I sat weeping in my seat, wedged in between an old friend and a new friend, weeping – just straight weeping. Not sobbing, not crying – weeping. Tears running faster than I could wipe them away, nose running with no tissues in sight, grateful the house lights were down and I wasn’t the only one. Scott Harrison’s Charity: Water video was playing in the closing moments of what had become a sudden and dramatic shift in my perspective. I was completely undone.

Rachel Beckwith Video (click to view)

HubSpot’s #Inbound13 – a milestone event. Time shifted for me there. So did my take on what the heck I’m doing. A new life had been unfolding over the previous seven days. Greater meaning, new ideas, new thoughts, new visions had been breaking in from the edges of an old framework of thought. In this moment, my entire legacy structure shattered. A higher sense of my humanness…..connectedness had replaced the old self-centeredness, pride, greed, envy, and most of the other Seven Deadly Sins. Yep, I admit it. Coming from a highly-connected guy in the insurance business, my prior focus collided head-on with a higher purpose.

9 elements that came into sharp focus in the midst of 5000 attendees from around the world:

1. Culture

Generation “C” – the Connected Generation. This is actually a group of people across the Millennials, Gen-X’ers, and Boomers that are distinguished by their affinity for Social Technology – build Social Networks through which to share Social Media and thereby establish Social Relevancy. (And it was obviously not limited to the USA.) Much of the #Inbound13 content, whether it was Seth Godin, Ariana Huffington, Scott Harrison or various other session speakers, mentioned this major shift and how businesses large and small needed to adapt to it or die. Yes. I am moving my site to HubSpot.

2. Marketing & Sales

Once again all the things that we’ve been saying the last 8 years about sales and marketing and social technologies are coming true. Granted – ~95% of the people at Inbound13 were inbound marketing geeks. But the case studies and success stories coming out of HubSpot clients in agency partners are undeniable. And it makes sense when you think about it. People just don’t want to deal with interruption marketing anymore. They want to make their own decisions and think for themselves. Then they want to add the recommendations of friends. Call it content marketing. Call it viral marketing. Call it inbound marketing. It’s all working together now. The new Signals (TM) platform is just nothing short of spot on. To know when a client or prospect is actually picking up your piece of content, opening it, and reading it, watching the video, or hitting your website… It’s like they’re walking in the front door saying, “Hey, thanks for inviting me to your party!” Yes. I am moving my site to HubSpot.

3. Social

Faneuil Hall ImageSoMoLo, it’s a big deal. We have to pay attention to it. Social is not going away. Mobile is only getting stronger. And if you’re a location-based company, Local is a huge opportunity. So the question is how do you get your content moving through this new ecosystem. And then how do you track the results. And lastly how do you make the whole thing really easy to do and really effective – the Holy Grail. HubSpot. Don’t forget about organizational voice and #ORM. Yes. I am moving my site to HubSpot.

4. Technology

From a web technology standpoint, including Social CRM and all these new technologies, they are all coming together to form a new platform that’s critical for effective social business. The early days of websites in the 2000′s are over. The next generation of web properties is here. Let’s face it, we all know that the primary purposes for websites is reputation management, sales and marketing, and education, right? And we also know that all of these things are constantly in a state of change as products change, as people change, as markets change. Thus the premium is on NIMbility. Platforms and processes must be as nimble as possible in order to survive in the future. Yes. I am moving my site to HubSpot.

5. Industry

It was the best of times it was the worst of times. As is common at inbound, (thanks to my handy-dandy extension cord and power-strip) I sat next to and spoke with an Agency exec from the other side of the world who has an insurance client in Holland that is successfully using HubSpot. On the flip-side, I invited a client who was remarkably nonplussed by the whole thing. A very successful insurance executive I invited seemed to have a lot of strategic take-aways. Lastly I was with agents who are always on the cutting edge of technology and sure enough they either decided to use HubSpot, or were reinforced in their Inbound Marketing efforts. But in general there was a very big dearth of insurance companies. WHERE ARE THEY!

6. Boston

Boston Marathon Finish LineIt was quite remarkable to be in Boston at the #Inbound13 conference and walk through Copley Square right by the finish line for the Boston Marathon. Wow. I loved seeing all of the Boston Strong t shirts. I grew up in New Hampshire a short distance away and so I have a strong affinity for Boston

7. Empathy

Empathy was a theme that recurred throughout the conference, specially compassion and storytelling. I find it amazing how authentic, genuine, time-honored (and biblical, btw) concepts are starting to really play out in the marketplace. The old quote “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is being distributed on all outlets in the form of video. There’s nothing that compares to a video when it comes to storytelling. (See my video about video here.) I strongly encourage a shift to resources for video production. It’s not hard, but takes time. Drop something else. Video is king.

8. Context

Google Glass

Google Glass

Context was another that came up over and over again. For example, no doubt, it’s a great thing that somebody is hitting your website. Cool. But is this the first time they’ve gotten there or the 7th time they’ve gotten there? Are they the decision maker or an influencer? We’ve known about contextfor a long time – it’s common sense. But, for the first time, now we have web-tech to really make context something we can use in our sales process.

9. Human

Last but not least is the concept of “Human”. All of our interactions need to be humanized. Humanize our interactions with our customers. “We’re not items in the CRM system. We’re a real person.” Oh, and our employees are human too. Can we stop with the term “resources”. HR? Human Resources? How about “Human Beings”.

Sorry for the long post. But I had a lot to say. If you want to talk more, reach out to me. In the meantime, pay attention to Destiny Rescue. I’ll be giving them the full dosage, albeit pro bono. If you care to join me in some way, I could use the help. They could use the shot in the arm. Some B.A. dudes rescuing young girls from the mouth of hell on earth. Btw, guess what the average life expectancy of a girl trapped in child prostitution is. 5 years.