For Ned Horton, President of Horton Group, the INBOUND conference hosted by HubSpot is an exciting opportunity to meet and network with other agency owners to discuss the current climate on business strategies and team building. “We always swap ideas on proposal frameworks, project management systems, or new products,” says Ned, who’s career in communication and marketing that spans over 35 years.

Ned said the annual inbound marketing conference “gives you a central point of enthusiasm.” He continued, “In the web world, there was never really a major conference or association that you could get energy from. HubSpot has created that for me and what we are focused on as an agency.” With plenty of opportunities to network and learn more about HubSpot’s latest features, this year’s INBOUND conference was especially inspiring.

Narrowing your service offering will improve your business strategy.

A lot of services fall under the umbrella of inbound marketing, but you don’t have to provide each one to be successful. “The landscape around us is moving so fast. The opportunities for services that are needed is always changing,” says Ned. The INBOUND conference offers a chance for agency owners to mix, mingle, and share great ideas as to how to prepare their businesses for success. Although slimming down your service list might seem counter-intuitive, excelling in a selection of services will delight your customers. “You can’t be everything to everybody,” explains Ned, “so finding your place in the landscape and identifying the right guiding principles keeps you moving forward.”

Providing your clients with the best talent will set you apart.

The one constant in the world is everything changes, especially in business. When you think of business changes, it’s easy to focus on customer needs, but hiring and retaining a talented team is a critical part of the equation. As your organization starts to focus on providing niche products or services, you want to ensure you’re recruiting the right talent to produce the best work. At the conference “there are a lot of different inspiring sessions. Some sessions are more nitty-gritty; discussing the type of team building you’re doing, what type of skills to look for, and how to identify what employees are currently looking for in a job.” The culture you create at your organization is what keeps employees loyal. Good people are hard to find, and meeting with like-minded business owners is an occasion to trade information on how to retain your best talent.

Building the right team can change the customer experience.

Marketing is saturated with vendors and has led customers to change the way they consume content and make purchasing decisions. For an inbound marketing agency or any organization selling products or services, you have to understand that consumers today expect you to earn their trust and attention. “Content quality has to continue to improve. The lower-level content is not going to cut it anymore,” says Ned. Identifying the gaps in your marketing team and filling them strategically with the right technical and creative talent, can propel your business forward. This simple action skews the playing field in your favor, so you are delivering quality content that delights your consumers. “Search engines are improving their ability to sniff out this lower-level content. It’s going to be a requirement to deliver longer, more thoughtful, and engaging pieces,” he explains.

New HubSpot “Customer Hub” will help with client retention.

“One of the things I love most about the conference is that they do an overview of upcoming improvements, features, and services,” says Ned. One feature HubSpot is debuting in 2018 is their new Customer Hub. This new feature is designed to make customers happier and grow your business faster. Customer Hub will give clients who partner with HubSpot agencies access to the behind the scenes information to keep them up to speed on progress. This sophisticated new tool will allow your clients to comment and provide feedback, so you can move forward together quickly and more efficiently on your projects.

HubSpot CMS is designed to bring everyone together.

The existing HubSpot CMS already has great features for marketing and sales covered and now they are offering new features for developers too. “I was excited about changes coming to their CMS,” explains Ned. “They’re trying to make improvements to allow and encourage agency owners like us to put more websites on their CMS so our development team can apply features and modules the same way you could do with WordPress.”

With this new integration, teams can focus on delivering content that matters. As Ned previously mentioned, content today is quality over quantity, and this new feature will allow agencies to provide just that. “They wanted to open it up to the developers and not just the marketers, and I think it could help to bring everyone into one team. You have the sales, marketers, and developers all working together within the same framework,” he says.

Summing up INBOUND 2017

Horton Group’s commitment to inbound is well established. We’re passionate about providing our clients with digital solutions that propel their organization forward, whether that be a new website, developing eCommerce solutions, or delivering professional inbound marketing services. The INBOUND conference results in annual takeaways that change our organization’s perspective and approach to client success, and this year’s gathering was no different. Thinking about hiring an inbound agency and beginning a strategic, data-driven approach to digital marketing? Contact Horton Group today or click below to connect with Josh.