Another year of HubSpot’s Inbound conference has come and gone. Didn’t get to attend? Trying to decide if you should go next year? We’ve got our very first guest on Brain Lava filling us in on all things Inbound! We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Kerra from the Chicago Family Business Council to share her thoughts on her first Inbound experience.
From the keynote speakers to the breakout sessions to the programs…Patty and Kerra discuss it all! Check out episode 7 of Brain Lava:
Prefer to read instead of listen? We’ve got you covered. Find a transcript of this episode below!
Patty: Hey listeners, welcome to our latest edition of Brain Lava. Team ODEA’s podcast dedicated to all things marketing and tech. I’m Patty Rioux, president at ODEA and today we have an extremely special guest. We have the marketing coordinator from Chicago Family Business Council, Kerra here with us. Hi, Kerra.
Kerra: Hi Patty, thanks for having me.
P: Thanks for coming over oh so far. CFBC is about two blocks from our office.
K: One and a half, don’t give me so much credit.
P: Absolutely. CFBC is actually located at DePaul down on State Street here in downtown Chicago. Did you want to tell folks a little bit about CFBC before we get going?
K: Sure, so like Patty said, I’m the marketing coordinator AKA, the marketing department, for the CFBC. We’re a non-profit affiliate of DePaul, a member organization of entrepreneurial and family business owners and employees. We exist to support them through different educational programs. We also do peer forums and we basically just try to help them be better.
P: A great organization! We are super proud as ODEA to be the Marketing strategic partner for the CFBC. CFBC also happens to be a client and, as a client, we have set CFBC up on HubSpot. For those of you who don’t know HubSpot, Kerra explain HubSpot to some folks.
K: Yeah, so HubSpot, I’m in it every day. It’s our marketing automation software, but we also use it as CRM (customer relationship management system). We use it for everything, we use it to pull data, we use it to track engagement, we use it to send our marketing emails, do our social media scheduling. Pretty much everything I do for my job exists inside of HubSpot. Which is why, this past September, I went out to their Marketing Inbound conference out in Boston.
P: This was your first Inbound?
K: It was my first Inbound, yes.
P: Megan and I went a couple years ago; I haven’t been back or able to go. Super psyched you were able to go. What you think of your first Inbound?
K: It was awesome. My favorite part was that there was something for everybody. My first impression was “are we big enough for this?”, “are we tech oriented enough for this?”. Felt a little bit like, is this really going to be helpful for us? That said, they have so many programs, so many breakout sessions that it was so easy to find dozens of things that would be helpful for us. Then in terms of the keynotes those were just entertaining, fun, inspiring, just awesome people to listen to!
P: Who’d you get? When I went, I got Amy Schumer when Meg went, she got Michelle Obama. Who’d you get at your keynotes?
K: The first night was Deepak Chopra, he’s a prominent lifestyle spiritual guru. That was the first presenter on the first night of the conference. We also had the founder of Charity Water, Scott Harrison. He had an interesting story of how he went from being somebody he hated. He was a nightclub promoter and didn’t like who he was and became the founder of a world changing charity.
He was really inspiring to listen to, had great presentation. We also had 2 Dope Queens who have a podcast where they talk about pop culture and things like that. There was a comedian also, not Amy Schumer I’m forgetting her name, but she does the Elder Millennial special that was on Netflix. I can’t think of her name off the top of my head but she was hilarious too. The keynotes were just pure entertainment and inspiration. During the day it was kind of the nitty-gritty, getting down to things that help you as a marketer. I really liked it and I loved Boston.
P: Okay so we try within these podcasts to always give folks who listen some key learnings or some shared experience, if I can use some CFBC language. Help us know three things that you learned at Inbound that we can use, incorporate, work on whether or not we have HubSpot.
K: I will say none of the things I learned, you necessarily need HubSpot for. That was another really nice thing about the conference, The HubSpot founders did keynote too! Everything they talked about was just purely marketing which was really helpful. My biggest takeaway was really about creative ways to always be pushing content, especially when you’re a small team. I went to several breakouts about this actually. One was about content remixing and then the other was about content recycling and slice and dice almost and how to use your customers to create content too. Being a person who wears every marketing hat, content is one of the hardest things for me to always be creating new things and what hasn’t been done already and what are they going to find interesting. So those kinds of sessions were really helpful, specifically coming from a place of user generated content they spoke about what kinds of things can you do to make it easy for your customers to engage with you to post about you from their own free will eventually.
It gave me a lot of ideas being a member organization and that they all have an amazing story to tell, that was really beneficial for me to think about! All of our members either own a business or a part of a closely held business and how can we use their stories? A lot of them have already told us their story and repurpose that and let it resonate with other business owners in Chicago.
P: There are also small teams wanting to see if CFBC members have one person on staff, maybe two if they are larger and so for them as well, learning from you and being able to use CFBC content in some of their streams, a kind of give-and-take I think is super important for the CFBC members. They’re struggling with the exact same thing you’re struggling with.
K: Exactly, and a lot of smaller businesses also rely on referrals and word-of-mouth and that sort of thing so that user generated content UGC workshop that I went to was really about pushing that. How do you get more word of mouth, and they shared that 92% of customers trust word of mouth the most when they’re making a purchasing decision! That was really interesting for me, especially because I’m trying to save time as much as possible when it comes to content. We already have so many great stories how can we use those.
P: Yeah, absolutely. That’s like the holy grail of marketing to me, when your users start generating content for you and start talking about you that’s holy grail, you hit that spot.
K: They gave a lot of well-known brand examples! The presenter was from Class Pass if you are familiar with them?
P: You can buy 10 passes and then go take 10 different studios; yoga/ kickboxing/ barre class/ whatever right?
K: Exactly. They are champions of user generated content. Theirs is especially a female audience, they’re on Instagram doing their aerial yoga and sharing that and when people see that they want to know more. So that was a really cool example of it! Just find a way to get your customers to talk about you was really cool.
P: Yeah, love that take away! What else did you get?
K: Another interesting thing actually came out of the HubSpot founder keynote, how the marketing and sales funnel is dead. His presentation had a large animated funnel on these huge screens of it cracking and falling apart and him explaining why. He introduced something called the flywheel. Apparently, Amazon championed this to start out and it’s essentially a cycle of attracting and engaging and delighting people. It’s not so much about them coming down a funnel into that small pool of being a customer. It was interesting to hear that different perspective and they challenged us all to create our own flywheel of what things are you doing. It’s kind of like a homework, right? So what things are you doing to attract your customers? What opportunities are there? How are you engaging them and keeping them with you? Is it your content that’s educating them? Are they interacting with you at an event? What is engaging?
P: It’s review sites, are other folks talking about you? Reviewing you?
K: Then delighting them and continuing to delight them. That’s the theory behind it, is that it’s a continuum, it’s that you should always be moving them instead of them falling into a funnel which was interesting. It’s apparently an idea that’s been around for a little while, like I said with Amazon. They’ve always followed a flywheel model and they talked about reducing friction in your flywheel. Friction, they’re mainly talking about the incoming generation of millennial decision makers and how you can specifically delight, attract, engage them. It’s all about your process and reducing friction, so they don’t have to call in to get a quote, you’re open 24/7, even if it’s just online they have access to whatever they need, all the time. Those kinds of things.
P: Chat as well as a 1-800 number even AI assisted chat. HubSpot is becoming a big proponent of getting your chatbots even smarter so that when I ask the question, or you ask the question, or JJ who’s producing us asks the question, that your chat starts learning so that eventually it can start answering those on its own.
K: Streamlining it for the business too. That’s one last job that you have a human behind. They also talked about the the trials. I think this specific example they used with the mattress industry. How that has really changed and now there’s dozens of online brands where you can try a mattress that comes in a small box to your doorstep and try it for a hundred nights or something like that with no commitment they get a no commitment let me try it out model.
P: My only question is how to get back in the box, if you’re not happy with it, how do you actually truly send it back?
K: I fell into it. I did the mattress in a box. I ordered one online after some vetting for a few weeks, I luckily didn’t have to send it back because I love it!
The other is actually about millennials. We’re doing an event in May for Crane small business week on breaking generational stigmas. Our argument being that millennials get a lot of criticism but, also every other generation has faced criticism when they’ve entered a workforce. I actually learned yesterday that people who are in their twenties like twenty/ twenty-one /twenty-two are considered Gen Z. That was kind of shocking to me because that that means they’re entering the workforce now too and they’re going to start facing those same criticisms because I’m a victim of it. I’ve looked at my little cousin who’s eight years old on his laptop and I asked “what are you doing on there? Go outside and play, read a book.” and I’m already starting to criticize them and it’s that self-awareness. Is that always going to be the case? How can we break that down and and try and stop that, right? Accepting each other’s differences in business. I went to this workshop on Millennial decision makers and how they’re entering the workforce. The audience was a good mix, which I liked, it wasn’t just millennials in the room. It was a lot about things that I think would surprise a Boomer, that Millennials actually really value human connection. People think that they hide behind their screens and all that (to a degree absolutely true and we’re definitely more tech focused) but, that almost makes us value human connection more.
P: When it happens it’s purposeful, desired, needed not just an everyday occurrence.
K: When it comes to your business, it’s having that as an option. If they don’t want to do that chat bot, it’s that they have someone they can just call and talk to. I’m personally one of those people who I would rather just call it’s easier for me to just call and talk to someone about my questions.
P: That’s so not the stigma of your generation. The stigma of your generation is you’re going to go on Twitter and send a tweet to support. Or, you’re going to go on the website and look for an email you’re not going to pick up that thing that you carry around, you can actually talk into. Maybe is the stigma that your generation gets.
K: Yes, and it just depends, sometimes that is true and companies are making it more convenient for everyone to be able to do that so I’m all in for that too. They do value that human connection piece; they like to be able to go out there meeting people. That was something that, I think, shook the room a little bit. She really highlighted that in her presentation. The other being that Millennials really valued purpose so, if you’re trying to recruit a younger generation really talk about what their role is going to mean for this company and what is your vision and values. Really trying to get them behind that because that’s what makes them excited to work for a place.
P: I don’t know. I think that’s generational. I actually believe that is true for absolutely everyone, including Boomers, who were kind of that loyal generation. I even think that for them, that has morphed into really wanting to be part of something bigger, part of that overused assignment. Why, right? Why is it coming, why are you doing what you’re doing, how are you looking to be better, to leave the world better, all of those components. I think that (kudos to Millennials for making it the thing) but I don’t think that’s a solely a Millennial issue.
K: Exactly, and that’s goes back to the “we’re not all different”. We’re not really that different, so that was interesting just from that recruiting standpoint of if you can show them they’re doing something valuable and purposeful that that helps them get excited about it.
P: Interesting that recruiting happen at a marketing conference, which is becoming especially right now with unemployment out of 10 20 year low (I don’t know what the status but certainly lower than it’s been in a very long time) marketing is now being looked at as a recruitment arm, not just a customer arm. I think that’s very interesting. The fact that recruitment is coming up at a marketing conference means that marketers are having a bigger more important operational role. It isn’t just helping sales attract customers but now it’s helping HR attract the good candidates
K: I think the audience in that room that’s what they were after, because it was about Millennial decision makers. I think a lot of the people were there to also understand how can I be appealing to a Millennial as a boss. I think that’s where that that older gen came in and was hoping to get takeaways from that.
A couple of other things about Millennials is that they really value collaboration and external input. Mentorship is actually something they highly value and teamwork. A lot of people think Millennials don’t want to hear it from people; earbuds in not making eye contact. They actually highly value that mentorship. I thought that was interesting and just wanting that connection with someone outside of their generation, because I think again that’s something that not a lot of people think about, right? And lastly that they valued diversity as a way of life. Going to your company how is it diversified with attracting that audience and what can they look at, that’s they’re really trying to do. Something that affects a lot of people not just a small group of people. That was another thing that was interesting.
P: Worthwhile for you to go?
K: Yes, I wanted to go back.
P: I was going to say do you want to go whichever year, would you take a year off and then go another?
K: I want to switch it up obviously as much as possible so I don’t know. I want to see in the coming year what else is out there then definitely go back.
P: I ask because our team is looking at our continuing ed and where our team has gone to conferences and what we’ve got out of it and where some maybe haven’t met expectations and other have. It’s just interesting to kind of get another feedback. I think that we’re also the mindset that we’re going to mix it up quite a bit and certainly CFBC just itself is a terrific resource. Plug CFBC a little bit for anyone listening where should they go to find out about amazing CFBC events that are coming up.
K: Yes, you can go to www.myefbc.com and if you go to our events page, you’ll see everything that we have coming up all the way through to next summer.
P: Perfect. Alright, well that’s the latest Brain Lava as always thanks for listening. Any ideas, you want to come on and be a guest and have a conversation with me email us at [email protected], and of course you can always find us at www.teamodea.com. Thanks Kerra.
K: Thank you. Thanks guys.