Every year we get big surprises at the Inbound Conference and this year is no exception. The conference has gotten bigger with more and more speakers, info, and generally awesome things to do. But at the end of the day, we’re all here to see what Hubspot is up to and what is coming next. Here’s five immediate, key takeaways from the event at INBOUND 16.

Cold calling is dead. No, really.

It seems like we’ve been heralding the end of the “cold call” for the past few years, but the data is really making it impossible for “Cold Calling Deniers” to tell you it still works and keep a straight face. Brian Halligan highlighted this point during his keynote as he explained all the research he did on hundreds of sales data points and determined that NOT A SINGLE SALE started with a cold call in 2016. So really, if you haven’t already, it’s time to let go.

Email Marketing is NOT dead. But it has changed.

Email marketing is still useful, but not as much anymore. If content was once king, then the new phrase to get in your head is that “context is king.” Personalization and less frequent emails that have context to your intended prospect are vitally important to successful Email Marketing in 2016. You’re better off segmenting your lists in multiple categories and taking the time to write more contextual and valuable Emails that will get a response in 2016. Buying lists and mass blasting them DOES NOT WORK. In fact, Brian Halligan highlighted that point by reminding attendee’s that “you can’t even buy a list anymore.” Think about it: Does Facebook sell lists of it’s users to businesses? No. Anything you can buy in a list is most likely outdated, not valuable and even if it is, users are not going to respond to it.

Video is king in 2016.

“You shouldn’t be looking for your next blogger. You should be looking for your next videographer.”
– Brian Halligan

Once of the things that keeps coming up not just from Hubspot’s brass, but from other experts such as Gary Vaynerchuk, is that video is everything right now. That’s where engagement is at. It’s not in text anymore. It’s not that blogs are useless, it’s just not where the best value for your time is if you’re going to create content. One the interesting things about this too is that video consumption has regressed in an interesting way. Most video users are watching shorter videos with the sound turned off, hearkening back to the days of silent films. If you’re not offering video solutions to your clients as a part of a content marketing strategy, you are not giving them the best value for your time or their money.

Automation and Machine-Learning are here to stay

One of the big highlights during the Keynote was the use of artificial intelligence and machine-learning in our digital marketing. The data on “where users are at” in 2016 is showing massive growth and engagement in messaging apps. For intsance, Facebook’s Messenger app, along with What’s App, each has over 1 billion active users as of the writing of this blog. Messaging apps for business have taken off too, such as Slack. So it makes sense that marketers would want to focus on messaging apps and interfaces to continue to try to improve their reach.


Hubspot focused on this boom in the form of Chat Bot’s. Darmesh Shah went so far as to say he believes it will HUGE in the next 5 years during his Keynote speech. So much so, in fact, that Hubspot already has their own Chat Bot named “GrowthBot” which has been in Beta for awhile and will most likely be a core part of Hubspot’s offerings in the future. Click here if you want to read more information on GrowthBot.

Without social, you are nothing.

Brian Halligan told a touching story about his mom ordering coffee at Dunkin Donuts, but accidentally gave her order to the trash can, rather than the order box, because they looked so similar. He used that story to (sort of) illustrate a point: If you’re not promoting and advertising your content on social, you’re talking to the wrong box and no one hears you.

Gary Vaynerchuk at the opening Keynote also echoed these points and pointed to Facebook Live and Facebook ads as horribly undervalued for the ROI and prime area for marketers to take advantage of in the immediate future.

Final Thoughts

There was a lot to digest in the Keynote at INBOUND16, but the future seems pretty clear now:

  1. Facebook is king of Social Marketing.
  2. Video is king of Content Marketing.
  3. Machine-Learning and Artificial Intelligence are the kings of future marketing.

Indeed, over-and-over, throughout the conference we keep hearing that Facebook is where it’s at. Halligan went as far in his Keynote to claim that we are all living “in Zuckerberg’s world,” and the next evolution in pay-per-click would be pay-per-lead… on Facebook. Keep an eye out for that term in the coming years!


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