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Takeaways from INBOUND 2022: Boost Creativity & Culture in B2B Marketing

September 20, 2022

By Ale Melara

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, this will be our last INBOUND 22 series recap article. Over the last week, we’ve published a total of six articles (including this one), each highlighting key takeaways for:

Last but not least, today’s article will tackle creativity and culture in B2B marketing. Most of our clients are B2B—SmartBug® as a brand is a B2B service provider—so this topic is near and dear to our hearts. 

This year’s INBOUND provided many interesting sessions about how B2B businesses can add a few B2C practices into their marketing. Let’s dive in!

Note: Powerhouse Pass attendees have access to the INBOUND 2022 virtual event platform for one year from today to rewatch any session on demand.

On Capital, Creativity, and Community Care

Presentation by:
Viola Davis
Actor, Producer, Philanthropist

Marcus Collins
Wieden + Kennedy, Michigan Ross School of Business, Chief Strategy Officer, Marketing Professor

Watch the on-demand recording of the session (note that you must have an INBOUND 2022 Powerhouse Pass to view).

What happens when we bring the best of ourselves together to lift one another up? Oscar-winning actress and producer Viola Davis considers the mentorship and connections that helped pave her way as an artist and the ways she’s paying it forward—specifically how she uses capital as a means of lifting up women-led tech and media companies. Davis also invites us to reimagine the ways we can pave similar roads for each other through our platforms, experiences, and creativity. 

Being real vs. transparent:

  • It’s important to always be real and transparent.
  • The constant fear of being judged makes you ashamed and isolated.
  • “Your life is like a dash—it’s like a relay race. Every one of the four people’s jobs in that race is awesome.”
  • “I always thought that being real is like a relay race—you do your thing as a leader, then you pass your baton to the next leader. But that’s not the truth. It’s you. Being transparent means you are always the one racing—6-year-old you passes the baton to the 12-year-old you who passes it on to the 18-year-old you, and so forth.” 

About race:

  • Race is an 800-pound gorilla in the room—it never leaves you: 
    • It doesn’t stop at drive-by shootings.
    • It doesn’t stop at voting rights.
    • It is the mindsets, the perceptions, the way you see, and how you’re heard. 
    • It can’t be quantified by words or jobs.
  • “I just want to tell stories. I don’t want to change the political landscape of the world. I just want to tell stories and to be me.”

Empowering yourself:

  • “The voice you have inside of you is untouched. No one will tell you that, though.” 
  • “You don’t need sleep, you don’t need rest. You walk into the room like a boss.” But, that’s not true. 
  • That voice inside you is you, and it can tear down any voices around you that try to define you. 


What’s Next: The Power of Creativity in B2B Marketing

Presentation by:
Amy Marino
HubSpot, Sr. Director, Global Brand Marketing

Tusar Barik
LinkedIn, Director, Global Agency and Partner Marketing

Watch the on-demand recording of the session (note that you must have an INBOUND 2022 Powerhouse Pass to view).

By infusing remarkable creativity into your B2B marketing, you can help your brand build emotional connections and clarify perceptions without sacrificing business results. This session discussed the importance of investing in bold, breakthrough creative in the B2B space and how B2B creative is just as important as B2C.

What is a brand?

A brand is a set of attributes that distinguish one company from another—it’s what helps keep your company top of mind. In that sense, there’s an emotional aspect to brand creation. Marketers need to create an emotional connection with their customers so they feel safe, included, and invincible. 

From a B2B perspective, we don’t think of brands as much as we should. Your brand can often be someone’s first point of interaction with your company, and B2B creative should not be overlooked.

Brand or demand? 

Am I going to spend my budget on brand, or am I going to spend it on more direct marketing? When it comes to marketing budgets, whether they have increased or stayed the same, we are seeing reallocation on where you will see the best ROI: brand development. Whether your organization is big or small, you need to invest in your brand. Regardless of the size, it is important.

What makes for great creative content? 

How does HubSpot evaluate its creative efforts? They look at the following elements:

  • Clarity: Is it clear? Would my mom understand this?
  • Persuasiveness: Have I told the audience why my product is better?
  • Engagement: Does it give me goosebumps or giggles?
  • Actionability: Do I know where I can go? Is there a clear CTA?

What about the B2B angle?

A B2B purchase is one of the most emotional purchases a person can make—this isn’t just about them, it’s about their company and their job. People are people regardless of what they’re buying, whether it’s for themselves or for their organization. 

When it comes to appealing to B2B buyers, remember the following:

  • Make big bets
  • Remember that B2B decision makers are human
  • Forge an emotional connection
  • Recognize great creative 
  • Check out #B2Brilliant (a knowledge-sharing community from LinkedIn) and share information with each other


What We Owe the Creators of Culture

Presentation by:
TJ Adeshola
Twitter, Head of Global Content Partnerships

Kudzi Chikumbu
Global Head of Creator Marketing

Sherrell Dorsey
The Plug, CEO

Watch the on-demand recording of the session (note that you must have an INBOUND 2022 Powerhouse Pass to view).

This session explored how Black spaces in tech drive cultural norms and what it takes to cultivate these communities that shape culture. We consistently find creative and innovative ways to extend our culture. These platforms can truly change the world.

The power and reach of online spaces are growing. 

What are trends that occur where expression and safe spaces are happening? We need and want to be building a culture of credit online—that means knowing who the creator or community was that started something and giving them credit for it. 

Online spaces are becoming more inclusive as micro-communities continue to form. There’s an authenticity to them. It’s not just about clicking a button and subscribing; consumers see these micro-communities as more of a core to who they are—it’s part of their identity.

Social media is becoming more of a search platform. For instance, Twitter is a real-time infographic. If your brand is doing something dope, you’ll see it trending, and if you’re doing something terrible, you’ll hear about it. 

Utilizing social media effectively requires you to have a deep understanding of who you’re targeting. You must have someone in the room who is a representative of that community because people are looking for relatable and interactive search results. 

Influencers have a key role to play. 

What role do influencers play in the authentic message? True, authentic community engagement has two aspects:

  • High interest: You need to care about this thing—what’s in, what’s out, who are the leaders and followers, and so on
  • High participation: Real conversations and transparency 

Who are the influencers with true interest and high participation? Just because they have a lot of followers doesn’t mean they’re the right fit. An algorithm misses these subtle cues. To make a good choice, you must have folks in the room who are fluent in the culture to identify those trends.

Make sure Black creators are being seen and credited for their contributions.

What is the responsibility of platforms to make sure that Black creators are being seen, credited, and benefiting from the movements they are leading online?

  • Black culture is the foundation of what we see online.
  • We owe Black creators acknowledgment, creativity, amplification, ownership, and downstream benefits from what they created.
  • Platforms can help creators be known for what they created, and they can help everyone else know who inspired them. 

What are the great things you’re doing to credit these creators? When it comes to Twitter, you should have a team dedicated to finding these creators, and another team called “Voices” to be a think tank for voices across all cultures. A commitment to properly attributing creative sources will require a lot of intentionality and resourcing. How much of your budget are you dedicating to the things you say you care about?

What are the dangers to marketers if we don’t acknowledge or dive deeper into how the culture is responding? We may miss out on an opportunity to grow our business. But we can’t seize these opportunities unless we’re tapped in with authentic community engagement. If you’re not in it, you’ll be beaten by another brand that knows how to do it. 

... That’s All, Folks!

And with that, we officially conclude this year’s INBOUND recap articles! The INBOUND experience is wonderful, but it’s a lot of information to absorb all at once through multiple channels. Our purpose with these recap articles is to give you a place to return to consume highlights of all the great content, even after the event has passed. 

If you found these insights helpful, share them with a friend! And if you’re an avid HubSpot user, stay tuned for our upcoming SmartTake series—we’re relaunching this webinar series to help you stay on top of new releases and get inspiration for new ways to do old things in HubSpot.

Join us on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT as we recap HubSpot's brand new product releases and platform updates that were shared during INBOUND 2022.

Secure your spot!


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Topics: Social Media Marketing, Facebook, INBOUND, Business Development