Our BLOG

All Posts

Most Important Takeaways from HubSpot’s INBOUND 2019

HubSpot’s INBOUND 2019 conference has come and gone, and the event has grown in size with over 26,000 marketers, salespeople, and customer success professionals flocking to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for a week of learning and inspiration. This year’s INBOUND featured spotlight sessions from industry leaders Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Redditt, Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, and of course HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah among several others.

After sitting through hours of inspiring sessions, here are three of my most important takeaways from INBOUND 2019. 1. Embrace diversity. 2. Create a frictionless customer experience. 3. Be human.

Embrace Diversity

Diversity is an important topic of conversation across almost every industry, which was evident at this year’s INBOUND. 

In Dharmesh Shah’s presentation, he showed an image that displayed the lack of educational diversity at HubSpot in the early stage of the company, and further commented on how he was the only non-white team member.

HubsSpot INBOUND 2019

With so many similar people, he reflected that outsiders interested in joining HubSpot would have had a hard time fitting in. He expressed that one of HubSpot’s biggest early mistakes was how little they focused on diversity. When you lack diversity, you’re missing out on varying perspectives that can help lead your company to greater success and growth. 

To prove this, Shah told the story about when YouTube first launched their global app, they came across a peculiar phenomenon. They noticed that a notable amount of people were uploading videos upside down. Around 10% of videos were being uploaded upside down, and they couldn't figure out why. The answer, however, was very simple. Ten percent of the population is left-handed, and hold their phones differently than right-handed individuals, making the videos appear upside down. You may ask, why didn’t the YouTube team catch this? Again a simple answer: nobody on the team was left-handed, therefore they lacked that perspective. 

Shah went on to explain that companies hiring for diversity over “personality fit” are at an advantage. Hiring for personality fit breeds a sea of sameness. Instead, when differing yet complementary people intersect, we build better relationships and therefore better companies. We’re able to gain insight into perspectives different from our own and create something great from our differences. 

Create a Frictionless Customer Experience

In such a crowded modern market place, it’s harder than ever before to stand out from your competition. This has led to a growing number of companies emerging as disruptors in their industry, including Doordash, Netflix, and Lyft. Unlike in the past, these companies aren’t your normal tech disruptors like Google, Apple, and Tesla. HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan refers to them instead as “Experience Disruptors”. What makes a company an experience disruptor you may ask? 

According to Halligan, the new breed of disruptors focus on experience-market fit rather than product-market fit. What that means is that these disruptors all have great products but an even better customer experience. 

Five year old Carvana set out to create a whole new way to buy a car and have already become one of the largest car dealers in the United States. What do they do differently from their competition? They take the hassle out of car shopping. Customers are able to go online, shop for the car they’re looking for and order it online. Carvana will even take care of the boring paperwork, registration, and taxes, while you wait at home for your new car that will arrive at the time and place of your choosing. Sounds risky buying a car online right? Not with Carvana. You have seven days of driving to see if the car is a fit for you and if not, you can simply return the car no questions asked. 

So to Halligan’s point, Carvana and other experience disruptors don’t always have the best product, but what they do have is a frictionless customer experience that makes the customer’s life easier and encourages them to come back for more. How they sell to the consumer is why they win and is why they’ll continue to grow until the competition catches up. 

Be Human

There was one prominent theme throughout INBOUND that many of the spotlight speakers touched upon in one way or another. That theme is that being a humane person can go a long way. That should come as no surprise, but in the business world that isn’t always the case. Keep reading to find out what some of the industry leading speakers had to say about the topic.

Fighting for Paid Family Leave

Ohanian spent most of his spotlight session discussing paid family leave. He has made it his goal to fight for equal parental leave for both men and women in an effort to erase the negative stigma of taking time off after having a child. That is why Reddit offers four months of paid family leave for all of their employees including Ohanian himself who took four months of family leave when his wife, tennis legend Serena Williams, gave birth to their first child. Reddit’s policy allows all employees, no matter their position, to spend time with their family without having to choose between returning to work early or losing their job. 

Shifting Perspectives Through Advocacy

Bryan Stevenson, a public interest lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned. His story that stuck with me the most was about a prison guard who harassed Stevenson due to the color of his skin when he tried to visit a client he was representing at the prison. He made Stevenson’s typically friction-less lawyer check-in process intentionally long and degrading, including an unusual request for Stevenson’s bar card and a strip search. The next time he saw the guard was from across the courtroom, while he represented his client suffering from mental illness who had lived in 29 foster homes by the time he was nine years old. . When Stevenson returned to the prison to visit his client, the same guard was working, but this time something was different about him. To Stevenson’s surprise, the guard allowed Stevenson to enter the prison with no issues. With his hands shaking and face flushed, the guard told Stevenson that he had also been in a number of foster homes growing up. He said, “At the courthouse, I was listening to you. I think what you’re doing is a good thing. I hope you keep fighting for justice.” Stevenson’s message was clear. Although we have our differences, Stevenson urged the audience not to give up on the hope that people have the ability to change for the better and connect on a human level. 

Creating Access

Founder and CEO of Khan Academy, Sal Khan shared some remarkable background about his company and how it has come to provide free online learning tools to more than 62 million users in 190 countries across the world. In what started as a fun project to help tutor his cousins, Khan quickly realized the full potential of Khan Academy, which led to him quitting his job at a hedge fund to work on building his nonprofit full time. His mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. He shared stories from across the world of how his platform is helping people of all ages and backgrounds.From a young girl in an orphanage in Mongolia to the children of Bill Gates --they all have the same tools to learn with Khan Academy.

INBOUND 2019 already has us looking forward to INBOUND 2020. We’ll see you there. 

Related Posts

Google Search Trends Insights February 2020 - AMP Agency

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for February 2020. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. The Super Bowl and The Oscars  February is home to two major annual events – the Super Bowl and the Oscars. Top keywords by search volume related to the Super Bowl included: Super Bowl - Feb. 1st - 10 Million+ queries Patrick Mahomes - Feb. 2nd - 10 Million+ queries Shakira - Feb. 2nd - 10 Million+ queries Super Bowl 2020 time - Feb. 1st - 5 Million+ queries Jennifer Lopez age - Feb. 1st - 5 Million+ queries What time is the Super Bowl - Feb. 1st - 2 Million+ queries Clearly, people need to know when the Super Bowl is going to start so that they can get their chili cooked in time for kickoff. The winning quarterback also seems to win in the search game (sorry, Jimmy G). As for the halftime show? Well, no matter what anyone’s opinion was about it this year, the data proves that it captivated people enough to search for both of the headlining performers. It’s quite the change in pace from last year when the headlining band did not make the top 3 queries of the day (sorry, Maroon 5). The Academy Awards - known by their more commonly searched name, The Oscars - also generated large search volumes around its date:  Oscars 2020 - Feb. 8th - 5 Million+ queries Parasite - Feb. 9th - 5 Million+ queries Joaquin Phoenix - Feb. 9th - 2 Million+ queries Laura Dern - Feb. 9th - 2 Million+ queries It’s interesting to see what topics other than the name of the event itself drove people to search.  This year, it was the name of the Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.  As for the name of the event itself, we noticed that when compared to last year, the query volume for the 2019 Oscars was higher.   Oscars 2019 - Feb. 24th - 10 Million+ queries Comparing these two numbers, we wanted to see the data presented via Google Trends’s chart.  By using the search term, “the oscars”, we queried Google Trends to see the popularity of the term in the USA over the past 5 years: This chart further indicates that the Oscars drove less searches this year than most years prior. We wonder if the earlier date of this event (the awards ceremony typically occurs near the end of the month) or a less interesting year in film is the reason for less interest this time around. When it comes to comparing the Super Bowl to the Oscars, there isn’t much of a comparison between search volumes: Other Sports in February Besides the Super Bowl, here are the other sports related queries:  Ryan Newman - Feb. 17th - 10 Million+ queries Tyson Fury - Feb. 21st - 5 Million+ queries Daytona 500 - Feb. 15th - 2 Million+ queries All-Star Game  - Feb. 16th - 2 Million+ queries XFL - Feb. 8th - 2 Million+ queries NASCAR had a few queries make our list this month. The top queried phrase was related to Ryan Newman’s crash at the Daytona 500. Boxing had another top phrase with people looking for more information about the fighter Tyson Fury. Meanwhile, the NBA All-Star game and the new American football league, the XFL, drove people to search for scores and stats.. Coronavirus  In January, we saw the first spike of search interest about the disease occur on the 21st. Even though the subject has been in the news since that day, the topic didn’t make our top queries until late in February:   Coronavirus symptoms  - Feb. 25th - 1 Million+ queries Coronavirus update  - Feb. 23rd - 500,000+ queries Coronavirus in usa - Feb. 25th  - 500,000+ queries Coronavirus New York  - Feb. 29th - 500,000+ queries The news about this virus has been ongoing since January, but in February, the number of search queries behind specific phrases was on the lower side. Typically, top phrases are over 10 million queries, while “Coronavirus symptoms” only reached just over 1 million. Even though the topic seems to be searched for with different queries, the volume appears to indicate that last month in February, people weren’t seeking information about it as often as other topics. Primary Elections With the Impeachment trial wrapping up and the presidential election primaries heating up, queries related to politics were plentiful in the month of February. Here are the top queried phrases of the month : Iowa caucus results - Feb. 3rd - 5 Million+ queries Mitt Romney - Feb. 5th - 5 Million+ queries Democratic debate - Feb. 19th - 5 Million+ queries Nevada caucus - Feb. 22nd - 5 Million+ queries South Carolina primary - Feb. 29th - 5 Million+ queries Interesting to note: the keyword “New Hampshire Primary” only drove 500,000+ queries. We theorized that its outcome was less in question than the other primaries.  Social Media Driven Queries Lastly, there were fun queries that were driven by social media mentions and activities: Broom standing up - Feb. 10 - 2 Million+ queries Galentine’s Day - Feb 13. - 200,000+ queries The broom standing up query was based on the hoax that there was a special gravitational pull that occurs only on February 10th. NASA explained that standing a broom on its own can happen on any day because of basic physics. The day before Valentine’s Day has become an unofficial holiday and its search query popularity really popped this year: Are there marketing opportunities for Galentine’s Day next year? With a search trend like the one above, we’d say it’s likely. See you next month!

We Are Zillow’s Digital Agency - AMP Agency

It’s Official: We’re Zillow’s Digital Agency If you’ve ever gone apartment hunting or simply enjoy scoping out homes on the market, then you probably have some familiarity with Zillow.  As the leading online real estate and rental marketplace, Zillow is transforming how people buy, sell and rent homes by creating virtually seamless real estate transactions for today's on-demand customer. With such prominence in the real estate category, we couldn’t be more excited to announce that we’ve been named Zillow’s digital agency. The Pitch Before the Partnership This opportunity to work with Zillow was by no means a casual one. We had to earn it by proving our agency’s capabilities. So, we participated in a four-month-long competitive pitch process managed by Mercer Island Group, a business management consultancy based in Washington. An abundance of hard work undoubtedly went into those four months, but in the end it all paid off. “The AMP Agency team is the right digital agency at this critical point in time for the Zillow Group,” noted Robin Boehler, founding partner of Mercer Island Group. “They bring exceptional technical expertise, strong strategy and creative capabilities, and are the perfect culture fit for this innovative market leading client.” Rolling into Our New Role This new partnership comes at a time when Zillow is evolving from a search-and-find platform to an end-to-end real estate transaction company. That’s why as we work to support Zillow in this digital transformation, our efforts at AMP will be focused on customer experience strategy, design and personalization. “Zillow has committed to dramatically expanding their business and creating innovative customer offerings going forward, which is why we sensed a natural fit early in the process of earning this account,” says Gary Colen, Chief Executive Officer at AMP Agency. “It is an exciting time to be working with Zillow as we support their formidable business goals.” Now, the Hard Work Begins With our partnership in place and Zillow’s business goals top-of-mind, we’re ready to help Zillow transform the way people buy, sell and rent homes. “Zillow is in the midst of a significant, transformative chapter in our company’s history as we move to make it easier for people to buy, sell, rent and finance homes,” says Aimee Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer at Zillow Group. “The customer is our North Star and the AMP team has a proven track record of delivering creative and meaningful customer experiences, all while working in complex and evolving conditions. We’re excited about what our new partnership can achieve, together.” https://www.adweek.com/agencyspy/zillow-sends-digital-to-amp-agency/162572/ https://lbbonline.com/news/zillow-names-amp-agency-as-digital-agency/ https://adage.com/article/agency-brief/tbwaworldhealths-social-media-stories-reveal-disturbing-healthcare-discrimination-against-black/2241461 https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/347761/zillow-taps-amp-to-handle-digital-duties.html

Google Search Trends Insights January 2020 - AMP Agency

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for January 2020. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. A Somber Start to the 2020s  Well, I am not going to sugarcoat it. Some of the top queries in January 2020 were about troubling events. In the beginning of the month, Iran was a top-searched topic after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani. The other 10 million+ queries were as follows:  Iran - Jan. 7th - 10 Million+ queries Iran - Jan. 2nd - 5 Million+ queries World War 3 - Jan. 2nd - 2 Million+ queries By the end of the month, the top searched queries centered around a tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna and seven other passengers. Although we don’t focus on this topic here in our blog posts, celebrity deaths do drive people to query Google for details and make the top three phrases every month. That’s why this past month, the shock of Kobe Bryant’s death overwhelmed the search volume on January 26th. Here are the top queried phrases on that day: Kobe Bryant - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries Kobe Bryant children - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries TMZ - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries Typically, we don’t see all three of the top queried terms have over 10 million queries each, but this tragedy was an exception. Holidays Continue in January Even though December is well known as being a holiday month, January 2020 had a few holidays of its own that drove queries: Martin Luther King Jr Day - Jan. 19th - 10 Million+ queries Lunar New Year - Jan. 24th - 10 Million+ queries Chinese New Year - Jan. 24th - 500,000+ queries The holiday keywords that had over 10 million queries had the additional support of Google Doodles to increase their numbers. But even when our attention shifts away from the year-end holidays, there are still major ones in January that consumers are looking to learn more about with Google searches. Boxing Is Still Relevant As Revealed In Search Queries Sport-related queries take up a good portion of the top queried phrases of any month. January 2020 had a few days where the subject of boxing made the top three. In last month’s post, we discussed the popularity of European soccer. This month, it is clear that boxing and mixed martial arts also have a strong interest.   Conor McGregor  - Jan. 17th - 10 Million+ queries McGregor fight  - Jan. 18th - 2 Million+ queries McGregor fight - Jan. 17th - 1 Million+ queries Jake Paul vs Gib - Jan. 30th - 500,000+ queries Conor McGregor commanded top billing for his fight on January 18th. People searching for results or perhaps a free stream of the fight had to type quickly since it only lasted 40 seconds.  The fight on the 30th between Jake Paul and AnEsonGib also drove search queries. These two YouTube stars fought a professional bout in Miami and generated enough interest to become one of the top 3 keywords searched in Google for the day. Disease and Other Natural Disasters I really wish I had happier keywords to share in this post. But looking across the different terms for the month, another big trend included news items related to epidemics and disasters around the world: Coronavirus - Jan. 21st - 2 Million+ queries Earthquake - Jan. 28th - 1 Million+ queries Lyme disease - Jan. 8th - 1 Million+ queries Australia fires - Jan. 2nd - 1 Million+ queries Taal volcano - Jan. 12th - 500,000+ queries Coronavirus symptoms - Jan. 29th - 200,000+ queries Puerto Rico earthquake - Jan. 6th - 200,000+ queries We can thank Justin Bieber for raising awareness of Lyme Disease. The rest of these are driven by people wanting to get the latest news on these stories.  As we say goodbye to the first month of 2020 and welcome February in full-force, we’ll keep track of the top keywords queried in hopes of finding more positive, uplifting search terms.  See you next month!