If you’ve had a business conversation with me since early 2012, you know how much I love HubSpot, but today I’ve got a bone to pick with them. See, this “Delightion” stuff that @dharmesh talked about during his Inbound ’13 keynote address — humanizing the selling process, and delighting customers so much they become promoters of your brand — it put me into a big, ugly funk.
Any marketing dork who was at Inbound ’13 will tell you it was the happiest place on earth for 3 days. Dan Sally made me laugh; charity: water made me cry; Seth Godin inspired me to find my tribe and create something; Erika Napoletano taught me it’s OK to freak out and re-examine your career path; and Beth Dunn convinced me that to be a Writing God, you need to “write [like crap if you have to] every day, just write.”
That’s just a sliver of my experience. It seemed everywhere I turned were marketing rock stars (“OMG … it’s David Meerman Scott — I love his latest book!” … “I just met @pistachio!” … “hey, look over there — it’s Rand Fishkin!” … “am I really in the same room as Arianna Huffington right now?!”). A huge highlight was the last session, when I summoned the courage to approach Marcus Sheridan, and tell him how much he changed my view of marketing with his “Honest Economy/Instructional Selling” webinars.
Did I mention HubSpot fed us lunch every day? Provided the most awesome and helpful mobile conference app? Had fast, uninterrupted WiFi service the entire week? Yeah, they delighted me alright.
I drove back to Brooklyn on a high, finishing Godin’s audio version of “The Icarus Deception” along the way. That night when I got home, my husband and I stayed up late talking about everything I learned, and how I couldn’t wait to get back to the office and deliver the “delightion” message from the proverbial Inbound mountain. My son even got into it, and declared that the sky-writer he saw at the park the other day was “not very smart for spending all that money on an ad I can’t click on.” Exactly!
Delivering my message to the office didn’t go quite the way I envisioned, and I’ve since been told by my boss, “clearly you’ve drunk the inbound Kool-Aid.”
Maybe I was too enthusiastic?
It also seems that everywhere I go, bad experiences with local businesses are more magnified and annoying than usual. School shopping at Children’s Place, where I waited in line 20 minutes to use a $20 off coupon:
Sales guy: just enter your email address here
Me: I don’t want to give my email address
Sales guy: OK, so enter your phone number
Me: I don’t want to give my phone number either (inside voice: “I just stood in line for 20 minutes and you are not delighting meeee!!!!”)
A real email exchange this week with one of my freelance clients:
Client: can you put a “Voted #1 [title here]” on the home page of my website?
Me: sure, but voted number one by whom?
Client: I know… usually when you see “voted” it discloses the voting source, but we only want Voted #1 [title]. We were driving and saw a billboard … can’t remember what it was for, but it had #1 on it, no source … anyone who drove by was being told this business was #1. We thought it was an effective billboard.
Me: OK, but it actually wasn’t an effective billboard if you can’t remember what it was for.
So, HubSpot, your rosy picture of Delightion put me into a big, fat, Inbound depression. The problem with HubSpot is that you delighted me so much, every other business sucks in comparison. I vowed when I came home that I would write [like crap, dammit!] every day, but I’ve only been able to write once, and it was a rant about how cold callers made me stop answering my phone. It got a lot of hits, though.
While I just want the world to go back to the way it was at Hynes Convention Center this summer — it’s too scary and uncertain out here — today I figured out the source of my angst. I went to Woodstock and came back to a place where nobody gets me. Yet.
It’s not HubSpot’s fault for giving us the vision, but it IS the responsibility of the 5500 of us at that conference to deliver the message and change the world. An overwhelming challenge, but I want to be here for it. So, tomorrow I’m going to shake this thing, turn my frown upside down, and get back to “delightion.”
UPDATE — Spring 2014: I’m happy to report I did shake that funk, and have since started Lovable Marketing, LLC as a certified HubSpot Partner! I’ll soon pack up again and head to Boston for a whole new set of highs and lows, courtesy of Inbound ’14.
UPDATE — Fall 2014: I’m back from Inbound ’14, and pushing through the inevitable funk with this new post. Enjoy!
Image credit: @gapingvoid