Introspection at the Inbound Marketing Summit

As I write this, I’m half-listening to a presenter at the Inbound Marketing Summit and wondering a little bit why I’m here and, even bigger than that, what wondering why I’m here means in terms of my life goals.

Last year I was beside myself to be here. I had been on Twitter for about six months, so I recognized most everyone’s face and name but was too nervous to approach anyone. I was just starting to get into social media and inbound marketing in business, not because I didn’t think it was a good idea but because I was at a small non-profit that was hard to bring into modern marketing due to time and budget. I didn’t have any history, nothing in my portfolio to prove I knew what I was doing. The two days I spent at IMS then blew my mind. Some of the information was new, a lot of the information was stuff I knew but needed reminding of, and the rest was pure inspiration, something I needed desperately.

Now a year later I’m steeped in social media. I have some pretty awesome things in my portfolio. I’ve been to enough networking, social, and educational events to know a lot of the people here pretty well. I am not by any means an expert, nor do I know everyone I probably should know. I came to IMS this year looking for conversations with people I haven’t yet met, and to get some knowledge I can finally put into practice now that I’m with a company that understands and supports inbound marketing.

The conversations are happening on an ongoing basis, although that’s not really a problem for a chatterbox like myself. And the knowledge? Some of it was great. Tim Hayden noted “There’s always an offline component to your business” which is one of those “I knew that but I should’ve been thinking about it” types of knowledge I came for. And Tom Webster gave a great session on matching social media metrics to metrics that actually matter to your business, instead of just counting followers and tracking page views. But then after lunch there was a panel about using CMS for your website, and the crowd was asked to raise their hands to show who was putting what kinds of content on their site. There was some implied tongue-clucking over the low show of hands, but the truth is that webcasts on our site aren’t going to improve sales. (And yes, I want sales to always improve – I believe very deeply that I work for a company with a product -and more to come- that makes a marked improvement in peoples’ lives.)

I started to zone out, feeling a little like the presenters were speaking to people who work at large companies that aren’t quite fully invested in inbound marketing. There was more talk of specific products as solutions. There were slideshows with impossible to read slides full of tiny print and impossible diagrams. Suddenly it was like everyone was speaking Charlie-Brown-grownup speak.

Maybe the morning sessions were just better than the ones in the afternoon. Maybe the stresses of taking on new responsibilities at work and planning a wedding are taking their toll and I’m just tired. Maybe getting dumped last week by a close friend who would rather chase a job title than attend my wedding has me wondering what career goals are really worth. All I know is suddenly I’m not feeling inspired or in the loop or even interested in this anymore. It’s not to say I don’t love what I do and believe in it. I hope it means that for the first time in a long time I’m realizing that I need to seek out something new – new educational opportunities, new connections, new inspirations.

I’ve got some thinking to do.

By Jennifer Spencer

I'm a storyteller, food lover, book collector, and a Southerner at heart. I love connecting people.