INBOUND 23 is coming up September 5-8. HubSpotters from all over the globe will make the trek to Boston for the annual conference to see what HubSpot is up to and to rub elbows with fellow users and partners.
I started coming to INBOUND in 2012 when it was held in a hotel with roughly 300 attendees. Needless to say, things have changed quite a bit since then.
Today there are over 100 sessions, and it isn’t always easy to figure out which to attend so you come out with some new knowledge or a nugget of an idea.
To provide some guidance, here are the top five sessions I’m going to be attending, along with the thinking behind why I chose these sessions.
I look for a very specific set of criteria to decide if I should attend a session:
First, the speaker must be good. There’s nothing worse than spending even 30 minutes with someone who isn’t a compelling, engaging and effective speaker. The people I’m recommended are all solid speakers, and I’ve heard them speak before.
Next, I want to learn something. When I feel like I know more than the speaker, it’s not a good session for me. Again, the speakers and sessions I’m recommending have shown me over the years that they are looking forward, understand the challenges we’re facing and are equipped to share insights that will help me be better at my craft.
I don’t want to hear the same session I heard last year, the same session I saw in a webinar or even the same content I read on someone’s blog. I want to hear new ideas, get new content and challenge my own thinking about how to continue to be better at getting clients results.
Finally, I like to go to conferences with a specific goal in mind. This year’s INBOUND is likely to be filled with content related to AI, and that’s something very interesting to me. So, while I want to get better at what we do here at Square 2, I also want people to open my eyes, share insights and get me thinking about how AI and the agency can better serve our clients.
Here’s my list of the five must-attend sessions at INBOUND 23.
Andrew Huberman, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist and tenured Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He has made numerous significant contributions to the fields of brain development, brain function and neural plasticity, which is the ability of our nervous system to rewire and learn new behaviors, skills and cognitive functioning.
He’s going to be speaking with Brian Halligan, executive chairperson at HubSpot, but Andrew is really the draw here for me. I love neuroscientists. These people understand how the brain works, and I’m a big believer that people who make purchase decisions are doing so subconsciously in many ways.
The better we are at understanding how the brain works and how people think about making a purchase decision, the better we can create marketing and sales experiences that align with those thought processes. Our own Cyclonic Buyer Journey™ model is designed based on how people think and how they feel during their buyer journey. The more I can learn about this science, the better.
Check it out.
Chris Lavigne is the director of production at Wistia, where he built the video team from the ground up in 2011 and continues to lead it. He has dubbed the lighting technique “lighting on the fly” and has proven that it’s not so much about the camera as it is the concept and basic techniques.
He thrives on using creativity to work around constraints (think: video for boring industries) and showing others how to “get loose.” When he’s not camera-in-hand, you can find him behind the wheel of a backhoe, snuggling with his dog Lenny or reciting lines from Jurassic Park.
Chris is going to be talking about how to create more videos by leveraging your entire organization. This is something incredibly interesting to me, as video is clearly everyone’s preferred content type yet so many companies still struggle to produce the amount of video needed to move the needle in almost every area of marketing, sales and customer service.
My theory is people are still uncomfortable with seeing themselves on video. As tools come out to help with scripting, making video look and sound better, and even replacing nervous people with AI-generated avatars, we should see more video being created by companies at scale.
Wistia has always been on the forefront of helping to define how people use video to produce better business outcomes, and I’m expecting to learn a lot during this session.
Make sure this is on your agenda for you to attend.
Neil Patel has helped Amazon, Microsoft, Airbnb, Google, Thomson Reuters, Viacom, NBC, Intuit, Zappos, American Greetings, General Motors and Salesforce grow through marketing. His marketing blog generates over four million visitors per month (51% of them spend money on paid ads).
Neil’s Marketing School podcast generates over one million listens per month. His YouTube channel about marketing has over 31 million views and 765K subscribers. He has one million Facebook fans and 372K Twitter followers. He has spoken at over 310 conferences and companies around the world.
Neil is one of the celebrities inside the marketing universe. More importantly, he has the time to research, test and investigate new applications across the industry. I’m very interested in his take on AI, and this short session should be an interesting window into what he’s doing and what he thinks about AI in the marketing space.
He’s a great speaker who is sure to deliver a value-packed session. Don’t miss it.
Peter Caputa IV is CEO of Databox, an analytics software platform used by 3k+ companies. Previously, he was employee #15 at HubSpot, and started and led HubSpot’s agency partner program from zero to $115 million in annual revenue. Pete’s passion is helping executives build high-growth, high-margin businesses through the better use of data to inform decisions.
For those of you who don’t know, Pete is the father of the HubSpot Partner Program, and many would tell you the program has never been the same since his departure.
Pete has an incredibly grounded approach to business and technology, and his perspective on HubSpot’s role in the world of revenue generation, business growth and growth technology should be on everyone’s short list.
His perspective is unmatched, and his experience inside and outside of HubSpot makes his comments worthy of a must-see session.
Scott Brinker is the VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot, where he helps to grow and nurture the company's community of technology partners. He also writes the chiefmartec.com blog on marketing technology management, publishes the global MarTech landscape at martechmap.com and is the author the best-selling book Hacking Marketing.
Let’s face it, there are tons of HubSpot product-related sessions at INBOUND. Throw a stick and you’ll find a HubSpot product manager doing a session on something. While these are valuable in some ways, I tend to shy away from the HubSpot sessions. However, when it comes to understanding the MarTech landscape, no one is smarter than Scott Brinker.
If you want to gain some insights on the capabilities of the HubSpot CRM, this is the session to attend. I’m sure this won’t be about the CRM’s current capabilities but rather about the fringes of what the tool can do and who’s already doing it.
Again, I like to be challenged to think ahead of the pack and to skate to where the puck is going, not where it is right now. This is the kind of session I’ve always enjoyed at INBOUND, and I’m looking forward to this one too.
If you want to get your creative juices flowing and start thinking about what could be instead of what is, I’d make sure to mark this session down so that you don’t miss it.
This session has a panel of speakers, but that’s not why I’m selecting it as one you should attend. I’m sure the panel is filled with smart and solid content providers. I’m pointing this out to you because the idea of community building is going to continue to be more important as a lead generation tool in 2024 and well beyond.
Having worked this year to create more of a community around Square 2’s content, and having several clients with community building initiatives, we’ve seen major progress in this type of effort versus some of the more traditional content marketing efforts.
I’m curious to hear from this group about what community building tactics are working, which ones aren’t working as well and what they see as the future of this important campaign approach.
I’m interested in anything community related at INBOUND this year, and this session seems like a great way to get the event off to a good start.
INBOUND is always an interesting few days, and I’m sure this year will be no different. If you’re going and want to find time to chat with me, meet with me or just say hi, I’m interested. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set something up.
Looking forward to seeing all of you in Boston in September at INBOUND 23!