Marketing and sales professionals from around the world headed to Boston last week to attend Inbound 2017 hosted by HubSpot. This year’s show attracted more than 20,000 attendees who came out for a myriad of inspiring keynote and breakout sessions, networking events along the seaport and other educational seminars.
Walker Sands was among those attending. With boots on the ground to explore the emerging tactics and technologies helping to shape our industry, we went to every session we could, talked to every exhibitor we could and absorbed as much as we could in the four days we were on-site.
There were countless takeaways for business leaders and decision-makers in the B2B tech sector. To help our clients keep pace with these new, emerging trends, we’ve assembled a list of key points from the two most memorable sessions we attended.
- Former First Lady Michelle Obama – The highlight of this year’s event, former First Lady Michelle Obama was invited to join an early morning session hosted by professor and best-selling author Roxane Gay. The interview centered on Michelle’s experiences as first lady, her thoughts about the election and her goals and aspirations as she looks ahead to the future.
She stressed the importance of reintroducing herself at public events as a former “First Spouse” as there will come a day soon when we’re ready to appoint a woman as our commander-and-chief. To reach this milestone, we need to understand how to find our own authentic voice. According to Michelle, any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton during our most recent election voted against their own voice.
There is a message here for marketers. We need to help our customers find their voice. We can do this by reaching them where they’re at with messaging that resonates with who they are, what they need and how we can help. This is why listening is such an essential first step in coming up with messages that will resonate with a target audience. At Walker Sands, we’re always listening, whether it’s on a discovery call with a customer contact or through information gleaned off a customer’s website, blog or social media profiles.
- Co-Founder of Refinery29 Piera Gelardi – Piera Gelardi is Executive Creative Director and Co-Founder of the award-winning digital media company, Refinery29. She has been widely recognized as one of the most creative people in the world of media.
Her session focused on why we need to establish the conditions for creativity before we can achieve creative breakthroughs. These conditions are different for everyone. For Gelardi, she is in position to be her most creative self when she is in her warm, fuzzy office cocoon which she has adoringly dubbed “The Peach Pit.” It’s here that she drinks rose, laughs and comes up with off-the-wall ideas alongside those she knows and trusts.
This isn’t far-off how we brainstorm creative campaigns here at Walker Sands. From CompTIA #MakeTechHerStory to the Owler CEO Likeability study, we are always chasing our next big idea. Like Gelardi, we require the right conditions to come up with the creative concept that’s going to resonate with the media and different stakeholder groups who we’re trying to reach.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what we saw and heard during this year’s event. If you want to learn more about our experiences at Inbound ‘17 in Boston, let’s connect!
At Walker Sands we’re built on three pillars, learn, support and do, which is why we’re big fans of the newest museum to open its doors in Chicago, The American Writers Museum. The new museum speaks to our mission in three ways. By encouraging learning in their state of the art immersive exhibits. By supporting the literary community in Chicago and beyond. And by motivating visitors of every walk of life to enrich their lives through all forms of reading and writing.
Before their doors opened in May 2017, the museum and its stakeholders persevered for many years to see the vision through. In fact it took nearly seven years of planning, funding and writing for the exhibits to come to life. Since opening, USA TODAY ranked the museum #1 in Readers’ Choice awards for Best Illinois Attraction. Songs of praise don’t stop there, Bustle, The Boston Globe and Simcha Travel among others have cited the American Writers Museum as a must visit Chicago attraction.
We had to see what all the excitement was about and on a recent visit to the museum I was wowed by the beautiful exhibits that were not only informative but eye opening as well. The museum honors and celebrates the whole gamut of writers, from reporters and politicians to musicians and novelists, everyone is a writer and on display. Their vision, “to engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives” is reflected in each and every exhibit.
Of the twelve permanent exhibits, my favorite was the word waterfall, an audio visual immersive experience. Picture words cascading to forming well known and not so well known snippets of literature and writing while being bathed in narrative sounds that make it hard to look away!
Experience the word waterfall and other interactive exhibits yourself by planning your next trip to The American Writers Museum here.
Additionally, Walker Sands is excited to be partnering with the American Writers Museum to host our annual Just a Book club. If you’re a marketer based in Chicago and want to learn more about the book we’ll be reading and the event we’ll be hosting in the museum, check out the Just a Book landing page here.
If there’s one thing we know that works when driving a brand message, it’s storytelling. Storytelling is something we talk a lot about in marketing, and are very aware that the right narrative can take your brand from ho-hum to resonating with an audience of thousands.
In an effort to expand my storytelling skills and knowledge, I will be attending the Storynomics masterclass with acclaimed film and TV project consultant and author of Story, Robert McKee. After years of creative success, he’s taken his storytelling approach and adapted it to a set of teachings to help marketers transform their stories from interruption to entertainment. In addition to the hands on training McKee will provide, Tom Gerace, CEO of Skyword will also be presenting on how to use storified messaging to achieve marketing and brand goals.
I’m looking forward to attending the seminar and embracing the learn part of Walker Sands’ three pillars, learn, support, do. If you care to join me on March 29 in Chicago, register here using code WALKERSANDS.
Our content team wrapped up Ann Handley’s critically acclaimed book, “Everybody Writes,” just before Thanksgiving. The first two sections of the book offer plenty of tips to be thankful for, from advice on how to write more effectively to a deep dive on grammar and word usage.
Handley goes on to talk about a whole host of topics in the remaining pages, including rules on publishing, writing for social media and tools that can take your writing to the next level.
Here are some of the lessons the content team found particularly helpful:
1. Cite as you write
It has never been easier to research a topic you want to write about. With just a few clicks, you can gain instant access to millions of online sources that cover almost everything under the sun. But with convenience comes the responsibility to credit others for their work. Handley recommends citing any source that helps you along the creative process.
Expert tip: Be sure to find primary, not secondary sources. Writers too often link to a secondary source instead of the original. As Handley puts it, “The credibility you gain is worth the extra click or two to track down the primary source.”
Our content team is well into Ann Handley’s “Everybody Writes.” The book, which promises to be a guide for ridiculously good content, is proving good on its word.
Handley explores tips for smarter, more efficient writing in the first chapters of her book, and then delves into writing rules like grammar and word usage in the second part. Missed our blog post on the first section? Check it out here!
No matter how well you’ve mastered grammar and usage, it’s always good to refresh your skills. Some of Handley’s best tips include: