I was a late arrival to the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston yesterday, and I missed the opening sessions featuring Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, Youngme Soon of Harvard and well-known social media guru Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan). By the time the dust settled from these three opening salvos, everyone had hunkered down and the focus shifted to inbound marketing tactics, opportunities and challenges.
Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan (@bhalligan) summed up the current state of affairs succinctly, noting the changing nature of the marketing funnel, and inviting everyone to focus more on the middle of the funnel – those moments when your prospects are really starting to engage with information and zero in on their needs.
Along the way, Halligan noted, the control of the process has shifted from the seller – who used to control the information flow, doling out bits and pieces of information and content as prospects “moved down the funnel,” to today’s reality, in which our audiences are well armed with basic information, and are seeking to find out why your product or service is right for them, specifically.
To this point, Halligan spent some time discussing the power of personalization, noting that sites like Amazon and Netflix are truly “personalization engines” that create unique – and relevant – experiences for each user.
“Personalization will transform the middle of your funnel,” Halligan noted. “It’s how you get conversions to go from 2% to 20%.” Successful marketers know that relevance increases conversions.
Relevance became a recurring theme throughout the rest of the day – from customer experiences to content to marketing tactics. My big take away from the day was the simple fact that as marketers and communicators, we have to focus on being relevant to our customers and prospects – putting their needs in front the organizations.
Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik) is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.