What I Learned at Goldenhour (And Why It All Points to Nearbound)

What I Learned at Goldenhour (And Why It All Points to Nearbound)

Shawnie Hamer 9 min

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Goldenhour conference held by AudiencePlus in Brooklyn, New York alongside a couple hundred of the industry’s best marketers and GTM professionals. And for it being a somewhat gloomy, chilly day—as well as AudiencePlus’ first in-person conference—it lived up to its name. 


With the great Jill Rowley!


The “golden hour” is that fleeting period just after sunrise or just before sunset where the light is infused with gold hues, signifying the beginning or end of the day and providing a particular moment of clarity of what has passed and what is to come. 


Goldenhour provided a recognition of both of these things for GTM leaders working in the current market: 

  • We are at the end of the COVID/post-COVID shift that has had us riding the ups and downs like we’re clutching an out-of-control mechanical bull. 

  • We are moving into a new era. An era that is asking us to get creative, take risks, and reprioritize trust above all else. 

As I went through my chosen breakout sessions and keynote talks (I’ll be working my way through the ones I missed very soon!), I couldn’t help but notice some key trends and themes, and how almost all validated nearbound—the GTM strategy I have spent the last year of my life living, breathing, and helping build into a category. 


Here are my key learnings from the Goldenhour conference and how they can be actioned through nearbound. 


B2B Marketing is under a lot of pressure

I know I expressed some feelings about upholding the narrative that B2B marketing is in bad shape recently on LinkedIn, but it doesn’t make it less true. 


Slides from Anthony’s opening keynote


In his opening keynote, Anthony Kennada, Founder & CEO of AudiencePlus, shared that marketers had reported having 44% fewer resources this year, but with 78% higher expectations. This has caused a 44% decrease in morale amongst their teams. 


Budgets are tighter. 

Objectives are higher. 

And teams don’t know how to keep up on their own. 


Ferdi Roberts, CEO of Asset Class, called it “War-time metrics,” when CEOs have to make short-term goals to get the business through quarter to quarter.  


This was a theme that spanned every talk, with nearly every speaker addressing it in one way or another. 

The nearbound takeaway

Yes, the market is struggling. Yes, all of GTM has insane goals they need to meet. These truths aren’t going away anytime soon. Things are hard, but they will be even harder if you’re trying to solve the problem on our own. 


Using a nearbound marketing strategy alleviates so many of these pain points: 

  • It allows you to do more with less by leaning on the network and relationships your partners have with your audience. 

  • It helps you reach those sky-high objectives by increasing deal size and win rates. 

  • It takes the pressure off your teams’ shoulders by allowing them to outsource the talent, influence, and expertise of partners’ teams, rather than trying to do everything alone. 


Learn why partnerships and marketing will lead the way in 2024


Customer trust has to be at the front and center 

From building brands to driving pipeline to retention, trust was on everyone’s mind at Goldenhour. 


Why? Because as Jon Miller, Co-founder of Marketo, stated, “Buyers have figured out our tricks.”


We marketers have abused our data and power and buyers don’t trust us anymore. This means that to get them to buy from us, we have to earn it back. 


But this is a lot bigger than damage control. 


We have to put the customer at the center of everything to win their trust. From how we think about them, to the content we create for them, to the quality of our content, to how we show up for them. 


“Follow the human, not the title.” — Colin Flemming, EVP, Global Marketing at Salesforce


“When creating content, use a LUSH framework: Likeable, user-integrated, shareable, human-to-human.” — Chelsea Castle, Sr Director of Brand & Content at Lavender 


“Production quality builds trust with partners and prospects. Impress them!” — Mark Kilens, Founder & CEO at TackGTM


“My advice to aspiring CMOs? Talk to customers and be known for action.” — Jack Foster, CMO at WorkRamp


The nearbound takeaway

B2B buyers trust someone, it’s just likely not you…at least not yet. 


But if those people they trust are already in your ecosystem, then you better be partnering with them. 


This isn’t just about aligning yourself with the trust and influence of those people; it’s about providing the customer with a connected experience. As Jill Rowley, Strategy & Evangelism at Reveal, said during her panel: 


“In partnerships, we talk about 1 + 1 = 3, but actually it has to be 1 + 1 = 1. Our customers want us to show up as one.” 


Marketers have the power to work alongside their partners to go bigger than pushing integrations or products, but to also show up together for the customers. This increases trust, and has a positive impact on your brand, revenue impact, and retention. 



Here are 3 tactics you can start today. 


Metrics will make or break your success 

It wouldn’t be a proper professional gathering if we didn’t get into the good ol’ metrics war. 


“Attribution is a waste of time. Evolve the metrics.” — Jon Miller 


It’s not exactly news, but marketers have once again found themselves trying to meet KPIs that don’t exactly match up with the way things actually work. 


“The money-in, money-out mentality doesn’t give enough time for campaigns to work. And it’s not aligned with how people buy in B2B” - Liam Moroney, Storybook Marketing


Many marketers at Goldenhour touched on how these unrealistic and out-of-touch metrics often force us to create bad habits—the same bad habits that caused us to lose trust with our audiences in the first place. 


(Are you seeing a pattern yet?)


The solution? Get focused on what your business needs and push leadership to have those needs reflected in your KPIs. 


The first step is to talk to your Revenue teams. 


“What’s the sales problem that your marketing campaigns are trying to solve? Sales describes marketing issues better because they feel it.” - Liam Moroney


Next, get clear on what the top-line business objectives are and create goals that impact them. 


“It’s about ruthless prioritization. We create about 30 micro-funnels attached to each stage of the customer journey and our KPIs.” — Alex Poulos, CMO at Crossbeam


The nearbound takeaway 

One way to get more focused on your metrics and the campaigns you use to meet them is with nearbound ABM. 


Nearbound ABM combines the power of your ecosystem, trusted partnerships, and targeted marketing to accelerate revenue growth and overcome challenges in partnerships, marketing, and sales.


The narrower your list, the better value you can deliver.  


It is as simple as planning your regular campaigns but in a more targeted way, attaching the right partners according to your existing strategies, accounts, and events that you’re already doing. 


Learn more about Nearbound ABM. 

Content is the currency 

The lifeblood of marketing, and arguably the most powerful tool in the GTM arsenal, is content. 


Many marketers at Goldenhour recognized that, in the new world, buying patterns are nonlinear. Buyers will see and hear about you from multiple sources and channels before ever deciding to convert—and many of those moments aren’t controlled by your company. 


“Marketing influences every dollar of revenue.” - Jill Rowley


If we want to be a part of these moments, we need to create content that focuses on building trust with our audience and solving customer needs. 


“Be involved in the moments that build up to a lead.” - Liam Moroney


This means leveraging the customers and evangelists that already exist in your network and telling their stories in ways that push your audience from rented to monetized. The content and audiences should feed into each other and the flywheel. 


My messy notes from Alex Lieberman’s panel


Lastly, do not, under any circumstances, sacrifice the quality of your content in the name of KPIs or even industry standards.  


“Why are we allowing B2B to create subpar content when we drive more of the economy?” — Colin Flemming


“Don’t settle for shitty writing. Take risks and think about creation in the long-term.” — Alex Lieberman, Co-Founder at storybarb 


The nearbound takeaway 

We’re living in an era where the best network wins. We see this again and again with the success stories coming out of places like LinkedIn or in ecosystems like HubSpot or Salesforce. 


Nearbound marketing is about leveraging your network (your brand evangelists) to create content that allows you to access and influence the moments of the funnel that were previously out of your reach.  


Check out how to create content through your network, or get the full playbook in Nearbound and the Rise of Who Economy by Jared Fuller here


Final thoughts

Can everything be fixed through nearbound and the partnerships that drive it? No, I don’t think so. 


Can it drastically change and overcome the very real obstacles that B2B GTM is facing? 




I feel privileged to have been in the same room with CEOs and GTM leaders who have changed the face of SaaS. But even they are saying that it is time we do something different, a new strategy focused solely on driving revenue and trust with our audiences, but with fewer resources. 


The only way we’ll do that is through nearbound.   



Shawnie Hamer 9 min

What I Learned at Goldenhour (And Why It All Points to Nearbound)

Shawnie Hamer, Head of Content at Reveal and nearbound.com, shares the key trends discussed at Goldenhour and how they all validate the strength of nearbound.

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