HubSpot started with the premise that people don’t want to be interrupted by marketers, or harassed by salespeople – they want help on their terms. It was time to make the sales process human again and to treat people like individual buyers – not demographics or groups or numbers in a machine.
It is now nearly two years since one of the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales company HubSpot arrived in Sydney. It helps customers in more than 90 countries rethink how they market their business and create content that resonates with their target audience across some platforms.
iTWire spoke to Kipp Bodnar, chief marketing officer of HubSpot, who was recently in Sydney to discuss the company’s strategy and provide insights to navigate the current industry trends in the ever-changinglandscape of inbound marketing. Kipp previously served as vice-president of marketing, overseeing all demand generation activity worldwide, building out the EMEA and APAC marketing teams, and managing HubSpot’s field marketing, localisation, strategic partnerships, and social media efforts. Kipp serves as a marketing adviser for SaaS companies including SimplyMeasured, InsightSquared and Guidebook. He is the co-author of “The B2B Social Media Book: Become a Marketing Superstar by Generating Leads with Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and More.” An industry-leading speaker and blogger, Kipp is also a strategic advisor to three companies. He holds a BA in journalism from Marshall University.
Q. What is HubSpot’s key area of focus in Australia?
The marketing industry is rapidly evolving, and we are focused on educating marketing and sales professionals about the benefits of inbound marketing and arming them with the tools to ensure they are consistently up to date on the best practices available to them. We want to provide them with marketing and sales solutions that are both easy to use and effective.
We also want to raise awareness of the inefficiencies of interruptive marketing and advertising and the rise of consumer resistance and immunity to traditional advertising techniques and urge marketers and sales professionals to change their approach to ensure they remain relevant in today’s competitive landscape.
Q. How does technology fit in with inbound marketing?
Technology allows us to derive data and streamline tasks for efficiency. A holistic technology stack ensures business work smarter not harder. Our technology provides marketers with insights to help them understand what techniques are and aren’t working for them. For example, our software can show a business owner where people are exiting their website or Facebook page. This enables them to make the right choices and determine if they need to change the layout of the website, or the content on the page, improving customer satisfaction and brand perception in the process.
Our free CRM system allows sales teams to be more in tune with their customer’s needs, streamlines their processes, and they can easily access and share information required.
Q. What are the biggest challenges facing the sales and marketing industry at present?
Consumers today are resistant to traditional marketing and interruptive advertising and sales techniques. People don’t want to be hindered by pop-up ads or have their inbox filled with spam which doesn’t interest them. Our latest research shows that more than 80% of Asia Pacific consumers have closed a browser or exited a website because of an auto-playing ad or a pop-up.
It has become an ultra-competitive and saturated market presenting a challenge for businesses. Marketers need to adopt a new way of thinking and instead consider permission-based marketing, presenting consumers with content that appeals to them and makes sense in the environment where they are consuming media.
In recent times we have seen the rise and success of inbound marketing across all industry sectors. Content marketers are starting to create content that treats consumers like people, not just numbers. This is why a thoughtful content strategy should be top of the agenda when it comes to making the marketing and sales process more human.
Q. How do businesses resolve these challenges?
HubSpot provides some software tools that can help businesses achieve targets such as attracting visitors to closing customers. From a subscription-based CRM system suitable for SMBs to advice on SEO, social media, analytics and website management. Our integrated tools provide businesses with more control and helps them be able to devise an inbound marketing strategy that works. We have recently launched the HubSpot Academy, which is a free training programme to help with a range of issues such as the creation of landing pages and navigating CRMs.
Q. What can you say about the benefits of having an integrated system versus individual tools that are tailored to individual channels?
Integrated analytics tools bring all your marketing and sales data together in one place which is a distinct advantage as it makes it easy to pinpoint where your current strategies need to be improved or tweaked. An integrated technology solution allows you to make insightful decisions on what to do next. For example, integrated metrics gives you rich, detailed contact profiles that track every interaction between your prospects and your company. This in-depth knowledge can help businesses become more efficient and reduce the cost of marketing campaigns.
Q. Hubspot celebrates its 10th year in 2016. What has been the secret to the company’s success?
Over the last 10 years, we have not been afraid to share knowledge with the industry, which has created a culture of openness and collaboration across a global community of marketers and salespeople. This sharing of ideas has helped us to problem solve effectively and in turn helped businesses realise their potential.
We have placed a huge focus on our workplace culture, and I think this has been paramount to our success. Our people are at the heart of our brand and creating a workplace that drives engagement, creativity and collaboration have meant our employees thrive and love contributing to the success of the business and the industry at large.
Q. What advice do you have for marketers looking to make an impact?
My advice would be to step out of their business mindset and stop creating content that urges consumers with a call to action to buy something or click something. On the other end of the message is a human, just like you, who wants real value and far less noise. We need to rewind our thinking and consider where base customer needs are derived and tune into those early thoughts, potentially picking up customers before they have even identified a desire themselves. We need to provide consumers with content that is valuable to them and content that they are searching for (typically higher in the sales funnel) rather than content that is jarring or conflicts with their digital interaction journey (typically about the company/brand, vs. about a topic of interest to the consumer).