Why I Loved INBOUND16: It Wasn’t Just Anna Kendrick

Written by: Scott Fitzgerald

HubSpot’s INBOUND conference is a nice change of pace for the payment geeks here at BlueSnap. Many of the shows we attend center on the finance world can be a bit bland. The keynote speakers at the payments shows are people like Richard Cordray of the CFPB (all due respect to the issues of consumer protection of course) as opposed to the stardom on display in Boston this week. At INBOUND, there was a star for everyone on our team. From Anna Kendrick to Serena Williams to Alec Baldwin, and Gary Vee to Reshma Saujani, there was a lot to take away. There was also an exciting energy that derived from throwing 18,000 marketers into the up and coming Seaport district of Boston.

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Our CEO meets Anna Kendrick
[I am choosing to ignore the wave of election emotions that hit this crowd]

But – at a more general level there is something very important going on at INBOUND – that has everything to do with payments, eCommerce and our goals of helping merchants convert more.  A few macro-trends that are in play in the Inbound and marketing world are:

  1. It’s the conversions!
  2. Meeting your customer experience expectations is the universal truth.
  3. Better get comfortable with analyzing data

It’s the [Payment} Conversions!

So much of the energy at INBOUND honed around the importance of improving conversion rates.  Conversions are at the heart of the data that HubSpot helps you manage.  Sessions such as “5 Things You Can Do Tomorrow To Make Your Website Convert More” captured this desire.

Yet – we would watch these sessions – waiting for the payment punch line; only to find that marketers were considering it “job done” when that MQL is created.  And yet – closing the deal is really the key.  Ensuring payments optimization and payment conversion strategies get the same level of energy as website “lead conversion” should be part of the testing, analysis, and ongoing optimization efforts that INBOUND prescribed.  Here are some ideas to work payment optimization into your marketing conversion goals.

MOBILE!  Are you tired of hearing this yet?

Gary V’s keynote made me laugh – but only a little.  His brash style certainly will get you to pay attention; but his talk included some harsh realism.  Here I am, believing I am keeping up with my market by beginning to engage on Facebook and even Instragram – when low and behold, I need to consider adding Marco Polo (link included for those who also don’t know what this is…) to my marketing mix.

Inbound Marketing depends on a great mobile experience and adapting to how your audience wants to engage. Likewise, eCommerce must have a great mobile payments experience and allow the customer to choose their payment method. The same complexity of communication channels in marketing is met by the 100s of possible payment types consumers can expect (demand) in eCommerce. Much like in marketing, the proliferation of these payment types is only accelerating. Great new consumer experiences to pay show up every day – and payment professionals need to grapple with the rate of change to meet consumer expectations.  We wrote an eBook to explain the issues to reach the new mobile buyer – check it out.

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The truth can be found in the data – if you know where to look

Inbound marketing is a science – where data about results must more and more serve to help interpret both the finicky consumer AND the finicky Google machine. The role of the marketer has changed forever too; all deference to Don Draper – today’s marketer needs to be steeped in data to understand not just which campaigns are performing well, but why they are performing well. The answer is no longer simply understanding one creative design vs. another; but factoring in both the consumer reaction and how the campaign’s digital footprint is helping or hurting.  Simple card-sort tests just won’t do in a world where the Google algorithm seemingly changes every day.

Payments too, is about analytics – and understanding how payment conversions can be affected by both the choices of consumers and the nuances of the payments network (from acquirers to card brands like Visa back to the issuing banks).  In payments the analysis starts as soon as you present the checkout options: What does the consumer choose? How easy is the checkout? Which shirt color did they prefer?  Then measuring the affect of fraud prevention – are you letting too much fraud in or are you blocking too many good customers out?  Constant analysis of this data is critical to a successful eCommerce operation.  Lastly – back to the conversions – are your good transactions getting approved or do you suffer from false declines?  We have built a great deal of analytics power into our Powered Buy Platform™ for just this reason.

Buckle Up! We’re about to go faster than ever 

The parallels of challenges faced by Inbound Marketers and eCommerce Payment professionals are being fed by the same macro trends: greater availability of consumer choice compounded by mobility.  To meet the opportunity, both marketers and payments professionals need to think in 4-D and use data to guide their decisions – gut instincts alone won’t suit in a world where the rules of the game change so quickly.

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