Drift Hypergrowth 2019, London, UK

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Hypergrowth, but it certainly turned out to be hyper.

Being greeted by graffiti artists and a 9 am beatbox conference opener from Grace Savage is not the mark of a traditional marketing conference, but the whole point of attending industry conferences is to open your mind and jolt your thinking. Hypergrowth certainly did that.

There was only a single track so no FOMO. This meant the conference had quite a broad focus, as there wasn’t room for specialisation. Both a good thing and a bad thing.

Here’s a summary of the day:

Victoria Pendelton (@v_pendleton) started the conference-proper. She spoke about gaining courage and seizing opportunities. She outlined about her own career as a cyclist, jockey, and all-round achievement junkie. 

The main takeaway: Courage is available to you if you choose to embrace fear.

Charlotte Pierce (@TheCharlottePea) is the founder and CEO of Inkpact. She spoke about the importance of creating human connections in your marketing. She touched on all the prevailing industry buzzwords: storytelling, personalisation, customer experience, and word of mouth.

The main takeaway: Focus on creating connections with customers, not simply ‘acquiring’ them.

Ryan Deiss (@ryandeiss) runs DigitalMarketer.com. He was somewhat the antithesis of Charlotte as he introduced his concept of ‘the anatomy of a marketer’. Going through various parts of the body, he identified what makes a ‘10x marketer’. No one skill is enough.

The main takeaway: Build a team of T-shaped marketers. Modern marketing demands an expansive skillset.

Amanda Hill, CMO at Harrods, spoke about ‘the 5 superpowers of marketers’. She suggested that marketers maintain more of that childlike wonder that helps us think big and be more human. Listening is an underrated skill: we can only stand for what we first understand.

The main takeaway: ‘Critique the strategy, not the dream’

Brian Hannigan (@bhalligan) co-founder of HubSpot had a ‘fireside chat’. He spoke about Hubspot’s ‘flywheel’ growth model as opposed to the traditional ‘funnel’ concept. You need to be clear on who you are serving and relentlessly focus on delivering value to that persona; don’t try and be all things to all people. You’ll fail.

The main takeaway: It’s easy to copy features. It’s not so easy to copy a brand.

Peter Issacson (@peisaacson) CMO at DemandBase spoke about account based marketing (ABM). Persona development doesn’t work so well as soon as there’s more than one decision maker on the buying committee. When you focus on the account as a whole, you give yourself the opportunity to sell to the entire committee, not a single person on it.

The main takeaway: Avoid targeting the wrong person with the wrong message at the wrong time!

David Cancel – CEO and co-founder at Drift – launched Drift Video on stage. We now live in a ‘video first’ world. Video drives Attention, Retention, Responses, and Revenue. The new Drift product makes it easier for marketers to incorporate video as they have conversations with customers and build relationships.

The main takeaway: 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021

Sarah Kennedy (@saykay) CMO at Marketo talked about learning from failure. Her talk was built on the narrative of missing a shot in a college basketball game. She was devastated at the time but learned a lot from the experience. Being overly cautious and desperately avoiding failure will not result in exceptional growth. You need to take risks so you can learn from the experience, even if that sometimes means going over budget in pursuit of a (potentially) huge win.

The main takeaway: ‘The marketing – finance alliance is the most critical to a CMO’s early success.’

Jimmy Chin (@jimkchin) free climber and filmmaker, introduced his new film, Free Solo. He told us about his early life, how his parents had a career path laid out for him – but that he chose his own path. This eventually led to an Oscar winning documentary about free climbing a 3000ft cliff face in Yosemite.

The main takeaway: We all face a choice – you can either risk too little or too much in life.

Overall, the one track – one day approach worked well. It focused attention on what was in front of me rather than wondering what the next talk to attend should be. However, the one day format limits the time to network and talk to the other folks in attendance, always a conference highlight for me!

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