Looking Back on INBOUND16

Cold calling is dead.

It’s just that simple. We now live in a time where marketing no longer reaches out by annoyance but by content filled with rich stories, SEO, automation, analytics, and so many other intuitive methods. Generally anything besides making those awkward phone calls in hopes of securing a customer.


That’s the beauty of Inbound Marketing. The barriers have been taken down. The opportunity for creativity and passion to be instilled in the way we choose to represent our brand is endless. Inbound brings forth a new frontier where captivating attention–and day trading it–becomes the holy grail of our marketing efforts.20161108_175314

INBOUND16 brought together over 18,000 attendees who live and breathe in the world of marketing, sales, and CEO-land, as well as HubSpot customers and agencies who understand the mentality and passion behind inbound and organic reach. All of us scurrying from session to session, taking notes and absorbing as many thoughts and tactical tips as possible to bring back to our organizations.

A few INBOUNDers from our marketing department flew to Boston to be a part of the gathering and came back full of insight. Upon landing, these three scattered throughout the convention center to gain the best marketing knowledge in the industry.

In the three and a half days of attendance Cherie, Cody, and Mark witnessed powerful keynote presentations from marketing gurus such as Gary Vaynerchuck, the “eloquently” spoken founder of VaynerMedia and host of #AskGaryVee, as well as Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, Founders of HubSpot. Celebrities filled the halls of INBOUND as well. Stories of the rise and grind were told by Anna Kendrick, Michael Strahan, and Serena Williams. Even Alec Baldwin graced INBOUND16 with his presence one morning! The passionate life-tales and insight didn’t end there. Hundreds of breakout sessions filled all 80 rooms of the Boston Convention center as well as both of their grand ballrooms.20161110_141831_001

To summarize INBOUND completely is almost impossible. To experience this wealth of powerful knowledge and standout mentors, as well as those sharing the field of inbound from around the globe together in one location is something you truly have to be there for.

To squeeze just a little bit of this experience out of the conference we asked our three in-house-INBOUND-incumbents what moments of enlightenment, insight, actionable tips, and fun they experienced individually.

Cherie – PR & Social Media Specialist, ABG Capital: “INBOUND16 was such an incredible experience that it’s difficult for me to pick just one takeaway as my favorite. The initial thought I have anytime I reflect on INBOUND(16) is how amazing it was to be among other people in my field who just “get it.” The fellow attendees understand how crucial it is for us marketers to do what we do for a business. They also understand that while we have the “fun” jobs of the company, what we do takes hard work, strategic planning, analyzation, concentration, and creativity.

I’m downright giddy at INBOUND listening to others in my field “talk shop.”  And while my focus at work is on PR and Social Media, I have the opportunity to attend sessions on design, video, content creation, and storytelling, which aids in rounding out my expertise. If you want to be at the top of the sales and marketing field, a trip to INBOUND is a must for getting there!”


Mark – Product Manager, InspiraFS:  The Session titled: ‘The Science of Selling: How to Sell the Way our Brains are Wired to be Influenced and Form Buying Decisions’ really stood out for me.

David Hoffeld, The Hoffeld Group stated “63% of the behaviors salespeople deploy decrease the likelihood of a sale.” SAD! As marketers, we should care deeply about how prospects’ brains react to sales strategies. At the end of the day we are trying to drive sales, just in a different environment. There’s no reason we shouldn’t incorporate the science of selling into our content.



Cody – Inbound Marketing Specialist, ABG Capital: INBOUND showed me that your story matters. Something that outbound, or “interruption marketing,” doesn’t necessarily embrace. Interruption marketing is simply the interruption of someone’s activity to grasp his attention…it’s an annoyance. We’ve all seen in it with spam, pop-ups, ugly banner ads, cold calling, and even TV.

In Gary Vaynerchuck’s keynote he explained that the television networks we know and love are becoming extinct. What’s replacing them? Intuitive social media platforms that tell stories. Our iPhones have become the basis of our entertainment. They’re our new television sets. They’re filled with the networks we know and love–Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram.

We follow brands and celebrities by choice. Not by interruption. We “tune-in” to their stories, latch onto their content, and implement their output into our daily lives. Not because we were caged into watching a 30 second spot in the middle of the Walking Dead because our On-Demand isn’t working–but because we as a society, we as a human race, place emotional ties into what we view and love–the quality of story-telling.


Tactical Advice You Can Use Today20161109_144812

As I said earlier, summing up the lessons learned from INBOUND in their entirety is nearly impossible. However, we can give you few actionable tips that can improve your website and your conversions today!



Here are some tips you can incorporate right now:

  • Remove your slider/carousel hero banner. These diminish CTR (Click Through Rate) and take away from your value proposition.
  • A value proposition–you should have one! Peep Laja with ConversionXL has one of the best articles on how to create a great value proposition. Read it and test yours starting today. If you find this hard, just pretend someone asked you what you do and how you’re different. Once you’ve compiled that, organize it into a value prop and get it up on your site.
  • Define your conversion funnel assumptions. When someone lands on your homepage, where would he or she logically go next? Make that next step easier. That’s conversion optimization in a nutshell, and you can try that for each page. Use any data you have, or start with assumptions and test, test, and test some more.
  • Optimize your blog. Aside from your homepage, your blog is probably the second highest visited part of your website. You’d be surprised how your blog is leaking opportunities to convert.
  • Testing…Testing…Testing! So how can you do that? Add Hotjar to your site today. This will show you heatmaps, user recordings, and more.

Start using these tips today! We’ll be sure to enlighten you with more after INBOUND17. Grab your tickets for next years INBOUND with your company; you never know, we might just happen to see you there!


Take Time to Unplug: Vacation Destinations to Stay Off the Grid

It’s currently 88 degrees and sunny outside; and what am I doing? I am looking back and forth from my phone and my computer screen, inside, covered in a blanket because the air conditioning in my house is set to sub-arctic levels.  I need a vacation… Not just any vacation; a vacation from technology.  A trip where I can disconnect from the distractions of the internet and work, where I can focus on relaxing.


How much time do you spend on your smartphone? Three hours a day? Four hours? More? According to a British psychological study whatever you estimate the time may be, you should double it. Checking our phones has become such a part of our daily routine that it’s ingrained in us. We don’t even realize we are doing it. We’re spending a lot of our day on Facebook or Instagram, too. In 2014 the average person spent 40 minutes per day on the social media sites. In 2016 it is now an average of 50 minutes. We take our phones to the bathroom; and have created new terms like Phantom Vibration Syndrome, and smartphone pinky. We are never without technology.

Believe it or not there are still some places cell phone reception and wifi are not accessible or reliable. If you are looking to take a vacation from technology, here are some great places to unwind where you won’t be sucked into your phone or computer.

The Wilds

My first thought on where to go to escape technology would be the woods camping. You can’t charge your phone when you’re living in a tent. But, roughing it in the woods isn’t my idea of relaxing. However, these locations could definitely provide the relief you need.

Emerald Lake Lodge, Canada : Enjoy the beautiful Canadian landscape in one of their cozy lodge rooms. Snuggle up to a fire in your in-suite fireplace or take in the views of the Rockies from your balcony. No interruptions from cell phones here since there is no reception at the lodge, and only wifi in the main lodge building.

Ultima Thule Lodge, Alaska : Don’t have a passport? Why not head to the great white north and this Alaskan getaway. The cabins only host a limited amount of guests at a time, and have their own onsite organic garden. They also have gourmet meals made with fresh-sourced salmon and game, stunning views, and comfortable cabins. You can only reach the resort by plane so it’s not hard to believe there is no cell service here.

The Beach

Still don’t think that the woods are the best place to relax or don’t think you could handle the cold of Alaska? There are still options. If you are a beach bum like I am, here are several places you can sun yourself and read a book or two in peace.

Campo Cortez Ecolodge, Mexico : If you really want to get off the grid this is the place. As an ecolodge, the cabins may be small but all modern amenities are available. Solar and wind powered electricity provide the ability to charge up some of your devices like a camera; something you will definitely want so you can capture the whales in the Baja area. No cell reception or TVs are in the cabins here though; so you can enjoy watching and learning about all the nature around you.

Little Palm Island, Florida : Now this is what I think of when escaping from reality for a bit. Beautiful beaches, warm sun, swimming with dolphins… Oh, and no television, phones, or guest under 16 (sorry if you were looking for a family vacation). I’m ready to pack my bags and pull a lounge chair up on the beach right now!

Don’t think you can go cold turkey from technology or don’t have time/money allotted for vacation right now?

Try taking baby steps and give yourself mini vacations each day. Carve out time every day where you put away everything, turn it all off, and read a book, have a nice dinner, or talk! If you sleep with your phone on your nightstand, move it out to another room and don’t touch it until morning. Whatever you do give yourself time to rest without distractions.

America on the 4th of July: The Freedoms We Have!

As American as apple pie…or maybe as #Merica as requesting “Free Bird” at the bar; there are a lot of things that are unique to being American. This 4th of July we will celebrate the 240th birthday of our nation. We are a special group of individuals. There are many things that we as Americans can do that those living elsewhere can’t. In honor of the 4th of July, let’s explore things that cannot be done in other countries and are uniquely American.

korean war memorial dc

Baby Names: Have a baby on the way? Want to take a page out of Hollywood’s book and name your child something creative like Apple or SssT (Forrest)? You couldn’t if you live in Denmark. Denmark has very strict rules on what a child can be named or, even how a name can be spelled. The government even has an approved list of about 7000 names parents can pick from.

Ketchup: If you are from Pittsburgh you know there’s only one ketchup, and that’s Heinz. If you go to France there is no ketchup…well, at least not in their cafeterias. The country has banned ketchup of any kind in school cafeterias (expect one day a week) to help preserve french food culture. Here you can put ketchup on anything especially french fries.

Hair: I once had my hair colored a deep red, almost burgundy. I’ve also had it cut super short where it could be spiked in the back. Now I just color it a dark brown. However, if I lived in another country I may not be able to change up my look so much. I definitely wouldn’t be able to dye my hair lilac like or icy blonde like many celebrities are doing now. In North Korea they have select hair styles you can choose from; and in Iran you can’t be business in the front and party in the back since they’ve banned mullets.

Gum: Now, we’ve all been disciplined at least once for chewing gum in school; but what about as an adult? In Singapore chewing gum was once illegal. In the past years they’ve eased up on the rules. You can now chew sugar free gum, but only if you have a prescription.

Travel: How many times have you been planning a trip and had to worry about whether your passport will get you there? Probably not many I would think. The U.S. has the 4th most powerful passport in the world. We can travel to most destinations without needing a travel visa. Afghanistan has the least powerful passport in the world. Citizens from Afghanistan can only travel to 24 countries visa free.

Freedom of Speech/Internet Access: As Americans we are quite proud of our Freedom of Speech and our access to information. Here you can express yourself (within reason, you still can’t yell “bomb” on a plane) without the government knocking down your door for expressing a dissenting opinion. We have uncensored internet assess. An IP address originating from America has access to pretty much any website. In China things are different. Internet censorship in China is huge. In order to control information and to ensure that information and opinions that differ from governments are approved messages, the internet in China is tightly controlled and patrolled.

Things That Are Uniquely American

Displaying the American Flag: Now especially, you cannot drive down the road without seeing an American flag in someone’s yard. In other countries, though, IMG_3882you normally only see it displayed on government buildings. In America, you see the flag everywhere.

Tipping: As a former waitress I find this interesting. Tipping is something that is pretty unique to America; and it confuses the heck out of foreigners (I may have been stiffed a time or two because of this). In many countries like Japan it is actually an insult to tip.

Sweet Tea: Looking at you southern states…

College Sports: Other countries don’t understand how college athletes especially college football players get so much celebrity status in the states. In other countries college sports are looked at as an “extra-curricular activity;” in America college sports get nearly as much coverage and bring in as much revenue pro-sporting events.

Muscle Cars: Need I say more?

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Without sounding too cliche; I am proud to be an American. Our country is special, unique, and influential in many ways. As you celebrate this Fourth take time to remember our history and thank those who have served and helped shaped the country we live in today.

Did we miss anything? What else can you think of that makes America stand out as a country?

Happy 4th of July! 

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How to Keep Your Sanity During Holiday Travel

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And the most stressful time to travel. The holidays are right around the corner, but if your friends and relatives aren’t then you’re probably going to find yourself in or on a plane, train or automobile to join your loved ones.

Just last week, a few of us were sitting around remembering the days when airline travel was a special event. People dressed up to take a ride on an airplane. There were fancy drinks, in-flight movies, and full meals were served on flights where baggage was included in the cost of your ticket. Now, flying feels more like a process to endure rather than an event to enjoy. Luckily, we here at ABG Capital are experienced travelers and we’ve gathered a list of tips that should make your holiday travels a little less stressful. We’ll tell you how to keep your sanity during holiday travel!

Suitcases packed for holiday travel I ABG Capital Blog

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