HubSpot INBOUND 2020: Forget B2B and B2C. The Future is H2H.

Ten members of the Bayshore Solutions team reaped the rewards of INBOUND 2020, the annual inbound marketing conference put on by HubSpot September 22 and 23. Our digital marketing clients will benefit immediately from the insights and ideas that these digital marketers took away from the virtual conference. A common thread among these ideas is that digital marketing, more than ever before, must speak to humans first. Instead of thinking about a business talking to a business (B2B), or even to a customer (B2C), when we remember that all marketing is a conversation between two people, we communicate more effectively, which leads to real engagement — and, in turn — sales, loyalty, and business growth.

Read on to learn what insights our team is ready to apply to your business growth strategy for 2021 and beyond.

Anthony Viviani, Digital Media Strategist

The new world of marketing will encompass maximizing trust and delivering a seamless user experience. Digital marketing over the next five years will look a lot like H2H (human to human) interaction, not B2B or B2C, because at the end of the day we’re talking to another human on the other side of the keyboard. COVID was the catalyst that forced many marketers, including our agency, to think more about the end-user and what they need, versus what we want them to do. The more “human” we can be, the better the user experience, and the better results for our clients.

Marissa Vega, Account Manager

My biggest takeaway from the conference was the need to keep emotion and humanity front and center in the digital age. Businesses are bombarded with content every day, but just as in a relationship, you don’t get a first date until you decide to pursue them. Knowing your target audience has always been valuable, but now — especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began — it’s critical. Relationships aren’t built on rationality alone, so it’s important to bring in emotion and experience. That’s what builds trust. Even SaaS companies and banks do this, like Salesforce and their character Astro or Capital One and their cafes. You don’t necessarily have to be flashy or shout the loudest to see success. The more you seek to understand your customers and provide value to them, the more you will matter to them naturally.

Scott Goldberg, Digital Media Strategist

When targeting digital ads to business decision-makers, we make a lot of educated assumptions based on an immense amount of data that may not be pristine. For example, if we wanted to reach people on LinkedIn by their job titles, we could find that a fair number of the titles are made up and can’t be targeted. If we wanted to target member groups to get even more granular, there’s a strong possibility that these groups contain some of the audience we want to target, but not everyone because business development professionals could join a PPC Strategy group just to network. Moving forward, we need to make fewer assumptions, when possible, to home in on current and future buyers.

Joe Unhammer, SEO Specialist

One of the SEO-specific presentations described the search engines’ increased focus on the user and a switch from rules-based algorithms to Artificial Intelligence (AI). The theme was that SEO should focus on humans, not robots, which means non-technical SEO tactics, like content and engagement, should take priority. This was not the only presentation that focused on behavioral psychology and putting people first. I thought many of the content sessions were interesting from an SEO perspective as well, and they too tended to focus on how people react to certain words and images and how you leverage those reactions. 

Meghann Anderson-Russell, Senior Digital Media Strategist

Many B2B businesses focus on quick wins for acquisitions in their marketing and ad campaigns. When evaluating budgets, branding is typically the first thing that’s discarded, while emphasis is placed on what leads to the highest volume of leads at the cheapest price. However, as many presentations at INBOUND emphasized, marketing is all about the long game. When it comes to branding, the return is low in the beginning, but overall brand awareness is worth leaps and bound more in the long run. Your brand is what humanizes your company, building lasting engagement, with an eventual higher return than acquisition-focused campaigns alone. At Bayshore, we’ll encourage our clients to think of branding as a long-term, marathon investment and make sure it has a place when planning their marketing strategy and budget.

Kristina Meek, Senior Content Writer

As Google increasingly relies on artificial intelligence, we can write website and blog content like humans, for humans, with fewer of the constraints once demanded by technical SEO. Speaker Dale Bertrand of the agency Fire & Spark advocates for what he calls mission-driven SEO. By creating content that reflects your brand’s mission, rather than putting your products at the core, you differentiate your company and connect with like-minded people. He recommends starting with empathy as you build your content strategy, then aligning your content with your values. This approach works to attract both people and, increasingly, search engines.

Lauren Pellegrino, Digital Media Specialist

“You should build an entire business strategy around something that is stable in time.” - Jeff Bezos

While taking big risks can pay off big time, it’s important to focus on contrarian ideas and how they can form the backbone of your business — now and well into the future. At INBOUND 2020, I learned that many businesses have been doing it wrong: they spend more money and time developing short-term flights versus longer-term branding awareness exercises. To throw some stats out there, 4% of B2B marketing campaigns go beyond six months. 95% of B2B campaigns are run on CPC. Data confirms that conversion rate is 6x higher in brand and acquisition campaigns versus only acquisition. A better choice for B2B campaigns is to spend 50/50 between short and long-term tactics.

Ethan Lazuk, SEO Strategist

The more search marketing focuses on the user, the more SEOs, developers, and content creators need to rely on historical data, engagement metrics, and audience insights to create exceptional online experiences. Search should fulfill the audience’s intent during all stages of the conversion funnel. Showing a direct return-on-investment from SEO isn’t always a straightforward calculation, which means our jobs as search marketers are to present our clients not just with a checklist of optimizations, but rather a strategic plan for how to use our shared resources efficiently in pursuit of their business goals. As INBOUND 2020 made clear, great content and user experiences driven by data should be focal points for SEO strategies.

Amber Heindl, Email and Marketing Automation Strategist

Most companies fully intend to provide people with a positive email experience but having multiple points of entry for multiple workflows can flood a leads inbox, resulting in a negative experience. People are more likely to see the value of your offering with a marketing and sales experience that is unique to them. A persona-based approach to marketing automation avoids leads getting enrolled into multiple workflows and receiving too many emails. Engineering workflows based on persona gears the content towards solving their individual problem statement. As an email marketer, you can create personalized relationships with leads by being cognizant of how you show up in their inbox and how often.

Let Us Put These Lessons to Work for Your Business

If you’re ready to see your company grow based on the latest understanding of inbound marketing tools and tactics, let us put together a team of subject matter experts to start pursuing your goals. As a HubSpot Platinum Certified Agency Partner, we can enable you to take advantage of all the benefits of this powerful platform, or we can discuss another platform that best fits your vision.

Contact Bayshore Solutions today to discuss how we can help grow your business.

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