Inbound Marketing at Events and Conferences - Contradiction or Opportunity?

Best Practices, Lead Capture | 5 min read

This article is a guest contribution from HubSpot, published with permission.

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If you've been reading the HubSpot blog, you know there's a great deal of talk about inbound marketing and the ineffectiveness of outbound marketing techniques like direct mail, cold calls, and trade shows... and yet, HubSpot organized and sponsored the first-ever Inbound Marketing Summit a few years ago. Contradiction?

Not quite.

What's interesting is -- in an increasingly inbound marketing world, where buyers are ignoring marketing messages and instead going to the Internet to do their research -- there are still conferences, conferences, and more conferences even within the niche topic of inbound online marketing. So what's going on here?



Attract Customers With Content

A big piece of inbound marketing is content -- creating interesting, useful content that your market seeks out, not ignored. That was exactly what the Inbound Marketing Summit aimed to do. It brought together experts and experienced practitioners to discuss effective strategies and marketing tips while motivating fellow marketers to transform the way they do marketing. The event sold out not because we bombarded enough people with direct mail and phone calls but because the event offered unique, useful information that marketers actually wanted to learn.


Foster Community Among Your Market

People seek out community and draw on the community as trusted sources of valuable opinions. In the morning keynote session, online thought leadership and viral marketing strategist David Meerman Scott asked us, How many of you have responded to a direct mail advertisement in the last six months? No one. Then he asked, How many of you, to research a product or service, asked a friend, colleague, or social network? Tons of hands. Especially in the cluttered, advertising-heavy world we live in, people are turning more and more to friends and colleagues to learn the latest strategies, campaigns, or vendors that have worked for them. Simply bringing together fellow marketers in one place to meet and converse was surprisingly effective and valuable.


Expand Beyond the Four Conference Walls

The advent of the Internet and search engines have broken down the traditional barriers of time and space for accessing valuable content and peer opinions. This could certainly be an argument against industry events and conferences since they have traditionally been confined to the four walls of the hotel or conference center. But not today. Rick posted last week about some of the ways we took the event beyond the four walls of the Cambridge Marriott. From twittering to live streaming to aggregating event-related media in one place, these are just some of the ways that we expanded the reach of the event and incorporated inbound marketing techniques to a traditionally outbound marketing method.


The division between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is not always going to be clear-cut. For marketers who can't make such a radical change overnight, the key is to incorporate inbound marketing in the campaigns you are already working on. Moreover, there is an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of what you are already doing and start implementing inbound marketing in your company today.



About the author

Ellie Mirman
Ellie Mirman is an experienced marketing leader with specialties in lead generation, sales & marketing alignment, and marketing analytics. Ellie was a long-time member of the early HubSpot marketing team, holding various roles across lead generation, content, and product marketing.