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Case Study: HubSpot INBOUND

Supporting Event Growth From the Heart

INBOUND is the largest inbound marketing, sales, and customer service event in the world. It grows sizably every year, and in 2018 attracted over 24,000 professionals eager to learn from high-profile speakers and top-notch industry presenters. Courtney Dagher, INBOUND’s Breakout Content Manager explains how Hubb helps make INBOUND more efficient and innovative even as it keeps growing.

It’s Compelling, Not Just Selling

Founded in 2006, HubSpot is a growth platform for inbound marketing and sales professionals around the world. HubSpot’s software enables clients to consistently produce relevant and helpful content to attract customers. In the process, the company aims to build an inbound community and help people achieve their business goals in a more personable, empathetic way. In that spirit, the company’s annual INBOUND event in Boston, MA, delivers a full week of education, inspiration, and connection opportunities.

It takes dedicated content, sponsorship, operations, and marketing teams to bring the massive INBOUND event to life. On the content team, three people work on INBOUND full-time, with a planning cycle that spans the calendar year. Courtney Dagher is a content manager on the INBOUND Content team which recently featured outstanding speakers such as political and cultural icon Michelle Obama and sports star, investor, and media personality Alex Rodriguez.

"Our breakout content is the core of the event and it’s what our All-Access and Power Pass holders get most excited about," Dagher explains. "We work with partners like Hubb to make sure we are providing top-notch content to our attendees."

With Hubb the application process was ‘intuitive and frictionless,’ and may have even contributed to the higher volume of applications.”

Courtney Dagher, Content Manager on the INBOUND Content Team

High-Volume Success

In 2018, the INBOUND Content team fielded 1,200 breakout speaker applications in the online application forum hosted by Hubb, a 30% increase in applications year over year. The application process was "intuitive and frictionless," and may have even contributed to the higher volume of applications.

Dagher joined the INBOUND content team in late 2017, just as Hubb was brought onboard. "Hubb instantly proved to be an amazing tool for us because it was able to accommodate the swell of speaker applications," she says. "The Hubb system helped us segment the high volume of applications we received in a much more organized way. Centralizing all the information was crucial, because our various volunteers and vendors need to access it throughout the year. That intuitive, unified user base is incredibly helpful for us."

Once submitted, applications enter the Hubb speaker management portal. Reviewers access all speaker applications via Hubb, and evaluate applications based on Dagher’s pre-built criteria questions. "Hubb is essential to the review process," Dagher points out. "Some of our reviewers work remotely, so it’s very efficient for them to work with a central, intuitive system." Ultimately, Hubb helped Dagher and the INBOUND team efficiently manage 250+ chosen breakout speakers and all their different content deliverables at the 2018 event.

Attracting the Best of All Worlds

INBOUND’s breakout content is organized into six tracks: Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Grow with HubSpot, Elevate and Empower, and Startup. This year the Content team is using Hubb to learn how their speaker pool reflects INBOUND’s commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive event. An optional, anonymous demographic questionnaire linked to the speaker application form will help the team identify trends that could inform future outreach efforts.

"It’s an experiment," Dagher says. "When we can effectively analyze who’s drawn to speak at INBOUND, we get a new sense of how our messaging is reaching prospects around the world. We can better understand if and how we need to change our messaging to attract a well-rounded applicant pool."

Hubb is very open to our direct feedback about what we’re looking for and what could be better. They innovate in a way that helps us and, potentially, other customers, it’s a partnership.”

Courtney Dagher, Content Manager on the INBOUND Content Team

"Hubb Is More of a Partner Than a Vendor"

Introducing a new speaker management system in such a busy growth year had its challenges, but shared values made for a smooth and even enjoyable working relationship. "Hubb is very open to our direct feedback about what we’re looking for and what could be better. They innovate in a way that helps us and, potentially, other customers," Dagher notes. "It’s a partnership"

She believes Hubb’s thoughtful, responsive customer support will continue to make a huge difference. "I appreciate their dedication to getting it right. They’re just really, really good about listening, which isn’t actually always the case with other growing tech centers. They try to help us grow our event better, which aligns with our own mandate to help businesses grow better."

As the Content team gears up for INBOUND 2019, Dagher reflects on what success means to her team. "Our goal is to put together the best sessions we can. We’ve done our job right when our attendees email us or post on social media, ‘I went to this amazing session and I learned so much.’ Then I know we selected the right speaker, who did a great job—and Hubb was a key part of helping us do that."