Courtney Dagher: INBOUND 2020 A Digital Event Done Right

In this Inbound Speaks Interview, we get a special treat! We sit down with Courtney Dagher from the Inbound team and ask a ton of questions around this digital experience. She shares what is exciting to her, some words of wisdom, and a couple of secrets you won't want to miss.
Here are the questions we asked here along the way.
  • Why should folks attend the INBOUND 2020 Digital experience?
  • What are their options for attending?
  • Now that it is a digital event, what does the event look like?
  • We've heard that the magic of INBOUND is the connections and the community. "The magic happens in the hallways." How are you making that happen with this digital event?
  • What types of content can people enjoy?
  • What would you say the top lesson you have learned while taking INBOUND 2020 digital?
  • What are you most excited about when it comes to this year’s INBOUND event?
  • What does post INBOUND look like and consuming the content?
  • What is the one thing you hope folks take away from INBOUND 2020?
What are you most excited about when it comes to this year's digital INBOUND 2020 experience? Let us know.
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About the Expert

Courtney Dagher

Courtney manages all educational breakout content and speakers for INBOUND, a 27,000+ marketing, sales, and customer service industry event in Boston. #INBOUND2020 is now ONLINE on September 22 & 23! 


Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:00
Hey, inbound attendees, it's your boy George B. Thomas. And you know, I'm always excited sometimes I'm super excited, but I don't even know what to say with this one because we're actually interviewing inbound themselves. Well, somebody who's on the inbound team, you're going to get to meet Courtney. But before we do that, let's go ahead and roll that bumper and get into the good stuff. All right, Courtney, first of all, thanks for taking time to join us here in this inbound speaks interview. I'm so excited as we get into this, why don't you kind of explain to the inbound attendees who the heck you are kind of what makes you tick? All those good things?

Courtney Dagher 0:38
Definitely. Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here. I've been you know watching these videos now for a while so I'm glad you know, I finally get to take part as well. As you may have guessed, I am on the inbound team. Specifically, I work on all things breakout content, which at this point encompasses a large part of the event including our educational content, our Networking content and some of our kind of inspirational content. So I've been on the inbound team at HubSpot for almost three years. And I really love the event and everything I do. Yeah, three

George Thomas 1:12
years is a long time. And hey, we love the event. I love the event. I fell into the event in 2012, and has gone have gone every year. I'll go this year, it'll just be in my living room or in my office, but it is what it is. I'm still excited about it. So here's the thing, Courtney, if folks haven't attended before, or because it is different, right, it is a digital experience a digital event this year? Why should folks really still think about attending inbound 2020?

Courtney Dagher 1:45
Well, that's a really good question. And I'm really happy you're attending again this year. As you know, this is our inaugural kind of entrance into the online event space. It's going to be different for people but I think it's still really important for people to attend inbound especially If you've attended in the past, or maybe if you've never been able to make it to Boston before, because this event is going to be all about education, inspiration and connection, just like we do kind of in all previous inbounds. I think for me why it's really important to attend inbound, especially, you know, the, the two days that have inbound this year, September 22, and 23rd, is because that's when you're going to have the opportunity to really meet other people online, of course, but still have that connection part, and also be able to interact with our live content. So after the event, for the first time ever, all of our content is going to be living on our online platform, which is great. But you of course, won't be able to get that kind of live interaction that I know a lot of people have come to associate with inbound. So the takeaway is definitely still come to inbound. And definitely join us on September 22, and 23rd.

George Thomas 2:50
Yeah, definitely one of my questions here in a little bit, we'll get to it is about that kind of interaction, that human element of inbound because people are curious and actually when I asked this The audience or the community, I'm like, What would you ask? And there's this specific question that's coming your way. Now, what are the options for attending, like, usually there was like different tickets for different places in different areas. Now, because it's a digital experience, maybe walk us through that.

Courtney Dagher 3:17
Definitely. So it's pretty simplified this year. So we have our starter pass, which is a free pass really exciting. That pass gets you into the online event platform, and you're able to actually watch all of our spotlight content live. So we're going to have spotlight level talent, which is usually really big name industry leaders or celebrities that are happening at the lifetime throughout the two days of the event. So you'll be able to watch them live. If you tune in with that pass. They'll also be able to actually take part in our audio content as well. So as we may be able to talk about a little bit later, we have a kind of robust online audio content offering this year which is really exciting. So you can Listen, and have that inspiration and education by listening not necessarily by having to watch a full video. So with the starter pass, that's what you can access with the powerhouse pass, which is the paid pass, you're able to access all of the content of the event, as well as the on demand platform after the event ends. So what that means is really anything breakout. So that is, you know, all of that your content that will be all of our educational content, all of the networking content. And again, all of those spotlights and the audio content. And the key there is that after something runs live, it's then going to show up in the on demand library. And you'll be able to access that online library platform for the full year after inbound going up into inbound 2021. So from the perspective of you know, there's so much to look at, there's so much to do, I'm really afraid I won't be able to get to everything. This is the first time ever, that you can actually theoretically see everything because you're going to be able to then access it after it's after it's live in the content library so you can be enjoying inbound for months to come,

George Thomas 5:07
which I think is amazing. Because as somebody who has been to inbound and like, you can't get to all the sessions, it's like, it's like super frustrating. But now you like, you have no excuses people, you can learn it all, you can learn how to do it all and grow better. So I want you to kind of get the viewers, the listeners maybe into your mind's eye, if you will, with this next question, because here's the thing, and we're saying this over and over again, people get it. It's a digital event. But my fear is, when somebody hears the words digital event, they're like, oh, man, two days of webinars, and that's really not what your team has created. I understand that because of behind the scenes and speaker meetings and stuff like that. So maybe paint a picture for the folks what the events gonna kind of look like.

Courtney Dagher 5:58
Definitely. So you know, It's it is online, it's a good thing that you call it out. Because I think that the biggest mistake anybody could make coming inbound, even you know, if you're inbound veteran, or if you're brand new to the event in general, is if you come in expecting to have the exact same experience you would have if you were in person, that's just not going to happen, because it is an online event. But I think we've done a really good job trying to innovate around what does that mean? What does the digital experience mean? And what does it look like to still have connection and network? What does it look like to still have those kind of common live shared experiences where even though we may be spread out across the world, we still feel like we're together. So that's been top of mind for the entire inbound staff. And you know, when you come in, you're going to have two days of content. So you're having really a lot of different content that's hitting the core of marketing, sales and customer service success content, as well as all other types of leadership and communication and kind of anything you can sort of think that you need to focus on That's going to be running live. And there's going to be sessions that are kind of continuously running from 6am. Eastern, believe it or not to 10pm. Eastern on day one. And then I think we're at 6pm. Eastern to live 8pm. Eastern on day two. So I say that because we're a real big global event this year. I mean, we're always a global event. But we tried really hard to run live content around the clock, so that wherever you are, you know, you could be tuning in from Boston, or you could be tuning in from Sydney. And you should be able to experience something that's live in your own time zone, which we were really excited about. So you have that going on. You also have a really great resource of different kind of on demand content, a bunch of different content segments we've developed that you're able to refer to and access while you're going through your two days of inbound or again after. So I think that you know, when people are thinking about inbound and the experience you're going through, you have that live element you have you know that kind of quick hints of content, both audio based or video based to get inspiration. And we really tried to focus on learning and also address the live the life that we're all leading right now, it's kind of a weird year, you could say, to put it mildly, for a lot of people. And with this inbound, we didn't want it to be all about like, we're at a pandemic, there's all these things happening. But we tried to both pick speakers and create content that helps people and also provided some inspiration as you're kind of going back to your business and to help you. So from you know, right after inbound, you can get going with new ideas and new tactics. But you can also maybe feel like you've met some people, and you have that connection, and you have the inspiration to keep going and to keep trying new things because that can get hard, especially when you're stressed. So that that overall is kind of I would say what you should expect from inbound and it's definitely not going to just be that webinar feel. For example, we're doing inbound debates, which you are part of where we're having speakers live debate certain topics, and that's Just one thing that I think will be a little different and cool. And I think you come with an open mind and a willingness to both meet new people and embrace new ideas that you're going to get a lot out of the two days of inbound.

George Thomas 9:11
Yeah, without a doubt, but let me just say from 6am to 10pm, my mind immediately went viewers, listeners, bathroom breaks and beverages and I might have to like bulk up on some healthy snacks to be sitting next to me for that long time. It's like, maybe Uber Eats or something. We'll have to figure all that out. Now, Courtney, here's the thing. I've said many have said through through the time of inbound, the magic moments happen in the hallways, right. It's about that connection. It's about the community. So how is the inbound team focused on still having ways for that to kind of happen when there aren't really hallways this year?

Courtney Dagher 9:52
Definitely. So we really leaned into what we're calling our meetups. So we started experimenting with those last year, which was putting Networking on the agenda, which maybe doesn't sound that revolutionary to people, but it was something that was big for us because to what you just said, I think a lot of the magic happened in the hallways, but we felt like especially for people who were newer to inbound, but a good way to sort of break into that was by really, you know, putting, putting networking on the agenda. And with that, these are the meetups. So these meetups are video based networking, kind of like we're doing now. They're organized around either groups of people coming together. For example, our friends at blackhat inbounder back hosting a meet up or they're based more around topics. So you have you know, someone who's hosting like a marketing and innovative marketing, brainstorm watercooler meetup, so if you opt in, but you opt in with the idea that you're joining this 45 minute session to meet other people in the video based setting, it's going to be either one on one or kind of small groups. We're going to work kind of with each topic to figure out what makes the most sense. The key here too, is that you are going to be you know talking to your group for a set amount of time, probably a shorter amount of time, like no more than five minutes. And then it actually shuffles and you're paired with a whole new group of people. So it's meant to give you that that time to meet more people that you maybe would run into in the hallway. And also, you know, just kind of it broaden your horizons to who's here at inbound. I'm really hoping that a lot of people take part. Another thing I would say to you is that the inbound Facebook group community, which I know you've been taking part in, is a really good group. It's growing every day. And we're seeing a lot of interaction. I actually think a couple weeks ago, I saw that someone had hosted sort of like a pre inbound, virtual online happy hour that was just based off with people who are going to inbound. So I say to our community, you know, we're really big fans of people who want to meet with other people going to inbound and run with that idea, you know, join the Facebook group and throw it out there. Maybe you want to host a an online coffee, you know, get together with people from Boston or marketing or something. Like that, I get the sense, especially leading up to inbound and also post inbound, that there's a lot of interest in even sort of making those connections, you go into the events, you can swap ideas and share tips on what sessions you think you're going to go to. And you know, we we fully support that and love that direction. So I think like you said, that kind of magic in the hallways is something that's hard when we're all in different places. But I think we're all getting you know, we're setting it up so that that can certainly happen during the event. But we also encourage people who are sort of running with interesting pre event ideas going into inbound as well.

George Thomas 12:34
Great stuff. So you've kind of talked to us about the content that you know, people can enjoy the different types and things like that. I did see an email come through something around inbound rocks, can you share any information around that how that's gonna work? Because, first of all, I will say, one of the big positives for me is like, no lines. By the way, no lines it inbound. No Nobody can complain about lions this year. So maybe just tell us a little bit about how that might work and how some of these extracurriculars might work as well,

Courtney Dagher 13:08
definitely. So that's actually still a little bit of a surprise. So I can't share too much about that. But I can say that the inbound rocks that we know and love, which for the past couple of years has been focused on a really great stand up show from a couple of well known comedians. We've sort of taken that, but we've adapted it to be online format. So it you know, because as you can understand, and as we've probably been seeing, with other people doing it, it's a little tough to do stand up completely in an online experience. So my colleague Kai has been working on this really closely with the comedian's we're working with, and it's going to be something really cool. So I don't think I'm allowed though to say exactly what they're doing, but it promises to be really good. I will also say I don't know if you've seen it on the agenda yet. But we have a really great partnership with a with a couple different companies that are putting together really great demos of how to make money. Have themed cocktails leading into inbound rocks. So like you said, you won't be having to wait in line to get that drink at the bar, like people often do going into inbound rocks, but you can actually follow along and make a themed cocktail, which be pretty fun. And we're going to be having lunch demos, every other two days of inbound as well. We've partnered with a really great company called hungry, who's going to be putting together sort of some fun ideas where you can take a break during the middle of your day and kind of maybe cook yourself up something fun. So there's a lot there.

George Thomas 14:29
Yeah, and see, that's I just loved the inbound team and just the event because you guys have gone the extra mile to like, think of these extra things that you can get involved in. And you can do that again. You know, if you spend the right perspective, no lines there, we're going to be able to make beverages we're going to be able to like make some meal ideas, we're going to be able to have fun, and I love the fact that you tease like hey, I can't tell you everything. So you just got to kind of join it and see what it's like. So that's awesome. Which, which actually leads me to my next question, Courtney, because if you've done inbound for so many years, it's very easy to kind of get into a rhythm, you've got to do this thing. What would you say you personally? Or even maybe the team? Like? What's the biggest lesson that you've learned? While kind of creating this inbound? 2020 digital experience?

Courtney Dagher 15:24
That's a really good question. I think the biggest thing we've learned is that you really have to reimagine everything you were doing. We saw a lot of events. And believe me, I'm not knocking them it was really tough this spring, who just took what they were going to do in person and put it online. And a good example of what we could have done there is if we had said the four days of inbound, it's now the four days of inbound online. And that was actually a debate back and forth on the team of should we shorten the event, should we keep it the original length? And we decided because we are online, that you really have to have a two day event because it's asking a lot of people To sort of stay, you know, attending a four day long online event, and we felt at least from the perspective of trying to adapt to our new setting, but that was really important to sort of critically think about things like that. And it even comes down to the length of sessions, you'll notice that all of our content, the longest it's going to be is an hour, we have a couple of sessions, the deep dive sessions that are a little bit longer, but by and large, everything you're encountering is going to be on the shorter end, our hour long sessions are actually 30 minutes of kind of a pre recorded lesson that you know, we've been working on late in this late summer that are going to be up there. And then the speaker is actually joining live for like a 30 minute live q&a. But again, most of our content is under that hour mark. And that's intentional, because we understand that it's while it's maybe a little bit easier in person to kind of sit there and absorb information. It's a lot harder when you're on your computer or you're listening. You know you're listening as you move about your day. So that's just one small example. But that's a really important thing. I think that we learned that you really had to reimagine everything you were doing. And it was tough to say goodbye to some things that we had been really excited about. But it also opened up new situations that, you know, we we hadn't thought about until we were in an online experience, one of the big ones being and I know you'll be excited about this, that pretty much all of our content and inbound this year is unlimited capacity. So I know anybody who's listening or watching who is a longtime inbounder, you know that there's always, like you said, been long lines to get into certain things. And sometimes you didn't get into the session you wanted to. But for this inbound, mostly, you'll be able to get into everything because there's no limit on how many people can attend the session, which I'm really excited about.

George Thomas 17:46
Yeah, as a speaker, I'm excited about that, too. Because every year I get there and I'm like, Okay, let's count the SEIU 2000 seats. Oh, yeah, we did better this year. Like now. It's like however many likes, I'm ready to pack people in I love the experience of just knowing there's there's a big, you know, digital room of people who are like listening to the words to help grow their business better. Which is interesting because you guys your your team is like moving all these chess pieces trying to make it the greatest event. So you get to see almost everything. Is there one or two things that like you're super Uber excited about, like, Oh, I can't wait for this moment to see how it goes down.

Courtney Dagher 18:31
Well, one is very internally focused, which is that I'm really excited to see the HubSpot spotlight. So that is Brian Halligan, Dharmesh and Christopher O'Donnell's, you know, their their spotlight. It's going to be something really special this year. I mean, I love their talk every year inbound, they're obviously you know, are the HubSpot founders in our head of product but it's something I think really cool that they did this year and I had just a little window into what was going on. But I haven't seen everything you know, come together yet cuz I don't work on that team specifically. So I'm going to be just as excited, I would say as the rest of you to sort of see that. And that's actually happening, the first day of in bounds, the 22nd, at 10:30am. Eastern is when that will be playing live. So that's an exciting thing. If you don't already have it on your, you know, your agenda. And I think the other thing I'm really excited for is the audio content. So I kind of talked about a little bit before, but we have, obviously a lot of really great video based content. But we thought it was really important to also develop some strong audio content that you could get up from your computer, you could listen on your phone, you could go for a walk, you could just sit there and have a cup of coffee and listen and not have to look at anything. So you're looking at both lessons. So things that are just more, you know, it's still hitting marketing sales and see us but if you're learning or it's more inspirational, but you know the common theme is that you do not have to stay glued to your screen you can move about your day and still be interacting inbound. So I would say those are the two that come to mind right now that I'm really psyched about.

George Thomas 20:04
Yeah, I mean, dar mesh, and Brian, Christopher, I mean, come on, be there be square, like, I have friends who are still talking about like, dar mesh and vectors, I'm just gonna throw that out there from like a while back, right? It's crazy. So you got to do part of that. I'm excited about the audio too, because that means I can get like multiple walks in. And I can be just listening to the content. So I'm excited about that. Now, I know you mentioned like kind of consuming content after inbound, maybe hit that, again, hit some specifics, because I really want everybody to understand the power of being able to educate yourself for another almost 365 or, I mean, you probably take a vacation and you might not do it on weekends, but a lot of days to actually have all of this content to grow a business better.

Courtney Dagher 20:53
Definitely. So you know, what will happen is that you'll get access to the you have to register for one of the passes. So either The free starter pass like we talked about, or the paid powerhouse pass, and you whatever past type you have, you will have access to the online inbound platform starting, I believe it's a couple weeks out from the event, I don't know the exact date. But that will all be coming to everyone who's registered for a pass. But I would say definitely look to registering your past sooner rather than later. Because as we get closer to the event, that paid pass price goes up based on demand. And also, you know, at some point, hopefully, we don't sell out, but I know that, you know, it's one of those things where you it's always better to get that passed sooner rather than later. But you know, you'll have access to the online platform. And then you're able to go through and really set up your live agenda schedule. So you're able to see what live content is happening when and you're actually currently able to do that on inbound comm right now on our agenda, so you can kind of do some pre planning. Once you're in the platform, you can start saving what you want to go to. And then I would just plan your day around, you know, experiencing the content that you know, you've done Want to experience live either because you want to have that live interaction of being able to ask the speaker questions, or you want to attend those networking meetups, or and also just interact with other attendees on the platform, because you're able to have that attendee to an attendee interaction for the two days of the event. From there, I would also then dive into all the rest of the content that we have, and just plan out, you know, anything that you might have missed, or maybe you want to go back to, it's going to show up in the on demand platform library after after it airs. I believe it's showing up. I don't know exactly how quickly but if either, I think it shows up by the next day, which is pretty exciting. The other thing with that, that I don't think I've mentioned yet, is that for the first time ever, we're actually going to be having closed captioning in French and German in the on demand platform library. So for not all of the content or a good portion of the content. If you are a native French or German speaker you'll be able to consume that content as well in your in your native language. It's just really cool. So that's something we're really psyched about. But the thing about, you know, kind of coming back and not having the FOMO this year is that if there is content that you missed, you weren't able to access it in the platform after the event, you have to have that powerhouse pass, though. So that, again, is the paid pass. So if you have that passed, though, all the way, you know, for the next several months going into inbound, you're able to log back into the platform and access all of this content. And again, I can't say I have to you know, this, these are things we have to keep secret. But I do know that the inbound team as you can probably also speak to we always have something up our sleeves. So I think especially with having that power has passed, who knows what type of things will get added in the next couple months and sort of that kind of will be like a living, breathing, just access of information for people which I'm really psyched about.

George Thomas 23:51
So a couple of things there if that's not the T's of all teases I don't know what is so definitely get that pass. I will say to you For all you old people like me, FOMO is fear of missing out. So if I have to translate that for you, that's a good thing, too. And also, I would suggest that that section right, there probably is our rewind section, because I'm not sure how many of you really realize how important what Courtney just did for mapping out the content that you should view live because of this, you're having the ability to view content at a later date. Anyway, make sure you write rewind that part, Courtney, as a last question, and I'm actually going to kind of tweak this a little bit, because I'm going to give you two different ways that you can go completely up to what you want to do. Originally, I was going to ask what's the one thing that you hope the audience takes away from inbound 2020? What I'll ask in this way instead is what do you hope the one thing is that they'll take away or do you have some words of wisdom that you should or want to share with them before they kind of embark on this journey September 22 23rd.

Courtney Dagher 24:59
I think What I said earlier about what what I hope that you go into the event with, which is go in with an open mind and a spirit of being open to meeting new people. And I would also just say that I think something that inbound has done a really good job at since it was started, and certainly since I've joined, is being an inclusive space for people from all walks of life and all over the world. So I would say, you know, maybe you've gone to other events, and you necessarily felt like you haven't found your people or you're looking to make a connection, by and large what what I have found in, you know, both working on the event, but also meeting tons of speakers like yourself and attendees from all over the world is that the inbound community is a really special one because it's a group of people who are really passionate about what they do. And they come to inbound be in person or this year online, because they want to grow better, like you said, and they want to work at companies that are growing better in a world that's growing better. So I would say you know, harness that passion bring that excitement meet those people spread the word and just get excited to be all together again in this very unique year.

George Thomas 26:06
Yeah, viewers, listeners, future inbound attendees and make sure you do these things one, get your past because Come on, why wouldn't you to make sure you block off those days the 22nd and 23rd and treat them like an event. Also, what you're gonna want to do is get that nerdy Excel spreadsheet out and map out your bathroom and your beverage breaks and make sure you bulk up on snacks. And while you're doing all that we'll be here waiting for you in the next episode.