What an exciting time to be a marketer. Inbound 2018 just wrapped up in Boston, and there are big changes on the way for marketing as a whole. If you missed the conference, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my three big takeaways from Inbound 2018.

1. Turning to Customer Experience

One of the hottest topics discussed at the conference was the new focus on customer experience instead of inbound lead generation. For years, inbound marketing’s focus has been on generating leads by creating powerful content that is of direct interest and benefit to your buyer persona. Today, while this step in the marketing cycle is still very important, and foundational for inbound marketing, we are beginning to see a shift toward creating powerful experiences for customers.

Consumers today are approaching your brand today with a different mindset. The world is shifting away from businesses controlling what consumers receive to giving consumers the control over their experience with your brand. In other words, consumers want to be empowered to get what they want out of your brand. Some of the most successful and most growth-driven brands in the world are capitalizing off of letting customers have full control over their product experience.

How does your brand create an amazing experience for your customers? Are your consumers empowered by your brand, or are they held back? Over the next few years, you will begin to see more and more brands focusing on creating extraordinary customer experiences. Don’t get left behind in the next big marketing movement. The change has already started.

2. The Future of Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is another looming topic that marketers are eager to get their heads around. Many sessions helped attendees better understand the upcoming tools utilizing AI, and provided predictions on the many ways AI will impact marketing jobs as a whole.  Many marketing platforms such as Google and HubSpot are rapidly ramping up investments into AI-powered solutions so that access to these tools will become more readily available to the average marketer. AI will allow marketers to radically change the way their brands interact with individuals at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Marketers will also be able to more easily create deep customer experiences that delight and retain existing customers.

While AI may seem a bit foreboding to many marketing professionals, particularly with regard to job security, there is no need to fear it. AI will be a tool to help marketers, but it will not be replacing the strategic thinking marketers provide. AI serves to automate the more menial and repetitive tasks, freeing up marketers to pursue more strategic projects. While AI is still a long ways out from full market adoption, those who are planning future implementation of AI today will have a leg up on the competition when it finally starts being implemented in marketing software.

3. Diversity and Inclusion

It’s no secret that diversity in the workplace brings about the best results for any team. This year, Inbound continued to push the power of diversity in the workplace. Whether it was through diverse keynote speakers, or in interactive sessions about how personality types complement and strengthen a team, Inbound once again served as a sounding board for all voices to be heard.

For more information on how diversity and inclusion can benefit your marketing strategy, stay tuned to our blog in the coming weeks.

Inbound 2018, with over 24,000 attendees, was an incredible conference to attend. This marketing conference in particular excels at inspiring its attendees to not just think about best practices, but NEXT practices.

As today’s consumer become more demanding of their interactions with your business, inbound strategy must make the appropriate adjustments. Do not let you marketing strategy fall behind. The brands that fall behind will certainly be left behind.

Want to learn more about the future of marketing and what your firm can be doing to stay ahead of the competition? Contact me at bferris@skodaminotti.com! I look forward to hearing from you.

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