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    on October 20, 2021 Marketing

    4 things I learned at INBOUND 2021

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    Being a marketer isn't for everyone. No, that doesn’t mean it’s some exclusive club where only the cool kids get to join, just that the field we’ve chosen takes a certain kind of dedication.

    For one, marketing is constantly changing. In the last ten years alone, marketers have had to learn how to navigate search engine optimization, consumers’ fleeting attention spans and the ever-present giant that is social media. And let’s be honest, marketers everywhere deserve a pat on the back for how we’ve tackled that phenomenon. 

    With all of these new additions to our craft, it only makes sense that we’d have to keep learning in order to grow as a marketer. HubSpot's INBOUND conference makes that possible.

    This year’s conference took place virtually as a result of the ongoing pandemic, but that didn’t lessen the educational impact. In fact, the gems were so powerful that I knew I couldn’t keep them to myself. Here are four things I learned at INBOUND 2021

    1. Connectivity is the key to relational success 

    When legendary writer and filmmaker Spike Lee was asked how he got people to “buy into” his work, he attributed his career success to trust and comfortability. If you were to ask a marketer what necessary concepts make up a good relationship between customers and brands, they would say the same.

    Beyond your brand’s product or service, its ability to do well in the marketplace lies with customers. In other words, it’s how your customers feel about your business that determines your success rate. 

    Those who trust your brand are more likely to become repeat customers and eventual brand advocates. They help to increase your brand’s audience, strengthen its reputation and aid in its longevity. 

    2. You should be focused on thriving

    Can I take you back to my senior year of high school?

    In 2016, I was tasked with picking the senior quote that would accompany my final high school yearbook photo. As one would expect, it was a duty I took seriously. This would be the quote that would encompass my four years of high school and foreshadow the years to come. 

    After sorting through a few impactful statements, I ultimately decided on poet Maya Angelou’s quote, “my mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive…”

    Fast forward to last week’s conference and I was reminded of what it means to thrive at something. During one segment of the event, Dawn Ostroff, Chief Content and Business Advertising Officer at Spotify was discussing the pressure creatives feel when they have to produce content quickly and repeatedly. Ostroff’s solution to this issue was to pick one lane and focus on thriving

    Spend your time learning how you can be the best at a specific task. Learn your craft inside and out, and prioritize quality over quantity. While it might seem easier said than done, its impact on your business is well worth the risk.

    3. Diversity is the missing puzzle piece

    The demographics of the current state of marketing leaders are… troubling. Diversity is lacking, and it's showing in brand and customer relationships.

    Now, in the spirit of full transparency, I have to be honest with you: This wasn’t necessarily new information for me. As a Black woman born in Detroit, Michigan and a graduate of Hampton University, a historically Black institution in Hampton, Virginia, one might say I am the walking poster child for diversity. And truth be told, they wouldn’t be wrong.

    Shining a light on diverse perspectives is of crucial importance — it’s what separates wide-reaching, culturally in-tune brands from those with smaller success rates.

    Companies with diverse employee populations are typically expected to perform better than those who don’t have a wide range of backgrounds on their team. 

    This could be because having different voices on a team helps to prevent racially insensitive crises, but it’s also because innovation comes in more than one race, age group, sexual orientation or physical makeup. 

    Brand-to-customer relationships have a lot to gain from incorporating diversity in their marketing strategies. Aside from the obvious benefits like higher revenue and customer retention, businesses gain a better understanding of their customers, leading to better ways of servicing them. 

    4. The best work is done with intention

    If there was ever something on my bucket list of things to do, it was listen to Oprah Winfrey speak. 

    INBOUND 2021 helped to cross that off. Of course, it was better than I could’ve hoped for. In true Oprah fashion, the media mogul spoke to areas in both my professional and personal life that had gone neglected. Most notably, she discussed the power of intention, or more specifically, creating with intention. 

    As you know, intention is the reason behind your action. Why are you creating this marketing strategy? What are you hoping to accomplish? Who do you want to reach?

    I strongly believe that these are questions that can help to move your business forward, or at the very least keep it in line with its mission. Intention is there to not only hold you accountable to your customers, but the brand itself, as well. 

    INBOUND 2021 was an experience like no other. With each session, came a new piece of knowledge to carry me on my journey as a marketer. The tools were endless and the skills are new, but what else can one expect from a field as vast as ours?


    Lindsay Keener

    Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.