every department of every company has to be in the social space.”
  • Brand Considerations

  • “Humor should be a small part of your inbound strategy. It humanizes your brand, evokes emotion, and cuts through the noise. And it helps you keep the story simple.”
  • “Loosen up your brand, and get playful with your visual branding.”
  • “Sometimes you need to look conventional wisdom straight in the eye—and do the exact opposite.”
  • As billed, the IMS sessions encouraged attendees to put “ideas into action,” and I’m grateful I could join the event this year. If any of these insights strike a chord with your latest challenge, I would welcome your comments below.