For anyone that attended Inbound last year, a few things that stood out as odd, and this was my 3rd conference. One, it was very late in the year, November to be exact. Historically, Inbound was held in September, like it is again this year. But due to issues with the venue, they had to settle for later in the year. Two, for the majority of the attendees that woke up on November 9th, in a predominatly blue state, it was shock to their systems to see an election upset of monumental proportions. Now not taking this into a political rant but it changed the overall emotion of the event and speakers used the outcome as a pulpit.
Jump forward almost a year, and it's time to look at 2017 and 2018 for "inbounders".
Tips for Inbound 2017
If you do every one of these, you should have the best experience possible and get the most from this great event.
1) Pre-Game – No not like when you were drinking before you went out on weekends in college, but plan each Inbound day ahead of time. With over 20,000 people expected this year, it’s a war in there. You need to plan your day, plan your sessions, plan your calls back to the office and plan your breaks. In the past, lines have formed to sessions up to an hour before the doors even open. With eight, specific tracks this year, you will most certainly find times where you have to decide on the topic, speaker and your needs.
BONUS: This year with your Inbound registration, you can plan and pre-book or reserve your seat. They have coined this “indicating interest and pre-registering”. It essentially tells them how many seats they may need. Be sure to do this soon and you can read more here.
2) Go to Club INBOUND–
I freakin’ love it in this massive arena. It’s loud, there’s a DJ, tons ofcool vendors, SWAG and giveaways everywhere, hundreds of HubSpotters ready to answer any question that you may have and so much more. This is the epicenter of Inbound and you can’t miss it.
3) Get the Must Have Apps – Most of these you likely already have but here are some that are my go-to's:
- Evernote, a fantastic note taking app. Can organize notes in folders, add tags to keep organized, take screen shots of presentations and include in your notes and so many other great features. On the Premium account, it is a perfect tool to share notes with fellow teammates. Evernote also includes a business card scanner called Scannable so you don’t have to carry every card around for days.
- Official Inbound App, I have not found this in the Apple App Store yet but they had it last year so I’d expect to see it soon.
- Uber and Lyft, If you have to ask what they are, you are either from the mid-west or you may need to re-think if you should be going. These two services keep rocking it and they are a must for getting to and from venues, restaurants and your hotel.
- MyBCEC App, Find the quickest and shortest routes with this app, which features an interactive map for each floor of the convention center so you don’t waste time hunting for rooms. This place is HUUUGGGEEEE.
4) Make New Friends – Do I really need to tell you this? 90% of the people you will meet at Inbound are there for the same reason, they have the same or similar issues with their agency or at their jobs, they may just want to vent or just hear your perspective as an Inbound Marketer. Make it a habit to turn to the person you are sitting next to in a session and introduce yourself, hand them a business card, ask where they are from, make small talk, ask about their sessions thus far. You never know, it may be your next employee, your next client, your first or next spouse or even better a business partner.
Before you attend you can find friends too. HubSpot has created Facebook and LinkedIn pages for the event and you may old friends or make new ones. Chances are good that you may never see them in the vast sea of people in BCEC so connect with them before.
5) Take More Selfies - Look for and maybe “stalk” some of the cool people, they are everywhere. HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan (brings his dog) and Dharmesh Shah are the most down to earth CEO’s I have ever met. Look for the infamous Sales Lion, Marcus Sheridan, try finding Rand Fishkin from MOZ, he’s the guy with the coolest hair at the event. Eric Keiles from Square 2 Marketing, they know what the hell they are doing. Look for Chris Kneeland from Cult Collective and then hashtag #sethgodin. Paul Roetzer of PR2020.
You get the point, make friends, take selfies. They are still cool!
6) Hashtag and Shoot (Photos) Everything, OK, well maybe that’s more for me. But it works. I had attendees that recognized a photo I took on the way into Convention Center one morning stop me and strike up conversations. Hashtag the event, #inbound17, hashtag your sessions, hashtag or Tweet the speakers. Be creative, take some fun photos, not only in the building but out in the city, of new friends, during your long walks, anywhere and all day.
8) Plan....and Pack Smart
Planning is key for a succesful trip. Don't wait until the last minute. Check out where your hotel is on Google Maps, plan on where you'd like to eat, where you can grab quick lunches, where you can walk and where you need transportation.
Silly List of Must Packs
- Walking shoes and socks
- Power and extension cords, batteries
- Business cards
- Sweaters or Sweatshirts
- Backpack or something confortable to carry all of the above
First and formost, bring an open mind and bring a ton of patience. It is crowded, people are people; pushy, tired, hungover, angered by the election....and so many other individual traits. The few days that you are held up in the Convention Center may push your boundaries.
The team of Calibrate Brands would love to meet with you or your team.
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