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Okay, let me start off by saying I have massive FOMO that I’m not at #Inbound17. Honestly, I don’t even like conferences that much when I’m at them… but when I’m NOT at them, I just gaze longing at my Twitter feed in the grips of crushing envy.

So when I saw that the Inbound keynotes were being live streamed yesterday afternoon, I signed up right away…and it did not disappoint. If you’re a Pardot user/admin, here are the top 5 things you won’t want to miss from the extravaganza.

Wait, why would a Pardot-obsessed blogger care about Hubspot’s user conference?

Things move fast in the martech world, and checking out what the competition is doing is the key to staying on the edge. I want to know where the market is going so I can advise my clients accordingly, and/or #VoteAndPromote Pardot product enhancement requests that will keep moving the product forward.  

Pardot is my platform of choice, because I truly believe it’s the best product available for the largest and most interesting subset of the market.  But blind loyalty isn’t my thing — and I’m always on the lookout for what’s new.

1) Getting in the game is easier than ever before — but scaling has never been harder

Barriers to entry (both for businesses in general and for starting marketing automation programs) are dissolving. But the difference between “doing it” and “doing it well” has never been so pronounced.

There is so much bad marketing out there. In many market spaces, you will leapfrog the competition just by executing the basics of email marketing and lead nurturing with a little creativity.  There’s an abundance of room at the top for those who are willing to do the hard work, commit to a strategy, and execute.

2. Marketing (and Pardot) is for more than prospects

Your brand is built through every interaction with your prospects, customers, employees, and partners.  Why relegate marketing to the top of the funnel, and why stick to prospects only?  We need to rise to the occasion and need before us to help shape the message and experience across all levels of the business.

How might you use Pardot to better align with sales?  Where do your efforts have synergies with customer service and loyalty? Could HR and employee communications benefit from some of your “nurturing” secret sauce?  

3. Use your technology powers for good not evil

Hubspot announced last week that it bought a bot company, and flaunted some of the shiny new features at their product keynote.

What’s the fastest way to make bots uncool?  Give them to Hubspot customers for free.  (Okay, that’s not very nice… I’m just kidding, no one get offended.)

In all seriousness, there are so many cool gadgets emerging in the world of marketing technology.  Making these accessible to the masses, at a low cost, with clicks-not-code configuration has the power to be a wonderful thing — but it also opens the door to prolific and scalable bad marketing.  

Use these tools to build beautiful things, please. If I see a bot that leads with Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish I swear I’m quitting.   

4. Campaign influence reporting is the next frontier

Multi-touch attribution is like bitcoin: it’s something we’ve been talking about for forever, but very few people actually understand it or act on it.  

This has to change, no question. Marketing’s ability to prove contribution to pipeline (both in sourced and influenced opportunities) is the key to keeping a seat at the executive table and capturing budget dollars.

Hubspot’s on top of this trend, and rolled out some impressive new reporting functionality around campaign KPIs. They’re gunning to build bona fide attribution models, and this would be huge for their customers.

Salesforce/Pardot are doing some amazing things in this space too by the way, but that’s a subject for another post.  (And PS – the new Pardot Edge Pilot is rumored to take this to the next level in a big way.)

5. B2B needs to evolve and be more human

The way people consume content online is changing.  How can we evolve our approaches to create quality, engaging, thoughtful that fits our consumers’ browsing habits?

A few key shifts: Buyers are reading less content like the one that I’m writing right now (so thanks if you’ve gotten this far) and their attention spans are continually getting shorter.  Google is constantly moving the goal post (as always), social has evolved to largely pay-to-play, and the silent movie is back in vogue.  

“Consumer” platforms like Facebook are 110% fair game for B2B.  We don’t stop engaging with people and brands when we go to the office. If you haven’t tried Facebook ad campaigns, throw a quick experiment up — in the trials I’ve run for my clients, they’ve consistently proven to be one of best and most cost effective ways to generate leads.

What are your takeaways from Inbound?  What competitors do you have your eye on?

Would love to hear your take — chime in via the comments!