Boston; home of Fenway Park, the Freedom Trail, too many Dunkin Donut’s to count and HubSpot’s annual Inbound Conference. Having returned from Inbound 2015, we’re happy to say it didn’t disappoint. With inspirational keynotes and speeches from the likes of Seth Godin, Brene Brown and Aziz Ansari, it’s safe to say we laughed a lot, thought a lot and ultimately learned a lot. Having combed our notes from over 26 hours of learning, 5.5 hours of keynotes and endless queueing, here are our key marketing tips and takeaways from Inbound 2015.

1. “Design for ideal customers, NOT just any customers.” Avoid designing content or landing pages for the masses, and instead focus specifically on the people who really matter. Oli Gardener, founder of Unbounce, reinforced the importance of designing with only your ideal customers in mind. At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone, so don’t even try.

2. “Weak content WON’T cut it.” Nobody owes you their time and attention, and you are not entitled to it. How do you overcome this? Write content that not only moves an audience, but more specifically moves a human being.

3. “Passion doesn’t always follow the brand guidelines.” Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone discussed how, as marketers, we sometimes have to look beyond brand guidelines, in order to produce content that resonates with our audience and moves people to take action.

4. “Take every opportunity to understand a customers’ pain points.” If you don’t get it, you can’t make content that resonates with them. Take every opportunity to learn about your customers, and use this insight to build buyer personas around them. This will guide your communications.

5. “Don’t always follow the buzz.” This is something we constantly tell our clients’, after all what works for B2C won’t necessarily work for B2B, and what works for IT won’t necessarily work for electronics. And vice versa. Again, Sonia Simone reinforced that your chosen tactics and platforms should come down to your industry, and where exactly your audience are. If Snapchat or Instagram aren’t a great fit, don’t use them.

6. “Negative statements are more powerful than positive statements.” Talking about the psychology of the audience, Oli Gardener discussed how the use of negative statements on forms and pop ups can actually increase conversions. Take an in-app game upsell for instance, we are more likely to click ‘keep going’ over ‘give up’.

7. “Remove distractions to increase conversion rates on a landing page.” Keep it simple, and keep the attention ratio as 1:1. That means only include 1 thing on a page.

8. “Not everything a marketer does will work.” Remember, you can’t be successful 100% of the time, so experiment with your marketing. See what works, and what doesn’t, and use this insight to formulate future decisions.

9. “Headlines are read 5x more than body copy.” Headlines are significantly important, and play a huge role in enticing potential customers’, increasing share-ability and growing your audience. Never underestimate the power of the headline, and ensure they are optimised for your audience.

10. “Provide enough curiosity to entice a click.” HubSpot’s Kieran Flanagan, discusses how marketers should adopt the curiosity gap mind-set. Don’t be too vague or too specific.

11. “Search is still no.1 priority.” Search is imperative, as this audience is actively seeking you out. They are a willing audience, and will be searching for a solution to something that you do. With that in mind, rank well for the terms that your audience will be asking.

12. “Without content you do not exist.” Jason Falls again reinforces the fact that content is ultimately what makes you visible, so don’t underestimate its power and influence.

13. “There is no easy button.” Nothing worth having comes easy, so invest time, experiment with techniques and learn what works and what doesn’t.

14. “Aim to get swiped right.” Aziz Ansari’s keynote discussed how availability and options in the digital era are unlimited, and the principle applies to everything from the dating scene to grocery shopping to B2B purchases. We all have the ability to swipe right (Tinder speak for saying you are attracted to someone), and with increasing options, as B2B marketers we need to up our game, and provide a great user experience that gets swiped right.

15. “Don’t de-humanise the relationship between your brand and your audience.” Talking about his recent book ‘Modern Romance’, Aziz Ansari discusses how the advent of dating apps, and technology in general, makes it easy for us to de-humanise people. As marketers, we need to avoid this. While there are no swipe left options, many marketers are at risk of de-humanising their audience through the use of technology. Keep your communications personal and relevant.

16. “Segmentation, Segmentation, Segmentation!” Email marketing has evolved massively, and unfortunately bulk distribution no longer cuts it. Results come from sending the right message to the right people at the right time, and only once you’ve mastered that will you see real success from your campaigns.

17. “If it’s not your problem, make it your problem.” Todd Rowe, MD Google Global Sales, discussed how often companies fall because of their very narrow approach. Take Google Translate for example: they created a solution to their user’s problem. You want growth? Instead of running into a wall and going the other way, perhaps breaking the wall is a better long-term solution.

18. “In order to grow, you need to let yourself be vulnerable.” In a keynote that was nothing less than inspirational and moving, Research Professor Brene Brown, opened up about vulnerability and communication. Behind true success is failure, and in order to rise you need to let yourself be vulnerable, face risk, learn from it and embrace it. Don’t shy away from making decisions on the risk that they may not succeed.

19. “Content marketing should focus on mobile first.” Will Critchlow talked about the future of search, and stressed that we are now in an era where people search more on mobile than any other device. He further reinforced that you don’t necessarily need to start building things differently, rather expand and “build different things.”

20. “Forget about being first in the inbox.” Discussing the ‘seven reasons even your mom would ignore your email’, Tom Monoghan highlighted how sending your email on a Tuesday is no longer a good idea. Everyone now sends on a Tuesday. Forget about being first in the inbox, there is no such thing! He also reinforced the truth we’ve all been running from. If they’re not opening your emails, drop them. When they don’t open, stop sending. Oh, that hurt…

21. “If you want to rank high – your content needs to be 10 times better than the content occupying that first page spot!” Jonathan Gettle reinforced how every piece of content you produce should answer a search query, and predicts that in the future, SEO will be all about in-app optimisation.

While we’re working on taking this all on board, it would be great to hear your thoughts on what you believe are the biggest changes in B2B Marketing. You may also find our guide to the Changing B2B Marketing Landscape to be insightful.

CTA-B2B Landscape Book