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The Top Takeaways and Ideas from Inbound 2016: What Leading Inbound Marketers Thought

Posted by Ken Lanigan - CEO

While we took a lot of inspiration and great tips and ideas away from Inbound 2016, it is always useful to discover what other digital marketing agencies and companies looking to develop their online marketing strategy take away from such events.


We asked some of the 14,000 attendees at the recent inbound marketing conference in Boston to give us their thoughts and impressions on what went on, what they saw, and what they learned from the big Boston bash.


Ryan Ball, Global Director of Business Development & Sales Productivity at HubSpot, said his immediate takeaway from the event was that consumers have dramatically changed their behaviour, but that many businesses have not changed to meet these shifts.

‘In the new digital world, businesses will need to be very contextual in their approach,’ he said, ‘and always look to solve the customer’s needs.’

He added: ‘At HubSpot we always say SFTC, or Solve For The Customer.’

As this blog from Marketingland.com outlines, context is the next big frontier, with marketers now needing to go beyond personalisation and the ‘who’ of digital marketing analytics, to also gain valuable insights into the ‘when, where, why and how’ of consumer behaviour.

We previously outlined the contextual experience as one of the six vital elements of a killer business website, emphasising the need to understand where a consumer is in the buyer journey, what they are interested in, and what content will offer value to them in order to channel them through the sales cycle.

While his busy schedule didn’t allow him to go to many talks, Ryan said he enjoyed the session with Doug Landis, VP of Sales Productivity at Box. ‘He’s made the transition from sales to marketing in some pretty big organisations like Box, SFDC and Google, and is a really impressive guy,’ Ryan said.


Thomas Weigl, an inbound marketing advisor at Trialta, one of the first inbound digital marketing agencies in Germany, said he took away a number of noteworthy conclusions from the event. Not only did he see HubSpot moving into a more intuitive and sales-focused arena, but that ‘Facebook advertising and videos are a must-have in 2017’.

The use of video in digital marketing is rising dramatically, and the stats reveal why: Video increases organic web traffic from search engines by 157%, while 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video. Not to be sneezed at, and definitely something every digital marketer needs to look at incorporating in 2017.

For Thomas, the top event at Inbound was the keynote speech from HubSpot’s Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, who spoke about the technologies that are changing and shaping the potential for inbound marketing over the next few years. 

This tallies with our recent poll in which we asked those present to vote on the biggest influence at Inbound 2016, with the dynamic duo from HubSpot leading the way.


Isabel Sanchez, Business Development Manager at StraightArrow, a creative process outsourcing company in the Philippines, was very impressed with Luke Summerfield, Founder of Growth-Driven Design at HubSpot.

‘He gave us really valuable insights into why marketers and agencies should move away from doing traditional website design and move towards growth-driven design, a systematic approach to building websites that produces real impact,’ Isabel said. ‘Our agency is gearing up to implement this methodology for our clients, so meeting and listening to him was very timely for us.’

Replacing an outdated brochure website with an ROI-based business asset is something we at Get Focused have been preaching for a while, with a recent presentation at the first UK HUG event seeing our own Ross Lauder speak on that very subject.


With so many digital marketers present at the event, we were also eager to find out what challenges people face in creating and maintaining an effective digital marketing strategy, and what mistakes they have made in the past.

No matter how good we are at creating great inbound content that attracts and converts visitors, we are, after all, only human, and the most important thing is to learn from such decisions and improve our service to our clients in the future accordingly.

Thomas Wiegl said that both finding the right people to work with, and data security, are the top two challenges he has faced, while his biggest mistake has been diverting from the main marketing strategy ‘just to have something to deliver when customers haven’t delivered the required information to create good content’.

This was something that we could fully understand, which is why we now establish a content creation process with our clients that ensures all parties know what information is needed, when, and how it is transformed into effective content that drives growth.

By sharing the knowledge we gain from events such as Inbound 2016, leading digital marketing agencies like Get Focused, Trialta and Straightarrow, and even HubSpot themselves, can learn how best to serve our clients, and we look forward to putting in practice the valuable insights we gained.

We are already looking forward to Inbound 2017!

Find out how to create great content that attracts visitors to your website and increases leads by downloading our free Lead Generation Survival Kit:

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Ken Lanigan - CEO

Ken Lanigan - CEO

Ken is at the heart of operations within Get Focused, with a clear line of sight on delivery.

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