I had the pleasure of attending Content Marketing World in Cleveland (woot!) last week. I’m sure I would have attended if it were in another city, but being in my hometown made the experience so much sweeter. Thanks, Joe Pulizzi!

As a marketer, there’s nothing more exciting than spending a few days with a group of creative professionals who live-and-breathe the same challenges and exude the same passion about digital marketing as I do. Only marketers can understand each other; we never stop obsessing about doing things better and faster and we never stop working because some of our best ideas come to us late at night. Our friends and family may think we’re crazy (ever try explaining how Twitter works to your mother or why Google’s latest algorithm is making you late for dinner to your husband?), but we find our place together at Content Marketing World.

Being a Marketer. It’s not sane.

I guess you could say that #CMWorld made me feel like the bee in the Blind Mellon video when she finds all the other bees just like her.

And I was one happy bee. Keynote speeches came from the biggest names in the business – experts who’ve spent decades (and sometimes millions) building their brands by generating content and experiences so amazing that consumers are even willing to pay for it.

It was inspirational to hear how Julie Fleischer, Director, Data + Content + Media at Kraft Foods, built a content marketing engine so robust that it’s generating four times better ROI than targeted ads AND fueling insights to capture and share data and segment consumer experiences across paid channels.

As we went into breakout sessions, we heard firsthand, step-by-step how some of the best and brightest in our profession like Leigh Blaylock, Manager of Content Marketing at Red Hat and Gary Van Prooyen, Senior Director, Global Brand & Content Operations at Motorola Solutions have implemented content marketing strategies that have transformed their businesses from the inside out.

Amongst the worker bees, one thing was apparent: marketers are competitive. We want to be the best. Each session was mixed with a sense of anxiety and inspiration as we asked ourselves: “Why aren’t we already doing these things?” Then you’d see folks turning to each other and commiserating: “I’m a one-person department” or “we’re in XYZ industry. It’s very conservative and I just convinced my boss to explore social media.”

The good news for those of us who HAVEN’T figured it all out is that we’re in the vast majority. Only a few people from the audience are truly rocking out solid content marketing programs, and those who are, tended to be the presenters.

Luckily, we walked away with a handful of ideas and a heck-of-a-lot of inspiration to rock out ourselves. After all, Cleveland is the city of Rock and Roll.

To see more of my thoughts from the conference, check out my post on the four key takeaways of Content Marketing World 2014.