Inbound Marketing Summit: Day One

Note: This post was archived from the Infusionsoft Blog. More details here.

I’m at the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco. My flight was delayed, so I missed the first few talks – including the Director of Social Media for the San Francisco Giants. Apparently, they just let him trot around town with their World Series trophy. He had it here at the conference – barely missed it.

Anyway, the talks I did hear were full of great stuff (and some questionable stuff I’ll mention in a sec).  I’ll share the main takeaways from day one.

Marketing Automation Solves Real Life Pains!
Our very own customer, Todd Staples of Stealth Auto, presented his case study on how his use of marketing automation has grown his business in dramatic ways.  He highlighted how he’s using targeted follow-up sequences to nurture leads who show interest in specific topics.  He showed approximately a 30% conversion rate from those sequences. Amazing! The best part was, immediately after he was finished, a guy came up to me and told me this:

“Tell Todd his presentation was awesome. I’m experiencing the exact same pain he described. We’re using We’re only using it as a database. We have ConstantContact, but we’re not happy with it. We need to follow up with people the way Todd is.”

The point is, Todd’s story resonated with existing pains people have. The marketing automation era has arrived and Infusionsoft is leading the pack for small business.

Inbound Marketing Summit

Traditional Advertising Still Works!
Jen Grant, VP of Marketing at gave a great talk on brand marketing.  She shared a story about advertising with billboards that was very clever. As they talked to VC’s about, they realized that the VC’s all had the idea in their head that was about online storage – that’s it. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t help them see that their solution was much more than storage. So, they put up a billboard in a strategic location, right off the 101 freeway, where all the VC’s pass by on their way to work. The main headline on the billboard was “ vs. Sharepoint”. Almost immediately, they had VC’s talking to them about the big game they were in and how was so much more than online storage. Clever. Takeaway: Don’t discount traditional advertising, but remain targeted and strategic with it.

Go Mobile or Go Home!
Tim Hayden, CMO for 44Doors, talked in detail about QR codes, mobile apps and location-based marketing.  It was super insightful.  I got the impression that he was saying “Go Mobile or Go Home”.  He didn’t say it, but that was the feeling I got.  I always cringe when experts push a particular tactic, tool, or medium. Those listening are prone to go chase that new shiny thing without first figuring out how it fits into their strategy. Today, I’m giving a talk that will focus on strategy and help people figure out how to apply tactics and tools that actually achieve the goals of the strategy.

Psychographics and More
The day ended with a very insightful discussion between Chris Brogan and Colin Bower.  Part of the discussion was around the idea of using psychographics in marketing.  It’s a beautiful idea, but many are struggling with implementation. This is were I smile really big inside when I think of Infusionsoft.  Infusionsoft’s proprietary tagging system and lead source tracking allows us to track all behaviors. Behavior tracking is essentially the manifestation of the target’s psychographics. No need to go do any fancy and expensive psychographic research – just start tracking how your visitors, leads and customers respond to different messages. Combine that with tracking where they came from (lead source) and you’ve got the formula for figuring how where to get more customers and what to say to them to get them to convert.

Chris Brogan made an unrelated statement that was spot on.  Brogan said, “Small business owners are like a guy with a medical ailment.”  Even when the medical ailment is pointed out, guys (with all their bravado) will always respond “I’m fine”.  When you ask small business owners how their business is (even when there is an obvious problem) they always say things are great.  In my opinion, this is a necessary trait of any entrepreneur – optimism.  The key is to combine it with the ability to face the brutal facts of the current reality and work to overcome them.

This year IMS did an experiment with a “pay your own price” pricing model. There was no set price to come to the event. You could pay whatever you thought the conference was worth. You could even decide to pay later – after you’ve experienced it – in order to pay what you thought it was worth.  In social circles, this kind of stuff is the new way.  Here are a few thoughts of mine that might be helpful if you’re considering something like this:

  • Kids Eat Free.  This kind of pricing model is similar to a “kids eat free” promo at a restaurant.  The restaurant knows that they can still make money on the parents if they feed the kids for free.  I’m sure the IMS conference is able to cover costs with sponsorships – paid tickets are just gravy.  So, they use this pricing model to create goodwill and be cutting edge. So, the key is, make sure you’re not putting your entire financial model at risk.
  • Consumables & Feeder Products.  This seems to work well with consumable products and products that feed into more expensive products. Panera Bread restaurants have been successful with a “pay what you can” model.  It’s important to realize that they didn’t do this with all their stores.  They only have a handful of stores doing it. They’ve protected their bottom line. They’ve also tied this effort to a local charitable cause – thus spurring philanthropy as people determine their own price.
  • Test, test, test. Never do anything like messing with the financial health of your company without testing first.

It’s been a great conference so far.  You can follow it on Twitter at #IMS11.


About Tyler Garns

Tyler Garns is best known for his work as the Director and VP of Marketing at Infusionsoft, where he led the marketing efforts that produced massive results between 2007 and 2012. But he’s also been the “go-to” Infusionsoft guy for many of the top marketers and Infusionsoft users out there. His combination of technical skill, Infusionsoft expertise, and marketing experience make him one of the most reliable sources of business breakthroughs for Infusionsoft customers.

7 thoughts on “Inbound Marketing Summit: Day One”

  1. Rick, your talk was actually one of the most impactful.  Truthfully, I just had a hard time distilling it all down  – there was so much great stuff (and it was 11pm last night when I was trying to write this stuff).

    Now that I’m a little more clear-headed.  Here are some of the great insights you provided:

    Turn attention into intention – this is one area where I think the social media craze has led people astray.  So many people are focused on getting followers, friends, etc. and they’re neglecting the fundamentals of marketing.  Those who can turn that attention into intention will be the winners.

    The second half of the funnel.  You mentioned turning the sales funnel upside down and turning it into an hourglass.  Great concept.  We’ve been teaching our customers that same thing (we’ve called it flipping the funnel in the past).  It’s an essential part of the the entire customer experience strategy that each business should put in place.

    Formula for Return on Attention: ROA = time(impressions + reach + influence).  This formula is awesome.  As always when talking about “return”, people need to ask the question “what is return?”.  I think you talked about this a bit.  But if people aren’t focused on what “return” means, they’ll often feel unfulfilled.

    Thanks Rick.  Your talk was full of great content AND you were entertaining – that was a breath of fresh air after the post-lunch slowdown. 🙂

  2. Tyler, when I see figures like: 30% of our customer’s site traffic is from mobile devices… Why do Infusionsoft continue to discount the importance of mobile technology. Not having seen Tim’s talk, I’m only making an assumption based on your comments. The amount of times I’ve been out in the field and wanted to run an email campaign from my iPhone and realised that it just isn’t possible is disappointing. Are there any initiatives for you guys to go a little more “mobile”?

    1. Ben,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Infusionsoft doesn’t discount
      mobile or any other new technologies – rather the blind pursuit of chasing new
      technologies without a clear strategy. An example of this is when I ask people
      about an idea they’ve asked for “Twitter Integration”, but when dive deeper
      into what are they’re trying to accomplish, the discussion stalls. Most people
      who chase new technology aren’t really sure why they are doing it, except they
      have to do it.

      Mobile is on our radar, but at this time we don’t have
      mobile features available. Our product management team is laser focused at
      building up the core of our app before focusing on outside integrations.
      Specifically, we’re focused on making changes that benefit a majority of users.
      It’s not that we ignore mobile, but right now it’s a matter
      of priorities. In fact, Tyler Garns raves about the effectiveness of a SMS
      opt-in campaign at a live event and the conversions from it. Here’s a link to
      the blog article with his advice:

      Hope this is a better update with where things stand with
      mobile. Thanks for following and commenting on the blog. 🙂


  3. What type of budget should a online small business set to capitalize on a automated marketing campaign? Thanks, David at

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