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The 2016 Vote That Mattered: Who Was The Biggest Influence at Inbound?

Posted by Tom Ritchie

While we were at Inbound2016 amidst thousands of other digital marketers and business owners, we seized the chance to hear from many leading figures in the industry, learn about new products and features HubSpot will be releasing in the next few months, and make a lot of new connections with other agencies and business leaders.

We also took the opportunity to organise a vote that really mattered last week, and put a question to attendees: Who is the biggest influence on inbounders?


While the US election may have left people weary of voting for anything anymore, we asked for just one more, which, while far less consequential, would still be very interesting.

We put forward four candidates:

  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Reshma Saujani
  • Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah
  • Serena Williams

And the results are in…


HubSpot co-founders Halligan and Shah came out on top with 40% of the vote.

brian_halligan_dharmesh_shah_hubspot_biggest_influencers_digital_marketing_inbound2016.jpgBrian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah were always going to be a big draw, and their keynote speech looking at the rapidly changing landscape and technologies available for marketing, sales and customer engagement, and what the future has in store for digital marketing, was one everybody present was eager to hear.

Brian recalled the origins of HubSpot and the Inbound methodology, and how he and Dharmesh ‘geeked out’ on the changing behaviour of consumers and how marketers needed to change their approach in order to properly and successfully engage with them.

He then outlined his view on the consumer of 2016, ten years on from HubSpot’s beginnings, saying ‘it might as well have been 100 years’. He and Dharmesh then went on to reveal how consumers now act online and on social media, and how marketers and businesses in general have to act upon the state of inbound today to attract, engage with, and convert those consumers into customers with an up to date digital marketing strategy.

Always entertaining and always informative, their speech proved why they are so popular and why they are so influential.

gary-vaynerchuk-inbound-2016.jpgGary Vaynerchuk received 30% of the votes.

As owner of the VaynerMedia digital agency, investor in Facebook, Twitter and Uber and a prolific public speaker, it’s no wonder inbound marketers find him to be a huge influence. His keynote speech dealt with the journey of an entrepreneur, opening with the positive statement that whoever won the US presidential election that night, it should have no impact on your business. Grabbing the attention of everyone on the room, he went on to say: ‘We’re living through the greatest era of communication change since the printing press, and it will impact on what you do over the next decade.’

He continued by discussing how the smartphone has become the TV of today, and how social media platforms are now akin to the major TV stations. ‘The people who figure out how to make the equivalent of MASH, or Seinfeld or the best TV show ever, will win.

‘Either you go on the defence because of this, or you go on the offence. Either you see this as the greatest opportunity for entrepreneurs, or you are scared of these changes.’

Strong words with a strong message, followed by a highly motivational presentation on how to make it as an entrepreneur. A master of the keynote speech, Gary had as always a huge influence on proceedings and on the Inbound attendees.

reshma-saujani-inbound-2016.jpgIn third place was political entrepreneur Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future, with 20% of the votes.

Her keynote speech saw Reshma talk about the need to help women gain the know-how and skills to find 21st century jobs, the origins and overwhelming success of Girls Who Code, and the need to change our culture to show women that their potential to succeed in tech industries can be realised.

Rounding out the vote was Serena Williams with 10%.

serena-williams-inbound-2016.jpgThough Serena Williams is a stand-out name, some may have been surprised to see she would be giving a talk at the conference, but when you consider she is not only top of her game with 22 Grand Slam titles but also has a net worth of $150million from endorsements, a signature clothing line and co-ownership of the Miami Dolphins, it’s clear why her business savvy is something we all should be looking to gain inspiration from.

Do you agree with the results? Let us know in the comments section below.

Want to find out how we can help your business create and maintain an effective digital marketing strategy and generate leads? As an agency, do you need help providing a great digital marketing service for your clients? Go to the phonebooth and ask us to give you a call.



Tom Ritchie

Tom Ritchie

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