Next week Darren Leishman, Nicole Sengers and Ryan Nofal head off to INBOUND18. This is not Darren’s first rodeo, but the other two are INBOUND virgins and having been to INBOUND 15, 16 & 17 I am having FOMO. Being a helpful person, like all inbound marketers, myself and Veronica Waintein from our sister company Penquin (herself an INBOUND veteran) have put together some helpful hints for them and anyone else who is an INBOUND newbie.
Plan, Plan and Plan
Planning really is key to having a great inbound experience. From planning your Partner Day break out session to your inbound sessions, keeping in mind yourself, your team and your business. The sheer volume of sessions is overwhelming, but with the ability to prebook our team has already chosen their sessions. One step to reducing the decision fatigue and cognitive overload that takes place. You have an app, use it.
Planning is not limited to the sessions you attend, but also the sponsors you visit in Club Inbound. Getting cool swag to take home to the team (hint 😉) is great but more importantly, book some time with the sponsors and connect partners that you would like to connect with. Let them know you are coming and plan time with them in your schedule.
RSVP to - and attend - the relevant meetups that take place around INBOUND18 - this is your greatest networking opportunity.
It’s all about Power
There is nothing more frustrating, disappointing, annoying, and downright dreadful than running out of battery life on your device - be this a phone, tablet or laptop. Here are some quick tips.
- Take a powerbank - make sure they are charged!
- Make use of the power points in Club Inbound but these tend to get filled up quickly so don't count on them.
- Most session rooms have power points - get there early and plug in (South Africans - take a US adaptor).
It’s no good being connected and having powered up devices if your own battery has run flat. Power your body and mind too.
- Take some energy or breakfast bars, it’s a long day - (as team feeder we know that Nicole has this one covered).
- Familiarise yourself with the venue beforehand so you don't waste energy wandering around looking for either sessions or food.
- The food trucks are great but can become pretty crowded with longer-than-you-like wait times. On the plus side, they are outside in the fresh Boston air which is a welcome relief from the aircon of the Convention Centre. But - there are great healthy food options in Club Inbound and Wicked Good Market on BCEC Level 1 West. The wait time tends to be shorter and the food is fantastic.
- Wear comfortable shoes - and layers.
Having a strategy for how to capture the information for the session is really helpful but we want to share something vital - don't be so caught up with tweeting, taking photos and writing, that you capture but don't experience or retain the great insights and learnings from the session. Here are some hints to help you with this.
- Have a notebook or a Google Doc prepared before you leave with all your sessions already included. We have found it particularly helpful to have 3 or 4 key questions that we answer at the end of each session to capture the key takeaways for each session and how these can be applied to our clients, our business, our team, and our selves. To help you with this, have a page per session that already has the following filled in:
- Name of session
- Speaker and their Twitter handle
- Talk hashtag
- Attended by
- Take five minutes at the end of each session to complete your form before moving to the next session - you do have time.
- Pick a question you are going to ask everyone sitting around you in each session. This is a tip I learnt from Gina Balarin at INBOUND15, which has cemented a great collaborative relationship with her (as well as a piece in her book - The Secret Army: Leadership, Marketing and the Power of People). At INBOUND15 we asked about three biggest marketing challenges and published the results. I have continued this at each subsequent INBOUND. The benefits of not only learning from the inbound community but also meeting new people has been well worth it. Introverts - you can do this!
- Take photos of the screen for particularly impactful slides.
- When you enter the room, look for a camera - this will let you know whether the session is being recorded and means you can take less notes - you will have the opportunity to return to the session.
- Try to Tweet but don’t be driven by this - never sacrifice experiencing for tweeting. Having said that, being an active tweeter does give you a great record of your key takeaways.
- Take business cards - yes, even to this digital playground.
- Don’t be afraid to change your agenda. Often someone will tell you about an outstanding session or something in a previous session sparks an interest. As much as we said plan - plans are made to be broken. Stay agile.
Club Inbound and Bawston tips
- Tip the drinks staff at Club Inbound - they spend the evening serving and you get a great smile when you go back for your second round. Remember to use both hands when getting drinks - the queues are long (free drinks, no surprise) and you don't want to spend your time queuing when you could be socialising and networking.
- If you are wanting to get a taste of the amazing food in Club Inbound, stand near the exit - the food appears from behind the escalators - and doesn't ever make it into the centre of the room.
- Say Bawston - it is a second language.
- Eat at the Border Cafe in Cambridge.
- Go try the clam chowder at Faneuil Hall Marketplace - and while you are there walk portions of the Freedom Trail, visit Christopher Columbus Park and buy Poppin Pens from Staples - you won’t regret it.
- Afrikaans is a superpower - ask Charl Grobler, another Inbound veteran.
- Take an extra bag for the Swag.
- Participate in the HubSpot academy challenges.
- Watch out for the challenges on Twitter - you can win great prizes - ask Lisa Singh.
The final tip - LISTEN and BE CURIOUS. The HubSpot inbound community is welcoming, collaborative, and willing to share their skills and expertise. Go with the focus of being a sponge and absorb the learnings, the vibe, the people, the atmosphere and the movement and passion that is HubSpot.
And writing this, I just want to say ... FOMO is real.