You may (or may not) have noticed that last week was pretty quiet here. We weren't on vacation! Josh and I traveled to Boston for the Inbound 2014 Conference. It has been a couple of years since we attended this conference and boy has it grown! The first time we attended the conference had about 1500 attendees. This time, there were 10,000!! The effectiveness of Inbound Marketing is real and the droves of marketers that are trying to get involved is a telling sign of that.
This year the conference was held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, which was a significantly larger venue than the last time we attended. Needless to say, I wish I would have worn a pedometer because we walked a ton. The building is enormous and the sessions were spread out across the building in different rooms. There was 30 minutes between each session to ensure that attendees had sufficient time to get around the building.
Pick Your Programming
The conference worked much like I wish television worked. We could pick and choose the sessions we wanted to attend. The only down side was that there were soooo many sessions we wanted to see, but ultimately had to choose 1 session per time period. To be honest, this left us feeling a little disappointed if we didn't feel like the session we went to provided the value we'd hoped for. Fortunately, that was a rare case.
What we found early on is that we needed to leave the broader topic courses and get into the weeds a bit more. Having studied and implemented inbound marketing for several years now, it was the nitty-gritty, more complex sessions that we took the most out of.
The Keynotes Were OK
My favorites session of the entire conference was the keynote speaker on day 2, Simon Sinek. His talk, based around his new book, Leaders Eat Last, was the most inspiring of the conference and made me a fan. He's a great story teller which made his session all the more entertaining.
The other keynotes were OK. I say that with a pretty solid dose of disappointment. Malcolm Gladwell and Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah were the other 2 that we attended. Neither of their keynotes could hold my attention for very long. Again, dissapointing... Especially the guys from HubSpot.
The Ultimate Takeaway
At the end of the conference, Josh and I took away some new ideas and ways of thinking about the challenges we face as marketers. The key takeaway for me though, was that we are guiding our clients in the right direction. We are already enforcing the best practices of Inbound Marketing. We just need to do a better job of educating small businesses on how they can and should be using it.