Hundreds of marketers (and some other folks) gathered at the JW Marriott last Thursday for Element Three’s Go Inbound Marketing conference, and there was the expected talk of email, blogging, social media and paid ads. But what was my biggest takeaway?
We’re seeing an explosion of culture-powered marketing!
A Company’s Culture is Inevitable, So Create One You Love
One of my favorite talks was given by Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot. Not only did his presentation include lots of catchy phrases (Don’t just hire to delegate—hire to elevate) and inspire the title of this blog post, but he set the cultural tone for the day.
Many of the points he made were so in line with ‘Boxer philosophy, particularly when he said that a healthy organizational culture is made up of more than just artifacts. Artifacts being the things that many think of when they hear “organizational culture”: foosball tables, kegerators, casual Friday, and those “Best Places to Work” awards (that you usually pay to apply for, mind you).
But if not artifacts, then what makes up authentic “culture"? Dharmesh set our own Dan up perfectly for his talk (view Dan's slides here) in which he discussed that answer, and the power of culture in inbound marketing. Dan’s three culture components are core values, organizational health and employee experience—his post last week goes into greater detail. These elements are how a company builds up its strongest team (quality peers); the artifacts (quality beers) are just a nice byproduct.
Culture as the Resounding Theme of the Day
Element Three’s Tiffany Sauder focused on how to get an organization’s culture and marketing to come together to form a strong brand and voice. She made three points that I really appreciated:
1. Think of your brand as a person.
2. Try completing a Myers-Briggs assessment as that brand-person.
3. Ask yourself if you’d hang out with your blog. (For real--would you?)
Michael Reynolds from SpinWeb said something that really got to me, simple as it may be. He said (in response to why nobody reads your corporate blog) to write with your heart. By that he means ditching excessive industry-speak. Why? Because conversational and easy to digest pieces are more likely to elicit engagement. It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get caught up in your industry topics and buzzwords, and to forget to apply the matter at hand to your audience.
SEOMom herself Gillian Muessig ended the day with a real golden nugget when she said, “Strategy you implement, but culture is what people follow.” After an authentic and healthy culture is established and begins attracting the ideal audience, community building and nurturing are the next steps. We must regularly feed our communities highly targeted content. Though strategy and tactics are necessary, culture is the foundation of community building. In her words, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.”
How Was Your Inbound Experience?
Gillian talked a lot about the connection forged through shared experiences, and Thursday was for sure one of those. I think many of you readers will agree on the cultural takeaways, but I'm interested to hear about the notes you jotted down, starred and highlighted--after you recover from your information hangovers, of course.