My 7 Favorite Takeaways from IMS10

The past two days at the Inbound Marketing Summit have been full of good conversation, good people, and good beer. The best learning I’ve done here has had little to do with the presenters, some of which I covered in yesterday’s IMS10 post, although there are some great points I heard over and over from the best presenters here and in conversation that you should know. Whether you were here with us or you’re looking for what you’ve missed, here are my seven favorite takeaways, in no particular order:

1. Correlation is not causation.

If you work in any kind of marketing, this is so key to remember and to explain to the higher-ups. I may tweet from my company’s profile that we’ve published a new blog post, and within an hour 20 people have retweeted it. That same day, we may have 20 more account opens than our average. Could those 20 people have been so inspired by our blog post and so engaged that they opened accounts? Maybe, but without the metrics that connect those two things, I can’t assume that one caused the other, and if I based future marketing activities off of that I’m an idiot.

2. Understand your funnel.

Last year at IMS, the big question was “Is PR dead?” This year it was “Is the traditional marketing funnel dead?” Friggin’ marketers always trying to kill things off. The answer is always that these things don’t die, they change. PR is changing. And the funnel is changing, too. There isn’t one funnel for everyone. And, as someone pointed out, we don’t all enter the funnel at the same point. The better you know and understand how YOUR funnel works, the better you can do what you need to do. Which is shooting holes in traditional marketing techniques, right?

3. You may not close the deal, but you always open the door.

Amber Naslund said this about herself when she spoke about her role as (former – congrats on the promotion!) Community Manager at Radian6. This is hugely important to remember. If you’re having conversations with people about your company, you may not always close the sale, but you’re always opening the door to a sale. Can’t close it if it ain’t open. You matter.

4. There’s always an offline component to your business.

I work for a company that exists for its customers entirely in the online community. We are an online business. And you bet your butt we have offline components. At the very least, people have conversations at the dinner table about your brand. That’s offline. If you have TV ads, radio ads, print… if you have ever shaken hands with a future or present customer, that’s offline. You are dead in the water if you ignore the offline.

5. Any metric is meaningless until you prove it isn’t.

A few weeks ago, my company launched our first Facebook ads. And BOOM our number of fans has tripled since then. 1200 Facebook fans is meaningless. 800 people who weren’t familiar with us before, many of whom are now opening accounts, telling their friends, and engaging with us online is meaningful. Which is a good segue into:

6. Monitoring is not the same as measuring.

It’s easy with a tool like TweetDeck to monitor your Twitter account. But are you measuring? What’s important to your company? Find out. Monitor what you’re doing. Measure them. Report back.

7. The best thing you can do for SEO is create awesome content.

I have a lot of friends who make a living working in SEO, and I don’t belittle what they do at all. There are some seriously complicated math (yes MATH) equations combined with keyword combinations to get your page to the top of Google. But you know what you have to have? I mean cannot live without must have in order to get your page this is the secret to cracking this wide open have to have thing? AWESOME CONTENT. No matter how poorly your site is coded, how off-base your keywords are, if you have awesome content people will spread it.

Were you at IMS? Were these right on? Anything I missed?

By Jennifer Spencer

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