FutureM and INBOUND: The SHIFT Report

Two marketing conferences, 10,000+ attendees, one convention center. After a weekend of recovery, it’s high time to reflect back on FutureM and INBOUND, Boston’s two-in-one marketing innovation event. Like many of you, we spent last week speaking, listening, learning, discussing, debating, brainstorming, creating, networking, and celebrating.

Boston Convention Center
If we had to pick one word to describe the atmosphere — the one concept firing the most lively conversations — it would be: transformation. Rather appropriately, this was a major theme of Malcom Gladwell’s Thursday morning keynote, and the spirit of transformative change did indeed permeate the event.


To spare you what would surely become a lengthy essay, we’re not going to recap every session we went to (though many were awesome). Instead, we’re going to focus on something more valuable: what we learned.

Gladwell

From the keynotes:

  • Innovators who drive transformative change are: 1) open, creative; 2) conscientious; 3) disagreeable. The latter is the most rare – the ability to remain unaffected by opposition or disapproval. Because if your idea is truly transformative, most people will disagree with you. (Malcolm Gladwell)
  • Great leaders sacrifice their own interests for the sake of their people. Only from within a “circle of safety” can individuals band together to tackle outside challenges and bring about innovation and change. This is as true in business as it was in the tribes of early human civilization. (Simon Sinek)
  • The minute you stop delighting your customer, you’re done. (Martha Stewart)

About mobile:

  • Marketers must focus less on mobile technology and more on mobile behavior. Always ask the question, what are people doing while they are using their mobile devices? How can that experience be simplified or improved? (The Mobile Commerce Revolution, Tom Webster)
  • Visual content is crucial. Think Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr. (The Mobile Commerce Revolution, Tom Webster)
  • New behavior patterns emerging in the mobile age show us that the customer journey is not a linear path. The future of marketing is understanding the different mindsets through which consumers cycle as they interact with your brand. (After Omnichannel: Preparing for Digital Context, Martie Woods)

About data:

  • Analysis answers the question, “What happened?” Insight answers the question, “Why did it happen?” Strategy is then built by looking forward to, “What’s next?” (Turning Data Into Insights, Christopher Penn)

Chris Penn

About real-time marketing:

  • Real-time marketing isn’t a tactic or a strategy, it’s a mentality. It’s not about being creative in real-time, it’s about nurturing a mentality that enables creative responses at the drop of a hat. (Do’s and Don’ts of Real-Time Marketing, Ekaterina Walters)
  • With real-time marketing, brands can resonate with fans, provide them with utility, and entertain. It’s a chance to be authentic, raw, human, and memorable. (Do’s and Don’ts of Real-Time Marketing, Ekaterina Walters)
  • So many brands try to be the next viral sensation of real-time marketing every time a new crisis or pop culture event occurs. But the successful RTM campaigns that really take off aren’t usually a spur of the moment idea thrown together by one person and tweeted out. Brands have to practice RTM techniques.  (Do’s and Don’ts of Real-Time Marketing, Ekaterina Walters)
  • Go beyond “the big game” and find moments that truly matter. (TV’s Real-Time Social Soundtrack, David Grossman)

About communication:

  • To effectively communicate a message, ask yourself: What do I want people to do? What do they have to believe? What do they have to know? Only then will you reach your customers with the right content, the right sequence, and the right engagement. (What TED Talks Can Teach Us About the Future of Marketing, Tamsen Webster)

That’s only a small sampling of our favorites!

SHIFT represent!

Rest assured, attending sessions wasn’t all we were up to at the conference. We encountered plenty of interesting characters while manning the FutureM press room, roaming the hallways and exhibition areas, braving the lines at the food trucks, and of course, hitting up Club INBOUND Happy Hours. We even attended a surprise OK Go concert, complete with treadmills. And rumor has it that our resident ninja, podcaster and VP of Marketing Technology rigged a mobile TV studio and filmed a FutureM/INBOUND video interview series – but shhhh, that’s still classified info! 

Did you attend any killer sessions we didn’t mention in this post? Agree/disagree with any of our top takeaways? Share your take with us in the comments and let’s get some healthy dialogue started!

JJ Samp
Marketing Analyst

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Posted on September 22, 2014 in Events

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