What started out as a very gloomy rainy day in June, turned out to be much better than I expected as I attended Drift’s Hypergrowth event at London’s Old Billingsgate Market. Having been to many vendor and consulting conferences over the years, this was a refreshing alternative to the usual formulaic conference format.
An inspirational venue transformed into a dark neon-themed reception. Graffiti artists. A single stage. No marathon walks to break-out rooms. No over-the-top opening razzmatazz but an exceptional alternative greeting from London’s singer songwriter and 4-times UK beatboxing champion Grace Savage. None of the usual exhibition stands. Just a subtle hint of Drift branding created a fitting environment to inspire the next generation of young marketers.
The agenda was a great fusion of A-class speakers in the morning and a couple of product-pitches in the afternoon including the exciting announcement of Drift Video.
The highlight for me were the main speakers. Victoria Pendleton, our Team GB Olympic cyclist, jockey, SAS Who Dares Wins competitor and, close to my heart, a surfer. A great opener for the day with VP sharing her gutsy approach to living life to the full, on the edge (where she’s most comfortable) and describing the mental ups and downs of being an elite sportsperson. She certainly made me think about my attitude to life, to take on more challenges and to do more of what you enjoy. A couple of key take-aways were “prove how you can be and not what people want you to be” and “make the most of the people around you for mental and physical training and ignore the naysayers”.
Our second speaker Charlotte Pearce, CEO and Founder of Inkpact emphasised the importance of being human and authentic with brand identity, to share what you stand for and put customers at the very heart of your business.
Ryan Deiss, Founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer.com, brought some awesome insight on how to be a 10x Marketer. When today’s role of marketing has grown over-complex and multi-disciplined, the 10x Marketer is able to focus on key attributes that drive revenue. They are smart, possess a strong mix of data acumen and psychology; able to spot current trends rather than being a futurist; is a linguist where words are their craft and copy is king covering everything from sales pages, video scripts, blog posts, emails social posts and beyond. A big takeaway is to study the marketing and advertising of past masters who didn’t have the digital channels we enjoy today and where story-telling and curating attractive copy coupled with great creative were the only go-to-market options.
The other traits were to listen to customers, execute tactics with precision, move quickly with agility, don’t be scared to mess-up, be thick skinned but above all, be highly, highly empathetic.
A bit of a re-occurring theme shining through – be more human. This was further endorsed by Amanda Hill, Chief Marketing & Customer Officer at Harrods.
After the usual hand-size lunch and plenty of time for networking, the afternoon reverted back to old-school vendor conference. A bit product-pitchy but encouragingly, most of the audience had stayed (contrary some conferences I’ve been to).
Fire-side chats with the two CEOs of Hubspot and Drift actually felt like a casual chat down the pub that we were eavesdropping on! Both executives shared their challenges of running and growing technology companies away from the typical Silicon Valley/San Francisco carnival and interestingly considered locations closer to home where the supply, demand and loyalty of talent was more accessible.
However, as the event opened with the inspirational Victoria Pendleton MBE, it ended with a session from Jimmy Chin, Oscar award winning filmmaker, photographer, mountain elite athlete and all-round adrenalin-junkie (if that’s what you call someone who’s scaled Everest only to ski back down it).
His biography is awesome. A tale of a man who from a very early age, pursued his passions in life carving out a career living on the very edge (of the planet in some cases) and taking very calculator risks where wrong decisions could be catastrophic. Discussing his 2018 award winning documentary Free Solo profiling rock climber Alex Honnold on his quest to free climb El Capitan, was a perfect end to a great day and kept the packed room enthralled with stories of cinematography in the most challenging conditions – on a 900 metre vertical rock face.
Bravo Drift. An excellent day and many elements to think about tomorrow.