Last week, I was one of 21,000 attendees at INBOUND 2017, an inbound marketing conference in Boston hosted by HubSpot. Here are three important themes that continued throughout the conference:

Utilize psychology in your marketing

The best way to influence human behavior is to first understand it. Throughout the three-day conference, it was clear that smart marketers are looking to psychology, neuroscience, and sociology to craft strategies that attract and retain consumers.

Nancy Harhut recommended that marketers keep in mind that humans make decisions based on emotions, later rationalizing the decisions with logic. I can personally vouch for this, as I’ve bought one too many shirts that I initially thought were cute, then rationalized it later by telling myself I needed it for an important upcoming event.

By tapping into your audience’s emotions, you’ll experience a greater increase in sales. To help your customer with their own decision making process, focus on evoking trust so they feel certain they are choosing the right brand. In addition, positioning your product or service as the solution to a pain point of your consumer, you’ll align yourself with the positive feelings associated with solving a problem.

The future is video

In his session about the psychology of video, Tyler Lessard of Vidyard drove home the benefits of using video in marketing efforts. Ninety percent of all information that is sent to the brain is visual, and we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.  Visuals are processed in long-term memory rather than the short-term memory, so video has a longer shelf life in the brain than written content.

In her session, Peg Fitzpatrick noted that expanding beyond just photographs on the Instagram is essential. Mix up your page and Instagram stories with photographs, videos, and Boomerangs to create engaging content that effectively communicates your brand.

Storytelling is more than just a buzzword

Storytelling was a key component of the majority of breakout sessions that I attended. In marketing and communications, it’s an effective way for you to connect with your audience in a memorable way.

When listening to someone tell a story, our brain activity matches that of the speaker, a phenomenon known as neural coupling, highlighting how audience members will feel what the storyteller is feeling. Marketers can utilize this by crafting content that audiences can connect to on a personal level.

Carmen Simon of Memzy spoke about her study that showed that memorable stories have three components: they’re perceptive (impact the senses), cognitive (include facts and meaning), and effective (they’re relevant). What does this mean for your stories? Write and produce stories that arouse the senses (talk about the sights, scents, sounds, tastes, and physical feelings of an experience), are relatable, and use your energy to add emotion into the story. Consider using videos or customer testimonials to tell the story about your brand or organization, and use that story to connect with your audience.

Walking back into the office refreshed and with a brain filled to the brim with new ideas is my favorite part of attending conferences. After INBOUND 2017, I’m excited to see how the three themes above will help marketers reach new audiences and build stronger relationships.