Backstage Pass

Stagedge at INBOUND 2023

By Stagedge Team | 5 min read
Stagedge at INBOUND 2023

“The Secret Sauce” and Key Takeaways from the Industry's Finest


As a marketing professional with over 20 years of experience, you can say that I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve also met some amazing folks and have learned a thing or two along the way. In today’s marketing ecosystem, three constants remain the same. 1.) Content is still king. 2.) Marketers are some of the smartest and most creative people I know and 3.) HubSpot  continues to “rule the school” when it comes to marketing and sales automation.

All three were on full display at INBOUND 2023 last week. Still feeling inspired, energized, and ready to share everything that I learned with my team, I must first emphasize the importance of working for a company that is fully invested in and believes in the power of marketing. Stagedge not only supports the efforts of me and my team holistically but also strategically. This is evident in their willingness to allow their people to network and further educate themselves by encouraging and allowing them to attend events such as INBOUND – the crème de le crème of all marketing and sales conferences.

"I must first emphasize the importance of working for a company that is fully invested in and believes in the power of marketing. Stagedge not only supports the efforts of me and my team holistically but also strategically."

Putting my marketing role aside for just a minute, let’s look at this from an event industry professional perspective. As soon as I walked onto the main floor of the BCEC my marketing brain was telling me to check out all the cool vendors that were on display. However, my event production brain was telling me to head straight to the main stage and sneak a few peeks at the smaller outlining discovery stages along the way.

I made it to the main stage. It was empty, it was big, it was flashy, it was classy just like its sponsor. I walked around, looked at the equipment, snapped some pics, and then my marketing brain fully kicked in. The mouse running on his wheel in my head was in high gear. I started asking myself ALL the questions. The how’s, the why’s, the what ifs. We can do this bigger. We can do this better. If they only knew about our people, our process, our dedication. So many ideas, so little time. Okay, my bias towards Stagedge is strong. Shake it off and get back to the task at hand – the sessions.

HS_Inbound Together

The Sessions 

For the sake of posterity, I had a strategic plan on how I would map out my day(s) and the sessions that I registered to attend. I tried to sprinkle in a little bit of sales, a little customer success, a little legal, a little CISO, and a lot of marketing. As you can imagine my days were pretty jam-packed, but simply put, it was money well spent. So, rather than give you a complete rundown of everything (and without revealing too much of the “secret sauce”) here is a list of a few sessions that I attended with some high-level talking points and takeaways.

Gain and Grow: Aligning Sales and Success for Impact

This wasn’t one of the sessions that I registered for, but I arrived at the Convention Center early, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat in. Aligning your sales team and customer success team can be tough. The panel of speakers emphasized that these key tactics should be implemented to make a true impact:

  Constant communication and feedback with safe and open dialogue amongst teams cannot be emphasized enough.

   The deal is not done when the agreement is signed.

   Always deliver value to the customer throughout the buyer's journey and beyond.

   Be intentional. Always try to be a problem solver for your customers.

   Share a clear vision/point of view with sales, customer success, and your customers.

How Rewards Programs Drive New Business and Customer Loyalty

Whatever industry you serve or whatever persona you target, these days most buyers are inundated and overwhelmed with offers. The competition for consumer attention is the real deal. Did you know that 73% of US businesses use reward programs to solve the critical needs of customers, prospects, and their very own employees? Why? Because they command attention, create upfront value, engage customers, motivate action, and “stand out from the noise” Rather than me scratching the surface and not doing the justice it deserves, take a look for yourself. There are so many benefits to implementing a rewards program. BHN Rewards (formerly ribbon)

6-No BS Reasons Why Your Sales Enablement Strategy Sucks

Clever title and an engaging speaker for this one. Costly beliefs and powerful mindsets can make or break your sales enablement strategy. Once again, it cannot be overstated that the power of communication and the alignment between sales and marketing is crucial for execution and success. Rally the team and:

  Make the journey smooth.

  Recognize the problem.

  Check your mindset – Is it educational, empathetic, servant-driven?

  Don’t fake the curiosity. The lack of knowledge is the fast track to losing trust and reputation.

  Understand the definition of success and communicate it to others.

  Truth and trust – listen, empathize, take risks, ask, apologize.

  Don’t give up.

  Full funnel accountability = full revenue growth.

ENCORE: New Email Marketing Test Ideas and Pitfalls to Avoid” & Debate: Email – Get the Open! vs. Get the Response

One was an encore and the other a debate, but I put together the two sessions for obvious reasons. These were hands down my two favorite sessions throughout the entire conference. I tried to hold back, but the marketing nerd in me came out in “full Hulk” fashion for these. Led by email marketing guru Jay Schwedelson (,, and and founder, Pierce Ujjainwalla these guys single-handedly know what’s up with everything email marketing. What’s working, what’s not, and why? If deep dive analytics are your thing and you want to improve the way you send emails, do yourself a favor and check these guys out. You’ll be glad you did.

Protect Your Business from Cybercriminals

In my previous marketing life, I worked for a SaaS company that sold enterprise backup and data recovery software. Needless to say, a lot of the marketing material talked about cybersecurity and how to protect your data silos from cybercriminals and the threats they possess. I would have been more than comfortable leading this session, but it is always good to hear from others about what their take is on the subject. In this case, it was two high-level CISO executives from HubSpot. Anyway, you slice it, cybercrime is the real deal, and all SMB and large companies must take it very seriously. *Teaser Alert: Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on why cybersecurity is important for events.

Less Content, More Impact

Another ENCORE session. As a “content” guy, I’m a firm believer that good, quality content can solve most of life’s problems . . . well, at least how you bring your company brand to life. You’ve heard the old saying that less is more. As writers and marketers these are words to live by. We’re not here to write novels, we’re here to solve the problem, get to the point, and give the customer what they want when they want it. It’s that simple, however, creativity is part of content marketers' DNA. Understanding the pain points and the ability to communicate to your audience in a quick, direct, and engaging way will go a long way into your content marketing strategy.

"Understanding the pain points and the ability to communicate to your audience in a quick, direct, and engaging way will go a long way into your content marketing strategy."

For Fun (but yet still educational)

How They Built HubSpot

Very cool to hear how two regular guys, with opposite personalities and strategic approaches can come together and create the awesomeness of HubSpot.

Lessons on Innovation, Leadership, and Navigating Change

How can you ignore the great Reese Witherspoon to close out a successful event? Well done Ms. Witherspoon!

In Conclusion 

After the conference concluded, I noticed a common theme among the sessions. I also took that theme and thought about how it directly relates to the events industry and Stagedge as a company and as a community. There was a lot of emphasis on the impact of effective communication, the importance of brand awareness, and sustainability and growth. There was also a lot of talk about openness and taking an empathetic and personal approach. Keeping your dialogue humanistic, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. These are all attributes that we can and should incorporate into our team(s) and companies.

As I mentioned earlier, Stagedge is fully invested in marketing and the success of its company. We have the relationships and the resources to do just that. I also said that it’s a holistic and strategic approach. Which it is, but it’s also about creativity. We’ve partnered with two award-winning creative and digital marketing agencies that share our same visions and goals. The way I see it, Stagedge as a company is like INBOUND as a conference. It’s about empowering our people, driving innovation, strategic thinking, intentional/purpose-built action, and the power of experiential events.

That was INBOUND 2023. That is the lifeline of Stagedge!



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