WriterAccess Webinar Archive
HubSpot Inbound 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 – 1:00 PM ET
Join host Byron White and this month's webinar guest Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer of HubSpot, offering a recap of Inbound 2013, HubSpot's big yearly conference next week. Mike will review all the highlights of the show, including takeaways from all six of the keynotes.
In this webinar, you'll learn…
- HubSpot and WriterAccess Partner Update
- Inbound 2013 Highlights and Keynotes
- What's NEXT with HubSpot Technology
Byron will also give you his take on the show and what's next with inbound marketing.
The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.
Byron: So we're actually live now and ready to start away so with Mike now joined in I'm happy to welcome everyone to the 44th content marketing webinar. Wow, I'm getting old Mike, 44th. That's a big number, but we're very excited to have you on the webinar today to talk a little bit about Inbound 13. Welcome!
Mike: Yeah, thanks a ton for having me. This is exciting; we're coming off a really exciting week.
Byron: Can't wait to drill some super challenging questions at you about the show.
Mike: Oh boy, you told me they were going to be easy questions.
Byron: All right, all right, they're mostly pretty easy but with grace and dignity you'll answer them as if they were easy so… But I don't really have much of a deck here but just a couple of fun things that I put together to sort of field a couple of questions, I mean there was just so much data to talk about. First of all, you just like…unbelievable show with regards to the size, you must be completely blown away, 5,300 people—wow!
Mike: Yeah, I think we had 2,800 last year, 1,100 the year before and we certainly thought it would grow off of last year but nothing like what we ended up experiencing this year. I think it's really just a testament to how many marketers are sort of embracing the concepts of inbound marketing, and just how many people are sort of seeing the light, so to speak, that these are the things you need to be embracing and just wanting to learn more about it, and it's just really the energy you see in the inbound marketing community. So it was definitely a lot of fun and very energizing and great to see so many people turn out.
Byron: Was it as daunting for you as it was for me to see even the setup at the Hynes and the…you know, you sort of had some input and vision as to how this was going to go. But, I mean, when I saw the stage set up, for example, the monitors, the… I look at where you were a year or two ago and it's like, wow! It's just… you must have been yourself at least a bit humbled by the turnout and by all the investment of time and energy put into the show.
Mike: Oh completely. I mean, on the one hand I'm so proud of what the team was able to do in terms of organizing events and putting it all together. And then you're absolutely right, it's a very humbling experience that people want to show up in and talk about marketing and talk about how to think about inbound and content and context and all these different things. And just the size and the scale that I think is something that, like you're saying, you really can't understand it until you're actually there in person. Even helping to plan the events that I don't think even from my perspective you really understand the real scale of it until you're actually there physically. A lot of attendees have said similar things, that once you're there, you're kind of awed by the scale of everything and it's a great thing to be part of.
Byron: Indeed. You know, from a sponsor's perspective, Mike… We were, of course, a sponsor, you can see the visual there on our WriterAccess cappuccino and espresso coffee stand, which got rave reviews. We were able to really enjoy that. But what was interesting to us is the conversations going on, you know we sponsored SCS and ADTECH and PopCon and on and on and on over it with WriterAccess over the years and ideaLaunch. But, you know, we were having literally on-board conversations about specific writers that might be appropriate for customers or your inbound marketing and how are we different. I mean, it was a very intellectual crowd. Did you feel the same way?
Mike: Yeah, I feel that the crowd is extremely engaged and really wants to learn how they can improve their marketing and maybe there's some folks that I think are sort of still transitioning from more traditional to more inbound and then there's a lot of folks were doing inbound and want to do more of it and do it better. I absolutely think that you're really spot-on with that. This is, in terms of people attending a conference, the most engaged and sort of just really... they want to learn. I remember talking to a woman the last day and she grabbed me and she said, thanks for your session it was great, and she showed me her legal pad and the entire thing was full of notes except for the last four pages were blank and she told me, she said this is a brand-new legal pad when I started the conference two days ago. And they literally, I mean people just… they're very, very active, they want to dive into all this stuff, and that's why it's so great to have so many partners involved like yourself that have answers for people, that have ideas for people that want to have these conversations and I think you're right. This is sort of the ground zero for the inbound marketing movement so when you talk about content and publishing more content… Who else do you want to talk to besides the people that have already sort of drunk the Kool-Aid and are part of the movement? They're a lot more fun and energizing to talk to than the people that are still buying a lot of advertising and are maybe still showing up to some of those other events you mention. So yeah, I just love the folks that show up for this cause I feel like I'm among my people, the people like you and I that just buy into this stuff and we want talk to each other about it and figure out how we can do it better.
Byron: All-star, and should I say rock star keynotes, Mike. Just unbelievable, riveting. It's rare to go to a conference, honestly, that has such great content focused on the inbound marketing topic. I put together just some quick notes so we off to you. Are you online looking at this, by the way? Are you…
Mike: I'm here, yeah.
Byron: So, actually Hubspot on SlideShare has a great little summary of some of the keynotes. I just actually found it right before the presentation so we'll just blow through these quickly and then we'll both talk a little bit about some of the keynotes, cause they were riveting. But Seth Godin, I mean, c'mon. He's really probably one of my personal favorite heroes when it comes to understanding who we are in the business world and why we exist. But some of the takes from his keynote, this is a great one, be genuine, be remarkable. I mean, remarkable is the word actually that you use quite a bit if I could just ask you a question there. I remember seeing some of the taglines and you guys really picked up on that nicely. Be remarkable. Can you comment on that a little bit and Seth Godin's presentation?
Mike: Well, I think the fundamental sort of point behind that "remarkable" word or the remarkability is that's how you stand out, right? So, if you're not doing something that's remarkable, if you don't have content that's remarkable, it's really hard for you to stand out. And those are the things that get noticed, those are the things that get shared in this day and age. And that's really sort of the core behind what makes all this stuff work. So yeah, we've been huge fans of Seth for a long, long time and we had him come and speak at an event a long, long time ago, years ago. We were psyched to have him come back, he's just… he's great and he had a lot of new content this time and I think it was a good way to sort of inspire people that they're doing the right things and they need to do more of it. And that was sort of I think the key message behind Seth.
Byron: Another great take, don't strive to be heard when you're here, work to be missed when you're gone. That's hard to do right, but it's worth aiming for, probably. That's something that I think was powerful. Another great one from his line: If you say failure is not an option, you're also saying success is not an option. Take a risk, take a chance. Be bold, be the purple cow out there in the pasture. Really really great stuff and he sort of tied it in nicely with inbound. You know, he literally… one of his slides… the next chapter of inbound is a whole new way of walking through the world. I thought that was kind of interesting. What was your take on this concept of Seth Godin actually saying the words "inbound" and "inbound marketing?" Is he serving the Kool-Aid now, what do you think?
Mike: You know, I think it's… I always felt like Seth was in many ways one of the Godfathers of inbound marketing. He traced back and he wrote the book Permission Mikeeting back in 1999, and I think that's sort of one of the works that along with New Rules of Mikeeting and PR and The Clue Train Manifesto and I think all of those things are sort of things that were the early part of, or precursors to sort of this inbound movements. And yeah, I don't know if he's serving more of the Kool-Aid or if he's actually mixing it and making it himself or how to describe it but it's great to have someone of that stature, but I'll end this up. But it makes sense, cause to be honest, I think the people, the principles of inbound are completely related to and draw upon the things that he's been talking to people about for over a decade.
Byron: I agree. Arianna Huffington, wow! Was she awesome or what?
Mike: I think for a lot of people she was a little bit of the big surprise. I think that people thought she should be interesting to hear from, but she was, I think, funnier than people expected. I think that she was more motivational and sort of more interesting than a lot of people expected, and the early feedback I'm seeing is that she was definitely the other top or tied for the top keynote of the conference.
Byron: Interesting and I'd love to hear how you're gauging that. Would you guys measure and monitor chatter? I mean, of course you were. I'm looking back at this slide on the right here. You have this sort of Inbound 13 leaderboard of all the people that had made the most posts, that was kind of interesting by the way. But back to Arianna, what was your… how were you gauging the success of the keynotes?
Mike: So yeah, what I was… well, certainly there was a lot of conversation about them… the number of tweets per keynote and things like that, but what I was specifically talking most was the feedback survey from the event. And she and Seth… because we actually asked people what was your favorite keynote? Don't tell us how good everyone individually was or what your questions were and things like that, but which keynote was your favorite? And Arianna and Seth… the final results are not in yet but they've been both sort of trading off between one and two votes ahead of each other in all the early results there, so I think those were both sort of some of the sessions that people really, really just loved and were sort of inspired by, and I think that Seth has been doing it for a long time and I think Arianna… certainly she's very famous and is a very, very accomplished businesswoman. But I think for this audience, she was a little bit new and people loved her and reviews there were unbelievable.
Byron: She questions, you know, our business ethic and our business attitude and putting, for example, she does not allow cell phones at the meals with her family and, you know, this fast-paced busy environment is troublesome for her, and at the same time there's this intention that startups… I mean House Fire is certainly not a startup but can relate to startups like WriterAccess and it really does kind of operate like a startup from what we've heard from Brian Darmesh. She really brought us back into reality, don't you think? And that was probably a breath of fresh air for a lot of people to hear.
Mike: Well, I think that the interesting thing about what she was saying and sort of the applicability of it to marketers is that for creativity and for leadership… you can't be 100 percent go, go, go all the time. Like you need time to sort of put things into perspective, you need time to recharge because you're not a good leader if you're making decisions when you're super tired about things and interacting with people when you're tired because when we're tired we all are maybe a little bit grumpier or more difficult to deal with things like that. And then the same thing goes for the creative side of things too, so we think about, you know, when you write a blog post or things like that. It's really hard to, you know, spend 20 minutes here and 20 minutes later during the day and kind of turn that into an effective blog post or another piece of content. I think a lot of what she was saying for marketers was you've got to find some time to recharge and unplug and that will help you actually do better works as much. It's not about the volume of the work that you're doing, the number of things you're checking off your list, but are you really doing things that will get you to where you want to go?
Byron: So Nate Silver. I didn't hear this actual presentation, but maybe you could talk a little bit about it. Here's a couple of the slides that I'm sure you're aware of on HubSpot's SlideShare, but tune us in to what your thoughts were on that.
Mike: Yeah, Nate's super smart, and he's the guy from 538.com, so he does a lot of data analytics, right? And he predicted the last two elections extremely accurately based on a data model that he produced, and he does a lot of things with baseball and other sports-type things as well, and he just moved from the New York Times to ESPN as part of that and he had a really interesting perspective on big data and sort of the… how many problems will big data actually solve and what are some of the things you need to be careful of when you're thinking about data and analyzing things, so we had no other sessions that were maybe a lot more, kind of, you know, right brain. He was kind of left brain, which I think was interesting and, you know, this particular quote about the gap widening between what we know and what we think we know because, sort of his point there was that we have more and more and more data, we think we know more and more but the amount that we actually know is not increasing as fast as the amount of data that we have, so it's sort of like we think we know more and more, and we certainly know some more things, but the gap between those two was widening, which is kind of an interesting concept to think about.
Byron: Particularly with content analytics and, you know, analytics just coming at us from every angle, it's nice to step back and say, "Is this relevant? Is it helping me produce great content?" You know, those are the things we all have to really start worrying about I think, don't you?
Mike: Yeah absolutely, and I think that sometimes people… you know, there's lots of warning signs there, right? So if you've written a certain number of blog articles, or you know, published a number of blog articles and you're looking at the analytics, and you say, oh well, these are the four or five that performed the best. That's true, but it's out of those sets of articles and, you know, maybe there's other content out there that actually performed even better, content that you don't even have data on or, you know, there's lots of things that you need to think about, and you're right. Sometimes the answer isn't completely in the analytics, maybe there's some other insight, maybe the market has changed, maybe there's some other insight you can gain from your customers that would lead you down the path of some other types of content that would maybe perform better. Things like that, I think, are definitely things you need to keep in mind.
Byron: Scott Harris. I don't know about you, but like Brian, I was just in tears for his presentation. I mean, what a story, what a brand, what a remarkable individual. I hope he moves out of his one-bedroom apartment in New York and upgrades, but other than that, you know, what was your take on… First of all, how did it come about that you even connected with charity: water and his whole organization?
Mike: Yeah, it's a couple of us at a couple of conferences had seen Scott speak, Bryan had seen him speak and somebody else from my team had seen him speak at a conference and sort of came back from that and said, wow! You guys are doing this very noble work around the world and their organization is living up to those inbound principles of being very transparent, being very accountable, trying to do marketing and outreach in a new way to make it more effective and less interruptive and that really just got us interested and so we reached out to them. We started to talk a little bit and then this whole sort of partnership came together where they launched their September campaign, which is their big annual campaign that they do, actually at the conference, and you're absolutely right. I think that their story is amazing and the way that they bring that story to the whole world is just very, very inbound and it's the fourth time that I've seen that presentation, and I will say that I do cry less over time cause you're sort of prepared for that moment, so you put up your own barriers, but it absolutely does bring tears to my eyes. I think for different people there's different parts, but the story about the girl who did a campaign and, I forget how much money she raised, but she didn't raise as much money she would've hoped, and she sort of mailed in the money and then told her parents that she would try harder next year and then she tragically died in a car accident and that ended up sort of spurring on all the public support help and it ended up resulting in millions of dollars. Now there's, you know, her name's Rachel, there's Rachel's Wells, all over the world that are bringing clean drinking water. People, that's just for me, you know, that's the most emotional part of the story for me and I think different parts hit people differently but it's a very, very emotional story and something that makes you feel good that there are some good things going on in the world and it gives you a way that you can actually help too.
Byron: It also intertwines all that we believe in with regards to, you know, what Seth was talking about and Arianna. I mean, it's setting up the business the right way so every dollar you contribute, you can actually track to a particular geographic location of a truck that's drilling a well in a city. That's just a remarkable thing, you know, bringing in the GPS systems to the business model combined… wasn't that amazing to…
Mike: It's amazing, and they do that if you give a dollar or you give a million dollars. Like that's the thing, it's just this whole notion of, you know, we want your support and we've figured out ways to make that scalable with technology and we want it to be super accountable and I just… It's those types of things I think are… they're really in many ways transforming the nonprofit business model and that's something that we just, we just loved, and we thought that there was a really great duality to the story, both the work that they're doing and hopefully motivating people at the conference to actually be part of it and support it and start their own campaigns, but also how they're doing the work, and I think it's an interesting sort of transformative business model story within the nonprofit industry.
Byron: Indeed. So any favorites from yourself or any takeaways?
Mike: Oh, boy. You know…
Byron: What touched your soul?
Mike: Yeah, what touched my soul was always the charity: water stuff. I think my vote for most entertaining probably goes to Arianna, I think most motivational probably goes to Seth and what appealed most to me to the quant in me was certainly Nate. I don't know… I think Seth did a great job of kicking off the event as a whole but, you know, to me, I think that they were just a great group.
Byron: Right on. So I was interested in learning about the topic selection after the show. I mean, we're going to get more into some questions about, you know, the show itself and then launching the show and all kinds of fun stuff. But I had somebody in my office go through all the sessions and kind of try to categorize them a little bit. And interestingly enough, there were a lot of sessions on selling and how to put inbound marketing to work which I thought was really interesting and really cool, actually. And then, of course, industry-specific whether we're talking about agencies or nonprofit organizations and that was an interesting draw. Design, naturally, I'm sure a big pain point for a lot of the customers. Optimization, you know, sort of interesting. Content creation, my ballpark, that has many presentations on that I thought was interesting. And of course, customers. And then only a few on HubSpot products, is very interesting. You know, this show was not littered with host file products. Certainly there was a lot of attention to products and we'll talk about that. In many ways that was probably the purpose of the show. We'll talk about that later, but tell us a little about the, you know, the topic selection and your team did put that together.
Mike: Yeah, I mean a lot of the topic selection was driven by a couple of things. You know. What we feel like the market and the community is most interested in hearing in the feedback we got from the prior year on different sessions in where we sort of feel like where things are going and then there a few things happening. One is, we're hearing more and more from marketers that are starting to do a decent job of inbound marketing that they're running into additional challenges with their sales team, who hasn't adapted to how they're selling to the new inbound needs of their generating to the content and other things that are doing. So, we want to really help those markers by adding, you know, some… we don't need more sessions on selling this year than last year except by a minority the overall. I think there were about 140 different sessions this year, which is definitely a minority but definitely a lot more than the prior year. You know, I think we'll probably talk about this in a minute, but we also launched a new, you know, free product for salespeople and that was certainly part of it as well. But I think a lot of the marketers are looking for ways to help them better interact with their sales team, so a lot of sessions with sales and marketing alignment and things like that. And then along the other areas, you know, there were some very popular sessions around the… I think one of the most popular sessions, and we had to run encore versions of it twice, was something like how to create sexy content within a boring industry and that was one where people were just fascinated by it. And there's a guy from AmeriFirst Mortgages named Dan Moyle who has done some great content within his industry. And I think all of us to varying degrees feel like we're in a boring industry, so yeah, a lot about content, a lot about different sessions, things like that. We look at how full all the different sessions were each year and what the feedback is through all the different surveys that we get and that sort of drives a lot of the agendas for the future years.
Byron: Awesome, very good summary. So, I was wondering, you know, how successful was Inbound 13? And more interestingly, how you measure success? I did a search this morning for Inbound 13 recap and found 9,700 results, right? That was pretty cool.
Mike: Yeah, I think you measure success in a few ways. One is just the volume of conversation about the events, and we were over 60,000 tweets for the three days of the event, which is just phenomenal as well the top-trending topics on Twitter every single day. So, that sort of tells you that there was a lot of buzz on conversation around the event, but to be honest, the biggest thing we look at is customer satisfaction, and so that survey that we have out now… There's lots of questions we asked to try to gauge what people are really saying, but one of them is, if you're familiar with net promoter score, is a net promoter score benchmark of the conference, and so basically you ask people how likely they are to recommend the conference to one of their colleagues and it was, I was shocked, happy, you know, really ecstatic, that the net promoter score is… these right now are preliminary, I think this new survey's coming in today. But with more than 200 responses is 66, and so 75 percent of the people said on a scale of 0 to 10 that 9 or 10 were likely to recommend the conference to a friend so it's like under the net promoter score map that means 75 percent of people at the event were promoters. And I have just never seen numbers like that, so I think that bodes really well for next year, and so the growth in the communities is something that we're definitely very, very excited about…
Byron: Good stuff. So Rick Burnes had really a great presentation on sort of infusing and introducing product marketing into the inbound marketing flow. It's a great deck, I highly recommend everybody download that, but, you know, do you feel the show sort of helped educate attendees on the HubSpot products specifically without getting in their face or … and this is an interesting slide that they conducted in 2011, back when you guys were really all about educating people on inbound marketing and almost, you know, not even introducing the product, 'til you, until somebody signs up for like a test drive or something. So, it's a cool slide, but do you feel the show did a good job of educating people on HubSpot, or maybe the attendees of the show are already users of the HubSpot product, so the show wasn't as much about introducing the product but can you talk about it?
Mike: I think about, yeah I think it's a good question, I think about 40 percent of the people at the events are also customers. About 20 percent, maybe 25 percent are, you know, partners, agency partners, things like that. And so that leaves, kind of like 35 percent that are neither of those things and so it's definitely a pretty mixed crowd. And what I think is interesting is that I think the event does do a pretty good job of getting people who are ready to have more conversations learn more about the HubSpot products without necessarily trying to get in everyone's face about it, right? So there's certainly a bunch of sessions and there's a tracker to there. You can test drive HubSpot products, things like that, but there's lots of other things you can do and you can go see, you know, some others, you can go see Mitch Joel speak at the same time, and he's not going to sit there and talk about our products, right? So there's a whole mixture of content there but I do think it does a good job and I think that, you know to be honest, in this day and age, and this is the type of stuff that you guys preach as well. The best way to get someone to want to interact with you and learn more about your product is to have some really interesting content and teach them a bunch of things and become that, you know, trusted advisor, and I think that's a lot of what the event was about. If the event was all about our product I think we would have had 500 people not 5,000, and you know, and it just would have been a very, very different event, and you're right. I think what we've learned over time is that completely excluding your product content from everything that you do is… will help you attract people to yourself but it's just going to be difficult to sell anything and then… but if you do the opposite, that's going to be really hard to attract anyone to you, so you sort of need to find a balance between the two things, and I think we struck the balance relatively well at the conference.
Byron: Indeed. So tell us a little bit about the launch of the show. I mean, I can only imagine how many hours went into planning this show. But once again, Rick Burnes sort of talked a little bit about that and how product launches are infused even in the launch of Inbound 3 and assigning different tasks to people. I mean, my gosh, it was just a monstrous task, but how long did the… what was the strategy, how long did the launch take, how many people were involved? How did you orchestrate it all? I mean… phenomenal effort.
Mike: Yeah, I'm glad it looks that way from the outside cause it feels like total chaos on the inside. So, essentially almost the entire marketing team was involved in one way or another. Probably, if you look at everyone who did a lot of work on it… probably at least a dozen people. And a lot of it is one of those things where it sort of comes together increasingly over time. So early on, probably six months out from the event there's a small team that are actually working on the event and the logistics and the speaker lineup and the sessions and things like that. And as we get closer, then you know, the products get infused, the promotional campaigns for the product launches get infused a little bit more. And it's a lot of things, I mean… this is a, you know, screenshot of a Google spreadsheet where we tried… and this is actually for the couple days of the events, you know, who exactly is publishing, what/when, right? So we have in here blog articles going out, your e-books going out, we have inbound promotions going out. We have, you know, I think there's a couple of videos in there launching, there's when certain keynote presentations are happening. And it all tries to stay coordinated around a couple of things, and I don't know if we've found the perfect tool to do it but I think that there's… But things like that stay coordinated, especially for the larger team.
Byron: Good stuff. So, you know, one of the things that struck me when you were on the stage with Mike is this coming together, right, of two guys that have two different roles and are responsible for two important elements that drives all the sales and revenue for HubSpot, right? Sales and marketing, right? So, naturally inbound marketing does a wonderful job of beating up the old-school way of selling. You know, cold calling, you know, calling from lists and dialing for dollars and interrupting people and all different things. Yet there is a sales element, I thought it was really kind of a surreal experience for me to see you and Mike up there, seeing how you two guys work together, right? And particularly with respect to product marketing. But what is your feeling on that? I mean, is it now getting more hip and cool for marketing to talk with sales as you and Mike were, up on the stage? Tell me about that tension and what your feeling is on that?
Mike: Well definitely, if you see both of us, Mike is definitely the hip and cool one, not me. But I hope it's becoming more in fashion for marketers to talk more to their sales teams. I think that, in marketing, you really are only effective in the CEO or the CFO's mindset. If the things that you're doing are helping the company grow and drive revenue and that really requires that you have a good relationship with your sales team and you need to make sure that they're approaching all the different leads and generating in the right way and selling them effectively and that requires a lot of communication. So yeah, I hope that one of the things we were able to do with the session was to get more sales and marketing teams talking to each other to help make both of them be more effective because I think what we're finding is that the more marketing shifts to the new realities of who the buyer is today and the power that the buyer has, to the tools that the buyer uses, then that means you transform your marketing. You need more content, you need more context for the more inbound mindset and that results in different types of leads being generated, which actually means different vehicles and different expectations. And that mean that your sales team needs to change with a view to be as effective as possible and that's, I think, a lot of what we were trying to get at.
Byron: And the other thing to mention there, Mike, and this again relates to some of the conversations we were having with customers coming up to us and almost 300 people that we met and shook hands with and have contact information and are reaching out to now regarding their content pain points, right? But one of the things to mention at WriterAccess, we've seen the content asset portfolio greatly increase in terms of the things people are buying on our platform, right? So two or three years ago, it was more blog posts, you know, articles, occasional white paper. We're seeing speeches rewritten, PowerPoints, workbooks. You know, all kinds of new assets being purchased to most likely manage this incredible workflow of how you need to, you know, touch customers at different points in the chain with different marketing assets and content assets and I think that's what we're beginning to see, don't you? And can you comment on that?
Mike: I think that a lot of that is true, for sure. I think that, you know, sort of all of us, after all the climbing that learning curve of your inbound marketing and the types of content things like that. So yeah, I definitely see that happening.
Byron: Cool. So, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about this, the segmentation of the customers and how that tied in with the different tracks of the show? I saw an interesting keynote that talked… I believe Brian and Darmesh… They were talking about how the different companies organize, you know, and I think that was actually your presentation with Mike, about how the companies organize and how you sort of divide people into, you know, small businesses, medium-size businesses and then enterprise solutions and you have both sales and marketing teams, you know, infused in those different segments. Yet there are different audiences that you're talking to. Can you talk a little bit about both in terms of HubSpot and also in terms of customer needs? Rebecca gave a great presentation, by the way, on customer needs and dividing up your customer needs. Can you talk about the critical element of that segmentation of your customer pool?
Mike: Yeah, I think that what we try to do with the customers and the alignment of the company is that we try to organize the company around the customer, so we have customers that are small businesses, midsize businesses and large businesses and we have, you know, sales, marketing and services teams that work together sitting in the same room, organized in the same way around those different customer segments. And I think that, you know, one of the big changes that's happening is the customers have so much more power to today than they used have. And that really means that customer success is even more and more critical so you need to think about, sort of, how you're thinking about the different portions from your customer base and making sure that you're trying to make everyone as successful as possible and, you know, we treat customers differently based on what size business they are, based on where they're located and based on how successful they are with our platform. And there's certainly some folks that either because they're new or run into some challenges, whatever, that are struggling more and they get one type of help and one type of content from us and different for other segments. But it's one of those things that your goal really needs to be very high levels of customer success. In order to view viable businesses today, because customers have such a larger voice than they used to have.
Byron: Spot on. So how would you compare this product launch, to say, an Apple product launch? We're going to talk later about your products in just a second here, but you raise… Are you aiming high? What are your thoughts on that?
Mike: Yeah, I mean, you know… We obviously aim as high as possible. I think that, obviously, we're not at iPhone levels nor Steve Jobs levels. But I think that from our perspective it was simply the biggest and best launch we've ever done and I think that there were aspects of it… There was a tweet or two of people sort of comparing it to things like Apple. Obviously, on the scale it's very different cause we're not a consumer product, but I think within the industry that we serve… I think it was good and the marketing team did a great job.
Byron: When will you have data back on the question number three here, you know, did it sell? What are you looking for with the goals of the people trying some of new products, which we're going to talk about in a second?
Mike: Yeah. I think that it's… Our sales cycle usually runs on average around 60 days, so I think it's one of those where it's going to take at least a few months to really have any idea. The early indications look really good, and then to be honest, this is kind of a, you know, this is the major stuff we're going to be selling, the major new stuff we're going to be selling over the course of the next year. So, in summary, the sales is going to be a little bit more long term, but the early indications look really good. You know, we mentioned that free product for salespeople at getsignals.com, and that had… I don't want to reveal the exact number but many, many thousands of users starting to use it, which is great. And then a lot of interest from customers in terms of exploring some of the new stuff that we launched, and things like that… I feel good about it, but you're right. I think it's going to take a couple of months for some early numbers to flow in.
Byron: Cool. So tell us about signals and how you're moving customers towards the, you know, sort of this customer management concept inside the HubSpot platform versus just using inbound as a website lead generation concept. That's a big deal, don't you think?
Mike: I think it's a huge deal, and I think for the first time ever we've got a product that's for salespeople, and frankly, also for people in customer service and customer-facing roles as well. And it's also an individual user product which I think is interesting and so, you know, it's a plugin to Chrome. It integrates with Gmail, it integrates with Outlook and it basically gives you signals back from people about what they're doing and it gives you, you know, signals about who you should be calling, interacting with and when. And so it's… I think it can be really powerful and, you're right. It's going to be a really, really big shift for us. But most of that shift came from what we're hearing from the marketers which was like, okay, I'm doing the job of inbound, I generated, you know, x number of inbound leads, but my sales team hasn't really figured out what they need to do differently with those leads versus the cold calling lists that they used to use. And that sort of put this light bulb, you know, went off in our heads saying, wow! Like, actually, what's interesting is that the buyers have changed and we were telling people that means marketing has changed, which is true, but it also means sales needs to change, it also means customer support and service needs to change to some degree too, and what does that mean? And we said, well, let's… maybe we need to build a tool to help those people better understand what signals the customers and prospects are sending to them. And that's basically where that product came from, so I think that's something that we're looking to continue to build on. It's our first step in this direction and I think it's going to be an exciting new direction for us to serve. You know, help online sales and marketing and service with the company through mutuals like this.
Byron: Exciting. Tell us about COS costs. Do you have a code name or nickname for this yet? What's the cost of COS?
Mike: Yeah, I think, you know, there's two exciting things about the new content platform that we launched, which is sort of like a content management system, or CMS, but it's optimized for personalized individual users and optimized based on what device people are using and those are the two exciting things about it, so you know, mobile has grown as a percentage of traffic in the overall web. I think to something like over 15, 20 percent, I forget the exact number, but mobile is huge and it's not just one format. Like, it's all these different mobile devices between Apple and Android, and different screen sizes on Android, you know, tablets, you've got the smaller seven-inch tablets, you've got the 10-inch tablets, you've all these different devices, and you know what you want to be able to do as a marketer is have the right experience to the right person on the right device and if someone's on your website today and they're a prospect, and when they're on a tablet that, you know, you want to show them the content's optimized for that and, you know, if it's a different person, if they're a customer, and they're using a laptop that has to be a little bit different experience as well. But rather than creating tons of different websites, the question is, can you build it all at once and optimize it for everywhere? That's the vision behind the COS and what it does. So that's very exciting. I think it's one of those things where if you have the right content feeding that platform, it can be super effective, right? So, I think what we're doing here is providing the shell, the framework for publishing and optimizing and personalizing this content within certainly, you know, working with someone like WriterAccess needs to fill that shell up with the actual content, right?
Byron: And isn't that really the biggest pain problem, pain point, that you see with your customers who have purchased your software and are loving it, they like it, they understand it. They've downloaded your e-books, they gone on your webinars, they get it. But it's like, where is all this great content going to come from? I mean, do you guys just continue to hear that and do your sales reps continue to hear that?
Mike: Yeah, no, absolutely. I think the biggest challenge that anyone faces with doing inbound marketing in general is, you know, you've gone from an era where you take budget and then you allocate it to agencies who buy ads for you and to a, you know, something where you're then taking that budget, and either trying to figure how do you fill up all these different things that you're doing with content, either through internal hires or, you know, working with other folks like WriterAccess, or things like that... How you do marketing has changed for sure. It's like that's one of the biggest challenges the people have, and there's different ways to sort of meet that challenge. The big thing that changes in the world of inbound marketing is that you've got to figure out what's the content that you're producing and who's producing it, and how are you going to continue to produce it on an ongoing basis?
Byron: A lot of CMS platforms out there. Do you think you can out market them?
Mike: I don't know. I don't think we can out market them but I don't think that we need to. I don't think if someone's choosing between another CMS and our… the HubSpot COS, and they're literally just making the choice between those two things, then either they're not the right customer for us or they're thinking about things in the wrong way, right? So you know, I think that the differentiation and sort of the reason why people choose HubSpot is because of the integration and when you talk about, okay well, if you have a site that's built on some other CMS, it doesn't… that site doesn't know, all those pad pages are static. It doesn't know who that person is, it doesn't know if they're a customer, or if they're a lead, or they're a prospect or if they're one of your biggest opportunities, or they're with industry X or industry Y. But because HubSpot system is based around your inbound database of contacts, it knows who all those people are, and that's tied into what content is being displayed to them. So, just like you can personalize content and e-mails to different people, you can personalize website pages now to different people. And so, one of the things we've done actually is within our blog articles, we actually have to sometimes have specialized content that just shows up if you're a customer, right? And different content that shows up if you're a prospect or different offers that are sitting around that content that display differently based on who you are. So I think it helps make the content that you're publishing even more effective if you can personalize it to who the people are. And that's sort of the big difference there. If you just want to launch a static website. I actually think that probably… if that's all you want to do, then COS is probably not necessarily the right product for you. So, I think there's a lot of differentiation there.
Byron: Great answer. Social inbox. Tell us a little bit about how it's going to help in our inbound marketing efforts.
Mike: I love social inbox and I'll tell you why. I'm big on social, I love social, I'm on Twitter all day long. Facebook, LinkedIn, it's great. But, what I never really loved about it was you're monitoring for some keyword or something and then you have this whole stream of 200 people that said something about a topic. Well, who are they? And without clicking on each of their individual bios and looking at each individual one, it's like, who are they and, you know, I kind of want to prioritize my interactions based on who they are, and if someone is a lead or an opportunity, I want to treat them one way, if somebody is a customer, I want to treat them very differently. If someone is, you know, neither of those things, there's probably a different way I want to treat them. And so, that's what social inbox does. Just like the content optimization system takes the concept of a content management system and combines it with your inbound database of people, of contacts. Social inbox does the same thing with social media. So, you can actually monitor, and one of the things we do is, we actually have, like, a list for each of our sales reps just to monitor their leads. And how cool is that, that each sales rep gets an e-mail every single day of what their leads said in social media? And it automatically updates based on how their leads change, if they get new leads assigned to them, if their leads fall out of their funnel or if they go away. And I just think that's really, really cool, so it's sort of a new take on social media to combine it with the contacts database and what you know about different people. And I think that's, sort of, the future where a lot of marketing needs to go, where it needs to be much more personalized and have more contacts built around relationships.
Byron: Spot on. So how was Brian's dog received at the show? And final question for you…
Mike: Yeah, you know, Romeo is great. He's doing a good job, you know, he did a good job of not revealing anything in that session, he didn't reveal… You know, Romeo is great. He spends a little time around the office, and he's doing a good job. I don't know that he loved the pressure and tension. You saw in that session, this photo he's walking around a little bit, but after a little bit of that, he sort of just kind of lay down quietly by Brian's feet and just sat there. So, maybe he was just a little bit nervous, I don't know. I don't know if he's actually that familiar with the big crowds, but he was a hit. Everybody loves Romeo. He actually got a haircut for the show too, about 2 days before the show. He got a new haircut, so he was trying to get ready for it. He's got an orange collar, which matches well with the color scheme. So yeah, I know he's done a great job.
Byron: Well, we really appreciate you being on the show today. Any hints on the webinair today? It is a show, it feels like a show. It feels like a radio show, back to my Lifetips radio show. I've done like 300 episodes of those and asking good questions and making people smile. But back to Inbound 14. What's up your sleeve, what are you thinking?
Mike: I don't know, I mean, tell me what you think we should do. I mean, the first thing is, we'll be in a bigger facility. So, it will be at the new Boston Convention/Exhibition Center, the BCC in South Boston along the waterfront. And they do shows of up to like a hundred thousand people. So we'll have a much larger venue and some interesting things that we can do there. But, I don't know, I mean, people have sent me a list of bands they want. There were people, two people on Twitter telling me we need to get the Black Keys and somebody else saying something else. I have no idea what we're going to do, but I can assure you that, you know, starting in another week or two that we're going to start to figure out how we can top last year, so we'll see. You let me know if you have any special requests.
Byron: Thanks so much, Mike, for joining us today. I'm going to invite anybody to ask Mike some questions if they want using the question formula on our little dashboard on the side over there. But what do you think would be the type of numbers you might expect next year? If you just took a wild guess would you target as far as attendees next year?
Mike: Oh, I hate playing this game. You know. I think if you have to ask me right now, I think something in the 7 to 8,000 range. I just think based on the feedback we've gotten from the events and how many people really rated it so highly, that means a lot of them are going to come back and a lot of them are going to tell their friends to come. And I think that'll mean some amount of growth, but we’ll see. I think we're going to have to do it again next year and just see how many people turn up but I would say at this point I'm going to be conservative and sort of say in that kind of range.
Byron: Here's a hint that I picked up on. I was speaking with a HubSpot customer that attended the show, a fairly large company. He was VP of marketing, actually, I think, the VP of content marketing now that I think about it. And he declared that I am definitely bringing my CEO next year and I thought that was interesting because of a couple things. One of the challenges as you all know is getting buy-in from your CEO, particularly with regards to content decisions or funding inbound marketing, funding content marketing, funding marketing in general. But I thought that was interesting and maybe something you could pick up on. Thoughts on that?
Mike: Yeah, that's a really good insight, Byron. I've had a few people email me after the event asking for either the slides or videos of individual sessions and they said that they wanted to share it with their CEO. And I think that the comment you just made is very much in that same vein of okay, I went there, I get it. I learned a lot, it was a great show for me, but I want to use this event to help my CEO understand that this is the way the world is going and we need to do more of this stuff and I think that's really interesting. I think, you know, maybe what that means for us is we should think about having some sort of a CEO track, or even maybe a special, you know, in addition to that, where we can put all the CEOs in a room and really give them the specific content that they're going to need. So, I think the keynotes are good for them, but I think there might be a lot of the same content in the show, but maybe it's little bit different for them and then maybe we also need to have a special, like, CEO ticket, like a companion ticket, like a, you know, you get a ticket for yourself but then, you know, then if you also bring your CEO, then here's what they get to do. It would probably be a one-day thing for them, cause you know how busy CEOs are. But maybe there's something special we can do for those folks. So I think that's a really interesting idea.
Byron: On the opposite end of that idea we heard a lot of chatter about, you know, what is great content? How do you know it's great? How do you create it? What are the methodologies that you use and can you show some examples? I mean, I got that a lot. People enjoyed my book, I was giving away the content marketing guide, which has a lot of tips and tactics of content marketing that I've learned over the years and that was a smash hit. People loved that, they were, you know, everybody wanted the book and they were saying can I get another copy of the book for my this that and the other? But, tactical stuff on content creation particularly both at enterprise-level and, you know, even at a one-up level for SMBs. There's a lot there and there's a lot to learn and your thoughts on how to create sexy content in a boring industry? Similar type of problem, you know. How do you create great content and what are creative ideas on how to do that?
Mike: Yeah, I think that everyone wants to know about that topic, right? And you and I get asked that question a lot, and I think we have a whole bunch of answers to it, but you're absolutely right. That's kind of the type of thing that people will want to know more about. I always, you know, I think the simple answer that is just telling people to start with their customers and what questions your customer is asking you, and then all those questions are great titles for blog posts. So, you know, go to the people that interact with your customers the most, whether it's customer support or sales or yourself and try to write down every time a customer asks you a question, cause guess what? Every time they ask you a question, there's at least 10 other people who have the same question, but those people aren't asking you directly. They're typing it into Google and that kind of content can be a great, sort of, you know, set of things to develop for yourself.
Byron: The whole B2B channel is interesting. Riley, just on that point, of listen to what questions your customers are asking. So how important can content be? What role can content play in B2B marketing? You know, new product introduction, developing new retail channels, you know, any comments or feedback on that for Riley?
Mike: Yeah, I mean, I think B2B is huge and I think that what's interesting is a lot of these techniques, they work great for B2B and for B2C, but I even think in some ways they work better for B2B because it tends to be much more of a considered sales process. It tends to be something where people are doing a lot more searching, a lot more reference checking, a lot more research as part of the process, and the more content you have about your brands, the more, you know, sort of inbound attraction you're doing online, the more successful you're going to be in that kind of environment. So what you want is when people are even, you know, searching for things that are unrelated to your company or your friends, but they're still finding your content, right? And then it just gives them that reassurance through their whole sales process, through their whole research process that you're the right choice for them. You know, if you look at the alternative, it's where maybe somebody on your sales team cold calls them and convinces them that your product is awesome and then they'll go to Google and search around for a bunch of things, and they either find nothing or they find your competition's blog articles. That doesn't bode so well for you. So, you want to really make sure you're getting found in as many different places as possible, and I think that this is one of the best ways to do it, so I think it's huge for B2B.
Byron: Another interesting track that I'm asked a lot, I'm sure you are as well. How do you choose your thought leadership position, right? We all kind of know we need thought leadership positions, i.e. we need to talk about something other than our brand, and our products, and our benefits, and our features and our services. We need something that will, if you will, lure people, ignite people or engage people into something they can learn about. But that challenge of selecting a thought leadership topic is really hard. I think it would be a cool thing to talk about.
Mike: Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of it comes from knowing your customers, and what are the major topics that are on their mind. And then just to take a stand and have an opinion. I think that a lot of people worry that by taking a stand on a piece of thought leadership that they worry so much about the people they'll alienate and they don't think so much about the people that will energize and engage. And there are people that don't believe that, you know, that, I mean, there's somebody that just published an infographic today that was, you know, the downside of inbound marketing, and how it takes so much time and you know, there's all these problems with it, and that's fine. I think that one of the things that a lot of people the conference talked about was, if you're trying to make everyone happy then you're going to delight no one. There's sort of that whole notion where, you know, taking a stand and having an opinion and sort of, that's how you become remarkable. So, I would just say that I think the big holdup people have on thought leadership is usually that they're unwilling to take a stand, because they don't want to upset anyone, and I think the real opportunity is to find an issue where you can take a stand, and that will sort of energize a certain portion of people and get them really motivated to get behind you. If you're trying to make everyone happy, you're sort of going to enlist or delight no one.
Byron: We're seeing a lot of fun of influence on authorship and the personality of the authors that are publishing both on the web and in books. Tom Peters wrote a book that actually was never published. I happen to have… I got to know Tom a bit, and he gave me a beta copy of his book called Brand Me, which was really cool. It never published for some reason, it was awesome. But it talked about a lot about what he would speak about at conferences, and bringing in your personality and disrupting, if you will, the, you know, the yes mode that we all have in corporations, and finding out who you are and letting that be the nucleus of how you promote yourself and your company through your own personal brand. Number one cool topic for a cool speaker for a keynote possibly, maybe a little retro. Tom is, of course the master, and you know, of many decades and, you know, I'm not sure he's the centerpiece for this current decade. But what are your thoughts on that and personality, Mike, and even seeing Romeo on the stage with Brian. I mean, will that become increasingly important, do you believe for the success of bringing that personality into the content we're creating. Thoughts on that?
Mike: I think so. I think people like to connect with people and when you have content… I think people like to know, what's the personality behind it? And I think some brands can do that from a brand perspective, but I think a lot of times it's coming from an individual person. I also think that, you know, just coming from an SEO perspective, right? So you've got Google+'s author profiles and, you know, if you get that properly set up, then when people find your blog articles, they're seeing a little face of someone next to the search results, right? And that's not a brand, that's a face of a person, so I think there's a lot of things moving in the direction of a company's brand being a compilation of the brands of the people that sort of comprise that company. And so I definitely think there's a lot of movement in that direction and that's sort of a nontraditional thing but I think it allows people to have a better, and a more human connection with the companies.
Byron: We've had some great thoughts. Somebody commented on about HubSpot Hawaii for 2015, Inbound 15, Hawaii. Do you like Inbound being in your backyard, Mike? Does that help the effort?
Mike: Yeah, I mean, Hawaii would be fantastic. I would love that. But, I think for a lot of reasons… I mean, you know, we're here in Boston. I think, to be honest, we have a little bit of a chip on our shoulder within the technology industry of, you know, kind of Boston, versus maybe Silicon Valley and some other places. And, you know, we're all Boston folks, I'm a big Red Sox fan. I think we're super psyched to have it here and keep that event in Boston. There's a lot of, you know, the older technology roots, technology industry here. We're looking to kind of get back to those roots and sort of build that out. I think the other thing that's really interesting and a more practical reason to have it in Boston is that it enables a lot more of the HubSpot employees to participate. So, if we had it in Hawaii, we would have to buy a $600 to $800 ticket for every single person to fly out there and put them all up in hotels. We just wouldn't be able to bring as many people, and so I think that having it in Boston means that we can get all 600 employees actually to the event. They can meet customers, they can help people, they can talk to people. So, I think it works really, really well from that prospective. So, there's a couple of reasons why we want to have it here, and we've already had meetings with, you know, the governor has been to our office a couple of times, we've had meetings with the executive director of the Boston Convention Center Authority about, sort of, the possible long-term growth for this event, so we're really… we're trying to work with the city of Boston to make this into something that's huge over time and becomes kind of one of the marquee events right here. So, you know, I mean you're local too, so it's like we're going to go local, and we're big fans of that.
Byron: And go local is another interesting topic, just on a side note, but, you know, is HubSpot doing anything to help customers, you know, have success with inbound marketing locally? That's another interesting topic channel perhaps for next year's sessions.
Mike: Yeah, I think we give lots of advice and content around those areas. I think there is definitely some people who do local stuff that definitely use HubSpot, but I'll be honest, we haven't developed a specific, like, local marketing or location-based marketing toolset the way, you know, some other folks have, but I think in terms of content, you're absolutely right. And we can definitely add some sessions like that for next year because it would be a good thing to talk about.
Byron: Good stuff. So… but HubSpot is certainly going global, and they're going local perhaps as we move forward.
Mike: There you go.
Byron: Well, Mike. Again, so great to have you on today's webinar. I want to thank you for your time and the excitement that you shared with us about last year's show. Last year's, look at this, it was last week's show. But really, really great to have you on today.
Mike: Thanks a ton for having me, This was great and thanks for your help and participation in the event.
Byron: Right on. Until next year, perhaps, when we do another session with Mike, who will be off and busy and one other question. Anything crazy targeted for 2014 for HubSpot? You think… any hints on products or anything you're looking at that you think will come together?
Mike: I guess what I would say is that we just released all of this new stuff. We've got a product for salespeople, we've gotten a lot of other products - social inbox and the content optimization system to do a lot more personalization. And so, I think we got a little bit of a new direction there. And I think what you'll see next year is continued steps in those directions. So, I think more along those lines is what I would look for.
Byron: Terrific. Thanks again, Mike, for being in the loop today and until next month, everyone, I hope your journey is a little smarter, better, faster and wiser when it comes to content marketing. Thanks for tuning in, and we'll see you next month.