I’m a little depressed, and knew it was coming. The same thing happened last year when I got home from Inbound ’13. My boss didn’t get me and my big, inboundy ideas, and every company I interacted with pissed me off.
So I’ve had this post in mind awhile, because I’d rather push through the despair than wallow in it for a month. And who can resist Photoshopping Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah onto an old movie poster? @Bhalligan as Pope Julius II, the CEO (but more approachable), and @Dharmesh as Michelangelo, the artistic visionary.
The #INBOUND14 twitter stream is still on fire as everyone returns home, eagerly sharing their marketing high from 4 days of education, networking and pampering. But not every tweet has been over-the-top happy, and the one that resonated most with me was this by MK Getler:
I don’t think MK is alone in this sentiment. When you experience something as grand as Inbound, coming home can feel directionless:
- What do I do next?
- How do I get my company onboard with this new way of connecting with customers?
- Why do people keep looking at me like that when I explain inbound marketing?
So here’s my take on the Agony and the Ecstasy of Inbound, and a few things that can help some of us snap out of the funk before it gets debilitating.
HubSpotters are so darn happy.
You can tell the people at HubSpot love their jobs, making it painfully obvious to those of us working in less enlightened conditions that we’re wasting precious time in the wrong places. When I read the HubSpot Culture Code last year, I started crying at my desk because I couldn’t believe a company like that existed. Every slide of that 100+ deck was the antithesis of my own company’s culture.
Coping Mechanism: If you’re in a similar situation, consider what Simon Sinek said during his keynote, about how humans require real vision to take advantage of the best chemicals in our bodies. Consider making a list or vision board of what you want your life and job to look like six months from now. Review it every day and you’ll start to see things happen. You can also get more involved in the community: create a profile at Inbound.org, get Inbound and HubSpot certified, and start sharing your enthusiasm publicly by joining LinkedIn groups and a HubSpot User Group (HUG) in your area.
Your boss might not understand you.
There were a LOT of young people at Inbound this year. I think they said the average age of the 10,000 attendees was 35, leading me to believe many business owners sent their millennial flock to learn about HubSpot and come home with the goods.
Some of you may find that when you get home and meet with your boss — a list of exciting ideas about transparency, closed loop reporting and content variety in hand — they’ll say, “I’m glad you got so much out of it, but that will never work in our industry.”
Coping Mechanism: Before you give in to defeat, pick a low or no-cost Inbound idea you can pitch to your boss. If your company isn’t blogging regularly, tell him/her you want to take it over for the next two months. Interview the sales team and make a list of the most common questions they get from clients and prospects. Make a list of blog titles that answer those questions, and you’ve got yourself an arsenal of evergreen blog ideas. Soon you’ll be able to show metrics and an improved Google ranking, and you’ll be crowned the smartest person in the company.
If that doesn’t work, try what I’ve done: channel your frustration into a personal blog, writing about how inbound marketing can help the types of businesses you’re interested in. My own results have been surprising, and some unexpected opportunities have come along (including an ebook/blogging project for a major media company!). Even if you don’t feel like freelancing, you’ll be creating an awesome resume.
Too many companies still don’t get it.
This is the pile of direct mail I returned home to after four days in Boston. Lands’ End sold my address to Conde Nast, the Catholic League thinks I’m Catholic, FreshDirect sent a promo I’m not eligible for (which they should know, since I’m a customer), and the list goes on. It’s frustrating walking through a world that continues to interrupt and waste resources. All of this paper went to the recycle bin.
Coping Mechanism: This presents a huge opportunity for those looking to spread the message and capitalize on the Inbound knowledge gap. I’m starting with my own community in Brooklyn, and will be speaking at a local merchant’s association meeting this fall. It’s outside my comfort zone, but maybe some of my passion for inbound can rub off and shift old mindsets. What can you do to educate your community?
They really did think of everything … free hotel shuttles, snacks and smoothies in the lobby, lunch tickets, yoga, a great DJ and happy hour every night … HubSpot has nailed the science of customer delightion. They even sent us copies of the new Inbound Marketing book before the conference! I think this is what makes it so hard to adjust to the real world back home — just going from the conference to the airport was a rude awakening.
What to do Next: Pick an industry or business type you’re passionate about, and write a series of blog posts about how they can make their current customers so happy that they become promoters. After Inbound we all have the tools to spread this knowledge, so let’s start a “delightion” movement.
The HubSpot product keeps improving.
Last year they kicked off the COS and Signals — my sales team LOVES Signals (now Sidekick), so I can’t wait to see their faces when I tell them about how it works with the new CRM. The new calendar is fantastic, and makes it so much easier to see the gaps in your editorial and social media planning. Well played, HubSpot!
[ Update 9/25: Was ungated for the CRM this morning and it’s even more incredible than expected. Using HubTalk you can make calls right from your computer, and log recorded conversations, with notes! The Sidekick integration is fantastic, and solved the problem I was having with the Apple Mail installation. Love, love, love. ]
What to do Next: Show your co-workers how the new features can help them do their jobs. They will be amazed, and you’ll be the new office hero.
Meeting new people can be fun.
As an extreme introvert, attending a conference of any size freaks me out. Last year I mostly stayed in the Bold Talks room where I didn’t really need to talk to anyone, but this year I went with different goals.
As a new partner I had access to more sessions and networking, I’d scheduled to meet up with a new freelance client, and was invited to a dinner with other partner agencies by my HubSpot channel account manager.
I was terrified of all the small talk awaiting me, but by the end of it I was meeting “old” Twitter friends for the first time, actually starting conversations with people (check out me with Marcus Sheridan!), and learning things I wouldn’t have otherwise.
What to do Next: If you’re an introvert too, remember that you’re probably not going to see many of these people again — or at least not for another year. So just go for it, follow up via email, LinkedIn and Twitter with the people you met at Inbound. Join a HUG, put yourself out there, and imagine yourself the lead actor in the life you want to be living.
Feeling better already – thank you for a great week, HubSpot ;-)
What do you think? Remember, traveling and lack of rest are big factors in a funk. If the tips above don’t help with your post-conference agita, take a brisk walk and check out Arianna Huffington’s Inbound ’13 keynote on the importance of sleep. If that doesn’t help, you can always email me if you want to commiserate.