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Brian Halligan, CEO, HubSpot

At BIA/Kelsey, we always stress that innovation comes as much from understanding consumers as developing new product features. This is especially the case in Interactive Local Media, where many of the greatest successes — AutoTrader,, Yelp, Craig’s List, Angie’s List, Groupon and Living Social — are owed to their consumer-centric, innovative cultures.

Innovation in Local is a special theme we’re exploring at our Leading in Local conference in Boston March 18-20, where we’ve confirmed over 50 hand-picked industry leaders.

We’re especially excited about the Day 2 keynote from HubSpot CEO and MIT Lecturer Brian Halligan, whose company motto is to “create marketing that people love.”

Last weekend, to prep for his appearance, I listened to an audio version of his book, Marketing Lessons from The Grateful Dead, co-authored by David Meerman Scott. In the book, Halligan says that that today’s contrarian marketing is all about meeting the needs of real people. Whether you are a Dead Head or not, The Dead must be appreciated as marketing pioneers, with their priority ticketing system for fans, dance friendly seating, ever-changing show lineups, free taping policies, and diverse personnel.

Halligan notes that “Business model innovation is frequently more important than product innovation.” Indeed, he makes the point that the same contrarian thinking has driven epic David and Goliath battles in the social media era such as Netflix vs. Blockbuster, ZipCar vs. Hertz, and Southwest Airlines vs. driving long distances. We can’t wait to hear Halligan’s take on local.

We are certain that Halligan will be memorable, even in a conference lineup that also includes such great contrarian thinkers as David Kidder, author of The StartUp Playbook; Randy Parker, the founder of Constant Contact; and Yodle CEO Court Cunningham, author of Local Online Advertising for Dummies, who will explain his company’s brand new efforts in the under-explored area of CRM for SMBs Hey, just 13 days until we get started.

Register today (and book your hotel room at The Westin earlier rather than later…they are in short supply).

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