Inbound Marketing Summit San Francisco - Live Run Down

Mike Volpe
Mike Volpe



Here is a run down of the Inbound Marketing Summit.  I'll update the article live during the course of the day.

David Meerman Scott - Creating a World Wide Rave

David is one of the original thought leaders behind inbound marketing from his books "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" and "World Wide Rave".

A dentist used to spend $2000 per month on yellow pages ads.  She switched her marketing strategy and published an ebook.  Her inbound marketing efforts increased her revenue 7 times - from $150,000 to over $1 million.

"You don't need to BUY attention (through advertising) or BEG for attention (through expensive PR) anymore.  To be successful today, you need to think differently.  You need to publish your way in with interesting content."


Panel Discussion - Discovering the Power of Your Community

Content is really important to community, and you need to create and optimize your content for the community you serve.

Figure out what is motivating your community members, and then tap into that.  You might be able to use it to drive support, product development, lead generation, or something else - but you need to understand what the community is doing.

Start first with a posture of listening and understanding, and that will help drive your content strategy for the community.

Changing behavior is a really important part of using social technologies internally.

People want to be heard.  If you provide a platform for your audience to be heard, they will love it.

Social information sharing is bigger than search.

Parting Advice from the Panelists

  1. Come up with a plan and get started, know who will own it.
  2. Give something a shot - test something.  Don't sit on the sidelines.
  3. Think a little bit differently to orient yourself towards your community.
  4. Pretend you are an anthropologist - study your community through observation and experimentation.


  • Marcus Nelson - UserVoice
  • Joe Kleinschmidt - Leverage Software
  • John Kembel - HiveLive
  • Ross Mayfield - Socialtext

Charlene Li - Convincing the Curmudgeon

Most companies have someone at the top (CEO?) who does not believe in inbound marketing (especially the social media part of it).

  1. "It's a fad and a waste of time." You can overcome this by making it real for them.  Show them passionate people who are creating content relevant to your community.  Show them people who are talking about their bad experiences and god experiences. Use twitter search and blog search to do this.
  2. "There's no ROI." You need to tie your strategy to goals.  What kind of relationship do you want with your customers?  If you want to build a passionate and loyal audience, you need to invest in the relationship.  Tie the technologies and tools to concrete business goals.  Use marketing analytics to measure results.
  3. "It's too risky."  Embracing and preparing for some failure is important.  But the bigger risk is not doing anything at all.  Prepare for the failures and have a plan to address them.  Business is inherently risky, this is just like the rest of business.  Walmart failed a number of times.  But they learned from that, and now have some very successful blogs.  this is making their company stronger.

Give up control.  You never actually had control.  But it is time to give up even the idea that you had control.

"I do no outbound marketing at all for my business."

"I would not take advertising on my blog.  It is about thought leadership and generating leads for speaking and consulting."

Aaron Strout - I'm your customer and I can't hear you!

Once upon a time, businesses used to talk to each other.  The tavern, the general store.  But as businesses started to scale, that relationship killed the relationship between the business owner and the customer.  Customer service departments were created to try to replace it, but it was treated as a cost center.

Five ways to talk "with" your customers

  1. Listen - use tools like Google Alerts and more to understand what people are saying about you and your market
  2. Join - become a member of existing communities like Facebook, LinkedIn, and twitter
  3. Ask - use these networks you have joined to ask questions about your customers and prospects, find out what thier challenges and concers are
  4. Engage - listen to the answers you get and gather more feedback, make changes and then ask people what they think of the new things you have done
  5. Build - the hardest step is to build your own community, it can be the most powerful, but it should be left to the larger and more sophistocated companies

"We focus a lot on inbound marketing, it works really well for us"

Darren Guarnaccia - The Art of Persuasion in the New Inbound Marketing World

  • Websites are sales vehicles, and you need to think about your landing pages and website content.
  • Tell the story as people navigate through your website - after the landing page your job is not over!
  • Don't talk about your product right away, but as people consume more content, the idea is to get more of the content to be about your products.  Allow people to build a relationship with you and your products.
  • Build content assets worth subscribing to (like a business blog).

Brian Halligan - Marketing: The Last 50 Years and The Next 50 Years

  • People are getting better and better at blocking out outbound marketing on radio, TV, and print -  with ipods, blogs, and TiVo
  • The next 50 years of marketing will be about getting found by people during thier normal course of shopping and learning
  • This change is a great opportunity for small companies, and a threat to big companies.

Some suggestions on how to get started with inbound marketing:

  1. Turn your website from a brochure-ware into a tool that attracts people in from other websites and then converts them into leads.  Start with an evaluation at
  2. Turn your website into a hub for your industry with remarkable content that will attract links into your website.
  3. Think about your website, content, links and keyword ranks as assets and measure the return on those assets through visitors and leads.


Jay Krall - Monitoring, Conversing, Measuring Results

  • There were nearly 250,000 mentions of Fortune 25 companies in the blogosphere in the last 30 days
  • Traditional / passive metrics are one form of measurement - visitors, subscribers, time spent on website
  • More interactive marketing metrics - inbound links, comments, and citations on social news and bookmarking sites


Rich Ullman - The 9 Best Practices for Listening and Engaging Consumers in Social Networks 

  • Michelle Obama is a great marketer, better than her husband because when he is on Jay Leno broadcasting, she is connecting and saying this like "The job is simple, be open, be honest, be real, be clear and have fun."
  • Have appropriate success measures.
  • Beware of means or averages.  Beware of extremes, they are where the remarkable people live.
  • Remember that you are dealing with people.
  • Your customers want to talk to you.

Jeanne Hopkins - The Conversion Index

MECLABS has created a conversion index or formula to help analyze the likelihood of conversion for any landing page.

C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) -2a

  • C = probability of conversion
  • m= motivation of user
  • v = claity of value proposition
  • i = incentive to take action
  • a = anxiety about entering information
  • f = friction in the process

4 Step Action Plan for Improving Conversions

  1. Design - a landing page should be designed to speak to people based on what they clicked on and where they came from
  2. Value proposition - make sure every piece of content on the page communicates the value proposition, your landing page headline can even repeat exactly the call to action you used
  3. Remove friction - if your form is more than one page, that's bad - make it simple for people to convert
  4. Reduce anxiety - add a money back guarantee or a phone number for customer support to make people feel more comfortable

Kelly Shibari - The Champagne Room: How to Use Adult Industry Marketing Methods to Work for Your Business

There are a number of marketing techniques used in adult industries that might offer benefits to

  • "The Champagne Room" - Use free or low cost information or content to build a relationship, but then charge more to get more content or a deeper relationship.  So, you should think about what content and community you can offer for free to help attract more people.
  • The adult entertainers that do the best are the ones that are the most friendly and are willing to interact with their fans, taking phots, signing autographs and being approachable.  So, as a marketer in other industries, an open company culture where you are really approchable through a blog and socils media helps build a similar relationship.
  • Exclusivity - if there is some special thing that you can offer to a certain set of fans or customers, and limit access to a small number of people, it can help it spreadmore because people feel special and want to talk about being special.

Panel - Using Outbound Communications for the New Web to Drive Exposure and Results

  • The press release is no longer a tool to get media coverage.  mass marketing your press release to people in the media doesn't work.
  • Most press releases suck (tip, use press release grader to fix yours:
  • Use email as a distribution mechanism for your content, not as much of a sales pitch for your products (until people are ready).
  • Is email marketing outbound?  Probably not, unless it is a rented email list or a list of people that did not ask for or opt-into your email list.
  • Good content will help you retain and grow your subscriber list.
  • Email might be best as a lead nurturing and customer retntion tool more than a lead conversion tool.


  • Michael Pranikoff - PR Newswire
  • Matt Goddard - R2integrated
  • Chuck Hester - iContact Corporation
  • Brian Solis - PR 2.0
  • Greg Cangialosi - Blue Sky Factory

Loic LeMeur - How to Launch a Product with Your Community

  • Start in a very narrow segment, you can get more broad over time.
  • Gather feedback early and often, and then implement changes early and often.
  • "If no one talks about your brand, then it is dead."
  • Make your product roadmap public.
  • Never criticize your competition.
  • Build the most requested features as fast as possible.
  • But... be careful: "A Porche would be a Volvo if they developed all the user desired features" (Robert Scoble)

Jason Falls - Give Them Content Or Give Them Away - How Your Corporate Website Can Capture Or Deter Your Customers

  • Before: Websites used to be brochures but then customers got bored
  • Customers want to be engaged with fresh and interesting content - a website that is living and breathing is more interesting and compelling
  • Good content drives inbound markeitng results - more inbound links and a larger footprint of relvant content
  • Before you deveop content, define your audience and understand what content they will find interesting
  • When thinking about your audience, ask yourself: Where do they work, play, shop? What do they like to do for fun? What makes them buy things? Who are their friends? What interests them? etc.
  • Have an editorial calendar for your website, just like a newspaper would have.
  • Content implies the need for a content management system that lets you easily edit and add content (without knowing HTML or CSS)

John Squire -Search Marketing and Attribution: What you Need to Succeed

  • The problem with web analytics is that everyone tries to take credit for the same sales. 
  • The reaility is that there is a long progression of steps involved in most sales processes.
  • Last click isn't right, first click is better. Averaging all clicks might be ok too.  First click might be best, you might want to limit it to a certain number of days before the sale.
  • In search, non-brand keywords start the sales process, and branded keywords are correllated with sales about to close.

Listening and Monitoring- The New Way to Market

  • Listening can be used for PR, marketing, customer service, product development, and you need to think about your goals to set up a listening program effectively.
  • "The future is here, is just isn't evenly distributed."
  • "Social media did not invent criticism."  Now it just spreads broader and faster, but you can also find it and respond faster and easier.
  • Is all of this monitoring a time suck? Listening appropriately can be a way to be more efficient (if you use the information) than not listening.
  • Small companies don't need a comprehensive monitoring tool.  They can use the free stuff or social media tools that are part of a larger system.  But bigger brands need something to help streamline the process and track it all.
  • Listening to your competition and your industry is also important.


  • Phillip Ocampo
  • Amber Naslund
  • Justin Levy
  • Blake Cahill
  • Chris Johnson
  • Mike Troiano

Tim Street - Smoke AND Mirrors: How To Make Your Online Video Wildly Popular

What are the components of a successful / viral video:

  • Spectacle - Spectacle comes first whenever there is a change in technology.  Examples: Diet Coke & Mentos, StarWars Kid
  • Story - Story is taking a spectacle and adding a coherent script and characters.  Example: Lonelygirl15 on YouTube
  • Emotion - Adding some emotion (any emotion). Example: the Brittany Spears fan rant on YouTube.
  • Conflict
  • Questions
  • Summary: Have a great story with spectacle and conflict that creates emotion and includes a surprise.

 Day Two:

Chris Brogan - Social Media for Lead Generation

  • Turn marketing into business conversations; Make your marketing story telling, not ads
  • Lead generation in social media is mass-customization: “Café-shaped conversations”
  • Traditional marketing is like busking. The person plays guitar on the street corner and hopes people throw him money. He is NOT interacting with his audience. He’s only in his own world.
  • Listening and interacting in social media is marketing and lead generation.
  • Example: @rogersmithhotel: The hotel gives bloggers a discounted blogger rate. The bloggers who stay then tweet and write about their experience online, and tell their friends to stay to, increasing the hotel’s business!
  • People who are active in social media are media outlets now. Be nice to them and they could get excited about your product and build your business for you!

Did you miss the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco?  You can check out one of the next two events in Dallas or Boston at

Topics: Conferences

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