“Wake up every morning and try to put yourself out of business instead of having someone else do it for you.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO/Entrepreneur

This quote (and a slew of expletives), kicked off HubSpot’s Inbound 2016 conference. Keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk captivated 18,000 marketers sitting in a conference hall simply by telling us to do better.

A running theme throughout his speech, and one that I saw come to life throughout the week, was that we as marketers are attention seekers – and we have to be the best to capture the attention of our audience. It’s a simple notion, but one that’s complicated by a competitive space, where “creative is the variable of success.”

This idea was one we remembered as we attended our breakout sessions and keynotes, learning from other marketers and sparking ideas of our own. I chatted with my fellow Quattro team members to find out which moments and takeaways from the conference resonated most with each of them.

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Ashley Wetherhold, Director, Content and Engagement Strategy

Standout Session: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age, led by Shama Hyder: CEO, Marketing Zen Group

Key Takeaways: Companies are asking themselves the wrong question. Instead of asking “What does our brand say about us?” we need to ask, “How is doing business with us allowing customers to build their brand?” This is especially true for the millennial market because they’re constantly posting and sharing across different channels – and that’s a representation of who they are.

Jared Heins, Senior Account Manager

Standout Session: Brand: The Last Remaining Currency in Marketing, led by Tiffany Sauder: President, Element Three

Key Takeaways: Sauder’s point of view on personas was particularly interesting, specifically her thought that you can’t spell the word “Persona” without writing the word “Person”. Consumers are savvier than ever, and a “hard sale” doesn’t work the way it used to – which means communication between a seller and buyer needs to be authentic and engaging. “The story is the strategy. Authenticity will win.”

Halee Musho, Project Manager

Standout Session: 13 Things to Stop, Start, or Keep Doing (Only Better) with Your Email, led by Tom Monaghan: Email Marketing, HubSpot

Key Takeaways: This session was all about email, and the idea that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You can personalize all you want, but this only works to a certain extent. If you over-personalize, you run the risk of actually driving down your engagement levels. It’s also ok to buck the status-quo — why not send an email on a Saturday rather than the typical Tuesday-Thursday?

Those are just a few of our favorite moments and takeaways. If we went into everything, this blog post would be more of a whitepaper.

All in all, INBOUND 2016 was more than a marketing conference. We learned from entrepreneurs, artists, entertainers, and industry experts who tied everything back to Vaynerchuk’s initial thought: we’re all battling for people’s attention, and you have to be smart, creative, and strategic if you want to come out on top.