INBOUND 2023 Conference: 5 Key Takeaways

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Blog


This year’s INBOUND 2023 conference has come and gone.


HubSpot’s annual marketing event feels more like a festival. It had 180 sessions, VIP lounges, exotic food trucks, and several stages. It even has areas to blow off steam with beer gardens, free yoga sessions, and sensory rooms.


Long story short, it’s a masterclass in how to run a successful conference.


Is it any wonder that it sold out? This year welcomed professionals from 161 different countries. After a couple years of virtual events, it was good to be back live and in-person.


In case you missed it, we thought we would share the top 5 themes discussed at this year’s INBOUND 2023 conference.


1.    Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Work


If you attended the INBOUND 2023 conference, one thing was clear. Artificial intelligence (AI) has a stake in the future of our work and how we approach it.


“AI has the potential to transform knowledge and creative work, and that is a profound change. And that means generative AI is moving us from the age of information to the age of intelligence.” – Yamani Rangan, CEO, HubSpot


INBOUND 2023 had many sessions that focused on AI, and it’s influence on the future of work. Even for sessions that didn’t focus on AI, it was often referenced. Needless to say, it was a very hot topic.


The perspective on AI was positive and focused on how we could apply it as a tool.


AI is transforming how we communicate and connect with our customers. It’s helping us to personalize communication and connect with customers in new ways. As a result, AI is reshaping the customer journey:


Discovery: Customers discover products through social media, not only search engines.

Consider: Personalized insights are the expectation, not generic information.

Buy: The sales process is changing from tool-driven to insight driven.

Use: Customers demand proactive guidance, not only reactive support.


Embracing AI is no longer a choice, it’s essential to keep up with customer demands.


Four Practical Areas of Focus for Embracing AI


The future of work includes AI. HubSpot’s CEO gave four practical areas of focus for those wishing to embrace Artificial intelligence:


Chat Bots: chat bots help you engage visitors and address simple issues in real-time.

Content Strategy: AI helps optimize your content for audience intent.

Sales Formula: AI-assisted sales reps help make the sales process less overwhelming.

Service: be proactive. Deliver insights that help customers get more value from your product.


Keeping these four areas in mind, you can keep up with the AI wave that it’s quickly sweeping across the internet. Here are a few key takeaways from the AI sessions.


Key Takeaways:


  • Embracing AI is no longer a choice
  • AI isn’t replacing our jobs, it’s enhancing them
  • AI will help personalize the customer experience
  • AI is a tool for efficiency, but not for accuracy (not yet anyway)
  • Those who adopt AI will have a clear path towards greater success
  • Businesses will soon be looking for talent that is familiar with AI tools


So, what’s the skinny on AI?


The AI wave is here. What we do with it has a direct result on the type of experience we give to our customers. AI adoption will help us understand customer intent and provide better service.


2.    Email Marketing: The True Power of the Inbox


The INBOUND 2023 conference had several sessions about improving your email marketing.


“You need to be sending more email than you are right now.” – Jay Schwedelson, CEO and Founder Outcome Media/ Events


Attendees dove into lectures, debates, Q&As, and meetups. Each session was informative and eye opening. Some of the top voices in email marketing shared their advice on the topic.


Marketers got expert tips on:


  • New email test ideas
  • How to grow an email list
  • The best time to send an email (for example, 7:57 or 8:13 rather than 8:00)
  • How to build connected communities, and
  • How often to send emails for dramatic results


Did you know that emails get a 15% boost by not sending them on the hour. Also, adding a P.S. to the end of your email increases conversions by 14%.


Key Takeaways:


  • Be human
  • Be a friend inside the inbox
  • Relevancy = frequency + value
  • You need to be sending weekly newsletters
  • Increase your frequency to engage subscribers
  • Make sure any links inside your email go to one place


On top of frequency, providing value, and being clear – email copy was another factor. Adding behavioral science triggers to your copy is one way to increase conversions.


3.    Behavioral Science: The Catalyst to Conversions


One very popular session at the INBOUND 2023 conference was about behavioral science.


“People decide on emotion. We’re hard-wired by evolutionary impulses.” – Nancy Harhut, Chief Creative Officer, HBT Marketing


Nancy Harhut presented her session three times at the event. In it, she shared nine ways you can use behavioral science to improve your response rate. It was eye-opening.


She buckets nine behavioral science triggers within three tenets:


It’s not about how we think, but how we feel.


  1. Emotion: Emotions drive our decisions.
  2. Loss Aversion: People are afraid to lose.
  3. Endowment Effect: If it’s ours, we feel it’s more valuable.


Our choices are less rational and more reactional.


  1. Autonomy Bias: Having an option makes people more likely to choose.
  2. Labeling: Expectations influence people’s behavior.
  3. Authority Principle: We respond to the source of the information


We rely on auditory cues.


  1. Reason Why: People respond to reasons before they process them.
  2. Anchoring: We’re influenced by first mentions and familiarity.
  3. Framing: Descriptions trigger default decisions.


So, what does this all mean?


Key Takeaways:


  • Our evolutionary impulses still guide our daily actions.
  • This is especially true when it comes to buying behaviors.
  • Our decisions are still linked to our primal urges to survive.
  • Use one of these behavioral science triggers to boost conversions.


Test some of the behavioral science techniques mentioned above to influence your readers. You can use them in sales copy, landing pages, emails, advertisements, social media, and more.


4.    Video Marketing: The Social Media Content Powerhouse


Video has surpassed text as the most popular content to digest.


If your business is already on Instagram or TikTok – this isn’t news to you. Social media engage most with personalized, authentic, video content from brands.


Check out these stats:


  • 86% place a priority on authenticity in video marketing
  • 66% of social media users want to interact with videos that have “real people”
  • 61% of TikTok users prefer unique ad content over polished video content


People want videos that look like normal social media posts – not slick advertising.


Key Takeaways:


  • Be original – share behind the scenes content
  • Be authentic – embrace native creation tools
  • Be unique – make human connections
  • Post like a person – not a business


More and more, customers are finding products through social media. Brands that personalize their video marketing are better positioned for sales success.


5.    Ecosystems: Thinking About Strategic Partnerships


The INBOUND 2023 conference focused on the power of building ecosystems.


As your business grows, so do the needs of your clients. Partnerships allow you to leverage tools without adding more weight to your business. These tools make up the ecosystem of your business.


With partnerships, you work in tandem with another business.


This helps you improve the services you offer to clients.


A great example of this is the HubSpot Partner Program. It gives business a suite of tools to power their business. Adding HubSpot as a partner builds your credibility in the marketplace.


Partnering with HubSpot gives you access to many tools with one platform.


That way, you don’t have to learn a bunch of tools to grow your business.


Key Takeaways:


  • Building an ecosystem of partnerships is important for any growing business
  • Using partnerships can help you grow your business without building another tool
  • Partnerships add robust systems your clients can access as part of your offer
  • HubSpot’s Partner Platform saves you time from learning several tools
  • The right partnership offers great support as you build your ecosystem


Adding strategic partnerships helps you stand out in an ever-changing marketplace.


Are You Going to INBOUND 2024?


We hope you found this guide to the five themes presented at the INBOUND 2023 conference helpful.


We hope you keep these five areas in mind as you continue to grow your business in 2023. If you’re looking for an incentives solution for your business, we’d love to partner with you.


Are you headed to INBOUND 2024? We’ll see you there.

Need more incentive insights? Check out these related articles.

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