I Is for INBOUND 2018: Defining Inbound Marketing’s Biggest Conference

By Raka October 13, 2023


INBOUND is an annual marketing and sales event held by HubSpot at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The conference aims to bring together a diverse community of industry professionals to celebrate and promote a more human approach to the way we do business. There is also lots of swag, and as marketers, we love swag.


The term “inbound” speaks to a larger methodology diametrically opposed to the traditional outbound marketing method and it goes beyond “inbound marketing” these days. It was originally coined by marketing giant HubSpot and has since made waves in the marketing world. While the word itself commonly refers to a specific school of thought within the marketing world, the event is a summit for inspiration, creativity, and education.

INBOUND 2018 will take place September 4-7.

Tell me more

If you haven’t already picked up on it, INBOUND is a lot of different things packed under one umbrella term. It’s an annual event, a year-round media platform, a marketing methodology, a community, and an experience. But in this blog post, we’re going to focus primarily on the event, which is a little over a month away.

INBOUND is all about connecting people—and we don’t mean that in a network-y way, although that’s definitely a big piece of the puzzle. INBOUND says it best on their website: “We believe that we’re all people first, and that empathy and humanity are at the core of doing business. We bring together speakers who are passionate not just about improving the bottom line, but also about building a brighter, kinder, and more inclusive future.”

If that doesn’t give you the kind of chills that only come from being completely inspired, we don’t know what will. Hello, major copywriting envy.

The convention consists of breakout sessions, entertainment and networking events, keynotes, studio discussions, spotlight talks, and much more. In the past, discussion topics have ranged from “Is Your Baby Ugly?” to “Content for the FOMO Generation” and “How to Network Without Being an Asshole,” interspersed with Issa Rae chatting with Brit Marling and the founders of HubSpot sharing a laugh together on stage during their keynote. This year, Deepak Chopra, Shonda Rimes, and former GE Vice Chair Beth Comstock are the much-anticipated keynote speakers at INBOUND.

inbound marketing definitions

Why INBOUND is important to marketers

INBOUND is to marketers as the Oscars are to actors: it’s the place where we go to both inspire and be inspired, to learn, to teach, to be entertained, to make strong connections with like-minded people, while also learning from people with whom we have absolutely nothing in common.

At its core, INBOUND is about collective growth. The landscape of business is one that is constantly evolving and expanding, requiring us to react and adapt accordingly. INBOUND is just the place to do that—to share stories of immense success and devastating failure, but rather than dwelling on them, the community can collaborate, learn, and grow. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? You’re probably wondering if there’s anything to back up the shiny novelty of it all. Good news: there is!

Put simply, INBOUND matters because the inbound methodology is extremely effective. Did you know that marketing with a focus on content generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62 percent less? When done right, inbound marketing works better and costs less than any other marketing strategy. What’s not to like about that statistic?

Our team weighs in

Dave Choate, one of Raka’s Senior Marketing Strategists, says the key to getting the most out of INBOUND is exploring unique sessions.

“Nothing against the quality of the presentations, but chances are you’ve heard 100 talks offering 10 sales tips. Neuromarketing, writing for unique audiences, and personal stories are the kind of unique sessions that move the needle for me. You’ll come away with something you can use, and something that inspires you,” Choate said.

INBOUND is a place where industry professionals can get on the same page about the future of inbound marketing, exploring how it intersects with the different spheres of business and is applied in a range of industries.

Kelly Glista-Anderson, one of our Senior Marketing Strategists here at Raka, is a big fan of the Bold Talks offered at INBOUND, which are 45 minute-long sessions that are split into three 15 minute talks all addressing one common theme—quite a lot of bang for your buck. The gatherings fall on the smaller side of things, which makes for a more intimate experience. Check out Jennifer Brown’s Bold Talk from INBOUND 2017 on inclusion to see for yourself.

Having been twice, Glista-Anderson knows the ropes. Her advice? Take a breather! A free period will do you good.

“If you’re anything like me, there will be at least two sessions in every time slot that you want to go to, but it’s really, really hard to absorb anything if you’re constantly running between sessions,” she says. “Give yourself one session off and use that time to just take it all in, make some notes for yourself, or, if you’re lucky, catch up with one of your favorite speakers.”

If you skimmed this post…

What you need to know about INBOUND is that it’s chock-full of unmissable content and, like a fine wine and Paul Rudd, it only gets better each year. Since 2012, INBOUND has grown to 21,000 attendees from over 100 countries and is universally considered one of the fastest-growing business events with more than 250 educational sessions about all the latest in marketing, sales, and customer success.

Be sure to register for INBOUND 2018 to secure your spot as soon as possible and avoid the inevitable FOMO. If you’re interested in meeting up with us there, or talking about the (lowercase) inbound services we offer, be sure to contact us!