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40 Key Things We Learnt at INBOUND 18

5 mins read

Another INBOUND event is officially in the books and the 2018 edition was certainly a memorable one. We witnessed huge product launches (even sales teams got some attention), the introduction of the Flywheel, brilliant keynotes, talks and so much more. Here are the key things we learnt as a company during our time in Boston.

HubSpot Area at INBOUND 18


This year, Digital 22’s Mark, Paul and Andrew were joined in Massachusetts by Emily, Caroline, Paige and Sam. Now that they’re back and fully recovered from the jetlag, they’re ready to share with you everything the company learnt.

There’s a lot of attention going on video marketing, the Flywheel overtaking the marketing funnel as well as a run in with HubSpot co-founder, Dharmesh Shah. Just click on one of the questions below to find out what the team has learnt and want to share.

dharmesh shah and digital 22 team at inbound 18 

What are the Three Biggest Learnings You Took Away From This Year’s Conference?


A: Video. The level of opportunity we have with the new feature of HubSpot, both pre-sales and with existing clients. Within sales, we can look to personalise for each client, build emotion/trust through demonstrating past success and use to meet the team.

B: The importance of emotion - it’s critical to success. Sales are built on emotion. Everything that we do builds and feeds on emotion so this is a central attribute to generating success. We sell to people, not to companies.

C: BANT is the old school methodology. The new approach is CRUX (Compatible, Realistic, Urgency, X-Factor).


A: Conversational Marketing, its benefits and how it can help businesses grow. Conversations should occur whenever the customer prefers - whether that’s in real time, after finishing their meeting or later that night when they have a spare moment.

B: Humans love video. Use video in your business as it’s the most human way to communicate available. HubSpot has created a VideoHub to help us with this shift in today’s world.

C: Recorded a podcast with Jon Dick, VP of HubSpot Marketing. Jon talked about how the traditional marketing funnel is broken and how important the new Flywheel is in today’s world of marketing.



A: Inbound Marketing has evolved to be customer-centric.

B: Don’t fully rely on data. Leads, prospects and customers are people above anything else. Talk to people, not personas.

C: HubSpot’s Flywheel replacing the funnel is pretty sweet. Helping that customer focus approach to marketing.


A: That we shouldn’t be focusing on making the product 10x better, but the experience 10x easier and lighter.

B: Actually asking not your best, but worst customers to get their reviews and experience in order to inform buyer persona creation, It’s more effective and poignant. It highlights the key areas needed for content from day one.

C: Splitting your website into the ‘Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg’s four buyer modalities’ to highlight how different people actually search and use your website. Not just your ideal customer.


A: The impact psychology has on marketing. Mastering the basics of psychology helps to build a service that doesn’t frustrate customers and can be used both internally and externally.

B: HubSpot has over 200 partner integrations meaning there is something for everyone - this has doubled in the last eight months.

C: That full automation of ads is really simple on Facebook.


A: There was so much good stuff, as usual, so picking three is hard but I think the top three would be the Flywheel, some video strategy techniques and I went to some great talks on storytelling. I sort of got the Flywheel when I first saw it earlier this year, but, to be honest, it took Jon Dick explaining on our podcast for the penny to fully drop. Then when Brian and Dharmesh broke it down further in their keynote, it made real sense. It's a great way of explaining how to operate successfully in 2018.

B: Video strategy was the next biggest learning, for me. I went to some talks which were a little behind where we are at as an agency (my bad picking those, not the speaker!) but went to some great stuff on how to put together a coherent video strategy for clients and make it affordable too.

C: Last, but certainly not least, I went to a bunch of talks on how to improve storytelling in content. I've been working on articulating the importance of this to new starters when they join, so it was great to get plenty of practical tips and techniques so we can all improve how we do it.


A: Conversational Marketing is much simpler than many vendors make out, and HubSpot's new tool makes this effortless.

B: Our customers are, in fact, our best 'new' leads. We need to address their engagement and keep them in our ecosystem of content, updates and insights to help them grow.

C: Mul's Diner in South Boston does the best breakfast I've ever eaten.

hubspot logo light and people in club inbound hubspot zone at inbound 18

What was the One Big Key Takeaway That You Can’t Wait to Implement?


I really can’t wait to implement more focused, friendly user experience in our marketing. I think we need to look at implementing user journeys as well as personas.


Definitely setting up a quarterly campaign asset plan. Highlighting where each item for the campaign fits within the buyer's journey which will highlight areas for key focus and additions in content.


Ideas on packaging and prices. Pre-sales: how we can follow up with a quick video. Thank you videos once a client signs-up, which can include videos of the internal handover to demonstrate to the client the team has already started to work on the account.


Probably updating our chatbots and internal customer grow programmes.


Probably the video strategy plans we're putting together. I'm excited for the team to produce some ideas and pitch them to clients, and show them that videos can add another dimension to their inbound strategy - and it doesn't cost the earth!


Implementing an internal video strategy within every department at Digital 22 that all teams can embrace and then roll out to our clients.


Full automation of ads is really simple on Facebook. You post amazing organic content and as soon as someone watches just a short 15 seconds, you can then make them see a series of ads follow a journey.

inbound 18 sign in club inbound with product stalls stands and swag

What was the Best Talk You Went To?


Dharmesh Shah’s talk was amazing - really insightful. My favourite job-related talk was definitely 'Build a Social Media Sales Machine (with Organic Content + Paid Facebook Ads).’


Some of the talks at Partner Day were really valuable for me. Particularly Cambria Davis' talk on developing customer feedback processes and the talks on developing training programmes with HubSpot. This year was particularly good - I went to many in the week that were fantastic - too many to mention!


I loved David Hooker's talk on visual literacy. He's Head Creative at Prezi and a top bloke, I had a good chat with him after his talk.

cuban sandwich with caption wow food shot at inbound 18

The food trucks were another key takeaway. Obviously.


My favourite talk was The Growth Marketer: Expectations and Skills needed for the Modern Marketers by David Khim, Growth Marketing Manager at HubSpot. His talk inspired me to dig deeper and learn as much as I can about the shifting areas of marketing, such as data analysis, quantitative modelling and more. It was great to listen to what has shifted in the marketing industry and what we, as marketers, should be doing to remain competitive.


Dharmesh Shah’s keynote.


Janet Comenos, CEO of Spotted. She talked about her seven visions of sales. How positive mindset and treating people as people can help both internally and with clients. Her talk resonated with me as her approach was very similar to the way that we sell. It’s a more emotional, positive sell.


It'd have to be "20 ways to Incorporate Video Content into Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey - Chad Rogers at Lemonlight.” Really informative ways on making video affordable and achievable to implement with any company or goal in mind. Also offered great ways of cutting costs during a video campaign whilst retaining the quality of the overall project. Really actionable talk as we head into a more video-rich landscape.

Inbound 18 - Airport Arrival


What Was Your Favourite Moment?


Sitting in a bathtub with ducks and rubber balls. Seriously. Neon glasses a close second.


I'm sure others will say this but my favourite moment was when we met Dharmesh Shah and his wife, all thanks to a drunken note on a napkin. The selfies are brilliant.

(In fact, everyone loved meeting Dharmesh and his wife so much, we've counted it more than once.)


So many it’s hard to pick just one.  I would say that for me, the best part was experiencing this amazing conference as a team with great colleagues & friends. Intense learning, no sleep but at the same time having a laugh along the way. Also, without a doubt meeting Dharmesh and his wife (although I bet everyone says that one) - a great couple and fantastic way to finish the conference.

Digital 22 at INBOUND

Sweetcheeks Q. Another key takeaway. LOL. Food.



Too many to mention. Really proud of the fact that we could take seven members of the team this year. I personally attended completely different sessions, as usual, this year which was a good choice. Business growth, culture, video and sales. Can't wait to implement some of these ideas.


Definitely meeting Dharmesh. What a genuinely sound guy.


Meeting Dharmesh, drinking in dodgy Irish bars, Sam getting into the bathtub at Inbound and generally making himself look like an idiot (not much change there then).


Boy Marketing had a great time and learnt loads.


Meeting Dharmesh Shah and his wife Kirsten. Really lovely people.


Find Out More About All Things Inbound Marketing

As a company, we can’t wait to implement everything that the guys learnt at INBOUND 18 into our marketing efforts for our clients. However, there’s still so much more to learn about all of the new features, techniques and everything else related to Inbound Marketing.

Whether you want to learn more about the Flywheel, get some tips on workflows or even email marketing strategy techniques, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created a free and helpful Inbound Marketing guide to help boost your marketing efforts.