12 Best Sessions You MUST Attend at INBOUND 2018 (Plus 35 More Not to Miss)

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The end of summer may spell a return to the drudge of schoolwork for students, but for marketers it means that one of the most exciting events of the year is just around the corner—the INBOUND conference!

Every year, marketing software vendor HubSpot brings together tens of thousands of marketers, salespeople, and customer service experts for a weeklong meeting of the minds to discuss and perfect their inbound marketing (which ties together content marketing, social media marketing, SEO best practices, and branding/brand management).

Attendees of this year’s INBOUND conference have to pick between almost 300 offered sessions to create a schedule. It’s important to choose wisely and make the most of your conference time.

We’re here to help with a list of some of the top influencers speaking at INBOUND and quick breakdowns of how their sessions will help you better understand—and master—the current marketing landscape.

Below, we’ll break down the top 12 can’t-miss sessions plus 35 more (broken down by subject) that you should check out!

12 INBOUND sessions you can’t afford to miss

A timeline lineup of the top 12 INBOUND speakers

1. Deepak Chopra Keynote Speech (Tuesday, Sept. 4, 7-8 p.m.)

  • The session: For decades, Deepak Chopra has advocated personal transformation. He has worked closely with entrepreneurs, businesses, and marketers on how to best interact with their customers and communities. In his keynote address, he’ll share related insights to help you become a more confident marketer and make better customer connections.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Chopra’s unique perspective on how to incorporate creativity, innovation, and social well-being into your organization can help you make positive transformations in your business culture that will ultimately drive profits.

2. Beth Comstock Keynote Speech (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 9-10 a.m.)

  • Speaker: Beth Comstock, former vice chair of General Electric Co.
  • The session: As the former vice chair of one of the world’s largest companies, Beth Comstock is well regarded across a variety of industries. In her keynote, she’ll discuss her belief that change starts with the individual and that organizational change needs to focus on personal agency.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Comstock’s policy of individual change has had a lasting impact on GE, strengthening its foundation and facilitating development of new and exciting approaches to conducting business. Her keynote speech will help you figure out how to initiate change at your own organization, with dramatic results.

3. 150 Apps to Grow Your Business: A Grand Tour of HubSpot’s Platform Ecosystem (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 10:30-11:15 a.m.)

  • Speaker: Scott Brinker, VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot and editor at chiefmartec.com
  • The session: HubSpot integrates more than 150 platform ecosystem partners, with a wide array of specialized capabilities. In this whirlwind tour, Scott Brinker looks at this diverse range of app categories and explores their usefulness to inbound marketing.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: As one of the leading vendors in the marketing automation space, HubSpot is a powerful tool for today’s marketer. This session will provide new ideas for how its ecosystem of apps can help grow your business.

4. Anjali Sud Spotlight (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 10:30-11:15 a.m.)

  • The session: As CEO of the IAC-owned branch of Vimeo, Anjali Sud shifted the company’s focus to the creators using the platform. She provided both individuals and businesses with tools to distribute and monetize their work without the burden of relying on advertising dollars to drive their content, revolutionizing Vimeo in the process.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Sud’s focus shift empowered the Vimeo community and enabled the platform’s continued growth as a leading SaaS entity. Learn from her story to empower your own customers and jump-start your own exponential growth.

5. Mo Gawdat Spotlight (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • Speaker: Mo Gawdat, chief business officer at Google X
  • The session: Although Mo Gawdat has worked on countless innovative projects over his career (particularly in his current role), this session will focus on his research into creating repeatable models of happiness.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: If you’re unable to balance your work life with maintaining your own happiness, you’ll burn out pretty quickly. Gawdat’s spotlight session will help you learn how to meet the demands of your job and your personal life so you can find a role that truly makes you happy.

6. Top 10 Facebook Messenger Marketing Hacks of All Time (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • The session: Combining Facebook Messenger’s unprecedented access to billions of users with the power of chatbots to automatically engage with those users via artificial intelligence gives marketers an expansive new opportunity to connect with, nurture, convert, and upsell customers. Larry Kim will show you how to accomplish this.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Kim will take a deep dive into the practical aspects of building useful Facebook Messenger bots, exploring use cases like chat blasting, the methods needed to drive people into those messenger funnels, and how to ultimately profit from them. This session will put you well on your way toward mastering a powerful new form of marketing and sales.

7. Facebook Video Marketing: How to Optimize Results Using VOD and Live Broadcasts (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 1:00-1:45 p.m.)

  • Speaker: Mari Smith, premier Facebook marketing expert
  • The session: As Facebook increasingly takes a video first approach, many businesses find themselves struggling to properly integrate, optimize, and monetize video as part of their content marketing efforts. Mari Smith will share her Facebook marketing expertise to help you establish your video marketing and video ad strategies.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Smith’s recommended step-by-step process for generating more leads and sales using video on Facebook will give your company a leg up on your competitors, letting you score campaign successes while they’re still struggling to upload their first piece of content.

8. Tobi Lütke Spotlight (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 1:00-1:45 p.m.)

  • The session: Tobi Lütke founded Shopify when he recognized a gap in the market that lent itself to major innovation and transformation for both consumers and businesses. These days, Shopify has over 600,000 merchants worldwide and is one of the largest multichannel commerce platforms in history. In this spotlight session, Lütke will share the lessons he’s learned along the way.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Lütke’s story is one of innovation and entrepreneurship, both of which are vital skills for marketers. His insights gleaned from building and expanding Shopify should prove inspiring to your own marketing efforts.

9. BEING Awesome: The Ultimate Sales & Marketing Strategy (Thursday, Sept. 6, 10:30-11:15 a.m.)

  • The session: “Being awesome” is easier said than done, even if it is the best way to elevate your profit and drive traffic through your doors. Netflix, Amazon, and IKEA do it, though, and this session will take you through their “awesomeness” so you can harness your own.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Waldschmidt will show you how to simplify your sales process to accelerate your sales cycle at a higher price point, align your sales and marketing process to proactively engage your ideal customer, and orchestrate a full-company approach to driving revenue.

10. 7 Lessons That Will Make You (and would have made me) a Better Entrepreneur (Thursday, Sept. 6, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • The session: Over the course of 17 years, Rand Fishkin’s company Moz became one of the highest profile and highest growth businesses in the marketing software world. In this talk, he’ll discuss some of his biggest regrets, lessons learned, and things he’d do differently.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Fishkin’s presentation will help anyone who’s starting or joining a new company avoid some major pitfalls, from management, hiring, and product strategy to marketing tactics and self-awareness. This is a unique opportunity to learn some valuable lessons from one of the most important and innovative minds in marketing.

11. Lena Waithe Spotlight (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2:15-3:00 p.m.)

  • Speaker: Lena Waithe, Emmy Award-winning writer, producer, and actress
  • The session: Lena Waithe shares her experience as a versatile content creator who continues to push boundaries in her diverse body of work, leading her to a highly accomplished, award-winning career as both a comedic and dramatic writer and actor.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Waithe’s nonconformist approach to TV and film content has yielded a multitude of award-winning stories. In her spotlight session, learn how to create your own compelling stories to attract consumers and customers to your brand.

12. Payal Kadakia Spotlight (Friday, Sept. 7, 10:30-11:15 a.m.)

  • Speaker: Payal Kadakia, founder and executive chairman of ClassPass
  • The session: Payal Kadakia is an entrepreneur who—after spending over an hour searching online for an open ballet class in New York City—founded ClassPass, a flat-rate monthly subscription billing service providing access to a variety of athletic classes and health clubs. In her spotlight session, she’ll share her story of turning a frustration into a successful entrepreneurship opportunity.
  • Why it’s important to marketers: Kadakia took her passion and turned it into a thriving business. Her story will inspire you to take your own passion and turn it into the driving force behind your marketing campaigns.

35 more sessions that are worth your time

Email marketing

1. How to Survive as a Marketer at a Product-first Company (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 10:30-11:15 a.m.)

  • Who: Matt Hodges, VP of product marketing at Intercom
  • What: This talk will discuss how marketers can play a bigger role at product-first companies and make the case to their superiors as to why marketing is important to their businesses’ long-term success.

2. Your Go-To-Market Is Killing Your Business, and You Don’t Even Know It (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • Who: Jon Dick, VP of marketing at HubSpot
  • What: Your go-to-markets may be turning off more customers than they’re bringing in. Jon Dick will show you how to think for your customers rather than your company, to the benefit of both.

3. How to Secure Business Growth With Retention Marketing (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 1:00-1:45 p.m.)

  • What: Learn how to keep the customers you already have through retention marketing campaigns that look to your current successes to continue your growth.

4. Achieving 10x Growth by Optimizing Customer Marketing & Retention (Thursday, Sept. 6, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • Who: Tara Robertson, director of marketing strategy at Sprout Social
  • What: Robertson will explore how Sprout Social focused on understanding customer insights and built a program that drove a significant decrease in customer churn, higher customer loyalty, and an astounding increase to top-line revenue.

5. BFFs Are the New MQLS (Thursday, Sept. 6, 3:30-4:15 p.m.)

  • What: In today’s world, customer relationships are the strongest driver of demand. This session will help you learn how to develop deeper relationships, even on a large scale.

Content marketing

6. How to Think Like a Journalist and Create Better Brand Stories (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 10:30-11:15 a.m.)

  • What: This session is a primer on five journalistic best practices, so that marketers and content strategists can create authentic content that follows the processes and philosophies of journalism.

7. Everything You Need to Know About Publishing on Medium (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 1:00-1:45 p.m.)

  • What: Learn everything you need to know about publishing on Medium, from ideating content through to post-publication strategy.

8. How Sharing Your Authentic Self Can Supercharge Your Marketing (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 4:10-5:00 p.m.)

  • What: Roberge will use a real financial planning firm case study to explore dramatically improved results following a shift from fact-based content to sharing personal, authentic stories.

9. The 7th Level: The Most Important Way to Engage Your Audience and How It Impacts Your Bottom Line (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 4:10-5:00 p.m.)

  • What: Slavin will explain the seven levels of engagement, teach you how your company can leverage them to retain customers, and provide specific examples of how they can help you acquire new customers.

10. How Your Customers Can Fuel Your Content Machine (Thursday, Sept. 6, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • What: Learn how to leverage user-generated content to make sure your business is getting free word-of-mouth marketing as well as unique, quality content for your own channels.

11. How to Get Media Famous (Without Even Trying) (Thursday, Sept. 6, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • What: Learn how traditional media coverage can amplify your brand, discover what kind of content goes viral, and get practical tips on how to get your content in front of journalists.

12. 8 Simple Techniques to Grow Your Business With Video Marketing (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2:15-3:00 p.m.)

  • What: Antoine Dupont will lead you through the basics of creating and promoting video marketing content, including generating ideas, starting videos off strongly, and identifying where to post and promote those videos.

13. Contagious Content: 7 Keys to Creating Content That Dramatically Moves the Sales and Marketing Needle (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2:15-3:00 p.m.)

  • What: Learn how to create what Marcus Sheridan calls “contagious content” so that you can develop a clear content game plan based on the psychology of today’s buyers.

14. Powerful Storytelling Techniques That Influence Action (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2:15-3:00 p.m.)

  • What: Gerber will show you how to use a variety of storytelling techniques to get attention, establish trust, and make an emotional connection that evokes a strong customer desire to do business with you.

15. Content Remixing: How to Succeed at Content Marketing Without Creating Anything New (Thursday, Sept. 6, 3:30-4:15 p.m.)

  • What: Learn how to spend less time creating new content and more on remixing existing content—updating, repurposing, and re-promoting what you already have.

16. Storytelling for Your Business: How to Engage Your Audience (Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:45-5:30 p.m.)

  • Who: Ed Heil CEO of StoryTeller Media
  • What: Ed Heil will guide you through what it means to actually tell an engaging story that will inspire your prospects to make purchases. Learn what makes a story effective, discover how to find your best stories, and identify what to avoid when telling your business story.

17. How a Remarkable Customer Experience Can Be Your Best Marketing (Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:45-5:30 p.m.)

  • Who: Dan Gingiss, author and podcaster, Winning At Social
  • What: Your own customers can become your best marketers, and this session will inspire you to make your own customers’ experiences so remarkable that word-of-mouth will become your primary marketing tool.

Social media marketing

18. Hubspot Social Media Tools – The Thread That Weaves Across Your Inbound (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 10:30-11:15 a.m.)

  • What: Crystal King will walk you through HubSpot’s social media tool to help you better understand its features and take advantage of its full functionality.

19. How to Use Social Media to Delight Your Customers (Without Sounding Like a Robot) (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 4:15-5:00 p.m.)

  • What: Learn how to stop using social media for marketing purposes alone and to instead fully engage with your customers and create brand evangelists.

20. Using Social Media Videos at Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel (Thursday, Sept. 6, 10:30-11:15 a.m.)

  • What: Social media videos aren’t one-size-fits-all, and Christine Gritmon will show you how to vary your length, content, and message based on the funnel stage your videos target.

21. Marketing Is Contagious: How to Build Buzz at Record Speed (Thursday, Sept. 6, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • What: Kaplan will explore how marketing content can go viral through the simplification of complex ideas and the activation of your audience’s emotions.

22. How to Build a Mega Personal Brand on LinkedIn on a Mini Budget (Thursday, Sept. 6, 1:00-1:45 p.m.)

  • What: Discover how to make LinkedIn’s algorithm work for you in a way that lets you create content that truly resonates and gives you a distinctive voice.

23. The Meaning of Meaningful: Content for the New Facebook News Feed (Thursday, Sept. 6, 1:00-1:45 p.m.)

  • What: Facebook’s latest news feed update prioritizes content that connects users with their communities, rather than content that users consume passively. In this session, you’ll learn what this change means for your brand and content.

24. They Said We Couldn’t Do It, Yet We Did: Starting a Women’s Hockey League (Thursday, Sept. 6, 1:00-1:45 p.m.)

  • Who: Dani Rylan, co-founder of the National Women’s Hockey League
  • What: The co-founder of the National Women’s Hockey League shares her tips and best practices on launching a startup, growing your brand influence, and landing strategic partners to help you get to the next level.

25. 3 Conversational Marketing Campaigns That Generate More Qualified Inbound Leads (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2:15-3:00 p.m.)

  • What: Learn how to utilize tools such as chatbots and Facebook Messenger for conversational marketing campaigns that can land you qualified, inbound sales conversions.

26. LinkedIn on LinkedIn: How to Combine Account Based Marketing & Social Selling (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2:15-3:00 p.m.)

  • Who: Ty Heath, global lead for agency at LinkedIn
  • What: Let a LinkedIn expert guide you through the process of successful account-based marketing on LinkedIn.

27. What $30,000 Worth of Social Video Marketing Taught Us (Thursday, Sept. 6, 3:30-4:10 p.m.)

  • Who: Jason Hsiao, co-founder and video officer at Animoto
  • What: Learn how to revamp your video marketing strategy with actionable tips for reliable wins on social media, as Jason Hsiao explores how A/B testing fine-tuned Animoto’s marketing efforts and translated engagement on videos into tangible leads.

28. Build a Social Media Sales Machine (with Organic Content + Paid Facebook Ads) (Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:45-5:30 p.m.)

  • What: Amanda Bond will teach you her simple formula for using social media to fuel advertising and monetize organic social efforts.

B2B marketing

29. The Future of Marketing (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • What: The future of marketing lies in engagement, and this session will help you learn how to better engage your customers by humanizing the B2B marketing experience.

30. From Sidekick to Superhero: The Digital Transformation of Today’s SDR (Thursday, Sept. 6, 1:00-1:45 p.m.)

  • Who: Jen Spencer, VP of sales and marketing at SmartBug Media
  • What: Jen Spencer will help you identify highly tactical ways your company’s sales and marketing leadership can collaborate to enable and empower your sales development reps.

31. Demystifying B2B Marketing ROI for Paid Marketers (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2:15-3:00 p.m.)

  • What: Sahil Jain will break down how to calculate ROI for complex B2B marketing campaigns, so you can create impactful reports that get your CMO’s buy-in.

32. How You Can Leverage Outbound Techniques to Amplify Your Inbound Program (Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:45-5:30 p.m.)

  • What: Become better at tried-and-true closing techniques that will help you leverage your outbound tactics and prioritize both leads and approaches.

Marketing analytics

33. Using Data-Driven Insights to Deliver Personalized Experiences and Earn Customer Loyalty (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

  • What: Learn how to capitalize on data-driven insights to not only understand customer wants, but also anticipate customer needs.

34. State of Retention: How Customer Success Can Better Leverage Data & Customer Research (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 4:15-5:00 p.m.)

  • What: This session will help you learn how to implement a repeatable framework to better know and retain your customers by bringing together data analysis and customer research.

35. The Growth Marketer: Expectations & Skills Needed for the Modern Marketer (Thursday, Sept. 6, 4:45-5:30 p.m.)

  • Who: David Khim growth marketing manager at HubSpot
  • What: Learn how today’s marketing industry is changing and how you can stay competitive in the world of growth marketing.

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