As we gear up for The Pulse Network’s Inbound Marketing Summit (IMS) in just over a month, we want to share a few insights on who you’ll be hearing from at the event and what they have to say. For the first in a series of speaker Q&A profiles, we thought it was only appropriate to start off with Allen Bonde – who has organized and chaired the event over the past 2 years in his role at The Pulse Network (The Pulse).
Can you give us an overview of your role at The Pulse Network?
I’ve been involved with The Pulse, which delivers content marketing solutions and produces IMS, for the past couple years as both Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Strategy. These days, I advise our clients on their content and community strategies. I also chair the IMS series, which is held in New York, San Francisco and Boston each year. In addition to The Pulse, I am a partner in Digital Clarity Group, which is a digital advisory firm based in New York (and IMS sponsor), and an investor in Offerpop, a social marketing company I co-founded in 2010, that has presented at several IMS events.
What’s the history behind the IMS conferences? How have they evolved over the years and where do you see them going?
IMS started back in 2008 when some of the pioneers of social media, including Chris Brogan, Paul Gillin and David Meerman Scott got together at Gillette Stadium outside Boston. The event became known as Inbound Marketing Summit when we partnered with HubSpot, and after they split off to create their own stand-alone user conference, we started expanding our event’s focus to include additional topics such as online video, mobile campaigns and even Social CRM. We also launched an event in New York and are starting a new event with Digital Clarity Group – Digital Pulse – which will premiere in the fall alongside IMS Boston.
How are the IMS conferences different from other inbound marketing conferences?
Having attended and spoken at many marketing events over the years as a CMO and industry analyst, when I took over the IMS program I tried to create something that I would want to attend! First, IMS is really a community with a core group of presenters and attendees who like getting together, sharing ideas and challenging each other – both on-site and on social media. Not surprisingly, there’s a TON of social chatter during our event, and #IMS12 was actually trending globally during our Boston show last year.
Second, the format is somewhat unique in that everyone sees all the keynotes, panels and case studies, plus there’s lots of time built in for networking and conversations with sponsors. Like TED, we feature a lot of video content – both pre-show to preview sessions and topics, and post-show when we make many sessions available in an online video library. Also, at some of our events we offer pay-what-you-want pricing, which started as an experiment the first year we were in San Francisco, and was so popular we’ve brought it back.
What should attendees expect to come away with from IMS SF?
I think everyone will be pretty tired after the 2 days! We’ll have over 30 speakers covering the latest in social business, content marketing, mobile, and of course inbound marketing. Attendees will have the chance to meet some cool people, and hear from companies who really are defining modern marketing. I think they will be inspired and excited to tell their colleagues about what they saw and heard. But more importantly, we want to give them practical examples, tips and connections they can start to apply as soon as they get back to their offices.
Can you give us an idea of what you’ll be talking about at SF?
I’m likely to build on what I presented in New York, which focused on tips for creating engaging, rich media content for starting conversation and driving sales at the top of the B2B sales funnel. This blog piece I wrote on the topic will give readers a little preview.
What are you most looking forward to? Any specific speakers or topics? Give us a sneak peak!
I really like moderating and hearing our live case studies (which we call “Executive Brief Live”), since the audience tends to love the talk show format. And we have some awesome keynote speakers this year. Some are former and current colleagues like Esteban Kolsky, who is one of the top Social CRM experts, and Robert Rose who literally wrote the book on content marketing. Also I’m thrilled to have Kare Anderson who writes for Forbes and Huffington Post moderating our Influence panel. But I have to say I’m especially excited to hear SlideShare founder Rashmi Sinha speak.