The Future of Inbound: What We Learned at #INBOUND18

By Megan Malone


Each year, thousands of people who are passionate about marketing, selling and delighting customers come together for one of the largest inbound marketing events of the year — INBOUND. 

Like many exceptional things, INBOUND gets better with age, and #INBOUND18 did not disappoint. With Keynote speakers such as Deepak Chopra and Shonda Rimes, as well as several spotlights on successful business owners and thought leaders, the ideas were flowing as quickly as the drinks at Club INBOUND. 

Didn’t get a chance to go to INBOUND this year or feeling a bit overwhelmed by the information overload? Here are some of the top lessons we learned at #INBOUND18.

(Already planning for next year’s INBOUND? Check out these 10 things you need to know.)

Goodbye Marketing Funnel, Hello Flywheel! 

If you’ve seen or created an inbound presentation in the past ten years or so, you’re probably familiar with the traditional sales and marketing funnel. You know, the top-to-bottom process of moving a lead from prospect to customer.

At #INBOUND18, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the co-founders of HubSpot, announced that the funnel was officially retiring and being replaced by the flywheel.

While the funnels focus has historically been on attaining new customers, the flywheel takes the process a step further, focusing on delighting customers.

Inclusivity Is In  

Another major theme of #INBOUND18 was inclusion. Several keynote and spotlight speakers spoke about diversity and being open not only to new ideas but also different perspectives.

Communities formed as the result of Twitter hashtags like #InboundSolo and #BlackatInbound. Speakers like Lena Waithe and Shonda Rimes discussed authenticity in the face of bias and discrimination.

The Future of Marketing Is Video

Another major announcement at #INBOUND18 was the release of HubSpot video! HubSpot members with Marketing, Sales or Service hub accounts can now record, send and publish videos from HubSpot.

There has never been a better time for brands to get started with video than today (except maybe yesterday!) and HubSpot Video makes it easier than ever to engage prospects and customers using this medium.

New Mediums Don’t Mean Starting From Scratch

Blogs, videos, podcasts … With so many options, creating consistent and high-quality content for a variety of platforms can be intimidating, especially for smaller teams. Several speakers at #INBOUND18, like Colin Gray from, preached the importance of content repurposing.

Speaking of podcasts, there was a never-ending supply of live podcasts being recorded at the event.

Don’t Be Scared of the Robots

AI may be taking over the world, but that doesn’t mean that we need to fear the changes that will inevitably happen. Many speakers, such as Stephanie Casstevens from IMPACT, spoke about how marketers and sales professionals can adapt and work with robots.

Understanding data privacy and consent and developing soft skills will be crucial for professionals wanting to stay ahead when the robots take over umm, become smarter.

Until Next Time …

If you missed out on #INBOUND18 or can’t wait to go again, tickets for next year’s event are already on sale. Make sure to purchase early and plan for what is sure to be an even bigger and better event.

Want to watch INBOUND 2018 events yourself? You can view several of the speakers here.


Megan Malone

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