This was our second time attending Microsoft’s partner conference, and we had a bigger and even better event than last year! The Fifty Five and Five team enjoyed every minute of the four days (and well-dressed evenings!) We met hundreds of new people, made some new connections, and sat down with some of our great clients.
This year’s conference, hosted in the Walter. E. Washington Convention Centre from 9th – 13th July, counted over 17,000 attendees including exhibitors, key speakers, mentors, mentees, and volunteers. That made for plenty of networking opportunities, engaging sessions and workshops, and the odd party.
Our second year at the conference, and having enjoyed WPC 2016 so much, we were excited to see what was in store. We’d already spoken to a few friends at Microsoft on what was to come, so we had ample time to prepare. For those of you who don’t know, we released our 2017 Inbound Marketing Excellence Report in Washington, D.C. We ranked over 25,000 Microsoft Partners on their Inbound marketing efforts, narrowing it down to the top 250 Partners for their website, blog, and social media efforts. But the event was much more than that.
“What you do is what shapes Microsoft and what we do.”
The first full day began with the Microsoft Inspire keynote, hearing from CEO Satya Nadella. He spoke about the four digital transformation pillars and how partners are continuing to drive positive transformation.
Then we had the first reveal of Microsoft 365, a combination of Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility and Security, designed for SMB’s to unlock a secure collaborative working environment. They also introduced Microsoft’s latest AI technology, Emotion API, which helps companies understand the feelings of their customer and to further improve the customer experience. Don’t worry if you missed the keynotes: Microsoft has made the whole conference available on demand.
After the keynote, our next port of call was the conference expo hall, where we were exhibiting with our red t-shirts on and reports in hand.
It was a great opportunity to meet and chat to Partners who had featured in the report this year. As we find every year, it’s so interesting to hear what Partners have been doing over the past 12 months to improve their marketing.
Nintex ranked #4
Rencore ranked #6
Binary Tree ranked #21
If we weren’t at the stand introducing our 2017 Top 50 report, we were exploring the conference floor and attending talks, including one with our founder, Chris Wright.
Chris Wright on the “Ten steps to create consistently great content”
This year, Chris was in the Microsoft Partner Experience Theatre talking about the ten steps to creating great content as part of the foundation of an overall great marketing strategy – thanks to all who came along!
Here’s a summary of Chris’ “Ten steps to consistently great content” (Download your copy of the slides):
- Understand your audience
- Plan out a content strategy
- Generating a great idea
- Do your research
- Power through the blanket page
- Edit and proof
- Promote your content
- Re-use, re-purpose and repost
- Track everything
- Dedicated resource
We spent the daytime in our red Fifty Five and Five t-shirts, but at night we did get the chance to swap them for slightly more suitable evening wear. We started the week at the Nintex Inspire Party – seems that it’s not just workflows they specialise in. The party included fine views of Washington – with the Washington Monument and White House visible from the roof terrace.
Although we didn’t attend the Carrie Underwood performance, we did make it to the Microsoft UK Partner Party. A red-carpet evening downtown, where we had a dazzling time. A big thank you to the UK Microsoft Partner team.
If you would like to see the key announcements and updates from Microsoft Inspire 2017, across the week: here it is, day by day.
Great outcomes from Microsoft Inspire 2017
This year was not only Microsoft’s most successful conference. Personally, our show was even more successful than last year. We spoke to more people at our stand, gave away more copies of our reports and received a huge web and social media traffic bump over the course of the week.
That is to say, we had a fantastic time at Microsoft Inspire 2017, meeting so many great partners whom we look forward to seeing again soon.
See you all in Vegas for Inspire 2018!