After our social team stayed up sunrise to sunset to cover #INBOUND13 Day 1 and Day 2, they thought there couldn’t be any more news to offer. Boy, were they wrong. Here’s their final wrap-up of the world’s largest inbound marketing conference:
Nate Silver on the signal and the noise
As a leading statistician through his innovative analyses of political polling, Nate Silver offered up his view on the world of prediction and how we can distinguish a true signal through a universe of noisy data. Big data is great, but sometimes, it can mean big problems. So instead of big data, we need to look at rich data instead.
Big data is not a magic elixir that will solve all problems. A lot of catastrophes have resulted from a failure of prediction. So, be part of the progress and not part of the problem. Big data can also reveal a big bias. As the amount of information we get increases, so does the complexity of relationships we derive from that data. Instead of “just data,” look at actionable knowledge and statistics. There’s a widening gap between what we really know, and what we think we know.
Data without good contextualization is dangerous. When you get results that diverge from the consensus, be wary and be sure not to “trade on the bug.” Here’s how to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your rich data: think probabilistically, know where you’re coming from, survey the data landscape, and try and err (trial and error).
Think in terms of uncertainties – the desire for absolute certainty can be the enemy of progress. What makes data better, and rich? Quantity, quality and variety. It’s easier to be bad at something, than be really good at something – and profit and progress comes from doing the hard things at the margins. Context, culture and competition drive progress when it comes to data. Without those three C’s, growth will be sluggish.
Rand Fishkin on the secret ingredients of better marketing
Rand has always been a personal Vocus favorite through his Moz blog and tools. We’ve even had him previously as a webinar speaker. His mid-day keynote really resonated: As an industry, we are guilty of being boring, myopic, selfish and dishonest marketers. All of that cookie cutter, plastic marketing…cut it out!
Ninety-eight percent of Americans distrust information on the web. Fifty-nine percent say there are too many ads. Fifty-six percent say there is outdated info, or too much self-promotional material. As a matter of fact, ad visibility and click-through rates are atrocious. How do I know? You are more likely to have seen Pluto Nash on opening weekend than click on a display ad.
Page abandonment increases with load time – but you probably already knew that (hopefully). Humans don’t click on search results or think the way that search engines do. We look for people and sites that we trust. Seventy percent of CEOs say that they’ve lost trust in their marketing team. Maybe CEOs should BE a part of their marketing team? We keep putting budget and dollars towards low ROI channels or low-quality tactics. Why is this? We have new tools, but an old way of thinking. We have an evolving list of channels, but no cohesive narrative. We focus on tactics, but lack a strategic vision and reason behind our marketing.
Here’s how to create better marketing: create better marketing with transparency. Be honest, open, and tell the truth. Take an uncomfortable truth that you don’t want to share, and share it. Use honesty to surprise your audience. Even transparency on behalf of others who obscure information can yield a great following.Worried? You believe in your fear more than you believe in transparent marketing.
Ingredient two for better marketing is authenticity. Here’s a tactic: leverage your strengths and what you’re known for. What’s at the core of your audience’s love? Do your ads double as share worthy content? They should.
The third ingredient for better marketing is generosity. If your product or service delights people, give a little of it away. Merchandise is marketing, it pays to let your fans show their support. Be generous behind the scenes – there’s strong karma at work in the marketing world.
Don’t just think about the SEO in your titles, think about click and share-worthiness, too. Even the most dry and boring content can become viral if the format is right and the quality is high. So, find the intersection of your professional and personal passions when you build content.
Another marketing ingredient: empathy. Visuals are one of the most powerful empathetic communication tools.
And lastly, a few words on competitors: Whatever it is that you do, the harder it is, the more impossible it will be for your competitor to catch up when it comes to marketing. Observe what others do, question their logic and do the opposite. Mimicking the competitors always ensures that you’ll trail them. Rand’s slidedeck from his presentation can be found here.
Marcus Sheridan on the power of transparency
Just a “regular guy” trying to keep his business afloat, Marcus Sheridan’s tactics not only saved his pool business from a tanking economy, it also propelled him to appear in The New York Times as a speaker and coach under the moniker The Sales Lion. His practical tips may seem obvious, but the hands in his session showed that many businesses hadn’t considered the below:
The customer wants to research and make the final decision themselves by reading unbiased content on the web. Customers are more impatient than they have ever been, but also more loyal than they have ever been if they find an information jackpot. Your business can be that information jackpot. Create transparent content with a transparent approach and transparent selling. See a common theme here? Burying your head in the sand is officially a dumb marketing strategy, often coined “ostrich marketing.” Here’s what you do:
Take every question you’ve ever been asked (positive or negative) and answer it in the public eye. They ask, you answer, it’s simple. Answer the big five: cost, problems, versus (competitor), reviews and best. The answers will market themselves.
Coco Krume, MIT research scientist on the confessions of a satisficer
“My dogma is this,” Coco says. “Optimization is good for many things, but sometimes we need to due optimize. You don’t build muscles lifting weight. You do it by resting in between workouts.”
Technology, it might not hurt to unoptimize, don’t check the news, take a day off, and make some space.
Leslie Bradshaw, COO at Guide on returning to childhood exuburance
“Family and health come first for me now,” Leslie says. “Even though I was twice on the Inc. 500, I was burned out and miserable. Today I am happy. The things I do to become happy are sleep, I ate well (snacks, protein, fiber, smart carbs, smart fats), played, and express myself freely.”
Katie Rae, managing director at TechStars on pushing startup communities to the next level
“Amazing companies get built not just from competition, but also from a healthy ecosystem,” Katie says. “Not sleeping and bragging about being badass, while Zuck-esque, does not equate to making a company. The way start-ups are discussed as long shots discourages women. Women prefer better odds. Women are incredible workers that are being discouraged.”
“The chance of winning in a funded start-up is much higher than 1 percent, which means it’s a good opportunity for women,” she adds. “We have to get real. We have to change the language of start-ups to portray reality. We need to show the truth that people are sleeping.
“The more people we have competing to create great companies, the more interesting the world will be.”
Ann Handley of MarketingProfs on following the fear
When Ann was a child she kept a list of fears, some of which were standard, some were unusual, like the smell of the cellar. Throughout her childhood, Ann avoided her fears, such as school. One year she missed 32 days of school before a half year was done.
When you opt out of things, when you don’t do things that are scary, you fail at life in a big way. You pen yourself in. Your comfort zone is your dead zone. You have to ask what the outcome will be, so what? When something scares you, it may be the very thing worth doing.
Peter Shankman on how nice finishes first
“The nicer you are in business, the more money you make,” Peter says. “Nice guys don’t lose. There are a lot of companies out there that are not nice. They suck.
“I have a quandry. I am also a kid that grew up in Manhattan with an eff you attitude. As a result of City Bike, you are on the street with cars who can try to kill you. After getting a foghorn, I realized I get angry.”
“The problem with being nice is that I also get angry,” Peter says. “It’s good to be nice, but as a result of traveling in planes, etc. it’s hard to be nice because I am angry.”
Spending time with his 13-week-old daughter Jessa, Peter got angry on the phone, and the baby laughed. Peter realized the best way to deal with anger and issues is to let it go.
There are two things that will kill you, anger and lack of humility. When you let it go, mistakes become learning moments.
Image: Thos003 (Creative Commons)