Today in Boston in the wake of Donald Trump’s upset win, HubSpot ploughed on bravely with its Inbound 2016 conference.
In a keynote address, which really only could have happened in America, HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah dressed up as characters from the Lord of the Rings in a parody video, which again could only happen in America to illustrate their battle with cold calling.
Among the hobbits, gags and appalling acting, however, there were some real nuggets to be found. Primarily, HubSpot has once again decided to practice what it preaches and has released a free version of its platform to allow prospective customers to try the product before you buy it. Something Halligan emphasised was a fundamental shift in the way to do business in 2016 compared to 2006. In other words, you have to give value away before before you start to receive any. In publishing we call it freemium.
In other news the inexorable march towards machines doing the thinking for us has entered into HubSpots plans as well, with the introduction of bots, which will think faster and more thoroughly than humans in the not too distant future.
Here’s the release:
The way that people shop and buy continues to change – so, too, must the way companies market and sell. Today, your customers are your best marketers and your website is your best salesperson. Tomorrow, we’ll see a customer’s entire lifecycle powered by a bot and other machine learning technologies, which will create an opportunity to deliver a more targeted, personalised, and delightful experience.
That was the key message from HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah this afternoon on the main stage at HubSpot’s annual INBOUND event. To help businesses tackle these shifts head-on, HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing, sales, and CRM software company, announced the availability of HubSpot Marketing Free, putting the tools built upon the Inbound Methodology in the hands of many more businesses around the world.
HubSpot Marketing Free is a key element of the full HubSpot growth stack – the trifecta of HubSpot Marketing, HubSpot Sales, and HubSpot CRM that provides businesses with the right tools and integrations they need. Working together seamlessly, all three components of HubSpot’s growth stack are available for free to start and grow with teams over time.
Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of Marketing and Sales
During their keynote, Halligan and Shah predicted the industry’s future and reflected on the changes that have occurred over the course of the company’s 10-year history. Halligan took the stage first to discuss how customer buying behaviours have changed since HubSpot was founded in 2006.
With services like Amazon, changes in SEO, and the ubiquity of social media, companies need to work even harder to differentiate their offerings and stand out among the competition.
Key insights included:
Where companies once vied for inches of physical shelf space in a store, today’s shift in the balance between supply and demand means that companies now compete for “just millimetres on the infinite shelf of the internet.”
Regardless of whether you’re in B2B or B2C, your customers live in social media. Businesses should be marketing to their audiences where they live or they “may as well be marketing into a trash can.”
The promise of Ask Jeeves has been realised by Google. The answer, not answers, are a single search away whether it’s something you type into your mobile device or ask Alexa, OK Google, or Siri.
Cold calling is dead. Really dead. Just don’t do it.
Shah delivered the second half of the keynote by predicting where marketing technology is headed in the next five years based on where it has come in the last twenty. Key insights included:
Today, search is bigger than just Google. Users go to Facebook to look for a specific person, or to visit Amazon to find a product. So, the way to win at SEO in this new environment is to focus on HEO, or human enjoyment optimisation. Instead of solving for the search engines, marketers should solve for what creates the most joy for humans.
With the rise of mobile, the world went wild for apps – millions of apps. But, the vast majority of people spend their time using just a few – most of them messaging apps. “So, unless your business has a crazy compelling, life-altering value proposition, a mobile app probably isn’t worth the effort.”
Chatbots do far more than “chat”. Looking to the future, sales and marketing professionals will be able to use these powerful assistants to amplify and optimise everyday tasks, such as running reports, launching social ad campaigns, or creating a blog post.
All of these advancements signal a sea change in the relationship between humans and technology: “In the past, we told software what we wanted it to do. As AI technology evolves, that dynamic is shifting,” said Shah.
“Soon, software will be able to learn what we wish it could do, opening doors for businesses to transform how they interact with and serve their customers.”
Additional Product Updates
HubSpot also introduced exciting new features and functionality across its Marketing, Sales, and CRM products. The additional new and improved products announced at INBOUND align under the themes of power and simplicity to better meet the unique needs of HubSpot customers.
“At HubSpot, we strive to provide our customers with the tools they need to grow their revenue, streamline operations, and create a delightful user experience,” said Christopher O’Donnell, VP of Product for HubSpot.