inbound 2017

Takeaways about AI from INBOUND 2017

Last week I had the opportunity to attend INBOUND, the HubSpot-hosted event that drew over 21,000 marketing and sales professionals ‘from almost every industry imaginable and from all corners of the globe.’

With an inspirational lineup of keynote speakers – which included Michelle Obama, Brené Brown, and Billy Jean King to name a few – this year’s theme focused on authenticity, personalization, and the human connection. If educational workshops were your thing, there was also a smorgasbord of breakout sessions to discover the latest trends on engaging and delighting customers. All in all, it was an event definitely worth attending.

Here are a couple key takeaways from INBOUND:

Harness AI and automation tools to focus on the customer 

Adopting AI technologies and marketing automation tools will alleviate repetitive, mundane tasks and help marketers work more effectively. But that’s not the point. It’s not about “us” –  it’s about better serving our customers and buyers. The key to leveraging these tools is to remember that our customers are human beings. It’s a simple concept that can be easily forgotten when adopting new technology and processes.

According to Jen Spencer, VP of Sales and Marketing at SmartBug Media, mass automation enables marketers to deliver authentic experiences by putting the human element back into human interaction.

Watch the full presentation on how to connect with prospects in a personalized, human way and check out our exclusive interview with Jen:


The time to implement chatbots is now

The use of bots is pervasive in China and several other countries in Asia, but U.S. businesses have only recently started using chatbot technology to interact with their customers. Whether you want to order pizza, buy flowers, or get help on which jacket is right for you, chatbots can help make it happen.

INBOUND speaker Purna Virji, Senior Manager of Client Training at Microsoft, has these recommendations for managers who are considering the adoption of chatbots:

  • Identify the goal. Start small – talk to your Customer Success team and find out what are the most commonly asked questions by customers.
  • Brainstorm without limits. If anything was possible, what would you do? What would your customers love?
  • Get back to reality. Define what the KPI’s are for your bot and determine the easiest path to get it up and running.
  • Bring it to life. Choose the platform for your bot. Once you launch, be sure to consistently monitor your bot’s performance.


But that’s not all…

In a third breakout session I attended on AI, INBOUND speaker Mimi An breaks down the broad concept of artificial intelligence into the core technologies that will impact marketing, sales, and service sectors. What AI offers businesses is the opportunity to interact with their customers in a whole new way. Not to worry; this doesn’t mean that autonomous robots will be taking over our jobs any time soon. 

Advisory AI can process vast amounts of data and provide valuable insights, enabling  deliver a more personalized and engaging customer experience. In addition, today’s AI capabilities can take over the simple, housekeeping requests so that we can connect as humans. And at the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about. 


To learn more on how AI will revolutionize marketing, check out this PeerSphere article – AI in Marketing: The New Frontier.

What were some ideas and takeaways that inspired you at INBOUND? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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