As you may have read from some of our previous blogs or social posts, Orange Element has recently become a certified partner with HubSpot — the global leader for inbound marketing solutions. Before we had even approached the idea of joining their partner program, I decided to head out to Boston to attend Inbound 2019, the annual conference HubSpot hosts each year for partners and consumers. With our recent expansion into more comprehensive inbound and content marketing services, Inbound 2019 stood out as an opportunity to learn from the best and brightest in the space. Four days back in Baltimore and I’m still trying to unpack everything I took away from Boston, luggage not included.
Embracing Inbound 2019
The theme of this year’s Inbound was “Grow Better,” which going in seemed incredibly ambiguous. I tend to view these large-scale conferences with a heavy dose of skepticism — are they worth the cost, are the seminars actually providing value, etc. — but in honor of our new partnership with HubSpot I set these biases aside and went into the conference with an open mind and an empty notebook. It took me about halfway through my first seminar to realize that this conference was, in fact, worth my time and money, and after an hour into day one, I was hooked.
“Disruption” is a buzzword we’re all familiar with, and it’s a term I’ve grown tired of seeing in articles and thought leadership pieces. It was also a word that was being thrown around pretty regularly at Inbound 2019. From a product perspective, it seems obvious that if you create a product that is far and away better than the alternatives, heads are going to turn your way. Just look at Dyson. But what about service-based businesses? Take marketing agency services for example: How do you disrupt an industry where thousands of businesses are competing against each other, offering the same services (for the most part), to the same consumer base? For the longest time, I thought this meant committing to your brand values, owning your identity, and delivering to your clients work you can be proud of. After four days at Inbound, I was validated that these are all important aspects to a successful agency model, but I also realized that to grow and reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves, we need to do more.
“Grow Better” isn’t just a catchy marketing line, it’s a (very) high-level summary of what drives change in businesses today. Brian Halligan, HubSpot’s founder and CEO, gave an interesting keynote on day two, showcasing how his and many other Americans’ day-to-day lives have become enmeshed with new-age businesses like Netflix, DoorDash, SoulCycle and the like. His point being that these brands have found a way to push out the incumbent businesses which dominated the industry for decades not by changing their product, but by revolutionizing the way consumers interact with the business itself.
I marinated on this point for a while, and after contextualizing it with what I know about our industry and our consumer base, I had my “Aha!” moment. While not every business can create an entirely unique product or service offering, it’s within everyone’s power to shape the way their consumers experience their business. As I’m writing this, it seems obvious that the consumer experience should be a priority for any business, but I’m not talking about process, or project management or customer service (all important facets). I’m talking about the intangible aspects of your business. How are you establishing trust with your audience? Are you humanizing your brand? Are you addressing your weaknesses along with your strengths? Are you talking about the things your competitors are too afraid to talk about? In today’s digital age the consumer profile has changed — we’ve moved the conversation beyond the traditional vendor/consumer relationship into a more nuanced, dynamic discourse.
Growing and Evolving with HubSpot
Our partnership with HubSpot has provided us with an entirely new set of tools and resources which we recognize as a means to revolutionize the marketing service experience. For Orange Element and our clients, this means an evolution of content and infrastructure, and a long-term strategy focused on building trust, establishing genuine relationships, and creating innovative campaigns that touch on the personal motivations of clients and consumers. Inbound 2019 has helped us align our goals and vision with the future of our industry and, coupled with more than a decade of strategic marketing experience and brand value refinement, we couldn’t be more excited for what comes next.