HubSpot’s INBOUND 2012 Conference

Wow time sure does fly when you are having fun! After publishing 1-2 times a month on this blog, it has been awhile since I have published a post. Definitely shame on me. But I’m back, and I’m here to tell you what I have been doing for the past year over the next couple of posts.

INBOUND 2012

This time last year I was gearing up for INBOUND 2012. I managed the logistics for the conference including sponsors, vendors, internal communication, registration, customer service, speaker coordination, budget, and reporting. We exceeding our goal of having 2,000 attendees and had 2,800 attendees with 60+ speakers from about 20 countries around the world. Our keynote speakers included David Meerman Scott, Rand Fishkin, Susan Cain, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

The conference kicked off with certification classes for HubSpot customers. They were able to get certified in top of the funnel and middle of the funnel practices. We certified about 150 people within the first day.

HubSpot certification class

HubSpot certification class

The following day, the conference officially kicked off with an exciting entrance by our co-founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

Then they walked into the conference and welcomed the attendees.

HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah's entrance

HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah’s entrance

Over the next 2 1/2 days, attendees had their choice of 60 breakout sessions within 6 tracks. They also had the chance to go to 5 keynote sessions.

David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin

Susan Cain

Susan Cain

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

There was also a special announcement of our latest product, HubSpot 3.

On Tuesday night, we also had a very special guest at INBOUND Rocks, Cyndi Lauper!

Cyndi Lauper at INBOUND Rocks

Cyndi Lauper at INBOUND Rocks

On Wednesday night, the last night of the conference, we had a few parties along Boylston Street with some of our sponsors. They were SXSW style so you could travel from party to party throughout the night.

Unlike other conferences, we had a pretty unique sponsorship exhibition area. Instead of having your typical booth setups, we gave our sponsors lounge areas with lounge furniture so they could have engaging conversations that did not come across as too promotional. We also had what we called the Prodigy Bar to allow customers to ask HubSpot consultants questions about the software.

HootSuite's Sponsorship Area

HootSuite’s Sponsorship Area

Another video of HootSuite's space

Another video of HootSuite’s space

Lounge areas in Sponsorship Hall

Lounge areas in Sponsorship Hall

HubSpot Prodigy Bar

HubSpot Prodigy Bar

And finally, a recap of INBOUND 2012, so you can really get an idea of what the conference was like.

Was anyone there? What did you think?

5 Must-Have Apps

Last week I wrote a blog post for the HubSpot Marketing blog called 11 Apps Every Marketer Should Download. I always love writing posts about apps that help people with their jobs, but as I was writing that post, I couldn’t help but think of all the apps that I love but do not necessarily help me with my job. So here are 5 must-have apps that provide value outside of the workplace. (not including social media apps or any other productivity apps).

Songza

Everyone needs a playlist. Whether you are working, running, or relaxing, there is often a need to listen to some music. Songza takes this a step further than Pandora and Spotify by taking into account what day it is, what you may be doing, and chooses an appropriate playlist based on that.

So tonight for example, I am relaxing on a Saturday night after a long week and a busy weekend.

Step 1: It’s Saturday night. What are you doing?

Step 2: Based on what you are doing (relaxing at home), what genre do you want to listen to?

Step 3: Today’s Relaxing Hits? Okay. Pick a playlist.

This is awesome! Depending on the time of day and mood I am in, I always want to listen to different songs. During the work week, it recognizes that you may need an energy boost, may want to play music that is appropriate for the workplace (everyone has been there when your head phones don’t work for a second and everyone can hear your music), or you need music without lyrics to work to. Songza takes listening to music a step further to really pay attention to your mood and time of day. My personal favorite would probably be the “Drop-a-beat Workout” playlist when I work out in the mornings or after work.

HeyTell

Throughout the day, you are ALWAYS texting. But there are sometimes when you are driving and cannot text or just about to finish a project and do not want to take a time to stop what you are doing to send a text. That is where HeyTell comes in. HeyTell is basically a walkie talkie for your smart phone.

Simply hold down the “HOLD AND SPEAK” button, say whatever you need to say to the person you are sending the message to, let go of the “HOLD AND SPEAK” button and you message with be sent to another person. As soon as that person opens the apps, your message will be played aloud. It is simple, efficient, and easy to use. The picture above is someone sending else sending a message to me so as you can see, it appears in your phone just like other messages. If you tap the arrow to the right of my name, you can listen to past messages.

Dogsly

As a dog lover who is not quite at the point where I can buy my own dog, I use Dogsly to get my daily “fix.” Dogsly is basically Instagram for dogs. People post pictures of their dogs and share with others to see. There is an option to share pictures, “like” pictures, keep track of your own pictures, and even just look at your favorite pictures (as shown below).

This app targets dog lovers and has really garnered a lot of attention. After all, even Foursquare gives you the option to have cute puppies in its email communications!

360

When panoramic photography first came out, it was a big hit. The stand 3×5 or 4×6 pictures just didn’t do it for some people. But getting the longer view was valuable for people who wanted something more. Instead of piecing together 3 or 4 separate pictures, the camera automatically did it for you.

But here comes 360. 360 allows you to have a complete view of everything around you. The way the app works is you hit a record button, spin in a circle with your phone 2-3 times (to get the top, middle, and bottom shots), and then the app pieces your photos together. You can share the image on social media, email it to your friends, or just enjoy it on your phone. You can even use a gyroscope setting that allows you to move around in a circle after the picture has been taken so you really feel like you are in the place the picture was taken.

When I went hiking at Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado, I used this app. To understand what I explained above, check out my picture here. You can click on the picture, and move left or right with your mouse to watch the picture spin.

Billr

At the end of a meal with a large group of people, everyone always scrambles to figure out how much he or she owes. Sometimes there is one person who will spend time splitting the bill with a pen and paper as everyone watches nervously to make sure they are not paying more than they ate or drank. I was usually the person who sat dividing up bills (which would take a good 5-10 minutes depending on the number of people at the table). But Billr does everything for you.

Step 1: Select the number of people at your table (up to 16 people which I did end up using a week ago). This time, let’s just use 3.

Step 2: Put in each item that the people at your table ate or drank.

Step 3: How much does everyone want to tip? Use the tax from your state (Boston, MA is 7%).

Step 4: See what everyone owes (down to the penny).

Step 5: Share the greatness of this app by texting or emailing your results!

And that’s that! What are the “must-have” apps that you use?

Instagram for $1 Billion…What’s Next?!

When I read that Facebook was buying Instagram for $1 billion, I had a bit of a different reaction than everyone else.  You heard a lot of complaints about Facebook continuing to take over other apps (first Gowalla and now Instagram!?)  You heard a lot of, “Are you serious!? ONE BILLION DOLLARS?”  You heard a lot of people just going crazy over two of their favorite pieces of technology coming together.

So what do I think?

I think this is awesome.  I love pictures.  Instagram brings me together with my friends from all over the country, takes away all of the noise from status updates and simply gives a picture.  I’m a visual person so it is perfect for me.  I, of course, love Facebook, but Facebook does not understand mobile apps and photography like they need to.  Sure they invented tagging pictures and created a more interactive experience for photography.  But Instagram can teach Facebook about what it takes for a good mobile experience and what mobile users are looking for.  Facebook has always struggled with their app, and Instagram has always been applauded by their app.  And after all, everything is headed toward mobile now so this will be important for Facebook’s business.

But what really made headlines was the fact that Instagram had 13 employees, has not been around as long as many of the other successful start-ups (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) but has still found so much success.  How many times have you seen a new product or app and thought “Why didn’t I think of that?  That was so obvious!”  Photo sharing is not a new invention.  People have been sharing photos since the beginning of time.  But Instagram took it to the next step to make it a packaged experience.

This past weekend I was furniture shopping, and there was a couch with a chaise that could be replaced with a smaller cushion so it became a regular sized couch (aka 2-3 cushions straight across).  What an obvious but awesome invention!  And how many times have you looked at the Draw Something! app and thought, “Of course!  If Words With Friends, Chess With Friends, etc. have been so popular, of course ‘Pictionary With Friends’ would be popular!”  It is all about thinking about what people NEED or WANT and thinking of a way to solve that problem or meet that desire.

My junior year at Boston University, I took a series of four classes infamously known as Core.  You were put on a team with 7 other people and had to invent a product that doesn’t exist.  Then over the semester, you had to create a business plan that was as detailed as figuring out where your office building and production facilities would be and how much it would cost to produce the product.  There were marketing, finance, operations, and information systems sections that went into excruciating detail about your plan and future profitability.  We had to think of multiple products before ultimately deciding on the TripShield.  But the way we thought about it was by thinking of what problem people had — what they were unsatisfied with — and how we could fix it.  We thought about wires lying around college dorms and in dangerous places for young children.  We then thought of a way to fix it with the TripShield.

Not every company will have success like Instagram. They are really the black sheep of our time (see TechCrunch article). But every so often a company with an awesome ideas gets likely and, well, gets $1 billion dollars.

What do you think made them stand out more than other companies who have these awesome, unique ideas?

I’m Still Here!

Time flies when you are having fun! 

It may seem like everything has slowed down since I haven’t written a post in so long, but that is far from the truth. 

Last month, I published my first ebook for HubSpot called “Reinvent Your Event Marketing for Higher ROI.” It takes you through the planning process of setting goals for your trade show and creating a detailed strategy to make sure you achieve those goals and ultimately get higher ROI for being at the trade show. Sometimes it may be difficult to measure your trade show results, but it gives you details on how to do that!

Image

Cover for Reinvent Your Event Marketing for Higher ROI

I have also written a ton of content for the HubSpot Marketing Blog. One of the awesome things about this blog is that as soon as there are new marketing developments (Google+, Pinterest, etc.), we have an article posted about it. Though it may be hard at times to keep up with all these advancements, this blog is definitely an awesome start!

My last 5 blog posts include:

But probably the most exciting news is the conference I’m planning at HubSpot, Inbound 2012. This conference is from August 27-30, 2012 at the Hynes Convention Center for 2,000 marketers. You may have read about HUGS 2011 last year that was for 1,000 HubSpot customers. Inbound 2012 expands that conference to twice the size, three times as long and for any marketer, not just HubSpot customers. There will be keynote speakers including Gary Vaynerchuk and Rand Fishkin, certification and training, more than 50 sessions, a live band karaoke party and a sponsor pavilion different than anything you may have seen before. Stay tuned for some exciting updates on that!

What have you been doing lately?

OpenTable + Foursquare

I am a big fan of OpenTable.  And I am a big fan of Foursquare.

Whenever I go out to dinner, I make a reservation on OpenTable (if the restaurant is on it).  Whenever I go anywhere, I check in on Foursquare.

When I use OpenTable, I get either 100 or 1,000 points (depending on the restaurant).  When I use Foursquare, I get between 1-5 points (or maybe even more depending on Foursquare).

Before you go to dinner, you make a reservation on OpenTable.  When you get to the restaurant, you check-in on Foursquare completing the cycle.  OpenTable is the proactive action, and Foursquare is the reactive action.  They are two halves to a whole.

So it only makes sense to bring the two together.

Imagine this: you make a reservation on OpenTable for your favorite restaurant worth 100 points.  When you get to the restaurant, you tell the host or hostess that you are there to redeem your 100 points.  But it doesn’t stop there.  You then check-in on Foursquare, sharing with your network of friends.  You get some bonus points.  Then you share on Facebook, Twitter or both and you get even more points.  But why does this matter?

OpenTable builds the app.

OpenTable would need to be the one to create the app to connect with Foursquare.  But why would they bother when they already rule the online reservation space?  And they already have millions of people using their services.  For every hundred points on OpenTable, you earn $1 in dining credit.  After you get 2,000 points, they will send a $20 gift certificate.  The only way to get points is to make a reservation, and it is a very private, intimate experience.  The only people who know about the reservation are the customer, merchant and OpenTable.

But if you could get more points by checking in on Foursquare, tweeting out the check-in and posting on Facebook, your friends would see the benefits of OpenTable.  OpenTable makes it easier to make a reservation without calling many restaurants.  And by checking in, tweeting or posting, you are endorsing OpenTable’s service.  The lazy tweets or posts would give credit to OpenTable while also spreading the world about the service.  The tweets and posts could even lead to a landing page that encourages visitors to immediately sign up for an OpenTable account, make your first reservation and download the mobile app.

Currently, when someone makes a reservation, OpenTable gets a lot of data about what a person’s dining habits are: what type of food someone likes, what restaurants they like more than others, what areas of a city a person frequents the most etc.  But there may be more than one OpenTable user present when the reservation is made, but the data is only recorded for the person who made the reservation.  Connecting Foursquare and being able to show how many OpenTable members are at a dinner can help them gather data and even make it more accurate.

OpenTable will also figure out the habits of its members by seeing where they are checking in on Foursquare when they don’t have OpenTable reservations.  OpenTable can use this data to sign on new restaurants that are popular to its members.

Customers can get extra points.

Why would customers be interested in this app?  Well they benefit by getting more points.  Instead of simply getting 100 points for a reservation, they can now get points much faster.  And they become advocates for the restaurant which will not go unnoticed.

Merchants will gain brand advocates.

Why would the restaurants be interested in this app?  Instead of having the private interaction with their customers by using OpenTable, they will now have customers who are broadcasting to their social networks that they have gone to a particular restaurant.  The amount of referrals will drastically increase.

So OpenTable, what do you think?

P.S. Foursquare could benefit from this too.  People complain about their points not meaning anything, right?  And they will not have more access to OpenTable’s millions of customers!  Seems like it could work for both parties…

A Look Back on 2011

As the end of the year approaches, it seems that most of the articles are reflecting on the last year. Journalists write about the best campaigns of the year, and the worst campaigns of the year.  They write about the most memorable parts of the year, and the most painful moments of the year.  Last year I wrote a post called the Final Post of the Year that went month by month through the best parts of 2010.  I really enjoyed writing that post and looking back on my past year so I figured I would do the same thing for 2011.

January

In January, I went to the Dolphins/Patriots game in Foxboro which is something I have wanted to do since I moved to Boston.  The Dolphins obviously got killed, but it was still a great time.

I also started my last semester of college at Boston University.  They had a few celebrations for seniors.

With Dean Elmore and John Battaglino

February

I had some exciting trips in February.  First, I went to Chicago for the first time.  I went to DePaul University’s PRSSA conference.  I wrote about it on an older blog post.  Then I spent the rest of the weekend exploring the city with my awesome tour guide, Nick Lucido!

Sky Deck!

The Bean

Deep dish pizza!

A week later I went skiing for the first time at Mont Tremblant.  It was definitely scary learning how to ski at first, but by the end of the weekend I was getting the hang of it.  But I have heard that your first time skiing should not be on this mountain.

March

In March I did something I had been looking forward to since I heard it opened.  HARRY POTTER WORLD!

April

This month started off bittersweet.  I went to Seattle for the PRSSA National Assembly.  I always looked forward to my PRSSA trips, and this one was my last.  The next committee was elected, and I was so excited and proud of them.  But it was also (potentially) the last time I was with everyone in my committee at the same time.  PRSSA continues to mean the world to me and truly made a huge difference in my life and my career.  I was also awarded with the Elaine Averick Outstanding National Committee Member Award.  Oh, and I caught a fish in the Seattle fish market!

The 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 PRSSA National Committees

The 2010-2011 PRSSA National Committee Saying Goodbye

Elaine Averick Outstanding National Committee Member Award

May

In May, I graduated from Boston University with a degree in Public Relations from the College of Communication and a degree in Business Administration from the School of Management.  I also received the Gerald Powers PR Scholarship, Blue Chip Award and Scarlet Key.

Scarlet Key

Blue Chip Ceremony

June

Even though I officially starting working on May 31, my new hire training at HubSpot started on June 6.  After six months of working, I can still say I love my job!

July

In July I spent a lot of time working and a lot of time enjoying Boston and getting together with friends.

BSMA Brunch

August

In mid-August, I co-founded a Young Professionals Network for the Public Relations Society of America in Boston.  Then at the end of August, Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual conference that included 45,000 people this year, began.  My responsibilities at HubSpot all summer consisted of working on our presence at Dreamforce and planning for our HubSpot User Group Summit.  David Kirkpatrick of MarketingSherpa wrote a case study about our presence there.  It was memorable, exciting and turned out very well despite Hurricane Irene’s attempt to keep the HubSpot team in Massachusetts.

September

September was the HubSpot User Group Summit (HUGS) in Boston with 1,000 customers.  It was inspiring hearing many of the HubSpot customer stories and seeing how excited the customers and HubSpotters were to meet each other and learn from one another.  And I cannot leave out the balloon sprocket at the opening reception.  I had honestly wanted to do this since my first day at HubSpot!

October

October started off by going to Maine for the first time!  I have wanted to see more of New England since I decided to stay in Boston after graduation, and this was the first step.  I also had lobster for the first time.

Then all my dreams came true, and I FINALLY got the Verizon iPhone!

And I, of course, had to highlight it on my Facebook Timeline:

November

This month was busy, but at the end of the month, I went with HubSpot to Cloudforce.  It was great to see everyone who I had worked closely with all summer for Dreamforce.  And it is always fun to meet HubSpot customers and talk to other people about the company!


December

At HubSpot, not only are we around some of the greatest marketing professionals in the industry, but they constantly take the opportunity to teach us as well.  HubSpot, therefore, set up a program called HubSpot Fellows.  The CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, Brian Halligan, teaches a bunch of classes on leadership and helps us become better leaders at HubSpot.  It is an awesome chance to learn from Brian but also interact with other HubSpotters who are part of the program.

Happy New Year to everyone!